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Emily Henderson

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by Emily Henderson
Emily Henderson Flea Finds Opener

A few weeks ago, I went to the Santa Monica Airport Outdoor Antique Market which I hadn’t been to in YEARS, mostly because Santa Monica is 20 miles away which is 2 hours in LA time. But it used to be curated and high end (and often expensive) but good. It’s changed, but I did find some things I brought home with me (you’ll see those—and others—here). Then I headed over to The Mart Collective antique mall in Venice (which is definitely curated, high end BUT SO GOOD) and snagged a few more things.

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I’ve never been known to walk past a leather piggy bank. This time it’s a bull, I believe, but it’s a necessary accessory in anyone’s life.

Emily Henderson Flea Finds Bull

It’s about six inches wide and so, so cute for either the kids or a styling “moment” on a bookshelf. You can’t tell from the photos, but the little brass lock on the back of the bull is actually a heart (and isn’t really a lock more than it just keeps the thing together).

Emily Henderson Flea Finds Vase Screw

Also, a “Pet Screw” makes me laugh. It’s the kind of “weird” that I used to buy before I thought I had to be more sophisticated and stopped buying things with a sense of humor. Growing up can be a dick.

And the blue bud vase is just the right size for setting atop a stack of pretty books or on its own on a console. It’s a lot shinier than it looks in these photos, which is actually a nice contrast to the exposed raw clay where the glaze didn’t reach.

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I’m OBSESSED with that black pepper grinder—that’s right, the black ring twists and out comes your artisanal pepper. And that little covered dish might be for salt or jewelry on a nightstand. I don’t know it’s just a special little thing that I couldn’t pass up (there is carving up there). The pot was cheap ($7) and far more special than an average plant pot so I had to get it. I should call it a plant casket, more like because that delicate maidenhair fern will be lucky to survive through the spring (I’ll try, I promise).

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That old man painting is SO GOOD. He’s in my color palette, but still whimsical and weird. We threw him in that frame but I miss seeing the texture of the paint so I’ll likely get him framed without glass (might do a DIY frame just on the sides of the board). He was NOT cheap, by the way ($125), but I so rarely find portraits that I think can be mixed into this house color-wise so I splurged.

Emily Henderson Flea Finds Wood Containers Ottoman

Then we have what is clearly more of a theme today—three covered carved wood round boxes, but they are SO special and pretty and just GREAT styling props. We are shooting the book right now so we need extra props and these are great on nightstands, entries, coffee table, desks (though I’d say not all together to make them feel that much more special). The low flat one even has a mirror on top. It’s so sweet (and such a great gift).

The pouf is also a find. Part of the leather is damaged (it’s turned away from the camera so you won’t see that) but I don’t know…it gives it character. We talked about getting it repaired, but we also talked about just leaving it be/ripping off the tattered leather. That’s probably what we’ll do, to be honest, but I have a soft spot for tattered leather ottomans and will never say no until I’m drowning in a room full of tattered leather ottomans (stay tuned, though…I might be willing to part with this one soon. Keep an eye on my Instagram).

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A tray and ANOTHER covered dish (it’s different I promise) are up in the bathroom right now. And yes, you can use an old perfume bottle for your Q-Tips. I’d doubt you’d get arrested.

If you guys are in LA and want some good vintage, this weekend is Downtown Modernism and it’s GREAT. I’ll be there early, probably out of there by 10 am but if you see me please say hi, but please don’t take my good stuff. 🙂

I did pick up a few more things I wanted to show you but we didn’t have on hand to shoot (they somehow made it up to the mountain house by accident), so head to Instagram today to see an “unboxing” video I did with everything.

***photography by Veronica Crawford for EHD

  1. The problem with these flea market posts is that they always make me want to head straight to the nearest flea market and/or vintage shop and buy some old stuff. I love that little blue vase. And the pouf.

    Question: What do people consider “vintage”? I was in a great shop the other day full of reasonably priced old stuff but I noticed, among the truly vintage stuff from the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, etc., there were things from 2005 or 2010 that the store was calling “vintage.” Like this great little “vintage” piece I almost bought until I noticed it said “Target” on the bottom, and then I put it down. But that got me wondering if I was a vintage snob — like I don’t want to buy old stuff unless it’s really old and not “made in China” or mass produced for some chain.

    1. Obviously if you loved it you should of gotten it! Sometimes I see something at GW or consignment shop that I missed out on at the massed produced places (as long as it is not overpriced) I buy it because it makes me HAPPY! I think vintage is 1970 or older. I hope EH answers you because I am curious as to what she feels is vintage. (And as much as I LOVE her designs, don’t always like her “vintage”finds, which I’m sure she would always say BUY WHAT YOU LOVE!)

      1. Thing is, I liked that piece a whole lot less once I found out it wasn’t really “vintage.”

    2. I’m with you. I never buy new mass-produced stuff thats been made to look “vintage”. I work hard for the hunt and knowing someone could have just walked into the store and bought it is a no-go for me. Plus having rules like that—no matter how arbitrary—helps me keep down on the amount of stuff I buy.

