Bazaar of the Bizarre

by twinink on September 3, 2012

(This article appeared in the April-May 2012, Hana Hou Magazine)

Photo by Olivier Koning

In a Dan Brown novel, a brass skeleton key, a Belgian angel and a vintage Bible stand would be clues leading to a secret treasure. For Mark Pei and Travis Flazer, such curios are the treasure.

Pei and Flazer opened Hound & Quail a year ago; it’s not your typical antique shop. “We wanted to present a museum of curiosity, where every piece pops out,” Flazer explains. In the same way a hound hunts a quail, Pei and Flazer sniff out the rare and quirky all over the world, including the antique bell jars and glass terrariums in which the wares are displayed. Pei, who daylights as a Hawaiian Airlines pilot, might acquire a 1940s Dutch anatomy poster at an estate sale in Pasadena one day and an antique set of roller skates at a Tokyo swap meet the next. “We look for things that are unusual, things people wouldn’t normally pick,” says Flazer.

With floor-to-ceiling windows fronting busy Kapi‘olani Boulevard, the store itself is in a way its own glass display case. Stepping inside is like walking into Edgar Allen Poe’s private study: a stuffed partridge perched on a branch, a bat skeleton entombed in glass, a leather horse statue in mid-stride, buffalo horn pen quills, vintage holy water vials, even a jar of hair pomade from the 1950s—to name just a few of many oddities. You’ll also find retro furniture by famous names like Eames and Miller, restored by Pei and Flazer themselves.

It’s little wonder Hound & Quail attracts an eclectic clientele, from bargain hunters to architecture students to the set designers of Hawaii Five-0. Even the store’s hours are quirky: open only Mondays from 5 to 8 p.m., with a monthly market on announced Saturdays (check the web site).

As the proverb goes, “Seek and ye shall find,” but seek with alacrity—if you miss your chance, you won’t get another. “Almost everything in here is one-of-a-kind. There is no duplicate,” says Pei. “Once it’s bought, it’s gone.”

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