If you know my work well enough, you know I love a good mix of old and new. Most of my architectural shots are of old, yet still very beautiful, buildings. I love photographing old cars (take a peek at “The Sunday Drive” and you’ll get an idea what I mean) and I absolutely love old neon signs like the one in “Love Lost.” I appreciate that there is history behind these finds and, in the absence of knowing the actual history, a great imagination goes a long way.
That said, it’s not a stretch that, when decorating my new place, I’d immediately try to incorporate some old, vintage finds in with more contemporary furniture. I’m not someone who likes to overpower a room with kitsch but I definitely like pulling in items I’ve either found while traveling or while at a great flea market or antique shop. Over the next couple of months, with the hopes of being finished in time for the holidays (fingers crossed), I’ll be working on my apartment, one room at a time. In the end, I hope to merge a balanced mix of old and new to create a warm, inviting environment. I’ll be taking photos of the progress along the way and sharing some of my favorite finds with everyone as I go along. First up… the open-area living room/dining room/kitchen.
This morning I had the great pleasure of going to the Kane County Flea Market in St. Charles, Illinois. It’s the largest flea market in the state and I can honestly tell you, that’s no exaggeration. The place is huge; I can’t even begin to guess how many vendors are there. Now, just like any flea market, some stuff is junk, but look hard enough and you’ll find some real gems. My suggestion, when going to a flea market looking for design inspiration, is to go with an open mind. You might have ideas as to what you want and they might help inspire some purchases but be open to everything and don’t be afraid to repurpose things for other uses.
A good example are these fantastic, green cocktail glasses I came across. I was lucky enough to get a great set of ten for only $26. I don’t ever expect to have a need for ten as actual drinking glasses so I’ve opted to use three as votive holders on my mantle. The bubble glass makes for a beautiful design when lit by candles and, for $2.60 per glass, I get some really pretty, well-made vintage votive holders. (which will look even lovelier when my friends and I are sitting around the fireplace drinking some holiday cocktails out of the rest of the set…)
Another find from today were these three bottles, all of which date back to the late 1800s and early 1900s. Now, I will admit, I am not good at bargaining; actually, I should say I’m scared to death to even try it. Luckily, my friend who was with me isn’t and he was able to get me all three beautiful, colored bottles for $28.00 when they were originally going to be close to $40. So, yes, that would be my third piece of advice when going to a flea: don’t be afraid to haggle on the price. If you’re going to haggle though, it definitely helps going having an idea of what some things are worth. This trip to the flea definitely sparked my interest in gaining a greater knowledge of vintage items, especially those I might use in my home. I plan on going back to this flea next month armed not only with some ideas of what I’d like to find but enough knowledge to give me more confidence in haggling.
All in all, the day ended well. I got two great finds and my mantle is “sorta kinda” basically done. (Need to do a little more layering…) That might sound like one very small piece of the decorating pie but, as I just haven’t been able to get that mantle right from the minute I moved in, it’s a very satisfying day indeed!
Next up… the entertainment area where I’ll be building everything around this sofa from Room and Board…