    3. Regardless of age, when I buy vintage or antique, to me it’s all about the backstory I make up in my head. Where did this little treasure live, what has it seen, was it loved, what stories could it tell.

      I do love me some Target, don’t get me wrong, but if I were to see “Target” on the bottom of a “vintage” piece, my drama, my story would evaporate (some poor slob like me owned this, end of story).

      Ebay has a looooong essay on what is vintage and what is antique and why words are important. As do many other sites. https://www.ebay.com/gds/What-s-the-Difference-Between-Vintage-and-Antique-/10000000177627913/g.html

      There are no hard and fast rules, tho. If I love something and am willing to pay whatever its price, I buy it, if I’m turned off by words or think I’m being misled, I bargain hard or walk away.

      and ps, no shame in or judgement on being a vintage snob!

      1. I’ve heard that “vintage” is considered 20 years old or more (which makes me feel so old to hear that my blue velvet mock-turtleneck crop t-shirt and black courdoroy overalls from 1999 would now be considered officially “vintage” yeesh!).

        Personally, I’m ok with purchasing a mass-produced item second hand. Sure, it doesn’t carry the glamorous mystique of a true vintage score, but I still feel good about anything that I can give a loving home to and save it from a landfill, especially if it’s affordable, something I will love, and will fulfill a need I have without having to call upon newly produced items.

    4. like some others said vintage is supposed to be 20 years or old (but I don’t consider mid 90’s vintage yet). Antique is 100 years older. I too have accidentally bought a vintage “west elm” or “target” at a flea market and it feels just inappropriate. I like my “vintage” to be not mass- manufactured. It feels like i’m being fooled, when I’m happy to buy mass when Its on my terms. xx

  2. Ummm… Love the round wood boxes so please, please DM me if you ever get tired of them. I collect wood bowls/boxes/cups, etc. 😍😍😍😍😍

  3. Omg story: I have the pepper mill you bought, and the matching salt mill as well. I really wanted something vintage that would be more than a shaker, so was excited to find them…. until I got home and tested them, and my fiancé informed me the pepper milled too finely and she preferred the cheap Walmart ones 🤦‍♀️ We still have both sets, and now I need to figure out how to know milling density before purchasing 🙄

    1. Usually there is a way to adjust the fineness of the grind – look on the bottom and see if you can mechanism screws tighter or looser to make the change.

    2. Please let me know and I’ll be happy buy them from you 😉

  4. Currently searching eBay to buy a pet screw. It’s hilarious and I want one so badly.
    Definitely a throwback to “weirder Emily” & I love it!! Weirder Emily is my idol (As is cool more sophisticated Emily)

  5. You gotta put a cute patch on that pouf!! Like a washed out floral / calico ish flannel…remember the 70s/80s holly hobby? Something with that vibe! it’d be so cute and unexpected… 😍.

  6. I love The Mart Collective! I’ve never visited in-person, but I bought a great painting from them via Chairish a few months ago (https://www.chairish.com/shop/themartcollective). The painting wasn’t in good shape in a couple of spots, but it shipped all the way to Florida with no problems!

  7. You never put glass over an oil painting. Probably 50% of its charm is the texture and brushstroke.

    1. Plus oil paint NEVER dries. It’s a living entity in a sense. I’m in a damp coastal environment, and oil paintings can actually get moldy.

    2. Ha. I agree. My team shot/styled these and I know they were trying to elevate it, but I prefer no glass on these. but it wants a frame, just a non-glass frame.

  8. There’s an absolutely wrecked vintage leather pouf with a strange and wonderful Egyptian motif that I’ve been watching on ebay for months. It’s a great price even after shipping is taken into account. If it was just me and no kids or pets I would have pulled the trigger by now. I wouldn’t even use it as a pouf. I’d just sit it next to some potted plants in a little vignette of how fun and nonconformist I am. LOL. Alas I know it would be irresistible to the cats and I couldn’t bear to see it get more destroyed.

  9. Great finds! I think you’re my sistah because I’d have picked all the same items. Seriously… not joking. But we rarely find this type of thing around here & I still have boxes of stuff/ antiques from my mother in law’s place that need to be curated. So…

  10. Yay! I opened today’s post and thought “Its my favorite day!! My favorite type of post!!!” Thank you for doing these!

    I so want to head to the flea market this weekend – I haven’t been in months and I don’t think I’ll be able to go tomorrow either. We are broke from moving and the garage is full of things I bought in years past from the fleas that I’m ready to get rid of. It’s so hard to justify buying more when you also have a ton to get rid of. Adulting sucks.

    1. Oh yay!!! that makes us so happy. thank you 🙂

  11. I love all of these (especially that blue vase!!), but the salt styling in the little dish for some reason made me worried. Do you ever have a concern that older items aren’t food safe when they might not be marked? Do you use these things daily or figure out how to test them prior to that, or are they just styling moments for you and not something you’d leave out in your house?

