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Recent thrifting finds

We are gearing up for the online vintage store. Β I have no idea if this is going to work or be profitable or gobble up all our resources but we have stuff, valuable stuff, and we figured it’s time to add it to the business. I also just need to get back out there. Since having Charlie and since adding more people in the studio I find that my shopping and inspiration days are cut back. It feels weird to be like, ‘Ok guys, have fun working for me all day at the studio while I peruse shops on La Brea and drive an hour into the valley for my favorite thrift store!’

But it needs to happen for a myriad of reasons – my sanity, to stay relevant and know what is out there, and now my biggest excuse of all – the online store.

So, here are some recent finds that basically I’m basically just showing off to you. No pricing yet – just a good old show and tell:

Above picture:

That tiny chair is for Charlie and won’t be sold. Instead its going to get a makeover in a pretty and simple linen, to blend into my living room seamlessly. Kids LOVE acting like grown ups. I almost wish this wasn’t a rocker because you know that he is going to test his standing skills (and test my ‘telling him to sit down’ skills).

Pretty umbrella holder are hard to find. And obviously I need one because the rain in LA is just out of control and I have nowhere to store my umbrella collection.

I love that glass double frame. I might keep this bad boy. I think it’s so unique and simple and pretty.

Lincoln painting – It’s original. Those colors are so pretty. It’s going to be perfect for my country house.

Campaign style desk box – It was cheap ($4) and it might not be worth selling, but I can’t seem to pass up anything that is brass and wood.


That seascape is one of my favorites – the colors are just so calming and pretty. Again, perfect for my country house. (In case you are sad that you missed the announcement of my country house, you haven’t. I have no country house – I just want a country house with everything in it being old and worn and ticking stripe and seascapes and chaise lounges, etc, so I’m buying and hoarding for it. With all this buying I surely won’t be able to ever afford one – not in this market – so I should probably stop, but I can’t).

That bust is like a senator of some random state from the 70’s. He ain’t too handsome but I love a good head sculpture. Again, for the country house.

Those blueprints are a stupid hoard because I guess when the sun hits them they could fade fast so they have to be hung in a dark room. But I love the color obviously and when I bought them I imagined doing a whole wall of them for a shoot. But framing these bad boys isn’t exactly a little or cheap endeavor.

The basket and the bowl are just simple pretty objects that I’ve found incredibly useful on shoots. That basket made itself into 4 different shots in the book.


That HUGE tassel is from the fabric district for a shoot a couple of weeks ago and I have no idea what you do with it, I just wanted to show you my big tassel.

The set of paintings are disgusting and filthy, but they were crazy cheap and once they are cleaned up they are going to be perfect in my country house.

I like wood hand sculptures, obviously. And pretty wood boxes. I have never met a pretty wood box that I haven’t been able to use in a shoot.


Naturally I added some brass to my collection. That flatware is stupid it’s so good – just simple and straight. I’m going to use that in so many tabletop/entertaining shoots.

I’ve hoarded those paintings for a while – old world, traditional frames and just so pretty. AGAIN WITH THE COUNTRY HOUSE INTENTION. Kill me. I think living in a modern mid-century house where everything is fairly new or clean-lined is making me really want a weird old crumbling house full of 1/2 broken furniture, worn antique rugs and creepy portraits of dead strangers. Brian is SOOOOO excited.

So what would you buy? I know there aren’t prices yet, but if you could have any of these pieces what would it be?

*Photos by the lovely Jessica Isaacs


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122 thoughts on “Recent thrifting finds

  1. the thing I want, I really really want, is the little modernist painting behind the brass flatware.

  2. I’ll take the hand holding the branch (but only if the branch comes with it). And that flatwear looks good enough to eat so I won’t need to make dinner! Great finds, can’t wait for the online store!

  3. Wood hand, please! However, you mentioned that every one of these items is for your future country house, so it seems like I’m outta luck ;~).

    Considering relocating to LA so we can go thrifting together…my husband is a trooper and will sometimes go with me, but my friends couldn’t care less! HA. Love all of your finds!

  4. Can. Not. Wait.
    I got to buy something from your charish sale, but this seems even better/more fun/I’d rather give you all the money.

  5. Hi Emily – off topic….but what do you think about panting a tray ceiling (or are they called step ceilings?) or ceilings in general? We’re buildling a new home, i plan on having all white walls yeehaww! wondering if painting a ceiling a dark dark blue or charcoal color if it would enclose it and make it feel cave-like. wondering your take on this?

  6. I love seeing what you find thrifting! I want all the cool loot but without the work of shopping for it, so I’m glad you’re opening an online shop soon. I’m most interested in the paintings (the Lincoln and the seascape are my favorites), the basket, and the brass bowl. But honestly all of it is awesome.

