Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Best of My Thrift Store Finds

Can You Guess What This Is?
People often comment on my ability to find treasures at thrift stores, then ask if I can teach them my ways. Although I do have a few Goodwill shopping secrets, I believe it's more about having an eyelearning to see potential in a forlorn-looking item piled onto a shelf with a dozen other donated goods. 

Here a few of my most recent (and favorite) finds:

I normally scoff at thrift-score tchotchkes, but this little guy was too cute to pass up. He doesn't have any defining marks, so I have no idea if he's worth anything. But he only cost a quarter. And who could refuse that sweet little face? I also found the tray he's sitting on at Goodwill for $5 (a Target cast-off), and I bought the antique typing table beneath (see it here) at a thrift store for $10 a few years back. 

Several months ago, my mom started collected Golden Books, and she inspired me to do the same. I only purchase the antique ones, like these two (the one on the left is from 1951, the other is missing its copyright page). The cost for both: $.70.

Agate home accessories have exploded in popularity this year, so I was thrilled to find these agate bookends for $45 at a thrift store in Sonoma, California. (I've seen them elsewhere for upwards of $100.)

I picked up this metal planter for $7 at Goodwill. The legs were falling off, so Frank, of course, had to buy a rivet gun to repair them (he was thrilled). A new planter AND a new tool!

I scored this mercury glass lamp at Goodwill for $10. I had to buy a shade (which naturally cost twice as much), but I still consider it a steal! 

This may just look like a worn-out wooden box, but it's actually an antique advertising case for Rush Park Seeds, based in Iowa. I paid $36 for it at a local thrift shop, which is much more than I'd normally spend at a secondhand store. But boxes like this go for close to $400 on eBay! 

This little bird is actually an antique salt shaker. The matching pepper shaker was missing, but I bought him for $2 anyway (I'm a sucker for cute animal items!). I also bought the metal tray underneath for $.25 at the same thrift shop.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Would You Do THIS To Your Walls?

A timeless trend I love: lacquered walls. 
For those of you who don't know, Frank and I are moving to Maryland. (Finally! Goodbye, Lehigh Valley!) It most likely won't happen until the end of the year, but that hasn't stopped me from house-hunting
—and, of course, imagining how I'd decorate my favorite properties. I'm particularly enamored with a brick home built in 1893, with its soaring 10-foot ceilings, pocket doors, and hand-stamped hinges. 

It's the perfect home for an elegant decorating trend I've had my eye on: lacquered walls. This high-gloss paint finish is perhaps most associated with the Hollywood Regency styleknown for its glamourous finishings, with a slight Asian influence. Makes sense: Lacquering has its roots in ancient East Asia, well before Hollywood Regency borrowed the shiny finish.  

The earliest iterations of lacquer involved harvesting the toxic sap of a tree native to East Asia; up to 30 layers of the stuff had to applied to achieve the signature slickness. Thankfully, lacquering no longer requires poison! Today, decorators often use shellac mixed with denatured alcohol, which creates the same liquid-like finish. 

You've probably seen lacquer on furniture, lamps, and decorative boxes. But walls? Really? 

Trust me: Applying sheen to your walls is attention grabbing, but not in the gaudy way of loud animal prints or sequin-covered everything. It's as glamorous and delicate as a Faberge egg. 

Take a look at these gorgeous interiors as proof: