Designer Samples at The Loft

Got to hand it to Sandy Steele — she’s persistent in the sweetest way! For months she’s been asking me to drive out to Frederick, MD, to see her new shop, The Loft at Antique Imports. Well, I finally went out there, and I CAN’T BELIEVE I didn’t go sooner.

Basically, she takes high-end custom furnishings and accessories from designers, who for whatever reason don’t need them. Maybe a client didn’t want it anymore, or it was used for a show house and is now languishing in storage, or a client is redoing a house and tossing a perfectly great piece to make way for a new look.

I especially love this sleek Shaker-style coffee table,

and armoire.

The prices are ridiculously cheap — sometimes up to 75 percent off retail. All styles are represented based on what comes in from week to week.

These vintage Hans J. Wegner chairs caught my eye.

These two tiny tables came from a designer whose client was getting rid of them to redecorate her $6 million house.

Anyone in the mood for Moroccan? This chair is one of a pair.

I love this farm table — its warm glossy finish evokes comfort itself.

Sandy also does great business with upholstered pieces. These sweet tailored chairs are ready for a tea party:

(note the cool mid-century end table, too)

And in this case, the client ordered the sofa below from her designer, but decided she didn’t want it after all. Sandy told me the fabric was $300 per yard.

The accessories are adorable, too.

This pair of elegant round tables would look great in almost any setting.

And as you wander the building’s two levels (soon to be three), you see great vintage relics from the old building that at one time was a tobacco barn. Sandy says they went through and painted all the walls in Ben Moore’s Navajo White, but left the piping as-is. An old fire hose also adds character to the surroundings.

So, if you’re unsure whether to commit to driving all the way out to Frederick (which is about an hour from my house in Arlington) just do it — frequently, because Sandy’s inventory changes every week, and the prices are seriously insane.

The Loft at AI

125 East Street

Frederick, MD 21701



  1. I have an office that I am presently closing our showroom area. The showroom was used for two purposes, 1. to show the client the quality of the Kitchen cabinets we sell and 2. to have a place to show accessories and antiques that we have collected thru the years for clients and need to purchase a certain amount from the vendor so we eventually are left with some left over. I also have antiques from France and England that have been purchased while Antiquing with a client to buy special pieces to build into their home and to furnish their home. I would like to send pictures of some of these pieces that I think would work well in your showroom.

  2. Need her number- I have tons of great furniture to can sell!! There are more people like her needed around. Just too many great pieces going to waste!

  3. Kathy Clarke says:

    I need to get back up to The Loft at AI. It’s been a couple weeks and I see some new goodies that I’d like to check out. Sandy has a knack for selecting a nice combination of very usable and very unique home furnishings. Visit often, prepare to be inspired, and always drive the big car.

  4. A friend of mine has urged me to go with her…now I see why!!! Thanks for a great tour!

  5. Sandy’s shop is absolutely beautiful, and she has the coolest things on display! It’s so worth the trip!