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From Hungary To East LA: Caitlin’s “Weird” Vintage Finds That Were Almost All Under $100 Each

Hello world! It feels like a good day for a little old-fashioned blogging – a few minutes of show-and-tell, if you will. Today, we’re headed around the world – briefly, at least – and checking out some of my recent vintage finds, collected from a tiny shop in Hungary to a best-keep secret vintage warehouse in East LA (with a few spots in between). It’s the nitty-gritty details, too: what I bought, what I skipped, what caught my eye, and what I wish I’d brought home – and how much I paid (spoiler: only one thing was over $100, but it was worth it). Was any of it actually good? Is my taste too weird for the internet? You be the judge. Let’s kick it off with two of my personal favorite recent scores…

A Few Pieces From Europe

But first, quick context: over the holidays, my mom and I went on a little European trip. I didn’t have a ton of room in my suitcase for souvenirs (amateur!!! What was I thinking?), but I did have enough space to bring these two pieces home! I grabbed the 1800s pear-shaped storage box at an antique shop in Budapest – I fell in love with the warm wood, thoughtful craftsmanship, and still-functioning lock and key – for about $100. The antique botanical print on the right was purchased from an old bookshop in Passau, Germany for around $20. (The original was painted in 1776 and it’s supposed to be a sea lion, in case the wild expression also threw you for a loop.) I’m so excited to get this absolute freak in a frame, though – he’s going to hang out in my kitchen, jubilantly cheering for me as I make noodles day in and day out.

We saw a ton of beautiful cutting boards at the Christmas Markets all over Germany, Austria, and Slovakia, but I was really taken by this one in Budapest – I loved how clean and graphic it was. I do remember it being a little out of my price range (I think around $80?), and I was SO STOKED when I got to open this on Christmas morning. Brenda had noticed my ogling and bought this while I was looking at some art. She’s the best ๐Ÿ™‚

The Long Beach Flea

Annnnnd we’re back to America. This one is a classic flea market story: I spotted these Homecrest chairs when I walked in around 5 AM (does the darkness give it away?), asked for the price ($150 for 4 chairs!), and made it halfway down the aisle before turning around and racing back to Venmo the seller (@twosunbears – he does a ton of stuff in SoCal and has the best inventory!). I know they’re technically for the patio, but I plan to use them in the dining room – I love how the shape echoes the fans in my wallpaper. I’m getting some sweet little piped cushions made for the seats and I can’t wait to get them finished!

I was obsessed with this giant egg and wanted to grab it for above my stove, but balked at the price ($300!!!). The pet portrait also tugged at my heartstrings – very EHD of me – but I left it behind because the framing felt a little too ornate for the current vibe of my house.

AHH. How cool is this? I paid $50 for it, negotiated down from $80 – it felt a little high at the time (seeing as I am no Beth Harmon, in case you couldn’t tell), but I love it so much that I think it’s a fair price now. The inlay wood? The hidden chess pieces? It’s decor that’s functional (if I ever have someone to play chess with, at least) and I LOVE IT.

The bookshelf on the left sold SO quickly – I didn’t have space for it, but I loved those wrought iron balls up top. It made it feel a little extra regal and special, don’t you think? I’m also so taken by this type of mirror – the shape, the finish, the patina! – but this one was a little beyond my repair skill level (and I also don’t really have wall space for more mirrors, which is kind of insane).

Of course, I bought the old, giant, ceremonial ribbon-cutting scissors. OF COURSE, I DID. (But for $20, how could I not?) I don’t think they’ll live on top of my record credenza forever, but I do enjoy seeing them there right now ๐Ÿ™‚ They could be fun on a gallery wall or hung against the back of a bookshelf. (My bet is that this will be the most polarizing purchase.)

Alright, hear me out: I’m starting to get VERY into embroidered and needlepoint pillows (I think a trend may be brewing here, too). I didn’t take any of these home with me, but I’m kind of regretting not nabbing the bright florals on the left or the sweet fish on the right.