  7. Agh! Blueprints!

    I have been looking for blueprints for my (dark) entry forever! Stupid ebay has a dearth of good vintage blueprints. What are the drawings of? What size are they? How many do you have? Actually it almost doesn’t matter.

    Send me an email and I’ll buy them unframed… No need to wait for your vintage store to go live. πŸ˜‰

      1. Amber – you might also want to check out Retro Wanderlust in Hopkins if you haven’t yet. She is firm on pricing (read: does not negotiate) but I have found some gems there. Very interesting lamp selection last I went (I moved away a year ago).

        1. Second Retro W and of course Hunt and Gaher. Poking around Retro Wanderlust is a nightmare but there is gold to be found. I find my best stuff in thrift stores in small town wisconsin though. All of this can be had here and at the same or less.

          Also the strip in St Paul with the Bearded Mermaid, etc.

          I do pretty well at thrift in the burbs too, you just need to stop frequently.

      2. Amber you need to check out Retro Wanderlust in downtown Hopkins. I promise you won’t be disappointed, really.

    1. Yup! What Laura said. I always LOVE the artwork in your posts. Would love an opportunity to get some of it on my bare walls. πŸ™‚

  8. Hi Emily! I found two sets of my home’s original blueprints and had one set (4 sheets) framed in UV-protection glass. They’ve been hanging in a room with full sun for 3 years with zero fading – don’t hide those bad boys in the dark!

  9. Can i just say that the sarcasm in your posts is what keeps me coming back. I rarely read design posts anymore (3 month old baby at home), but yours are always worth the time.

  10. I like the tassel, the double wood frame, and the child’s rocker. I’ve got a little guy on the way and he’d be so cute in it… as I’m sure Charlie is too πŸ™‚

  11. The wooden hands, cupped and holding the greenery. They are really cool and sculptural. OR the head. It’s a little creepy, but he kinda reminds me of what my paternal grandfather might have looked like, it’s the dimple in his chin, my uncle had it, I have it and my oldest daughter has it. Plus, I could move it every now and then and freak out my girls when they get older… “old man is waaatching you, oooo…”

  12. I would buy that Lincoln painting and that double frame in a heartbeat! Both are AMAZING! I love all that you find. Cannot wait for the shop (and for me to win the lottery πŸ˜‰ so I can actually buy stuff)

    Happy Thrifting!

  13. Well since I have to choose…the double glass frame, the framed lady reading or knitting in the last photo and the brass bowl. Amazing finds.

  14. I’d take those rockers off that tiny chair and put some angled MCM feet on beauty. It’s the PERFECT height for a little one and could help remove that layer of stress. πŸ™‚

    1. YES! That is exactly what I was thinking – make it a non-rocking chair and everyone is happy.

  15. Love Charlie’s rocking chair! And it’s weird, but I’m really into the Lincoln painting.

  16. I’ve missed these kinds of posts!

    I LOVE “smalls” like the boxes, hand sculptures, and baskets. Would definitely be tempted to buy those.

    Cannot WAIT for your vintage store to launch!

  17. Love the hand a lot. As for Charlie’s rocker – you know it might get a little nerve wracking what with little boys being little boys and all you could have your upholsterer take off the rockers and put on legs instead. Just a thought.

  18. I would take all the wood and all the brass and the glass double frame, but since it’s all going into your country house….

  19. The head bust. Duh. This was the easiest choice I’ve ever had to make.

    Now, in a fantasy world where I could keep everything I could grab, I’d also get my paws on Lincoln, the wood hand and the brass bowl…

  20. I seriously want it all!
    What format will you be selling? I love a flash sale as a shopper, but as your friend (in my mind only) I think you’d make more money setting a base and selling auction (eBay like) format.
    Just my 2cents (towards my purchase!)

  21. Really digging the huge tassel and the filthy tree painting behind it.

    This post made me want to go thrifting badly. The Goodwill circuit around the Portland suburbs has always been fun, if not filled with ‘valuable’ finds! I always come away with a little something to love!

  22. The wood hand sculpture, the framed lady reading (love those colors!), and the basket. Love it all!

  23. I NEED those paintings for my CURRENT house. Nearly flipped out over Abe and the seascape… Please put them in my MT farmhouse, and you can come stay with them! πŸ˜‰

  24. Must have the two dirty pictures. You know what I mean. Not dirty, dirty. Just need cleaning up.

  25. Would love to have the reading lady painting behind the brass bowl in the last pic. I rarely like art with people in it because the idea of having strange faces in my house freaks me out. Paradoxically, the idea of art with a faceless or unidentifiable person does not bother me at all, so the almost featureless lady is just what the doctor ordered.

