Lily Collins Takes Us Inside Her Mother's Cool LA Antiques Shop
The sentiment that one person’s trash is another’s treasure rings particularly true for Lily Collins and her mother Jill Collins. “We would go to the Rose Bowl at the end of the day and look at what was thrown out, and we found a lot of cool things,” the Love, Rosie actress told us. The passion for the hunt and the excitement that came with a great find would eventually lead to Waverly on Doheny, Jill’s West Hollywood antique store. Spend a few minutes in the charming space, and you’ll come across everything from a traveling salesman’s kit of glass eyes to a swagger stick—a treasure trove, if you will, of items all with their own unique history. As our editorial director Mat Sanders perused the new store with Lily and Jill in tow, we got the inside scoop on all their antiquing adventures.
When did your love of antiques begin?
Jill: When my parents started throwing things out and I started retrieving them from the trash at a very young age, that’s when it started.
Lily: Which we then continued when we would go to the Rose Bowl. I pulled a purse out of the trash that I ended up wearing to the Grammys when I was 10. Everyone was like, “What is that, it’s amazing!” Antique dealers will throw so many things away with the smallest ding, because they can’t sell it.
Jill: I like the fact that somebody has owned them, and that they have a history.
Do you have a favorite style/time period you love to shop from?
Jill: I do not. I created a vignette, and when I actually looked at it and the age of everything, it spanned 200 years, which I thought was amazing. You can take things from all periods of time, and as long as they are cohesive in their look, it works. I could wander in a store that sold fishing equipment or old books, and I would become interested in it, because I am so curious. It’s all about learning about things. I am fascinated by anything that has a history.
Lily: I think that’s where I got my journalistic side. Because you have always been so interested in asking questions, I now am such a curious person, and want to talk to people and know more, which is probably how the interviewing came about. I like asking questions a lot.
What is your most prized find?
Jill: That’s really hard.
Lily: My artist model mannequin at home, the one that you found, is pretty cool.
Jill: Yes, that was commissioned from a museum in Europe. I have all the paperwork on it, and it’s just beautiful. That was a pretty amazing find.
Lily: I come home and it’s in different positions around my apartment. The guy that cleans my apartment has fun making him sit around different areas. He is like my little houseguest.
What is the story behind Waverly on Doheny?
Lily: Pretty much last year, my mom and I had this large conversation about how this year the Collins girls were going to make some sort of mark doing their own thing. I said to my mom, “I can feel it, this year you are going to do something big. You are going to use your skills collecting and your eye for antiques for a great purpose, and I think you’re going to open a store.” She was like, “No, what are you talking about?” Literally six months later she opened. You’ve always been a huge collector and have such an amazing eye, there’s just no more room in the house! Also, people always come to you for gifts and stuff, because you are really great at gift-giving and finding, so you now have a storefront to act as an office and a showroom.
Jill: For 20 years I did charity work, and I would put together different boutiques for different organizations, so I have a variety of vendors that I can call on for new items that are different and not in stores for baby gifts or a wedding. The whole point is why give the ordinary, when you can give the extraordinary?
Do you have any antique shopping tips?
Jill: You have to be very, very patient. You have to react to something. Someone can’t just say, “That’s a great item, you have to own it.” You have to like antiques, and it has to tug at your heartstrings and be something you want to live with.
Lily: And don’t be afraid to get dirty. I’m telling you your hands and arms at the end of the day…
Jill: Bring Purell.
Lily: A lot of Purell. And bring your own bags.
How do you know if something is a good find or a good deal?
Jill: I do a lot of research online and learn things. Sometimes you just know, and I feel like I have a good eye. I really check things out.
Lily: But also, when a bunch of dealers are looking and staring at what you just bought, you know you got a good thing.
Jill: It’s when you’re wheeling a huge trolley or cart out of the flea market and everyone is trying to buy your stuff. You go, “Yes, score!”
What’s your greatest adventure shopping together?
Lily: Whenever I’m shooting a movie, [my mom] will come and visit, and we always try to go somewhere, like in Atlanta we went to those antique shows, and in India and Egypt we went to all those markets. We were in Egypt in this crazy market full of spices, but there was a little storefront where we went upstairs and there was a really old guy sitting at the desk. He didn’t speak any English. We were rummaging through everything, and my mom looked over and found this carousel. We bargained and communicated without speaking any English, but everything was said that needed to be with just human nature. We brought it back, and now every time we look at it we remember that was our find in the middle of a crazy marketplace in Egypt. And it was done without a word of English, which is pretty impressive.
Jill: I think it’s the hunt, you know, it’s the hunt. It can be something that is $5 or $500—it doesn’t matter. When you know you see something, and you get that great feeling, you get excited. The best thing I bought lately was this circus banner. It’s actually not a banner, we think it might be off the side of one of the wagons or caravans, and it’s for Sweet Little Marie. I literally was at a flea market and turned the corner and saw it hanging off the back of a truck. I was speechless; I didn’t know what to do. My whole thing is to educate kids her age or in their 20s, that it’s okay to buy furniture from a normal store, but please accentuate with something that’s individual or that you feel connected to. It’s about finding something that you love. Reimagine the past to decorate your future.
Lily is wearing a Barrie sweater, Mara Hoffman dress, her own jewelry, and Givenchy heels.
Waverly on Doheny
620 N. Doheny Dr.
West Hollywood, CA 90069|
Follow @waverlyondoheny for updates on Jill Collins’ latest finds!
Photographer: Justin Coit
Hair: Mara Roszak
Makeup: Molly R. Stern
Where are some of your favorite places to shop for antiques? Tell us below.