Another “saw it, couldn’t stop thinking about it, had to return and nab it” situation. This burl jewelry box is HUGE, beautifully crafted, and in awesome shape. Originally the seller held firm at $80, but came down to $60 after he saw me pacing outside his booth. (Life lesson: neuroticism pays off sometimes?) This one still feels like an absolute steal to me – the newer version I’d been eyeing is less than half the size and more than twice the price. Let’s head on to…

The Rose Bowl

I’m not interested in hiking or camping, but I will HAPPILY schlep in the hot Rose Bowl parking lot for miles while hauling a whole brunch of stuff. I loved this campaign lingerie dresser, but the price was a little steep at $275. It’s technically totally fair – maybe even a deal!! – but these occasionally pop up on Marketplace for ~$40, and I wasn’t willing to splurge here. I was also super inspired by the matte black globe on the right – it’s so bold and graphic and interesting!!! – and it got me noodling on ways to repurpose some of the decor I’m no longer excited about.

I WAS very excited about this verdigris candleholders, though. I don’t think they’re actually copper or bronze (the finish feels more “painted” than “patinated”), but they felt like a fitting bridge between my previous postmodern-leaning style preferences and my current pre-1980s tastes. The best of both worlds, you know? They were $40, which felt like a pretty fair price.

OH MY GOSH. How could I not buy a little brass monkey? He’s looking at himself in the mirror, guys!!! I’ve never whipped out $5 faster in my life, I swear. And I’m such a sucker for these wicker suitcases and picnic baskets – I see them all the time on Marketplace for $10-20, but the prices are usually SUPER jacked up at flea markets (like, $60!). I lucked out here, though – the seller was super reasonable ($20) and he decided to cut me a 50% off deal in the hopes of making his first sale of the day. He made a sale, and I spent $10 AND got to ring a little bell he had set up. 10/10 experience.

SO PRETTY. I wish I had infinite rooms to decorate in my apartment (and infinite money to decorate with, I guess – that seems necessary, too). Look at the detail on the legs on that table on the left! Look at that rich pink rug on the right! GAH. I hope both of these things found great homes. That brings us to our next stop…

Urban Americana

If you’re not familiar, Urban Americana is an awesome vintage/antique mall (with an incredibly well-maintained IG presence, for the record) just south of LA. There are tons of booths and the curation here is TOP NOTCH – it’s all great stuff, selected by folks with really impressive design chops. Case in point: man, that antique dresser on the left really makes my heart skip a beat! I’m on the hunt for a second-bedroom dresser and this one was a great size, but it felt a little too country/sweet for the space in question. (Side discussion: dark woods are totally coming back, right? Let’s confer in the comments.) On the literal opposite end of the design spectrum, I LOVED these faux fur ottomans. So weird, so unpractical, so fun. I’m honestly still thinking about them. (Should I scoop? Is that insane?)

I was looking for a not-ugly trunk to store my little green machine and miscellaneous vacuum attachments. Both of these were SO COOL – I’d never seen anything like the one on the left, and the patina on the right was so pretty! – but both felt a little too precious or serious for my home. (I did eventually find a trunk – read on!!!)

I came home with this 1987 Haldon Group tortoiseshell ice bucket. It was $30 – about half of what it’d go for on eBay or Etsy – but I really liked the hexagon shape, lacquered finish, and space for a tassel. (I’m planning to replace this one with a tassel that’s a little more substantial.)

Vintage Junktion

OH MY GOSH. GUYS. If you live in the LA area and you have not been to Vintage Junktion, STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING AND REARRANGE YOUR SCHEDULE. (You’re going to have to because it’s only open from 11-3 on Wednesday and the weekend.) It’s 50,000 square feet of vintage and antiques, spread across two separate buildings – one for furniture, decor, and smalls (this building feels kind of like a giant office) and one for overflow furniture, building materials, and ephemera (this one feels like a warehouse). It’s PACKED and incredibly inspiring – how beautiful are the copper pieces on the left? Wouldn’t the mini-trophies be so sweet on a bookshelf?! – and I literally CANNOT wait to go back.

I found this Chinoiserie wicker trunk in the warehouse portion, snapped this photo, and headed to the cash register in the primary building to ask for its price. I’ve seen these listed between $20 – $200 and was hoping that this would fall on the lower end of the spectrum. The good news: it was on the lower end – $60! – and I brought it home. The bad news: the scale was a little larger than I’d imagined, so I think this will be headed to Marketplace VERY soon. That’s what I love about vintage – it didn’t work for me, but I feel great about recouping my costs here!!

I just wanted to show you a peek of part of this warehouse – it’s gorgeous. This is my kind of place ๐Ÿ™‚ (Upon second viewing, I now realize that what I consider “gorgeous” – natural light, high ceilings, original wood, patinated furniture, well-loved building supplies – may also look like “a bunch of junk in an old building.” I stand by my initial assessment. I love it in here.) This concludes our tour of Vintage Junktion, and brings us to…

2 Marketplace Scores

Can you tell I love campaign furniture and wicker? Is that coming off? (I hope so.) I didn’t know where the Thomasville Huntley dresser would go when I bought it – at first, I thought maybe the dining room or the bedroom – but it’s landed in the living room and it’s actually the PERFECT storage piece for that space. It’s a great mix of shelving and drawers and it stores everything from board games and printer paper to old photographs and extra computer chargers. This wasn’t cheap – $400 after delivery, which I needed because it’s pretty massive and dense – but I have no doubts that I’ll be able to sell it for that price when the time comes.

And the tiny wicker dresser on the right was a $40 score for this tiny, previously unused corner of my hallway. It now stashes all my accessories – sunglasses, headbands, bobby pins, scrunchies, enamel pins, scarves, rings, etc. – and getting all of those things out of my closets/dressers/bathroom drawers and into one easily-accessible place has been pretty transformative, space-wise. HIGHLY RECOMMEND an accessory dresser. Huge fan.

This concludes my recent scores – WHAT SAY YOU? I’m ready to chat about all things brown wood, vintage pricing, and whether or not anyone else out there has a similar love of ceremonial scissors and brass monkeys. Let’s gab? xx

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Maria
3 months ago

Man, I love the little side table from the Rose Bowl! How much was it selling for? Great post, Caitlin, as always! When can we expect your living room reveal post?

Evelyn
3 months ago
Reply to  Maria

hy

Heather A
3 months ago

I was just going to ask about seeing these beautiful things in your abode. Yay! Can’t wait!

Caitlin! I love all of your finds! that cutting board is the absolute best! these are my favorite kinds of posts ๐Ÿ™‚

Julie
3 months ago

Yay for Brenda!!!!!

Jen A
3 months ago

And…cue everyone of age in the 80s singing the Beastie Boys all day today. ๐Ÿ˜† “Brass Monkey, that funky monkey!”
Great finds Caitlin! Thanks for the pic of the warehouse, that is indeed a lovely space. I actually really enjoy seeing a few pull backs in addition to your treasures – gives a sense of being there on the adventure. The pear box with key is your best find! You’ll have that one forever. So nice it’s connected to a fun trip, too.

Paula
3 months ago
Reply to  Jen A

Glad it was not just me.

Marisa
3 months ago

That campaign dresser!! What a great find.

Also, I live in NYC and I feel like the vintage shopping here really pales in comparison to LA. Am I just in the dark on what the good places are here? Does anyone have any reccs?

Heather A
3 months ago
Reply to  Marisa

I agree Marisa. There is, of course, great stuff to be had in NYC, but warmer climes (I’m thinking of you Fort Lauderdale!) seem to have SO much more inventory.

Jes
3 months ago
Reply to  Marisa

I was wondering the same about Chicago! Any Chicago readers here have โ€œflea market findsโ€ recs? Great post, Caitlin! Love the sea lion print so much.

Nicolette
3 months ago
Reply to  Jes

Yellow Brick Home is located in Chicago and they do a lot of vintage shopping. Check their blog for recommendations!

Mary Beth
3 months ago

According to House & Garden UK brown furniture is back. According to me, it never left!
https://www.houseandgarden.co.uk/gallery/ways-to-decorate-with-brown-antique-furniture

Paula
3 months ago
Reply to  Mary Beth

Yeah, brown furniture has NEVER gone away for me, either.

Brenda
3 months ago

I loved this post and seeing all your finds!