  26. Paintings. All the face paintings in the world. Buy them for cheap, and then sell them to me for cheap. Cheap is the key, cause I can find expensive ones myself.

  27. I am SO excited about your store! You are the master of the knickknack & fun vintage art, and I need your shopping skills to fill my home πŸ™‚

    1. I agree x100!! I would love the art especially the woman in the last vignette. Although, looks like I’m not the only one.

  28. Yay online storeee! Ugh I love framed blueprints! I work for a construction company and anytime we work with the old blueprints I get excited cause they’re rare and pretty and a true work of art! Imagining creating plans.. without a computer!! Yeah I’m a nerd, whatevs. We throw them around and leave them in sunny boardrooms and they dont seem too delicate or to fade too quickly, maybe just archival frame job? That’s a thing, right?

  29. I guess I’m in the minority for now: I’d pick the umbrella holder.
    Also, I’m just curious: do you ever worry about bed bugs or mold or… whatever else could be lurking in old fabric (or wood)? How do you deal with this? For Charlie’s rocker, are you simply stripping it all down to the bones and starting over? I love the idea of thrift-store shopping, but am always too weirded out about the, um, history of the piece. I always imagine the grossest scenarios (& hate to be this way, but just can’t help it).

  30. The campaign style desk box would have given me a little heart attack of I’d found it at the flea market for four bucks! Nice finds πŸ™‚

  31. Since I love good ole honest Abe, I would LOVE to be able to buy that painting – it’s amazing!!!

  32. The Lincoln painting! It is beautiful AND kitschy. Plus I am from Illinois…so it is perfection.

  33. The Abraham Lincoln portrait, but it wouldn’t be for me. My nephew is getting married and he served in the Iraq, Kuwait and Japan. One Christmas when he asked me what I wanted I told him that I would love a copy of his favorite book. It turned out to be the story of Abraham Lincoln – Team of Rivals. He has started a group to support veterans who want to get into politics. He inspires others, and I would love to buy something that would speak to him of his aspirations. Maybe he’d put it in his office or in his home.

  34. Lincoln!

    I’m so excited about your vintage store! Selling vintage is such a fun way to make money and is the PERFECT excuse for shopping.

  35. love the lincoln painting. ill give you $50 so you make a $10 profit! ok? done. check is in the mail ha!
    love the brass bowl-which i dont need but like you i cant stop with the brass. yeah give me the brasslwood box too.

  36. I’m kinda partial to the wooden hand sculpture – and I like the pic. with the random person behind the footed brass bowl (pretty colors). Too bad you’re not in Atlanta – you could come to the estate sale starting tomorrow- cleaning out parents house – I think you’d find lots more things for your country house!!

  37. I would REALLY like to buy the reading lady painting and the brass bowl in front of it (from the last pic). Please. I will pay you lots.

  38. I would buy that brass bowl.

    Ok, I NOW I want to see everything you are hoarding, I mean selling!

  39. you really crack me up! I love your writing! and seeing your awesome design taste in action! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  40. The art you find consistently blows my mind. So,all the art, plus the brass bowl and the wooden hand are my picks.

  41. The rocker chair could probably be converted into a non-rocking chair with a little carpentry modification.
    Also the blueprints – it could be interesting just to let them fade, and see if you can somehow play on that faded blueprint look. May bet better to have hanged and faded, than to not have hanged at all.

  42. Oh this makes me miss your Craigslist posts! I’d want the Lincoln painting but only bc my husband is a presidents nerd.

  43. LOVE the photo frame, and the brass bowl. I’ve noticed that my collections expand and contract on some sort of weird internal schedule. Right now, I’m in purge mode. (love your blog)

  44. I just love this post because I love your explanations. Hearing you talk about your things makes me appreciate the random things I pick up thrifting all the more.

  45. The round wood box and the umbrella holder!

    If you are anything like me, you’re going to become obsessed with having a shop. It’s addictive. You had an excuse to hoard awesome vintage before, but it’ll be amplified like crazy now. Maybe one day I’ll run into you at the Rose Bowl flea and we’ll have a standoff over who gets to buy some ridiculous miniature dollhouse chair or crazy brass lamp.

  46. This is my problem…I love SO many things of all eras. So, it’s hard to choose here, but the seated lady painting is calling out to me loudest. Ya know, when I’m at thrift stores I will see something now and think “this is Emily”..especially the cool mid-century sofas, knowing you can revive them..(hey,I’m in the Valley) πŸ™‚

  47. I have to have that Lincoln painting. He is all kinds of cool on his own, but my husband and I are from Illinois, just like good ole Abe!

  48. Lincoln, please.

    I bet your upholsterer could put a little kickstand on the rocker, so it works either way. Or you could.

