What I Bought (& Didn’t Buy) At the Rose Bowl Flea Market
Meet old Emily. And by “old Emily,” I don’t mean old Emily. Let’s call her former Emily, who would spend her Sundays religiously (ha) at the flea market. Remember when I used to do that before my desire to hang with my little kids trumped my need to buy garbage that I don’t need? Well, I had a shoot at the Rose Bowl with my friend/soulmate Orlando Soria (and Real Simple magazine) last Sunday and I found some good stuff there and at the Pasadena Antique Mall that I’m about to show you.
I didn’t find anything groundbreaking, but I think it’s pretty darn great stuff.
This handsome guy and I (and the Real Simple crew, see below) had such a good time for 5 hours on a fall day in Pasadena remembering that style, for me, starts (and ends) with vintage. Vintage gives a room soul. Vintage gives a basic piece an elevated context.
It took me a while to break the seal and actually purchase anything because apparently I’ve gone into amateur status and forgot to get cash beforehand (it was Brian’s 40th that weekend so I had a lot on my mind). But the good news is that most vendors take Venmo now, and if not then a check. So once I broke the seal, it was easier to keep going.
Let’s first talk through what I almost bought but didn’t.
Brian is newly into baseball (like playing once a week, batting at a park with friends because apparently, the smash of the bat against the ball does something for a grown man). As someone who is always attracted to worn leather, I want a collection of mitts, but not something to hoard.
That wood box (with the ball on top) was beautiful and something I would use over and over and over because it’s simple but special. It was $175 for two of them and the vendor wouldn’t break them up (which I thought was a mistake because we all agreed that having one made it feel more special and no one wants a pair of wood boxes).
The umbrella painting is something I regret not getting. The colors are so pretty. It reminds me of Oregon and it even has a bentwood chair in it. HOWEVER, it was $200 and I just couldn’t pull the trigger.
The wood train set is something I’ve bought over and over again and is a great prop but for obvious reasons, our kids aren’t into them so no, I didn’t get them.
The little dresser had a bad finish, but the knobs/handles were so cute (these little half circle loops). If you painted it a color, it would be so great. I don’t really need it but now I’m thinking when do you not need a smallish dresser with simple character for $90? UGH. I hope someone who deserved her snagged her.
A good rug runner. I didn’t ask how much it was because I wasn’t feeling like splurging on a runner yet for the mountain house, but it is really very, very pretty and now I totally regret not getting that, too.
The triple blue pottery vase thing was also a great find but for $60 it was a bit spendier than I wanted to pay and it is rather bright for our current living room. It would have worked perfectly in our Glendale living room.
Lastly, I love anything apothecary in foreign languages. I use them for Q-tips, bandages, etc. This booth had so many great wood, porcelain and amber glass apothocary jars.
So let’s get into what I did buy, how much it was, and most importantly WHY???
On your left, you’ll see a good deal. It’s a 10-inch weird architectural planter that cost $15. It’s GOOD. I like a footed object but this is less curvy and boxy, which is a new move in my vintage choreography. Orlando was jealous, but I spotted it first. You are only my friend/soulmate until we fight over a steal at the flea market and then you are my enemy.
On the right, you’ll find an amazing piece but FAR too expensive for the flea market. Orlando spotted it first, but once he found out how much it was he passed because frankly, it was overpriced. Weighing in at $250, it was probably a bad purchase, but an emotional one that I couldn’t stop. My brain sent the neuro sensors down my body into my arm, which reached into my purse and gave him my credit card (I would never have unloaded that kind of cash on that, but we all know the credit card is the gateway to financial irresponsibility). I rationalized it by thinking this would be $800 at Nickey Kehoe. And it would be. It’s a huge footed wood bowl with rounded legs that can sit next to a chair and catch newspapers or my unread collection of Kinfolk magazines.
It may be overpriced, but it’s very cool (and huge, probably 20 inches wide). In order to make it worth it, I’m going to shoot the heck out of it so you’ll see her a lot this year.
Those two paintings are by the same painter. The artwork in my dining room and my old bedroom are also by him. I’m always super drawn to his work and I LOVE the colors on these paintings even though I don’t need them. They are both a good size (20″x24″) and he sold the one on the right for $30 and gave me the one on the left for free. Not sure why except he knows that I collect his work and I’ve been buying from that dealer for almost a decade. I don’t know where I’m putting them but it seemed crazy not to snag them. The colors are so pretty and the objects are weird. They are a hoard, but a cheap good hoard.
Next up are two tables that I bought at the Pasadena Antique Mall for the mountain house.
I LOVE that table. The sculptural root base is so beautiful, painted in a black lacquer. I love how heavy and sturdy it is, the kids can’t destroy it and it can’t topple over at all. It’s modern but totally fits in a mountain house. It was around $300 which I felt was a fair price. It would have been cheaper at the flea market but maybe not these days.
Then I also bought this one, below.
It’s also very sturdy and heavy and has this pretty detail on top.
I don’t love the chrome legs so I’ll likely paint them black. I don’t remember the exact price but I think it was between $300 to $400. It’s pretty big and right now sits perfectly next to our sofa.
I wish I were standing in this photo so you can get a sense of scale, but everything is pretty big. The side tables are both on the large side. I’ve been starting to collect furniture for the mountain house and these two really hit the marks that I want: unique, warm, solid, kid-friendly with a “modern mountain” bent. OH, and the last one is a “Don’t Give Up The Ship” flag that I thought could be fun in the kids’ room at the mountain house. It is on vintage indigo but it’s new and made by Cotton California who sells at the flea market.
So whaddya think? I know that some of these were splurges, but then I got such steals (painting and planter) so my adept retail rationalization skills deem it a general success and worth it. I know that many of you can’t get out to the flea market (or maybe it’s just not that good in your town) so we rounded up some cool vintage in a similar vibe to what I picked up that you can buy online.
1. ‘Don’t Give Up The Ship’ Flag | 2. Vintage Still Life Oil Painting on Canvas Fruit and Vinegar | 3. Ovis Bowl | 4. Vintage White Mid Century Modern Japanese Ikebana Vase | 5. Vintage Black Modernist Ikebana Vase | 6. Vintage Live Edge Coffee Table | 7. Vintage Alexander Abstract Still Life Bottles Painting | 8. Vintage Organic Root Side Table | 9. Mott Footed Bowl | 10. Cast Iron Footed Bowl | 11. Vintage Live Edge End Table With Hairpin Legs | 12. ‘Still Life with White Bud Vase’ by Nancy Tart
Let me know what you think in the comments, and if you’re interested in more posts like this from us (or other vintage furniture-focused content)! xx