Ugly or amazing vintage?

I’ve been sick as a sick dog in a sick dog hospital.  i’ll fill you in later, although i do kinda still want your pity now.  

But i’m back-ish.  Nothing that watching 5 episodes of Game of thrones, 1 EFFING TERRIBLE episode of the bachelorette (i mean, she is as boring as a paper clip) and 4 episodes of Homeland can’t fix.  

And now its time to talk ‘Ugly things that i love’.  

You know that game. You are shopping along and something catches your eye (and gut) and you can’t tell if you love it or if its totally Effing hideous.  Sometimes its the price that sways you (either so cheap that you can’t help yourself or soo expensive that you think maybe you just don’t get it) but normally its just a gut reaction. 

1. Crazy portraits – $10 each, Lot of 25 – $150

Ugly? Sure. 

But did I buy? Yup.

I split them with my friend Corbett – she paid more and got all the best ones and framed 9 of them like this in one big frame. I have yet to do anything with mine, but i love the colors and the weird factor.  

Also art is an easy hoard.  Way easier than say this next piece:

2. Nutso chair

The shape is dope.  The floral fabric is kinda hilarious. But this needs to be in a photo shoot – not very many homes can handle it.  It was $200, I think, and in Cold Springs, New York so getting it home would have cost too much, plus the reupholstery….

Did i buy? Nope.

3.  Beautiful sofa.

Not exactly the Rachel McCadams of sofas (which i’ve recently decided after watching The Vow, The Notebook and The Time travellers wife all in one day that she is the most beautiful woman alive).  

But the scallops on the bottom made me look twice.  I want to recreate that sometime for someone – but in a better way than this monster of a sofa.  I think it was very cheap, but hoarding a sofa is a really big commitment and again, it was in Ventura, CA, which is an hour away so getting to my garage was going to be expensive and annoying. 

Did i buy? nope.  But i am still attracted to the arms and the scallop pattern.

3. Grandmas wicker headboard

Its awesome, but its a TWIN!!!!! i would have traded my blonde locks for this bad boy if it were a king. It was $16 but useless to me. 

Did i buy? nope.

4. Pair or regency chairsC’mon New York city!  How were these STILL avaialble at the flea market on Sunday afternoon.  No, i don’t need them and NO shipping them to LA wasn’t an option (even gettting a car service to take them to the shippers on a sunday is like $100) but i’m disappointed that these weren’t snatched up.  

The fabiric and wood color? horrible. The shape of the chair? AMAZING.

Did i buy? Only in my dreams. Shame on you, New Yorkers.  

5. Wire outdoor chairsThese were $100 each and i do love them a lot. I have a huge rustic wood table that is going to be my outdoor dining table and these would look amazing with that.  But only 2 does me no good.  Had there been six i would have bought them (but not for $600 – more like for $400).  

Did i buy? nope. Also Brian might have divorced me.

6.  80’s gold mirror

$60 from Cold Springs in New York.  In really good condition, but definitely not an aged brass – this lady is shiny.  Its big, too, like 2 1/2 feet tall. 

Did i buy? You betcha.  It went straight to the Lake House master bedroom and straight into my accessory spank bank. 

7. This lady: 

$75 for ANOTHER strange lady on my walls.  It’s an oil painting and it is big  – like 2 x 3 1/2. The colors are beautiful and i love the abstract quality.

Did i buy? Yes siree.  Just got her back from the framers (Hotel De Ville) and she looks AMAZING.  Will shoot and post next week. 

8. Crazy pink bench:

$200 of crazy grandma goodness.  So ugly, but in the right house (maybe not mine….just maybe i have enough ‘crazy grandma goodness’ in my house) it could be amazing.  

Did i buy? Nope. Not yet.   But i do regret not buying and hoarding.  My future daughter will forever mourn not having this piece in her baby room.  (although it still might be available and i still might be a hoarder just enough to go back and buy). 

9.  Yellow bench:

The shadows are weird on it, but the yellow velvet is a good color. The diamond tufting on top is awesome. The price, $100, is great. The legs as is are not perfect, but dark charcoal grey????

Did i buy? Yup.  

The base is sprayed a dark gray now – And THAT IS AN UNFINISHED AND UNSTYLED ROOM. You’ll see finals soon enough (with sources) but i wanted to show you how good it looked in the space.  

10. Glass Grapes

When they are hanging like a pendant (with a light) i can’t seem to resist.

