Born of a passion for traditional design, Anda Ontiveros created House of Andaloo to make Old World finds feel fresh, fun, and modern. Born in Romania before emigrating to the U.S. in her mid-20s, she blends a love of European artistry with her Southern California environs. She sources rare vintage and antique finds at flea markets in Europe as well as across small towns in the United States, particularly throughout the South. And after spending 20 years in the corporate world, she finally made House of Andaloo her full-time job just a few years ago.
We spoke with Anda about her love of collecting, her unique sourcing trips, the pieces that are selling these days, and much more. See what she had to say below, and be sure to shop House of Andaloo on Chairish.
You left a two-decade corporate career to launch House of Andaloo. Tell us the story behind that.
I started House of Andaloo in 2013 as a personal challenge to prove to myself that I could be entrepreneurial after having spent nearly two decades in the corporate world, helping other businesses operate and be profitable. The thought had been on my mind for a few years and one day in May 2013, I read an article on Sophia Amoruso and how she built Nasty Gal, and the light bulb just went off! I was so inspired by her story that on my way home from work that same day, I stopped by a consignment store and bought a set of four discontinued Ralph Lauren tartan plates. I went home, took photos, and put them up for sale online. That was the day House of Andaloo was technically born, but it took quite a few years for it to become a full-fledged business.
By the end of 2021 I was severely burned out in my corporate career and decided to shift my entire focus and energy onto House of Andaloo to see how far I could take it. And as House of Andaloo grew, I started depending on my husband Immanuel more and more, and I am so happy to say that today we are both fully immersed in the business. He is a US Navy veteran and has some amazing organization and packing skills but also a fantastic sense of style and design. He is a huge part of House of Andaloo today and a driving force behind our growth.
You’re based in Southern California, but much of your business is focused in the South and on the East Coast, given the focus on traditional styles. How do you manage that? What are some of the more interesting places you’ve traveled?
It is fascinating to me to see just how different design and decor styles are from coast to coast. Night and day! We live in Southern California where clean, minimalistic lines and white, beige, and navy dominate, so House of Andaloo is a bit of an outlier locally—but it explains why most of our customers are from the South and East Coast. Once it became clear where the majority of our customers are, we decided we needed to get to know and understand them better, so every year we visit some of our best markets. We usually fly into a major city and drive our way through several states while also picking up antiques before flying back. Most recently we spent some time driving around in Texas and fell in love with Waco, San Antonio, Dallas and many of the tiny little towns in between. And last year, we traveled around Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Tennessee and Kentucky are next on our list!
Tell us a bit about how you manage sourcing, both in the U.S. and in Europe.
Like most antique dealers, we source new inventory weekly, if not daily. Over the years, we have established good business relationships with some of the local estate liquidators and antique brokers, so we do get a good number of referrals and priority inventory viewings. It is important for us to source locally as much as we can in order to support our fellow small businesses. That said, we do take a lot of sourcing trips outside California in neighboring states where we have also established great connections. The best part about these sourcing trips is that they end up being family vacations and we don’t end up missing family time while working. Our seven-year-old son Cruz has been antiquing with us his whole life at this point, and to make it fun for him, we started a jackpot challenge: whoever finds the best piece that day gets a reward. Never seen a seven year old get so excited over a pair of old foo dogs or a Chinese vase!
You’re a big proponent of mixing old and new when it comes to antiques being paired with modern styles. How do you do that in your own life, and how do you find your customers doing that as well?
I am very much a modern woman but when it comes to home decor I absolutely love decorating with antiques. My husband loves architecture and the clean, gender-neutral lines of Restoration Hardware, so the furniture in our home is mostly contemporary but all decor is almost entirely vintage and antique. I love the idea of placing, let’s say, a two-hundred-year-old Rose Medallion punch bowl atop an Italian leather RH coffee table—that mix can infuse a room with so much character and personality. I find that blending the old with the new allows us to keep our home fresh and airy but with an Old World flair. I was born and raised in Romania and growing up everyone had Bohemia crystal, Dresden figurines, Renaissance art, and Limoges porcelain, so it feels very familiar and comforting to me to have all of that in my home again. And I see it a lot in our customers’ homes; they love to send us photos of their House of Andaloo pieces, and I am seeing that mix more and more these days.
How does sustainability factor into your love of vintage and antique pieces?
It hardly gets more sustainable than the resale model, so sustainability is at the core of our business. Buying vintage home furnishings makes a huge environmental impact, supports the local economy, and reduces the need to create new products. Thus, less global carbon gas emissions and less landfills. And more importantly, I can’t imagine any of my pieces ending up in a landfill! Each single piece we source tells a story and most of them have traveled centuries to get to us today. Finding loving homes for my antiques makes me so incredibly happy and it helps our planet so it’s a win-win for everyone. Lastly, Chairish offsets 100% of estimated carbon emissions from shipping and that is another reason why we love being a Charish partner.
What types of pieces do you see moving these days? What are the patterns in terms of what’s selling right now?
We are seeing an increased interest in Italian Renaissance pottery and art, old European majolica, and Hollywood Regency decor right now. Large garden finials, whimsical topiaries, and Chinoiserie are also hot commodities for us currently. We also love finding unexpected decor pieces like a giant Italian ceramic acorn or a very large apple sculpture, and those typically sell out very quickly.
What’s a dream piece you’d love to own yourself?
I would love to own a really nice vintage Chesterfield sofa for our family room. I have been holding off on actively looking for one because between my son and our three dogs, I just can’t bring myself to see it covered in pizza sauce and muddy paw prints. Soon, hopefully!
Do you see any upcoming trends in terms of what’s next for the design world? What types of pieces do you hope to stock next?
I think the design world is becoming more and more open to vintage home furnishings. So, I think the increased interest in the vintage resale market is a giant trend in itself and at the top of my list. In terms of color palette, I think 2023 will be a return to warmer, more muted tones like earthy browns, mustard, lavender, and salmon, but we will continue to see that pop of color in the more whimsical pieces and in those bold fabric prints which are not going anywhere anytime soon. Those will be the focus of our inventory as well.
Are there any styles or trends you’d like to see disappear in the design world right now?
I have never been a huge fan of chintz, so if that disappeared tomorrow, I’d be okay.
Who are some of your favorite makers or designers, in terms of your own inspirations?
Ironically, for as much as I dislike chintz, I love Mario Buatta and his legacy. There was just this amazing sense of romance to his style that always felt so comforting to me. His brilliance, I think, was in his ability to mix patterns and colors in such an effortless way. And then there is Ralph Lauren, who is really the definition of traditional all-American elegance for me. I could easily just pack a suitcase and move into his St. Germain flagship store and restaurant in Paris. Otherwise, in terms of daily intake of inspiration, we are avid readers of Architectural Digest, Veranda, and any of the many Rizzoli New York design publications.
All images courtesy of House of Andaloo