Jenni
3 months ago

I love your weird finds, especially when it’s a good deal!!!! Also, that cutting board your mom bought you is perfection. ๐Ÿ™‚

Reanna
3 months ago

This was SO MUCH FUN. Absolutely love the ribbon cutting scissors!

Jen
3 months ago

Austria, Budapest, Rose Bowl Flea, and that warehouse, they all sound like amazing adventures, and yes, that warehouse is beautiful and a place I could happily spend hours. Thanks for sharing, such a fun post…. and of course the monkey came home with you! That dresser though, $400 with delivery is a steal! Update us on the trunk swap as a new to you one comes your way…. the journey is some of the fun!

Sahaja
3 months ago

That cutting board is amazing! I lived in Hungary for 10 years and love that vintage and thrift finds are in IG now so I scored a few mementos to come back with over the years. I also now love going thrifting in new places, foreign or domestic.
If Key or Marcus are in the comments (or anyone in the DMV and in the know), what’s the one in MD they’ve mentioned before ?

Amy
3 months ago
Reply to  Sahaja

There’s an interesting store in Frederick MD called “Great Stuff by Paul”. I think they are online too.

Kj
3 months ago
Reply to  Sahaja

If you mean Malcolm, was it Community Forklift? From this post: https://stylebyemilyhenderson.com/blog/home-office-design-ideas

Sahaja
3 months ago
Reply to  Kj

Yes, I meant Malcom! Where was my mind this morning?! Thaat was it!

Brittany
3 months ago
Reply to  Sahaja

I know Malcolm has referenced Community Forklift.

D
3 months ago
Reply to  Sahaja

If you go to Community Forklift and like it, then it’s worth the time to go to a Second Chance in Baltimore. It’s similar, but absolutely massive and truly mind blowing. It has quickly become my go-to for furnishing my house. It’s also a great place if you need to replace original hardware or doors in older homes. The last time I was there I picked up brass-plated outlet covers ($1.50) and a doorknob to match the original in my house ($5).

KellyJo
3 months ago
Reply to  Sahaja

Donation Nation in Gaithersburg, Maryland also has some great finds. Their IG is active https://www.instagram.com/donationnationusa/

DonnaJ
3 months ago

Love the egg! Strangely enough there are lots of fried egg decor options .. DIY with foam ?
https://www.craftsuprint.com/projects/kids-crafts/food-crafts/how-to-create-a-giant-fake-foam-fried-
and egg.cfmhttps://www.gagebeasleyshop.com/products/fried-egg-pillow
https://www.etsy.com/market/fried_egg_decor

3 months ago

A round up of all the great fleas and antique/vintage stores in LA would be a great post (with their perspective times/where to park/tips. Actually, anywhere in the US (e.g. Nashville, Chicago, etc.).

Cris S.
3 months ago
Reply to  ville025

In my lightening visits to Nashville while visiting family in Clarksville, I’ve liked Gaslamp Too (and the other Gaslamp right next to it over the Staples store) the best. Gaslamp too is just down the little road past the first store and is the one I would chose if I could only go to one – well laid out, lots of good antiques, very large. And not too far from a Hattie B’s so you can get your hot chicken fix for lunch. In Chicago I would love more ideas, but both the Warehouse 55s are good – I actually favor the one WAAAAYYYY out in Aurora. Jackson Square Mall is in La Grange and you can hit it headed back into the city – and Heart’s Desire on 31st street just a bit north of there. Do others have more antique store recs that are similar to these in the Chicagoland area? For flea markets, Kane County in the warmer months (it seems to be shrinking though – help!). I’ve always loved the Grayslake flea and at least it is coming back to 4 weekends a year from 2 (used to be 10 pre-covid). I’ve never been to Ashley… Read more »

3 months ago
Reply to  Cris S.

For the Chicago area, there’s also Three Sisters in Blue Island, McManiacs and True North (and a few others) in Morris. And if you’re in Aurora for Warehouse 55 (highly recommend that location over the Chicago one), be sure to stop at Thrift & Dollar – hands down, the best thrift store for furniture and housewares. Lastly, I haven’t been up there in a while, but there are a bunch of great antique malls and stores in the Rockford/Rockton/South Beloit area too. I still need to venture out into NW Indiana to see what they have to offer. Maybe this summer!