The sheer quirkiness is so up my alley. But both of these were around $150, each. And i do think that in a certain room, styled perfectly they could be worth $150. But otherwise they are a $40 ‘maybe i can make this fun’ kinda purchase.  So i skipped both of them….but in my iphoto files i have an inordinate amount of glass grapes (or brass grapes…ahhhhh) photos that clearly i’ve been tempted by. I collected them in high school and then i grew to hate them in my 20’s but alas, its back – they are just happy, reflective quirky little animals.  Not in orange or purple. But i love the bright blue, green or pink.


Any i should have bought  that i didn’t?

Or any mistakes?

Did you like this game?

  1. Sarah

    Those portraits are so so ugly but I'm glad that there is someone in this world that appreciates them. ha I think you were spot on with everything else. I would have snatched up that yellow bench too. Can't wait to see the "after" pics.

  2. Jenny

    Totally could not have passed up those green chairs or that pink bench! You have some will power!

  3. Bahaha I have that exact wicker headboard in my room at my parents' house – in a double bed size, with a matching corner shelf unit! Don't be too jealous.

  4. I LOVE this game! So interesting to "window shop" with you. Also, I love love the yellow bench. The size alone make it fantastic!

  5. Love the yellow bench! Hope you feel better soon ;-)

  6. Mary

    Hope you're feeling better Emily! Hospitals are no fun! LOVE LOVE LOVE your picks!

  7. Kimberly

    I hope you're feeling better!! You can't get sick, we haven't seen the final picture of the Lake House yet!! Not that you can get sick after that but it's a reason to stay healthy until then anyways;)

  8. I love the Nutso chair and the regency chairs. I think you should have purchased them. They don't make shapes like this anymore! The portraits are great but even better if you/your friend explain — with a straight face — that each person is a blood relative.

  9. Erica

    I love this game. Will you tell us where in NYC and Cold Spring you were shopping? Also, I don't ever think I will understand your affinity for ugly artwork, but you otherwise made great choices and I am so jealous of your finds!

  10. Your accessory spank bank? Did I just fall in love with you? Yup!

  11. That yellow bench is lovely! Good buy! Also, I saw a wicker headboard just like the one you showed here last year in the window of a thrift shop and I have been kicking myself since that I never went in to at least check out the price/size. Love it.

    Hope you feel better soon!

  12. LOVE this game! Happens all the time when I'm shopping in thrift stores for clothes… especially alone. My friends usually decide that my picks are "ugly," but… I see their true potential. The shape of those green chairs IS amazing. I'd love to see more of this here on the blog!

  13. donnarino

    My parents had the whole wicker bedroom set back in the day

  14. sg5785

    Ah, the nutso chair! I'm sure Jacobsen was sitting on it when he thought of his egg chair!

  15. Heather

    Outdoor wire chairs… I think they would look awesome with a rectangular table, one chair at each end and then something else for the sides… I'm just sayin'….

  16. Kimberly

    Oh! And I forgot to mention… I don't know how you passed up on the glass grapes. I think I might be getting sick now. They're so awesome, I want them!!

  17. I am lovin' the yellow bench. Great find! The grapes however would have to be a steal for me to consider them. Don't you know next week you will have a project where you are like "I wish I had those GRAPES!" :-)

  18. Man I used to be obsessed with those glass grapes when I was a kid. Both my grandmas had them. I probably would have bought the headboard. But I also have a seven year old daughter, so I have an excuse. AND I wish I was half as clever as you are! Accessory spank bank might be my new favorite phrase! Love it!

  19. Crystal

    Love the green chairs I would have bought them

  20. LOVE the headboard and LOVE the wire outdoor chairs. i wish i knew where you were!!!

  21. Sarah W

    I have been looking for a twin headboard like that for my daughters room? Where was that spotted? Great finds, and I hope you're feeling better!

  22. Hope you are feeling better. Loved most of your purchases. The yellow bench was awesome. Looked so much better in the room than I expected. The floral chair was awesome. It actually would've worked in my house…I think. I love color. Oh and too funny about the Bachelorette. My honey and I watch it ever year. We think she's boring too. Seems like a little girl or something. There's something off.

  23. Julia Reiersgord

    "brass grapes, ahhhh" lol. loving the portraits, especially dude in the tie.

  24. Thank you for taking the time to make such a fun post. The abstract portrait of the lady is my favorite.

  25. Ange

    I love the crazy lady picture, yellow bench and white grandma headboard. Twin is annoying but maybe it could have been made into a bench or daybed?