    1. I don’t worry about this however years ago I bought these vintage kids blocks that were amazing. I bought them. put them under a cloche, then when I had kids I unearthed them. my friend had hers (very similar to mine) tested for lead and guess what … riddled with it. so I’m careful with some things now, but vintage porcelain doesn’t make me nervous.

    2. Recently I’ve learned (and am slowly coming to terms with) vintage and antique pottery often does have lead added. It’s typically in the glaze. Most concerning would be chipping pieces, but I now avoid any pottery if it’s not explicitly lead-free. Especially around food and children. I used to think lead was just in the paint of old homes and old toys. Sadly, that’s not the case. It’s in much more. 🙁

  12. Love these posts. I just wanted to share my philosophy on maidenhair ferns, which is — they last longer than cut flowers, bring me more joy, and they cost less. This way I do not to stress about failing to keep them alive like my other house plants and instead enjoy their beauty while I have them. I still try to keep them healthy but now without guilt for my zero percent success rate. I don’t buy them regularly, in fact, I have only had two. But don’t stress, just try and enjoy!

    1. thats EXACTLY my philosophy 🙂

  13. Oh, Emily, I’m worse than you. Ha. I live in Playa del Rey, and I’ve bought stuff from The Mart Collective online and had it DELIVERED. I’m so bad. I got a Mighty Mouse matchbook and an old bronze bank from Coast Federal Savings. They had a commercial when I was a kid that I loved that showed a bunny feeding coins into the bank. Ninth and Hill on the ground floor…start your savings account at Coast…Coast Federal Savings! The bank model has a bunny clinging to the building shaped bank. So nostalgic.

    I’ll have to make a trip in person. Do they allow dogs? My aging dachshund can’t be left at home too long.

    1. I don’t know if they allow dogs, but its great. I bet if you keep the dog in a bag (possible?) then you could bring him … not sure if that i totally weird at all. I have just poured a drink. FRI-YAY!

  14. I would love to see the DIY frame for your painting. I have a few similar finds that need framing and I would appreciate some tips!!

  15. It was fun watching you unload your wacky flea market finds! Thank you!

  16. How does one get q-tips out of the perfume bottle? They look lovely in there, but just wondering how it works?

    1. Shake-a-shake-a-shake. Shake-a-shake-a-shake. Shake your q-tip. Shake your q-tip.

      1. Yup. we shake. it takes 2-3 seconds and i’m cool with that 🙂

      2. I’m singing that now ha!

  17. The posts about your Flea Market Finds are some of my favorites. Adding the video with your descriptions is icing on the cake. More please!

    1. thank you! did you watch the IGTV? i just watched it with my kids (we unboxed everything – more than you see here) and it was so fun to watch. vintage porn. 🙂

  18. I saw that old man painting at the Mart Collective and almosssst bought him on multiple occasions, but I remember him being smaller than what I was looking for. Now I’m kicking myself because seeing him styled in your space — he looks perfect! Very cute finds. 🙂

    1. ha! my gut said ‘hell yes’ which is my new gauge for buying something. It was expensive for the size though for sure. ..

  19. if you sell the old man painting let me know

    1. I have almost an identical painting if ur looking still holler at me came straight from the artists collection Scleyerzapf@gmail.com

  20. Such great finds, but what is the story behind the geometric wood sculpture in the first picture? It’s stunning!

    1. I bouhgt it at the flea market by an older gentlemen who was selling a bunch of other stuff and I was like ‘what is this?’ and he said ‘oh i make them’ and i bought ALL OF THEM. that one was $80 which i think is a GREAT price.

  21. Hi There , It’s a great price even after shipping is taken into account. If it was just me and no kids or pets I would have pulled the trigger by now.
    Let’s start with the somewhat classy ways for a man to become head over heels for you.When you learn how to make a man obsessed with you .Make Men Obsess Over You>> <<

  22. So I’m wondering if you know anything about your fisherman portrait I have a collection from a lady and one of the pictures looks very similar if you know anything more on it give me a shout Scleyerzapf@gmail if its the same artist I have some unique works to accent that one thanks and nice work!!

    1. That old fisherman is a super common motif in Sweden. Look for “fiskargubbe”.

  23. Damn, that pepper grinder looks cool. And I’m not even a pepper lover.

    I used to thrift and shop the Sunday flea market in Seattle but went through an enormous down sizing (to move to a small condo) and got rid of a ton of stuff. Right now we have a Goodwill store round dining table and comfy club style chair my sister wants to steal from me. Nearly everything else was from our old house or from family.

    I miss the thrill of the hunt. Of seeing the beauty in something everyone else walked past.

  24. Hi!! I love this post Emily!! Thrifting is soooo addictive!! I have those salt and pepper mills too; I found them on Etsy – virtual thrifting! I’ll buy anything short and fat! Lol. Anyway, what I am dying to know is the source for that oil bottle that you have it pictured with (with the gold stopper. It stopped me in my scroll last night and I can’t stop thinking about it. Thanks!!

  25. Could you refrain from swearing in your posts? I love your blog, I have appreciated that you don’t swear in past posts. This seems to be new, so I thought I would mention it.

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