When antiques dealers Chuck and Mary Springob met, they had a combined eight storage units between them. So it only made sense that when they decided to marry, they needed a large house. With a barn.
"We loved the barn, but the house needed work," said Chuck Springob of the 19th century yellow farmhouse in Sycamore they bought in August 2011, just prior to their marriage in November.
If you goWhat: Northern Illinois Antiques Dealers Association's 53rd annual show
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16 and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 17
Where: Forest Hills Lodge, 1601 W. Lane Road, Loves Park
Why: More than 40 professional dealers from throughout the Midwest will offer antiques and collectibles for sale, including 19th and 20th century furniture, pottery, textiles, folk art, toys, garden and decorative elements.
Details: (815) 761-1444; NIADAAntiques.com
"The original part of the house was built in the 1860s; the later addition, probably in the 1880s," Chuck said. "We needed something big; we have a lot of stuff."
"A lot of stuff" is an understatement, as the five-bedroom, two-story home is completely furnished in antiques, primarily of the primitive style. The home's country farmhouse decor reflects the era in which it was built.
"We like early 1800s through 1850s furniture," Chuck said. "But we collect everything."
"I like quilts, Ironstone china, toys, globes and antique teddy bears," Mary Springob said. "You get into certain things. We really like painted furniture."
The items that don't fit in the house are a short walk across the yard in a large barn, where the Springobs clean and repair their finds from area sales and auctions. From time to time they open it to the public and have a barn sale. Other times they pack up their wares and head to shows, as they will the weekend of Feb. 16-17 at the Northern Illinois Antiques Dealers Association's 53rd annual Antiques Show in Loves Park, near Rockford.
The Springobs are members of NIADA and the Chicago Suburban Antiques Dealers Association. They also help organize the Sunday at Sandwich Antiques Show, which will run one Sunday a month, May through October, at the Sandwich Fairgrounds.
The couples' love of antiques is what drew them together.
"We met at Third Sunday Market in Bloomington (Illinois)," Chuck said. The two were both selling at the show, and Chuck admired a bench Mary was selling -- along with its owner. He bought the bench, they began dating, and within a few years, the bench played a role in their wedding.
"We do a show at Blumen Gardens in Sycamore," Chuck said. "I sold the bench to the owner of the shop. When we got married, we knew that's where we wanted to have it."
Although they both spend a lot of time buying, fixing and selling antiques, Chuck also drives a truck for a waste management company.
"We know people who sell antiques for a living, but you have to work really hard at it," Chuck said. "You can't just dabble in it."
Their own collection consists of a variety of pieces that have one thing in common -- they are all well-loved and used every day. One of Mary's favorite pieces is a cherry desk in the dining room.
"It's at least 200 years old," she said. "It's a family piece; it came from New York."
Another favorite is a colorful wooden game board now displayed in the living room.
"I got it at an auction in El Paso, Texas," Chuck said. "I think I paid $7 for it." He now estimates its value at $600. Heading upstairs, in the guest bedroom a visitor will find the biggest piece in the house -- a 7-foot, 8-inch tall, eight-door blind-front cupboard. It's as big as a closet, and the Springobs couldn't get it upstairs the usual way.
"We had to take a window out to get it in," Chuck said. "It's too tall for the main floor."
In the kitchen, a large Pennsylvania Dutch cupboard takes up one entire wall. Chuck had thought of selling it, but decided to keep it. He estimates its worth at $4,600.
"With modern furniture, you're not getting the quality (of antique furniture)," Chuck said. "A laminated table will last you maybe 10 years. An antique is not really that much more than a new piece."
"At an antiques show, you can find well-made stuff that will last your lifetime, and then some."