  26. Tricia

    Hi Emily,
    Loved the game, love to play again any time. Loved the long bench, and the lady portrait.
    I think you pulled all the right triggers and left the rest behind. Although that flowery chair is the bomb.
    Get well soon. :)
    Peace chica

  27. I love this game! The regency chairs and wire chairs are my favorites!

  28. Carrie Z

    LOVE this game!

  29. Kate

    I had that exact wicker headboard growing up and I hated it. It looked adorable but those little curlicues eat your hair :P

  30. Bahahahaha accessory spank bank. This is why I love you.

    I would've snatched up those portraits (especially yellow turban/hat man and Kanye lookalike), that 80s gold mirror, and the yellow bench, too. That green couch is questionable but pretty awesome. Can't say I'm crazy about the glass grapes. I bet you could totally make them work, but they're just too cray cray for my taste.

    I like this game a lot.

  31. I was dying at the thought of you not buying that yellow bench. But then I scrolled down and you DID, you DID! Hooray!

  32. I have to say i loved the nutso chair! The other fave was the yellow bench- gorgeous!

  33. Stephanie

    Oh, how could you leave the pink bench? I'm so in love!
    The yellow one does look good though, nice find!

  34. The wicker headboard, the wicker headboard, THE WICKER HEADBOARD! One of those guys is on the top of my thrifty dream team right now, but sadly like you I have only found it in a twin. Oh well the hunt goes on!

  35. addie

    Love this game! My favorite of your purchases is the lady oil painting, awesome. My hubby hates the green regency chairs but I think their shape would be awesome reupholstered in royal blue or hot pink linen, super simple but wow color to show off their shape, but that whole shipping across the country thing definitely ruled them out of purchasing material, bah! I don't dig the first set of ugly portraits but my hubby digs them because they are ugly so there ya go. Fun fun game.

  36. I would have bought that wicker headboard…you never know when you would come across another twin and 2 twins make a king. Double the fun…right?

  37. Megan Craig

    Yes, I love this game!!! I looove your eye for crazy vintage stuff that actually looks beautiful in the right context. I agree with all your choices, except those portraits up top. You'll have to show us how they work in your space. Then I'll be a believer for sure!

  38. Kacey D.

    First of all, I cannot believe that I have just discovered your blog — shame on me, we have very similar aesthetics and I was rooting for you the entire season of Design Star. Anyways, not that that's covered, I wanted to say that one of my favorite things that bloggers (interior design, fashion, etc.) do is play the "look what I found at the thrift store" game. It should definitely become a regular! I think your regret over that pink bench is valid, because it is perfect for a little girl's room as-is or if reupholstered and touched up it could be lovely in a sun room.

  39. emily!!! that first upholstered chair i have had my eye on in cold spring for the last year!! i can't believe you have it on here–i have no space for it in my place but i love it. i live right by there so should you change your mind…. ;)

  40. Laurielulu

    Love the game! I am always envious of your finds. I haven't mastered L.A. flea markets yet. I have only attempted the Rose Bowl once when I ran into you. HA! I have also attempted your shopping source list and that wasn't successful either. Tini was my favorite.

    I have been able to 'stalk' Homegoods a little more consistantly in my area. Not that I find much. Last week I did score a very cute settee for my dining room. I still need an amazing 'Regency' chair for my living room.

    I still need so much and I'm not very patient

  41. Darciana

    Love this game! My grandmother(born in 1909) decorated with glass grapes and I was obsessed with them growing up. Anyone have styling tips for brass grapes? Bought them at a thrift store several years back and just can't seem to make them work.

  42. Yes, keep these coming! What we love about you is your quirkiness … and you letting us know that quirk is okay. I love reading blogs, but I get tired of the same-old, same-old stuff and the right-out-of-a-PB-knockoff-catalog look. You have a great eye for spotting the good stuff, and a great talent for making it look good. For instance, that yellow bench was hideous in my mind (at least at the angle you shot it in) until I saw it in place in the bedroom. Ah, now it makes sense. Please continue to push us non-hipster folks out of our comfort zones!

  43. Lane

    Emily, I'm curious how you get down to making that final decision. I just bought a piece today, and have bought pieces before where I'm really not sure if it's great or hideous. I do think it has a lot to do with how it's styled in the end, obviously, and refinished as well. If it's cheap I will take a chance on it, but that's kind of my whole criteria.