My Latest Flea Market Finds: Downtown Modernism
I am VERY happy that you guys loved the flea market post last week, so in the name of the “business,” I ditched parenting on a Sunday morning, again, for the flea market and accidentally bought like 15 things for the mountain house (and some for here). I went to Downtown Modernism, a bi-annual flea market with vintage dealers that is much more curated than the Rose Bowl and IT WAS SO GOOD. The vendors are so good, and while I’ll say that it is more expensive than other markets (though not by much), anything you find here is likely to still be FAR cheaper than stores. So today, I wanted to take you through what I picked up and why (and stay tuned for the end of the post for our Get the Look of similar vintage pieces).
I walked past this table, was very attracted to it (despite being covered with other garbage) and thought about it for two hours before pulling the trigger. It’s SO BEAUTIFUL and solid (probably over 100 lbs) but I didn’t know where it would go. Right now, I have an excess of coffee tables up at the mountain house and while this one is solid, it may not be THE MOST functional for board games, drinks, etc., because it has a lot of organic holes and I can see Brian being annoyed which often isn’t worth the battle.
But then I realized that we have two EXTERIOR living areas—upper deck and lower deck—so I rushed back, excited I mentally found a place for it and bought it. It was $500, which isn’t cheap, but at a retail store in LA, it would be FAR more. It’s substantial and a really great organic/modern piece. Normally, these kinds of tables are a bit orange-y (sometimes really orange) but this one is super grayed out.
It doesn’t look flat on top in that picture above, but it is.
Here you can see why it might be annoying indoors for our family, but I might try to convince Brian. (I also have my Saarinen coffee table which is admittedly a little boring, but it’s kinda the perfect Play-Doh game table that is really family friendly, so heavy and easy to clean).
Next is this trunk that MIGHT have been a mistake, but my love of a vintage trunk goes on and on.
Here’s my case for it: This one can be propped vertical or horizontal—so it can be a cute vignette with a lamp on it—or you can use it at the foot of a bed or as a coffee table, etc. But why I bought this was because of the inside…it’s such a great, functional steamer trunk for any future transcontinental boat trips. I am going to put it in the kids’ room and it’s just such a fun treasure box, with fully functioning drawers and hangers. It’s obviously great for guests, too.
It’s a dark green/blue, and with brass and black accents = perfect. It wasn’t cheap either ($250), but the vendor took Venmo so I just went for it. Part of me is concerned that it is too “junky” and “antiqued” for the aesthetic of the mountain house, but the other part of me is like OR IS THAT WHAT THIS HOUSE NEEDS? Every mountain house has a collection of antiques and while I don’t want this house to be too eclectic, I love a good trunk and pretty always looks good with pretty. We’ll see.
Now on to all the smaller items. First off, that painting above is one of my favorites EVER. It’s by artist Melinda Forster who was there manning her own booth. She made the lamp, the white sculptures and the white painting. It’s so quiet, but large and high impact. It was $280 which I thought was a score for a large piece of original art.
The rock and twine hanging sculpture was a friend of hers, Amy Dov, who’s also a current artist. It was a splurge, I think around $300, but it felt perfect for the mountain house. I’m picturing it in a bathroom. And yes I know that is a lot to pay but it’s supporting a local, current artist and when you can support someone else’s talent and art, you do/should.
The lamp by Melinda Forster is INSANE. It’s so special. I’m obsessed with it and everyone who sees it wants it. The vase next to it is vintage and was $25. It’s special and weird and I probably didn’t need it but I often find that “horizontal sculptures” are hard to come by when you are styling out, say a credenza. That piece stands alone because it’s big and wide enough, but it’s not visually heavy.
Speaking of pieces that “stand alone”…
This guy made me smile immediately. It is that sculpture that is just so special, has a ton of quirk and character (this is a look at both the front and back…or maybe it’s the back and front…so many options!) and makes me smile. It reminds me of old Emily, but a bit more sophisticated and quiet. It’s also by Melinda Forster. I apparently really like her work. It cost $280 but it’s full of personality, big, totally unique and a conversation piece.
A pretty white pottery vase for $35 isn’t something I pass up. It’s on the big side, too, and I’ll use it over and over.
The footed black and white geometric vase felt like the old me meets the new me—still some whimsy, but less in your face than I used to be.
