An Interview with Donna Castor, Owner of 'Queen Anne's Lace' Vintage Home Design Shop

November 28, 2016


Copyright Lisa Scherer

 Last week I had the opportunity to interview Donna Castor, the owner of ‘Queen Anne’s Lace’ vintage design shop in New Eagle, Pa. My favorite place to shop!  Queen Anne’s Lace offers a variety of items from vintage to up-cycled to French to Shabby. This unique upscale shop is a must stop when I am in the area. I never leave empty-handed. And quite frankly, I find it hard to leave at all. The setting is peaceful, beautiful, and inviting. And with chandelier prisms casting glowing shapes on the wall, perfect color palettes pleasing to the eye, and lace overflowing from drawers, I can’t help but think others feel the same way the moment they walk in.


Copyright Lisa Scherer


What led you to the world of selling vintage home design items?

 My mother in law introduced me to the hunt. I often attended auctions and sales with her. As my interest in antiques grew I began to refine my taste and style, and also to acquire more things than I could use in my small house. One day I answered an ad in the local paper and made arrangements for two women, Ruth and her daughter Donna, to come and see what I had to sell. They were opening an antiques shop and were looking for vendors to rent space in their shop. They convinced me that I had enough to start, and it blossomed from there.

Copyright Lisa Scherer

How long have has “Queen Anne’s Lace” been open?

I've been open at the New Eagle location for just over three years. But that first venture with Ruth and Donna, was way back in the mid 90's. I've been buying and selling since then.

Why New Eagle, Pa? 

For some reason, I'm always drawn to the New Eagle/Monongahela area. It's charming! This building is the old Valliani's Grocery. I can't tell you how many locals have come in and told me where the candy counter was, and how Grandma would haul a slab of beef out of the cooler in the back and cut your meat right in front of you. But when I first saw the place, it was Yesterday's Best. I came here with my mother-in-law, and when they moved across the street, this became John's Antiques.

After I retired in 2008, I was renting a room in a co-op in Monongahela, and just bought myself out of my space. I was paying to rent storage space and selling space, and finally thought, "Well, this is stupid. Why am I paying to store when I could be paying to sell?" I had been holding back on going out on my own because I didn't want to work full time again, but driving home one day I saw that the front of this shop had been painted, made an educated guess, and made a phone call. Next thing I knew, I was in business.

Copyright Lisa Scherer

What kind of items do you sell?

I sell antique, vintage, up-cycled, and new. I like the  mix. To me, all antiques can be colorless and dull. I rarely look at a piece and see what it is. I see what it can be. I paint and refinish furniture, make mirrors and chalkboards out of old frames or doors and windows. I do all my own wreaths and floral arrangements. I guess you could say I'm selling a style here, a look for your home. I try to display my merchandise to inspire. It's a "See what you can do when you put this with this?" kind of thing.


Copyright Lisa Scherer

What do you love most about having your own store?

 Definitely the freedom. The freedom to create and display the way I want to, to spend money on the extras, like pretty bags and tissue paper and ribbon. I want people to feel like they've bought something special when they leave here. To set the schedule that works best for me and my customers.

 Can you share with us the process you go through in finding the perfect items to sell?


I don't really have a process! I go to sales and auctions, I hit the flea markets, I get lots of walk-ins, I have friends who have beautiful things they want to sell. Once a year my husband and I travel south, and I shop the entire time we're away. It's always good to find things that aren't common to Western Pennsylvania. I consign a good deal now, but I'm very choosy. If I wouldn't buy it, I won't consign it. I want to maintain a certain level of quality here at QAL.

Copyright Lisa sScherer
Copyright Lisa Scherer

Your shop is beautifully designed.  Do you carry your decorating skills into your own home and often find yourself drawn to one specific style?

 I've always been extremely interested in design, but I have no formal training. Over the years, my style at home has evolved from Contemporary to Country to Victorian to Traditional with a twist, and that's where I'll likely stay. I love warm neutrals and the stark charm of black and cream, I like graphics like this supermarket sign or the eye chart, but I still love classics, like hunt prints. Mix in old brass and bronze, antique English transfer ware, plenty of texture, and fresh green. You have to have plants to give your room life.

Copyright Lisa Scherer


 And without reservation answer the following questions just for fun:

Vintage or new? Vintage
 Silver or gold? Gold
 Diamonds or pearls? Diamonds
Tea-dyed or bright white? Tea dyed
 Lace or velvet? Velvet
Cottage or Victorian mansion? Cottage
 Roses or Lily of the Valley? Both
 Chandelier or candles? Chandelier
 Tea cups or wine glasses? Tea cups

Copyright Lisa Scherer


Stop by and visit Donna at 'Queen Anne's Lace', and be sure to tell her I said hello!

Store hours
 Wednesday through Saturday 10:30 til 4:00

Address
144 Main St. New Eagle,Pa 15367

Phone
412-735-4301

Links




Thank you for visiting!


5 comments:

  1. Looks beautiful! love the romantic look . Can't wait to visit. Thank you for posting!!!

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  2. Thanks for visiting, Jonny. You'll have a new favorite shop, I promise. :)

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  3. Another fascinating blogpost!
    But it was tantalising too, because I wanted to explore this marvellous shop.
    Thanks very much.

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  4. It's worth the trip, Sheila. I don't visit too many local places where I feel a mix of days-gone-by and poetry in the form of decorating at the same time.

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  5. Lovely shop! I still really, really want to buy one of your Santa's. I will wait as long as I have to. Thanks!!

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