Get Lost in Time in This Curio Haven

You don't have to read Charles Dickens's The Old Curiosity Shop to understand the appeal of things that have the uncanny ability to send us back in time. In our living room, we have an old time radio, a big wooden console that was probably the centerpiece of entertainment back in the 1930s. Curiously, the dials allow you to tune in to radio stations in Delhi, Buenos Aires, Ankara, Moscow, and other major cities, at least indicated by the panel. We have not yet figured a way how to get it working but it is a thrilling piece that recaptures the spirit of a bygone era.

That's why we love visiting Rubino regularly. From the outside, it looks like a gardening and construction store. And that's partly what they do: You can contract Rubino for exterior and landscaping projects. Or, you can choose from their carefully curated materials such as imported bricks, tiles, pottery, and garden accents (gnomes anyone?) and do it yourself.

But this warehouse-like store is also the gateway to the wonderful world of antiques and collectibles. Making your way through this two-floor shop feels like a trip to a museum or an art exhibit. Rubino's collection is at once quirky, charming and nostalgic. My husband and I like to come here on a date, gush over the treasures, and imagine what an item is for or how it was used in years past. Rubino's proprietor clearly has an eye for beautiful things. He has restored stuff that might have been junked and given them value  as exquisite pieces. It is a great store to browse and get ideas on how old things can be repurposed and add a wistful vintage charm to modern living. Is this not the most environment-friendly interpretation of recycling?

Buyers travel from far away just to visit Rubino even though there is no train station nearby. We completely understand why it is worth the trip.
One of my favorite pieces. Someday, I'm going to drink my tea out of this set. Photo from Rubino's Facebook Page.

Vintage school desk. Photo courtesy of Rubino's Facebook page
A fabulous conversation piece. Photo courtesy of Rubino's Facebook page

Remember when childproofing was not the standard? Photo courtesy of Rubinos' Facebook Page

This is the table where I will craft my bestselling novel. Photo from Rubino's Facebook Page
From junk to art. Photo from Rubino's Facebook Page

Rubino is located in 1490-1 Namiyanagi, Hanno-shi, Saitama-ken (埼玉県飯能市双柳1490-1). Telephone number: 042-971-1211. They're open everyday from 10:00 to 19:00 except Tuesdays. Lots of parking spots available.
The Modern Curiosity Shop

Sherilyn Siy