Onto the wood pieces…because lord knows I NEED more sculptural wood objects or boxes in my life.
These were handmade boxes from Mexico. The larger one was $35, smaller $25. I thought that they would be lovely gifts, not that I’ll part with them, but that was the intent when I found them. Brian thinks they are for, ahem, medicinal herbs, but I’ll probably use the small one for rings.
The big pretty wood bowl was a gift from a really nice vendor Valiant Vintage. He was holding a chair for me and his nephew accidentally sold it while I was getting cash so he gave me that pretty bowl as an apology and I tried to not accept it, but he insisted. I was going to buy it anyway.
Then there is the unnecessary collection of architectural wood pieces. I just couldn’t NOT buy them, but what and why and where??? My kids are already so obsessed with them and making me feel less guilty about the hoard. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE them, I just already have two different collections of wooden sculptures so no, I didn’t need them.
Now we head into the collection of dining chairs that seem like an unnecessary hoard but it’s not. I’ll now present to you my rationale for buying so many different vintage chairs: I love the look of a mismatched dining chair moment IF they are all awesome chairs and if the room can handle the busyness. Our dining room in LA can not because of the proximity to the counter stools, but at the mountain house, we have a big built-in banquette (or will someday) that will cover three sides of a table and we’ll want floating chairs for the other 2-3 seats. I think it could be a good place to bring in a few vintage chairs that are AWESOME and special, that have pretty backs.
But even if we don’t do it there, I have a thing for a single BEAUTIFUL sculptural chair, so I hoarded one Cherner, two Paul McCobbs and one mid-century-style Windsor chair.
The Cherner was $100 which is a steal, but I’ll admit they are pretty fragile. I just couldn’t pass it up, though!! I figure even if it just sits next to a credenza or dresser or in an entry, I’ll be happy. There’s no beating that shape.
Next are a couple Paul McCobbs that are usually more expensive, although Chairish has two for $600 right now (mine were $225 each) and they have another pair for $1,200. Mine have the perfect tone and while they look kinda shiny in the photos, they aren’t. I figure even if I don’t go the mismatched route, it wouldn’t be hard to find one more of these guys to have three at the mountain dining banquette. And yes, they are super ergonomic and comfortable for wood chairs (although I’ll be sitting on the banquette). 🙂
Lastly is a really pretty bucket-style Windsor-esque chair. It’s SO GOOD.
This is another one that looks great on its own, but I think will mix in nicely as a set. It’s just beautifully made (and was $125).
The first piece I saw when I walked in that I loved was this chair and ottoman. I’ve had my eye on this Thonet on Chairish with similar lines, but this one has upholstery and an ottoman. I love the squared off shape, the caning on the back, and the detailing of the joints. It doesn’t NEED to be recovered but it would be so much prettier in a light linen with leather straps for the head pillow. OH AND IT RECLINES. I kinda hoard chair/ottomans because I feel like so many corners beg for them. We have so much space to fill in the mountain house and while we are bringing some of our pieces from LA (and switching things up here because of it), we just need a lot up there, so when I see a $500 chair and ottoman set that is special, comfortable and in the style that I want (and totally unique), I snag it.
There you go, my loot—mostly splurges, but some scores. It’s a lot, I know, but it’s SUCH GOOD STUFF and if some of them don’t work, I feel confidant they will work in a project that we have this year (I’m doing three of my friend’s houses and I can see things working).
There is a theme, apparently, but don’t worry, I like to bring in color in textiles, books and art so it’s not going to be just neutral. (But boy do I love how that looks anyway.)
What do you think? Would you have splurged on some of the art and furniture? Furnishing a house from scratch to make it livable in a couple months is a LOT, but it’ll be a big old mix of vintage, mass retail and some more custom pieces…lots to do, folks. xx
1. Short Face Vase | 2. Tall Face Sculpture | 3. Paul McCobb Chair (set of 2) | 4. Hanging Sculpture | 5. Burlwood Box | 6. Hand-Formed Ceramic Vase | 7. Wood Blocks | 8. Organic Wood Coffee Table | 9. Black Sculpture | 10. Cherner Chair | 11. Ceramic Wall Art | 12. Thonet Lounge Chair | 13. Tall White Vase | 14. Windsor Chair | 15. Vintage Steamer Trunk