Beautiful History
Stenella Antiques in Perkasie proves that class and craftsmanship never go out of style
by Leigh Stuart

James Stenella Sr. started his career in the antiques business in the 1970s, selling glassware, dishes and linens out of a small, a 10-foot-by-10-foot room in house he and his family lived in on Main Street in Chestnut Hill. This, it turned out, was the start of a business history for Stenella Antiques that would become as storied as those of the antiques James Sr. purveyed.

“People who would come in asked about the props, or the furniture, that he displayed the antiques on. Customers wanted items he wasn’t even trying to sell,” says Kristin Shufeldt, a Stenella Antiques sales associate.

From there, James Sr. wasted little time in exploring the realm of antique furniture; he even made the pursuit a family affair. James Sr. brought his son, Jim Jr., who now owns Stenella Antiques, to the young man’s first auction when he was 8 years old.

Suffice to say, once James Sr. discovered he had a knack for the niche market of antique furniture, the sky became the limit. He procured his first storefront, but grew out of the space in little time.

This proved a sign of the future, as Stenella Antiques has been growing, expanding both its space and offerings, ever since.

Around the year 2000, James Sr. had established a wholesale warehouse specializing in liquidation. In 2001, Jim Jr.—who had grown quite a bit since his first antique auction with his dad—revolutionized Stenella Antiques even more.

“Jim Jr. was really the pioneer in selling large pieces of furniture online and utilizing eBay for sales,” Shufeldt says. “People can be leery of buying such large pieces online, so it’s nice to be able to say we have knowledge and a family history that has built trust.”

Today, Stenella Antiques’ 30,000-square-foot warehouse in Perkasie holds roughly 3,000 treasures, every one of which is available for purchase online and in the store. Stenella’s collection of wares features items from rare collections, including some originating from limited licensing time periods, such as Colonial Williamsburg, Historic Charleston, Historic Newport, Winterthur and Ralph Lauren.

“If you walk into our warehouse, you will see that we are pretty much at maximum capacity with many of the top brands,” Jim Jr. says. “If you can’t make it to our retail location, our website offers a very good glimpse of what you might find here. I think our clients will be surprised at what they find on our website. Over the course of any given month, the site will feature 50 to 60 items as part of our continually changing inventory. [And] these are just a few [items that have been] handpicked from the thousands we have in the showroom. They will also be surprised by the prices we can offer.”

Indeed, as a purveyor of top-of-the-line brands such as Kittinger, Baker, Councill Craftsmen, Hickory Chair, Karges, Biggs, Saybolt Cleland, Kindel and Widdicomb, the reasonable pricing Stenella can offer on items is outstanding. According to Shufeldt, “We carry all of the high-end name brands.”

The array of such name brands is a great asset to Stenella customers, who will often work to acquire a bedroom or dining room set over a period of many years.

“A lot of times, people will start collecting a bedroom set in the ’70s, and are still looking to find a last nightstand, for example, to complete the room,” Shufeldt says. She notes that because Stenella is a direct dealer of so many highly recognized brands, the company often can find even obscure pieces to meet customers’ requests.

As a renowned area furniture shop, it should come as no surprise that Stenella also offers an assortment of items from as many as 100 years ago. These items typify the pieces Stenella has for sale, as such items are examples of solid construction and timeless, classic aesthetics.

Stenella Antiques has also become known as a buyer of classic furniture pieces with top pedigrees, whether such items are acquired via one of Stenella’s full-time buyers at auction or via a sale from a private collector. “When we are buying a piece, we are looking for quality,” Shufeldt says. “We want to make sure the product is high-quality and still has years of life left. We also look for brand names with a strong reputation with buyers.”

Of course, Stenella sells unique items that remain hallmarks of their time, including secretary desks and highboys (tall chests of drawers often set off from the ground with legs, like a table or chair). And, while most antique items are classics just as they are, certain items, such as fabric-covered seats, can show wear with time. For that reason, Stenella Antiques offers its own upholstery services, available to customers at a discounted rate. In addition to upholstery services, Stenella Antiques also offers appraisals. As licensed appraisers, James Sr. and Jim Jr. are able to assign values to items for a small, flat fee for myriad reasons, from curiosity to insurance or estate planning.

“We have customers from all over the country and world,” Shufeldt says. “We have been able to provide fair, honest estimates from emailed photographs.”

Treasure hunters are always welcome to contact Stenella Antiques for appraisal or any other questions with a phone call or an email sent to For those who wish to visit the showroom to peruse Stenella’s collection of objects d’ art in person, the showroom is open Tuesdays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“Traditional styles are always in,” Jim Jr. says. “Our pieces are classic, so what you buy today will be beautiful and timely 20 years from now. Many of the items we offer are investment-grade pieces that will retain their value in years and generations to come. We have new inventory arriving daily, so I encourage people to stop in often, and check our website, to see what’s new.”

Stenella Antiques
104 S. 2nd Street
Perkasie, PA 18944

Photograph by Allure West Studios