The search is always on for Taylor Hilaman, Sales Manager and Buyer at dHd Home. Taylor, a 2012 Florida State grad, hunts for treasures “in the wild.” This means finding rare antiques and vintage collectibles in unexpected places: beneath years of dust in warehouses, long forgotten in storage units, or haggled over at swap meets, yard sales, estate sales and antique dealer gatherings.
How did this ‘addiction to the hunt’ get started?
The first time I went to ‘Market,’ I was hooked. When I found my first Bitossi ashtray, I got really excited. Bitossi is an Italian Company that makes high-end pottery. I fell in love with their glazes and made it my mission to find pieces of it wherever I could. I’ve always loved antiques, art and history. This blends all that together perfectly. Every antique is an individual piece of art, because of the limited quantities.
Is it work or fun, for you?
It’s fun. It’s enabled me to travel all over and meet new people and see new things. I like talking to the old-timers. They’re happy someone my age is into it.
Are you the youngest ‘kid on the block’ in this business?
Definitely. I think it benefits me to be the youngest sometimes. They don’t take me seriously at first. I get better deals because they don’t think I could possibly know the value of these things so they don’t jack up the prices.
How do your finds fit in with the interior design part of the store?
It’s the trend now to mix old and new things. It’s all about layers and textures. So I’m looking for cool, new innovative things that people haven’t seen around here.
Where do you find the best stuff?
Everywhere. I’ve even got relatives around the country sending me things they found while ‘thrifting.’ I’ll also find things on EBay. I’ve found treasures just sitting in a window in a shed. You never expect to find something amazing until suddenly you dust it off and there it is. A collector’s item.
Is that a thrill when that happens?
Oh yeah. You definitely get a rush. My heart starts beating faster. They don’t always know what they have. I actually feel bad sometimes when I get such a good deal because the seller doesn’t know its value. You have to go see so many things to find even one good thing, though.
What’s your favorite find so far?
A complete Rimini Blue set by Bitossi. I found it in Mt. Dora at Renninger’s, a gathering of about 2,000 dealers. I went up and haggled – well, I elegantly dickered – and got a great deal. I’ve also found a collection of Dunhill lighters, the first refillable luxury butane lighters from the 1950s.
What’s your five-year plan, Taylor?
Hmmm. So many possibilities…
dHd Home is located at 56-1/2 San Marco Avenue