I honestly don’t even think about my method or the science behind how I shop the flea market. It would be like a surgeon explaining how to set a broken pinky finger. You just do it. It’s so easy. But in the March issue of Real Simple, Orlando and I BREAK IT DOWN and help writer Natalia Provatas with the emotional, physical and mental advice of how, why and when to go and how, why and when to purchase. We even talk about our very similar philosophy on haggling which you have to pick up to read.
So I figured instead of the regularly-programmed fashion Saturdays (we did a big fashion post yesterday for anyone who missed it), we’d go through some recent flea market finds (ONE WHICH 79 PERCENT OF YOU HATED) and talk through all the pieces I ALMOST bought.
When I insta-storied this, 79% of you said you didn’t like it. Tell me how you really feel. I didn’t look at the story results until after I purchased but I DO NOT regret it (and it wasn’t cheap, either). I love everything about it: it’s a still life (check), it’s by a Scandinavian artist (check), it’s moody (check), and the colors are so warm and yet still bright.
But even I didn’t know how much I was going to love it until it was in my dining room which you’ll see at the end of the post.
Before I get to that, let’s chat about the things that I almost bought and why. I always forget that this kind of stuff can be a post you guys want to see/read, so I take bad photos and I’m never in them because I usually go by myself at 6 am, but next time I’ll take more and better photos, I PROMISE. In my attempt to not let my new Sunday ritual (church) usurp my old Sunday ritual (the flea), I now have a packed Sunday full of, well, all stuff that makes me feel REALLY GOOD.
This bench is one that you have to have a place for and it has to be perfect, but after I left I realized it could have gone in the entry of this house we shot last week and it would have been PERFECT because the sconces near it were modern. But I didn’t think about it beforehand and in the wrong place, this could look really junky.
This rug (3×7 probably) was only $140 but I didn’t need it so I didn’t hoard, but I probably should have grabbed it for when we’re styling up places to shoot for the book…whoops.
I love a pretty box. This one was $80 so I skipped it, but it is unique and interesting so had it been $30, I would have snagged it. It felt really retro, which could be great in the right space.
Now, I was relieved to hear that this was already sold because I was SO TEMPTED by it, even though I know it’s kinda ugly. A lot of this “1970s office basement” furniture is coming in soon and even I’m not totally ready for it. Think chic-er versions of Lazy Boy recliners. But this one at least had an interesting shape, the tone of the wood was good and the leather was beautiful and OH SHOOT NOW I REALLY WANT IT. Like I said, RELIEVED that it wasn’t an option.
Cool weird art that I didn’t need, but now I wish I had bought as a prop for the book. P.S. we are STILL looking for awesome houses if you know anyone who is a design rule breaker and wants us to shoot their house.
I love a lawyer’s cabinet very much and this one was BEAUTIFUL with a soft finish and interesting yet not too decorative in detailing.
I mean HOW many of these do I need in my life? They literally hold one pencil, but I just love how this vintage office or store filing cabinets look. They evoke this era that doesn’t exist anymore and they make me happy (but I passed this one up because again, I didn’t need it).
I do however need a dog painting, basically always.
I bought the artwork below but skipped the above because I didn’t realize how much I needed it ’til later when I was looking at these photos. SO STUPID OF ME.
Okay, so the below was a debate but I’m so happy I got it:
It’s a Cy Twombly lithograph from a show in Paris circa 1972. I’m a huge fan of his and I’m also in the market for quiet + interesting art for the mountain house. It may just look like a bunch of scribbles, but to me, it’s a piece of an artist I love.
WHY WOULD I NOT BUY YOU, YOU ADORABLE USELESS CHAIR???
Regrets. I was trying to use restraint but now I’m full of regrets. Sure it was a tiny (a child’s chair) and sure I have no place for it, plus yes I see that it’s kinda in garbage condition but IT’S JUST SO CUTE. I will forever be a sucker for Victorian wicker.
Now here’s a sofa that I was instantly drawn to. I sat on it and it was VERY comfortable. I asked about it and it was $600. I said I’d take it, not knowing where it would go but knowing that a $600 sofa in very good condition with modern lines is not something you pass up and it’s a hoard worth risking. But then two things happened: 1. He didn’t take cards. These days, 85% of the vendors take Venmo, PayPal or credit cards. I didn’t have cash. and 2. At the last minute, he mentioned that he got it from an estate with a lot of Restoration Hardware and new brands and he estimated it was three or four years old. While I’m absolutely NOT opposed to buying something new-ish if its a great deal nor do I dislike RH (I love them, in general), the romance did die a bit. I wanted this to be a ’70s or ’90s post-modern chunky sofa that no one else would have in order to justify the hoard. I couldn’t put it in my living room because my new chairs (that you haven’t seen) are in a charcoal wool so this was truly a VERY BIG RISK. Once I found out that it was only a few years old, I didn’t feel like I had found a treasure any longer. Oh the psychology of buying vintage. I KNOW I’m not the only one who has bought something at the flea market only to later find out it’s from HomeGoods or West Elm. All fin, of course, but it’s just not the intent of vintage shopping. You want a one of a kind, in general. You want that feeling of discovering a treasure, a steal, something that no one else can have.
So I told him to release the hold and I’d keep thinking and if someone else bought it, it was fate. I came back right before I left (two hours later) and it was gone which made me happy. Someone else should buy it and I wanted the choice taken away from me.
Alright, now for a little HA I TOLD YOU SO. Like I said, I did end up buying that bottle still life and in my dining room, on a white wall styled really simply, I think it looks so dope and seriously pops:
Here’s the face of a woman who is pleased with her purchase and kind of glad she didn’t see the actual Instagram poll result before pulling the trigger on it because otherwise said woman might have second guessed herself (but probably bought it anyway, phew):
So…what do you think? Smart purchase? Still hate it (if you do, whyyyyy??)?
Overall, was there anything I walked away from that makes you want to shake me and scream “YOU’LL NEVER BE COMPLETE WITHOUT THAT”? Let me know. I’ll probably hit up some flea or thrift situation tomorrow. Another day, another flea market.