OAKLAND -- Ron Morgan, owner of LOOT Antiques, is no stranger to changing the location of his store, moving from Piedmont to Rockridge and on to Lafayette.
Now he's back on College Avenue, right across the street from his precious spot, and both Morgan and his fan base couldn't be happier.
The inveterate collector always needs a retail space to house his overflow of antiques and unusual items. Better yet, each move has afforded a chance for Morgan to continue the hunt.
"Every time I move, I just have a sale and mark everything 50 percent off; I get rid of everything and start from scratch," he said. "I love to buy and the find for me is the fun part."
The new store is the perfect showcase for Morgan's large-scale cornucopia of unusual furniture, antiques, tableware, ceramics, lighting and decorative items. Lit from all sides from large windows and sky lights, the bare floors and exposed walls form a neutral backdrop that allow groupings of items to stand on their own.
"It has a New York loft look to it, a very open look so everything just shows very well," Morgan said.
LOOT Antiques is already welcoming back old customers, as well as new ones, browsing comfortably and admiring one-of-a-kind treasures, including a unique monkey chandelier suspended from the ceiling, an Italian secretary, a mid-century rosewood credenza, a red Japanese tonsu, an extensive collection of blue-and-white Chinese ceramics, a pair of iron cranes, some horn bowls and a jewel-encrusted silver tiara.
Offering these items is labor of love as Morgan searches pretty much seven-days-a-week at estate sales, garage sales and flea markets throughout Oakland, Berkeley, Piedmont, and Alameda, where he lives.
"I go all over the Bay Area because there's so much good stuff here; it's just finding it," Morgan said.
According to Morgan, the secret is knowing what's worth buying, having the eye to recognize the classics, something Morgan absorbed when he worked for Harrods of London, Mark David stores in Sydney, Australia and for a huge company in China where he designed catalogs for Pottery Barn, Target and Williams Sonoma, among others.
Throughout these years, he came to recognize the classic sense of style that's international, a sense of taste that he uses in his purchases and in how the store is arranged. Throughout LOOT, Morgan creates combinations of eclectic, unusual items mixing vintages, new against the old, soft against hard and making these collections work, while offering his customers a wide range of prices.
Along with the store, Morgan also has a flower business, creating floral displays for parties and weddings along with helping clients with furniture arrangements. As such, he is the go-to guy for questions regarding décor and gift selections.
Customers trust Morgan's judgment and his advice of not purchasing an item unless you love it.
"When you open your front door and walk into your house you should feel happy," he said. "A house is a collection and everything should mean something to you."
Morgan and his staff are very happy to be back in Rockridge.
"I love this incredible street with all its great restaurants and places to shop," Morgan said. "College Avenue has really come alive; it's one of the jumping streets in Oakland."
It hasn't taken long for loyal customers to find their way back to LOOT and Morgan is pleased.
"A lot of our customers just love this location and the look," he said. "It makes me happy having people come in and appreciate the store and to say I have such beautiful things. That's why I do it."
What: LOOT Antiques
Where: 5391 College Ave., Oakland
Information: 510-547-1400 or http://www.lootantiques.com/