Cris S.
3 months ago
Reply to  Shannon Erin

Thank you Shannon – I’ll be sure to check out the Thrift & Dollar!

3 months ago
Reply to  Cris S.

Thank you as well! I’m going to be in Nashville next month and I plan to check out Gaslamp and Gaslampt Too.

Jen A
3 months ago
Reply to  ville025

Yes! AND encourage reader comments with their favorites where they live, so we get a whole US round up…

Cris S.
3 months ago

This is my FAVORITE kind of post!!! Love love love your trip with your mom – goals with my daughter. And love everything you bought (though the tall white wicker dresser gave me 80s Spiegel catalogue flashbacks in the best way). Thank you for the fun flea market hits and the store recs.
What do you think of the Santa Monica flea market? I usually time my yearly visits to San Diego with either the Rose Bowl or Long Beach, but couldn’t with this one. Is there a better one on the weekend of Feb 25/26 in the area? Is Santa Monica mostly clothes? I mostly look for art, leather books, wood hat forms, and the kind of small items you’ve listed here (LOVE your boxes and that monkey!). Any thoughts and recs appreciated!

Cris S.
3 months ago

Thank you Caitlin! It’s a long standing tradition that I run up from San Diego early early Sunday morning to a flea in the LA area but its been ages since I’ve been to the Santa Monica flea. And I should focus on smalls as I usually find a piece of furniture that costs 3 times as much to ship as it does to buy (and yet, buy it I do). I’m dragging my sister along with me this time so if you see two exhausted, pale from a non-California winter, chubby 40 year old brunettes leaning on each other and giggling like crazy, that’s us!

Alli Griffin
3 months ago

I am HERE for this post. I live in San Diego, North County and am routing a trip to Long Beach for these amazing places! You could set up a tour and i would totally book a spot!

Alice
3 months ago

I think any of us would pay $400 for that dresser and count ourselves unusually lucky. Re the faux fur ottomans, I have a faux fur ottoman and appreciate the opportunity to feel, for a moment, like my house isn’t hopelessly out of style.

brandy
3 months ago

oh man, that pear! I am always hunting for unusual pears (my husband’s middle name means pear in Polish). sorry to be ick, but if you’re ever in the market to sell it I would love to give it a happy pear-filled home!
echoing the chorus of loving this kind of post!!!

Erica
3 months ago

Hi EHD team! Love the vintage haul series. Do you think you could find guest writers from other (ideally smaller) cities to share their vintage hauls? Not everyone has the Rose Bowl to take advantage of it would be cool to see how people find awesome vintage in their areas. Thanks!

Elaine
3 months ago
Reply to  Erica

This is such a good idea – I think years back there were some blogs where readers submitted a post on their home city and the things to do/see vis a vis design/vintage in their country, including non-US cities. (I think) I remember enjoying them!

RuthAnne
3 months ago
Reply to  Elaine

I was just thinking about ‘Design Sponge’ and their guides to cities – shopping and eating

Megan
3 months ago

So much good stuff here! The campaign dresser is beautiful and I love your souvenir choices. EHD vintage posts make my day!

Deborah
3 months ago

What a bunch of fabulous finds Caitlin!!
LOVE the brass monkey, ceremonial scissors and screaming seal lion! Weird and quirky things always beckon to me… “come to me, hold me close and I will tell you my secrets” and they make me smile! ๐Ÿ™‚
Total winners in your haul and gosh that table, pink runner and leather trunk were so gorgeous too!!
Great stuff for your home, thank you for sharing and the commentary!

Heather
3 months ago

โ€œHe made a sale, and I spent $10 AND got to ring a little bell he had set up. 10/10 experience.โ€

๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ I love you!

Julie
3 months ago

I want that pink runner rug! It’s very hard to find good pink rugs, especially vintage.

KD
3 months ago

Is this a good time to request an updated list of Brenda’s best practical gifts? I swear that Christmas post a while back was a gem!

Emilie
3 months ago

I found the same patio chairs on the curb last summer! I scooped them up!

MSZ
3 months ago

i love these type of posts. Do you remember Caitlin the name of the store in Budapest? Thank you.

cheryl
3 months ago

Love it all!!

