Friday, May 13, 2016

Getting to know Matt De Vaul of MMD Antiques

I took a trip from San Diego to Orange County to visit a friend's antique shop. I've encountered Mr. Matt De Vaul numerous times during my visits to flea markets. This guy's posts at the flea are always so eye-catching. Matt has such a distinct style. I couldn't wait to pay his store a visit and also get to know him a bit better.

Matt's store, MMD Antiques is located in the picturesque neighborhood of Old Towne Orange on the corner of Chapman Avenue and Olive Street.

I want to live here now.  Old Towne Orange has cool cafés,  awesome antique shops, a beautiful park and historic homes. Maybe one day...

Anyway, I got to Matt's store and it was everything I expected it to be! Moody but fun, eclectic, and interesting. Kinda like Matt! Let me show you around.

See that porcelain glove mold? It's mine now ;) I took it home with me.

The shop was busy! It was an hour before closing on a Saturday so I wasn't too surprised. I peeked around a bit before heading my way to the back of the store. I wanted to get a good look at the merchandise. And THERE WAS A LOT TO BE SEEN.

I started to make my way through this "junkin' paradise" admiring every vignette. There was some cool, moody music playing in the background  (I couldn't make out the artist) and a sweet, homey scent mixed in with denim and wood lingering in the shop. It was a feast for the senses.

I really appreciate the artistic way in which Matt displays his finds.

There is definitely a masculine, California vibe in here...

I made my way to the back of the store to finally speak to Mr. De Vaul. I waited my turn, since he was surrounded by women; who where excitedly talking to him about their finds. (Or were these ladies almost flirtatious? Either way, Mr. De Vaul always kept his cool and composure).

Matt offered me a refreshment, we chatted a while in between customers. and even got to hang out with the store mascot - an albino rat named "Valentine".  (More on Valentine later).

To get to know Mr. De Vaul a bit better, I asked him to answer a few questions. Read along to see what this creative business owner has to say.

O: How long have you been a shop owner?
M: Rapidly approaching our 2nd year anniversary! 

O:  Congratulations, Matt! Before MMD Antiques, what were you up to?
M: Before I had my own shop I had a bunch of spaces all over town in different shops. I was a stay at home dad for about 8 years while selling in the malls and on Ebay. It was a great way to make money, and take care of my daughters.

O: Having a business AND raising children is hard work! I'm happy to hear you were able to balance the two. So, what got you into antiques?
M: I was walking around Old town Orange without a job and decided I wanted to be a antique dealer. I asked every shop for a job so I could learn the business and they all said,  "NO". The following week I went BACK into the Chapman Antique Mall and spoke to Dennis Caldwell which at the time was the owner. He changed his mind and gave me a shot.

O: What was the most challenging thing about opening up your own shop?
M: I am not a "business man", so I struggled at first with the numbers. Now, I have a handle on that. I think what I have the most trouble with, is dealing with the public. I am introverted and a bit shy, so it's a daily struggle.  

O: Well, I think you have done just fine. I think that is part of your intrigue, my friend! AND I can't help but notice how much your customers love you. What is most rewarding about owning your own shop.
M: Being a native of Orange and growing up in The Circle,  I just love seeing my shop sign when I drive through. I also have a hard time being told what to do, so being my own boss and styling the store the way I want is a huge plus.

O: And how do you describe your style?
M: This is one of the questions I hear every day. "What would you call this?" My answers change depending on my mood or how much coffee I have had. The honest truth is, I just buy stuff I like. I figure,  if I like it so will you. If I had to describe my style, I would say "Vintage Industrial Funky Loft" style. 

O: Your shop displays look amazing.You definitely have a knack for it. Do you enjoy arranging your displays?
M: Yes!! I flip the store often. The bigger mess I make in the shop, the busier I get. Never fails. I'm obsessed with keeping thing in their place so I am constantly putting things back in the "right" spot.

O: Where do you find so many great pieces?
M: Before I had a shop I would hit up garage sales, estate sales and some flea markets. Things have changed and now my phone is constantly ringing with my contacts wanting to show me items. Someone walks through the front door with a treasure almost every day. I actually have not left Orange county to shop for antiques since I opened up.

O: That's impressive! What is your favorite antique piece in your shop?
I have an old wood workers work bench that I found in the ally about 8 years ago. Its look and Patina inspired my own aesthetic.

O: Okay, let's talk about another store favorite: Valentine, the albino rat!
M: About 7 months ago I was feeling a bit lonely at the shop. My first thought was "I gonna get a dog or cat." But, a cat would set off the alarm system and a dog would just end up coming back and forth with me. So I decided on a rat. I have had rats before and they are good pets. I called around town because I wanted a White Albino. I found one, and he was in the feeder tank at a local shop. I pulled him out and put him on my shoulder and we have been buds ever since. His name is Valentine because his red eyes are like hearts. He lives on one of my workbenches and has an amazing vintage birdcage. He knows a few tricks and has a huge fan club. He is blind but gets around very well. I have never locked him up in a cage. He is a free range Rat. I love him! 

O: What kind of music is your favorite to play while you're at work?
M: I have been working on my Pandora station for months. Right now, I've been into listening to a 90's radio station.

O: I do love your choice of music in here. Seems sort of, laid back and kind of "melancholic".
M:  The more sad the song is, the more I like it!

O: I also noticed a very pleasant scent in here. Is it from the candles? Where do you get your candles from?
M: This is a big secret! I peel off the labels so know one can tell but if you must know, I go to Big Lots (A discount store) and buy the Paula Dean candles that smell like baked desserts. Everyone loves the smell of baked goods! 

O: Awesome idea. I'm going to go peel all the stickers off my candles now. So, what would you like everyone to know about  MMD Antiques?
M: I promise that you will not find another store like mine! It will always have cool art and odd treasures. I know my look is masculine, but this is not a "man's store". My biggest customers are Ladies!   

If you are ever in Orange County, visit 

 131 W Chapman Ave, Orange, CA 92866
You can also keep tabs on my friend, Matt and what he's up to in the shop by following him on Instagram by clicking HERE.

Thanks for reading! Don't forget to subscribe to my blog to always be in the know!



  1. Great article and love the pictures! I love that he gives wine and cheese to his customers :)

  2. Great article and love the pictures! I love that he gives wine and cheese to his customers :)