LUMBERTON — Terry Wayne Locklear has turned his small Lumberton home into a museum.
What started out as collecting character glasses has turned into a never-ending search for an array of hidden antique treasures.
“I’ve always been a collector of things,” said Locklear, 54.
Every wall in his home displays artwork, from old photographs to Renaissance-themed paintings. His dining room table is filled with crystal and fine China dinnerware. Every other flat surface in his house is covered with antique nickknacks and vases.
“I’ve always liked going to museums and stuff like that, so as I kept collecting stuff I said, ‘Well maybe I can have a little museum here,’” said Locklear, who is on disability after working for a mental health agency.
Although Locklear sees his home as a museum, his decor has been inspired by old mansions and castles.
“You know how all the castles and palaces in Europe have all of these different paintings on the wall? I just started putting them all up,” he said about his pictures. “Normally when I see things, I know whether it will fit into the house or not.”
Locklear’s love for antiques began as a child. He remembers as early as age 4 being in his grandmother’s house in St. Pauls on Barker Ten Mile Road.
“They actually lived on a working farm,” he said.
His grandmother cooked on a wood-burning stove in the kitchen, which could be seen perfectly from the parlor.
“I used to sit on the edge of the parlor chair, lay on my hand and look at my grandmomma cook on the wood stove,” he said.
As a child, he was fascinated by his grandmother’s “whatnot’s.” That part of his childhood is a big reason why he has an appreciation for older items today.
Later, while living with his parents, he began collecting character glasses, which are small collectible glasses that usually have a cartoon character etched on them. After he moved from his parents’ home, he was introduced to antique oriental vases.
“I always looked in magazines and saw how these rich people live in New York and Florida, and they always had these oriental vases,” he said.
The vases launched his continuing antique hunt.
Reading magazines, watching shows such as “Antique Road Show” and searching the Internet are some of the ways he informs himself on where an item is from, its approximate age and its potential value.
Locklear mostly finds items at estate and yard sales, and at auctions. Some he finds at his neighbors’ homes.
“He’s just a fanatic about attending yard sales and auctions,” said Lisa Locklear, a distant cousin and fellow antique lover.
One of his unique finds was given to him by a cousin — an old pump chapel organ circa 1890s
The Weaver pump chapel organ was designed for institutional and church use. Locklear, a pianist and organist, said it’s one of his favorite items because he loves playing it at his church.
“You see the different levers? It makes it change to different sounds as you push them in and out,” Locklear said as he played.
“It makes a nice house a home,” Lisa said about the organ and other antiques in Locklear’s home. “He is achieving the look that he wants.”
Unlike museums, Locklear doesn’t have a “do not touch” sign in his home and believes in using everything no matter how old or beautiful.
“I believe that if you got it, use it,” he said.
One of the items he uses is a 3-foot-tall potbelly stove made in the late 1800s or early 1900s. Locklear said he has cooked often on the old stove.
Locklear also refurbishes old furniture. He has reupholstered many of the antique chairs and couches in his home.
“This was perfectly fine,” he said about the frame of the antique Victorian-style sofa that sits in his living room. “But the bottom, a cat had gotten into it and scratched it all up, so I had to rip all of the stuffing out of it and get it down to the barest springs.”
Locklear said he’s always looking for new things to go into his house.
“When I run out of space in my house I have a yard sale and buy new stuff,” Locklear said.
Tomeka Sinclair can be reach by calling 910-416-5865 or by email [email protected]