This past Friday night, I searched craigslist for 'silver' hoping to find some silver pieces for sale at a good price (more on that in another blog). What I came across was an estate sale website that is the coolest thing ever - http://www.estatesales.net/. Being an estate-sales newbie, I was accustomed to my mom dragging me to yard sales and so-called-estate-sales where you just never knew what you might find. I am in love with http://www.estatesales.net/. You can enter your zip code and it will show you all estate sales in your area - WITH PHOTOS of the actual pieces for sale.
Needless to say, I was hooked and proceeded to drag my husband to one that looked very promising - lots of Lalique figurines, Dresden, ornate furniture, lamps, crystal candelabra, china, bronze statues - the works. I mean - the good stuff. There were no pyrex bowls, corningware dishes and the other junk you ususally see at these things. Ok, all this to say that I made us get there at the start of the sale on Saturday morning (the sale had been going on since Thursday) so I could get the best shot at the good stuff. We were not alone - the place was crazy, which caused me a little bit of anxiety, I have to admit. It was almost like shopping at 5am the day after Thanksgiving or Christmas: lots of people keyed up to get the best deal. I found out that this particular estate was formerly owned by antiques dealers and that's why there was an abundance of nice pieces.
Lots of the furniture was way out of my price range, but I did manage to snag two pieces I've been seeking for a long time - a large mirror for the dining room and a side table for the living room.
This mirror was originally marked $1000 and then it had been marked down to $400 on Friday. When I came on Saturday, everything was 50% off! I purchased this HUGE mirror for just $200. My plan is to antique it with a white or cream paint and allow some of the gold to show through. Right now, I think it might be just a bit TOO gold for my dining room.
I plan to hang it above the sideboard that I inherited from my honorary grandmother, which I also plan to antique with white paint. Shhhh, don't tell my mom because she would flip out if she knew I planned on doing this. I'd rather just do it and then let her see the finished product. I believe in re-purposing or restoring/updating pieces that you inherit to work with your own decor and lifestyle. It doesn't change what is important to me - which is the memories I have of hiding under this sideboard with my cousin when it was time for one of our parents to pick us up to leave (we wanted to continue playing!).
This is an example of what I plan on doing to the mirror and my grandmother's dining set.
This was my second purchase from the estate sale - a marble-top side table. At 50% off, it was just $135 and the marble-top was worth at least that much. You can see that the owner had not even removed the maker's tag from the table, it was tucked underneath. I have plans to paint this table as well, but not sure what color just yet. This is the first vintage piece I'm adding to my living room. My original grand plan was to mix French or Italian antiques with modern pieces and so far, I've only purchased the contemporary furniture, until I found this little beauty. Right now, it looks a little out of place in my living room because of the color and because it is the only vintage piece. I need to find some friends for it, so I can create my 'mo-dage' look or 'modern vintage' as it has been called.
Here is what my living room looks like right now. You can see my 'new' vintage purchase in the corner by the window. I still need to add window treatments, another lamp, area rug, upholstered bench for behind the sofa, Bergere chair with ottoman and another vintage sideboard or bombe chest to sit under the television (not pictured, but to the left). Whew! When I think about it, I have a long way to go. Oh, and a chandelier. I think my next two priorties are the chandelier and window treatments because they'll make the biggest impact. Of course, my husband would quote The Big Lebowski and say that a rug "really ties the room together".
I definitely forsee more estate-hunting in my future, not while I have a house to decorate and an addiction for collecting china and crystal! I was amazed at how many antiques dealers came to the estate sale - if that's where they are hunting, I'm headed in that direction too. My only concern is that I have may have been over-ambitious in planning on painting these pieces...I've never antiqued anything before, so here's hoping I have beginner's luck!