  49. Abe the babe! I want. Pretty much everything – who am I kidding?
    Should I have my paychecks direct deposited to you now…..or wait until the store goes live….now? yes? good.

  50. I have been lusting over that Lincoln painting since you posted it originally. It even inspired a thrift shop excursion this very afternoon! I wish there were more places around Baton Rouge to find older original art. πŸ™

  51. Basket, bust, and wood hand, please and thank you! I love the Lincoln painting too, but I don’t think I could put it on my walls… I prefer anonymous portraits in my own home (though I love famous people portraits elsewhere — the Toni Morrison at the National Portrait Gallery is my fave).

  52. I would buy the double frame, the seascape, the brass bowl, the flatware, and the small abstract blue painting. Can’t wait for this shop!

  53. That Lincoln painting. He’d be so happy in my house. Because we all lie, and we need him to teach us a lesson. And there’s no other presidents or dignitaries hanging on our walls- so nothing for him to be jealous of. And I’ll pay A LOT (but that’s not one of my lies).

  54. So, the weirdest thing about this post is that last night my kindergartener read a book about Abraham Lincoln from cover to cover saying words like “Emancipation Proclamation” and “assassination” with no front teeth and very little help from me. I was completely floored and super happy because she has been slow to read. Then I read your post this morning and was shocked to see this brilliant portrait of Abe himself. If you do decide to sell, I would love love love to buy.

  55. Oh, I love the seascape and the umbrella stand the most. I would love to see what you would do to a rambling English country house (it has to be English for some reason).

  56. You are just freaking awesome – my hero….LOVE the LIncoln…gah!!! Why do none of my clients ‘get’ art like that?????

  57. I LOVE show and tell! I can’t pick just one sooooo…… the art in the last photo. Honest Abe, the bust, the wood and brass basket, the flatware, the brass bowl…. I’ll stop there.

  58. Definitely Abe. I live in DC and he’s my favorite prez. One time I made a hand made Abe piΓ±ata and drew his face on a cake for a president’s day party. It sounds lame but Abe was a badass and so was our shindig πŸ™‚ I’d also buy the campaign style boxes, the basket, the hand, the brass bowl, or almost any of the other art.

  59. I love the paintings! Honest Abe is the best. And I have the same brass bowl from your last pic – got at my neighbor’s estate sale.

  60. I love so much of it! I am dying for some gold or brass flatware so I think that tops my list, but I also love the seascape painting.

  61. hand sculpture. anything brass (LOVE the flatware). oh, and the little glass frame. interesting, not ornate, frames can be really hard to find.

    also, thoroughly enjoying the decorating of your country house. it sounds like Little House on the Prairie meets Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House … at least that’s how I’m picturing it. There’s this great scene in Mr. Blandings (the book, don’t know if it’s in the Cary Grant movie) where the off-hand suggestion of Mrs. Blandings to put the leftover pretty tiles under the sink leads to an enourmous amount of money … because you know of the slope of the floor, and changing the foundation material, and etc, etc, etc.

  62. Brass bowl and paintings!!
    Speaking of that: could you do a tutorial on how to clean the paintings, frames etc? Do you simply toss the old mats? I guess they are not salvageable, but how about the patina of older times? As a sucker for thrift store art, I’d love to have some tips on how to deal with cleaning them – without involving professionals.

    All the best from Milan, Italy

  63. I would buy the brass bowl and the blue painting in the last photo, the basket in the middle and the blueprints, for the same future and uncertain reason, they might end up in some awesome styling project, but that’s good news for you – You are not allone in this hoarding endeavour of yours for your non-existing country house. I’m also in this club. Can’t wait to see the shop and the book. You are such an inspiration to me and I devour every post you write trying to learn everything that is to learn from it. Btw, Don’t worry, your shop will be a success!

  64. I love the Abe Lincoln painting and the blueprints! I haven’t been to a flea market in years because I remember them being terrible. Mostly small junky items, and very little furniture or art. Thrift stores are much of the same with a few exceptions. If anyone is from the Tampa, FL area-ish PLEASE point me in the right direction! πŸ™‚

  65. I just really want that brass flatware and brass bowl. If I had kids, I would definitely want Charlie’s chair.

  66. If I could purchase anything – it would be that adorable kids chair. I know, it’s Charlie’s, I can handle it – I’ll even choose to be excited for him. If not the chair – the seascape would be second on my list.

  67. My daughter is working on her PhD in U.S. History. She would love that Lincoln painting. (In a nerdy, obsessive sort of way.) I would be the best mom in the world if I bought it for her.

  68. Country house you say? We’ve been dreaming about the same thing… and I’ve done my share of hoarding for this non-existent retreat. I’m hoping that by the time my garage explodes with stuff, I’ll have found them a new country home.

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