Jennifer Thrailkill
3 months ago

Fun finds! We have that exact black console table on our patio.

rebecca
3 months ago

Do you know who makes/sells it? I love it!

Lynn
3 months ago

LOVE the monkey! But seriously, I am totally interested in the wicker trunk. Just depends on the dimensions. Been looking for a well preserved, reasonably priced one for the foot of my daughter’s bed.

Holly
3 months ago
Paula
3 months ago
Reply to  Holly

You beat me to it!

Heather A
3 months ago

Please leave me that ice bucket in your will.

Kate
3 months ago

My favourite kind of post, the thrill of the vintage chase is something quite close to my heart! And so many reasons to seek out vintage these days rather than buying everything new, there is so much cool stuff out there waiting for a new home. Caitlin I love your taste for the quirky

Patricia
3 months ago

What an eye! Your pear box is an antique tea caddy as tea was valuable enough to be locked up to keep the servants out. You practically stole yours. Let’s take more shopping journeys together online. Can this be a regular column? “What is Caitlin finding?”comment image

Patti
3 months ago

OMG, I just bought a pair of giant black scissors in an antique shop today! They look very industrial and no idea what theyโ€™re for but theyโ€™re going on my gallery wall pronto! So u know what my fave steal in your haul is!

Shannon L.
3 months ago

And now I have Beastie Boys “Brass Monkey” stuck in my head!

Betsy
3 months ago

Oh my gosh I want to go antique shopping with you. Great finds! More posts like this please ๐Ÿ™‚

3 months ago

Is it bad that I really liked the dog painting?? ๐Ÿ˜€ and the ottomans from Urban, I wonder how much those would cost

Kj
3 months ago
Reply to  Livewall.gr

This is a spam comment linking to a spam Greek website. But if you were a real person: https://urbanamericana.com/search?q=Flokati

3 months ago

Fabulous finds!

Eve
3 months ago

Hiya! I ๐Ÿ˜ everything that you did buy!!! I would have gotten the dog painting though! You prob could find another vintage frame that would fit it out there? But PLS donโ€™t buy those white furry stools! They kinda look cheap? I would have def gotten the fish pillow and maybe the top and back bottom embroidered pillows! I have seen some dark wood popping up, but I am usually not much of a fan. I would probably prefer black wood over dark wood any day of the week! :-))) AND OH! Thank you for giving away some of your secret places in LA! I live here and love antiquing! Are used to go all the time in my 20s. I have done some in LA but not a huge amount. I canโ€™t believe how long Iโ€™ve lived here and Iโ€™ve never gone to the Rose Bowl flea market. Time to go! I definitely wanna get back into it!!!

Eve
3 months ago
Reply to  Eve

Oh, and of course you had to buy the brass monkey! Lol!!!

Eve
3 months ago
Reply to  Eve

And OMG โ€“ I forgot to say that I absolutely adore, adore, adore the pear shaped wooden box! I wouldโ€™ve definitely spooned over that and gotten it as well!

Suzanne
3 months ago

I love the scissors! Now I want to look out for a pair to hang in my sewing room! So fun! Thank you for sharing your great finds.

3 months ago

Very fun! Thanks for taking us around the world with you. ENVIOUS of that sweet wicker dresser! Two thumbs up.

Alice
3 months ago

More of this please! I really miss the thrift shop and Craigslist posts Emily used to do. Those burled wood boxes are stunning and I love the pillows.

Eve
3 months ago

From Urban Americana, I may not have gone for the brown trunk, but I certainly would have snatched up that light wood chair with the cane detail (I love love love the shape) and that awesome brass bar cart!!! You have certainly inspired me to start searching out similar great finds! Thanks for sharing.

Nicolette
3 months ago

The big scissors remind me of a giant wrench my grandpa had hanging on the wall of his (very clean) garage from a ship he worked on. I always thought it was so fun. I’m headed to LA and the Rose Bowl flea next month and couldn’t be more excited!

Sarah
3 months ago

PRO ceremonial ribbon cutting scissors!!! Those will look so cool in a gallery wall. Also obsessed with the freaky little sea lion and brass monkey. I feel such a pull toward weird little unexpected animal decor.

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