Drinking Smirnoff at LR Antiques
“You have never seen my store, and I know you would appreciate my antiques,” Lora Levin told me occasionally through the years, but I was distracted, and self-absorbedly blew her off. The loss of my bloody oil and gas job then opened up new opportunities. So I went to LR Antiques at 2230 Bissonnet Street in Houston to see Lora’s collection, which she owns in partnership with Rachel Bley and Larry Levin, and felt an instant attachment, as if I had found a partner or guide in my penetration of aesthetics. My short visit turned into four and a half hours of questions about each items’ origin, era, style and rarity. Lora’s passion and intellectual excitement moved me, and her irreverence made me want to get drunk on Smirnoff with her.
She told me about her childhood in Bendery in Russia, and a couple of internet images of Bendery’s historical landmarks were sufficient for me to understand the complicated history of that tiny place. In one I saw a fortress built by Suleiman the Magnificent and his conquering Ottomans, in the other a monument to Holocaust atrocities. Lora completed her education in Saint Petersburg, before emigrating to the states, and it’s interesting to think that the university at which she studied, Russia’s oldest institution of higher learning, took back its imperial (and saintly) name in the same manner in which Leningrad reverted to Saint Petersburg, this would have happened in 1991.
LR Antiques’ entrance and façade are modest, deceiving, but upon entering the 1930s two-level house one realizes how spacious it is, and how sizeable is the collection. It reminded me of certain New Orleans French Quarter antique stores in which one realizes scale only after entering.
When you go, check out the elaborate carving on the Louis XV style Provincial Deux Corps Cupboard Buffet in walnut, circa 1800, you’ll find it upstairs. And look for the breathtaking pair of 1890’s green tone Vienna porcelain vases decorated with classical scenes. I’ll have more to say about these pieces.
I couldn’t stop myself from buying a pair of silk damask sofa cushions trimmed with antique tassels.LR Antiques Store Address: 2230 BISSONNET, HOUSTON, TX 77005, USA
Phone Number : 713-524-3272, www.lrantiques.com
By Virginia Billeaud Anderson