I’m really wishing there was a way I could catch HGTV USA these days, because Emily Henderson’s new show “Secrets of a Stylist” has begun to air. I love reading her blog and especially like the posts where she goes out and shops the flea markets for vintage furniture and decor pieces. She finds some really fabulous stuff. And some really insane stuff, but she knows how to make it work.
I also love those episodes of Sarah Richardson’s shows when she and Tommy tackle some cluttered old antique store or farmer’s market and find great old pieces for reinvention.
(apparently wearing plaid is key to successful furniture shopping)
The thing is, they find things and are so stoked about the price. And sometimes I’m like, “Seriously? You’d pay that much for that thing?”. Maybe it’s my Ukrainian roots always looking for a better deal. Or maybe it’s because I live in the good ole’ 306 where people just seem to live simpler. And cheaper. I can go surfing Used Regina any day of the week and find deals that far exceed their “steals”, and I’ll still move along without buying them.
Of course I couldn’t buy all the deals I find. I just don’t need them all. That’s why I need to be a stylist or designer. I could find these fabulous items and use them in other people’s homes. Because I just can’t fit everything in my own place. And other things are not my personal style but are still amazing pieces begging to be a part of good design. Let’s look at Exhibit “A” found on Used Regina this week:
Check out this tufted leather beau…
I know, I know… the red carpet, wood panelling, old wallpaper. It’s somebody’s ugly basement sofa from the 70’s that just won’t die. But that’s a good thing. Because they’re selling it for $385. Now, cheap can’t fix ugly. But let’s re-imagine this piece in a more fitting locale:
Yes, this is what I’m talking about. Open, airy loft. White-on-white surroundings. Large scale rooms. And elegant but masculine accessories.
Or perhaps in a similarly grand, but more earthy and natural scheme…
(both pictures via Emmas Designblogg)
Can you see it now? This sofa has a sort of Ralph Lauren polo-club meets rustic Restoration Hardware vibe. In fact, lookee’ here:
Are we not looking at pretty much the same thing? Tufted leather, nailhead detail, low back, and scrolled arms… Except this one is $5,795 USD from Restoration Hardware. So, anyone in Regina with a sweet loft space want me to do some decorating around this $385 sofa now? ;)
Of course there are pieces that I do want for myself. So badly. And I e-mail the link to my husband and talk about them incessantly and he gives me wierd looks and says “Seriously?” Maybe that’s because he doesn’t envision them the way I do. Maybe it’s because he really doesn’t want to make the drive and load the pieces into the Jeep to take home. Probably both. Sometimes this is OK, and I’m happy in the end I didn’t get them. But some still niggle in my memory as “the ones that got away.” One was an entire vintage bedroom set for $600 (it was a while ago so I don’t have the listing picture). That’s $600 we didn’t have to spend on furniture we couldn’t currently use. But I imagined each piece repainted and reused in different spaces when we have a few more bedrooms. My inspiration came from a very similar painted piece used in Sarah’s House season one:
So pretty right? Paint and new hardware go a long way!
And the latest escape was this pair of chairs for $50 a piece (OBO):
Sure they’re a strange pinky colour now, but can you not see them recovered and the frame painted? Maybe like these dark frames with some fresh new fabric:
Or a pale grey frame with a linen-ish upholstery…
I hounded Sean about these chairs. I was ready to delve into a 10-point essay on why these chairs are awesome (1. appear well-kept, 2. the rounded back means you can use them anywhere, 3. comfortable yet compact, 4. less expensive to upholster than other arm chairs, 5. they’re a pair which greatly increases their desirability, 6. the shape is classic and versatile, 7. They could be totally reinvented again and again with colour and fabric… you get the idea) but before I got that far he caved. And I e-mailed the seller. They’d sold the week before, she just hadn’t taken the listing down. Frussumgruffumgrrrr.
I’ve found a couple similar chairs lately. Like this one for $25:
But it’s not a pair. And by the looks of it, it’s not in great shape.
Or there’s this pair for $50 (OBO):
I really like the legs, and I’m pretty sure those are removable covers on the arms. But I’m not sure about the shape and height of the back, and it’d have to be reupholstered without the strange diamond pattern on the back. I’d have to check ‘em out in person. And maybe I still will… I can see them looking sort of like this:
And here are a few other pieces that have inspired me (all available in the last week):
How about this great little chandy for $30? I love the look of chandeliers painted bright white or poppy colours like aqua blue or lime green, but this one looks like it has a cool bronzy patina that I’d probably keep as is. It’s a bit petite to go in a dining room, but I think it would work fabulously in a bathroom (I love chandeliers in bathrooms) or even a pretty little dressing room (if you’re fancy like that.)
And this weathered sideboard piece? They say it’s antique, and want $175 for it. Not sure I’d pay that much, depending on how sturdy/clean it is. But that worn turquoise finish is kind of gorgeous, don’t you think?
I’m imagining it reinvented with a carrera marble top as either a bathroom vanity a la Sarah’s Farmhouse:
or on casters as a portable island in a country kitchen with this sort of vibe:
And who doesn’t love a little Frenchy chair? This one’s $50:
I kind of think the tapestry upholstery is sweet, but I would never keep it. Nope. This baby’d be painted white and recovered in a graphic fabric lickety-split.
And finally, how about this dining set? $500 for the solid cherry table and 6 chairs.
Unfortunately the seller recently recovered the seats (in a fabric I wouldn’t keep). I’m always bummed when they’ve recently refinished the furniture, because that usually drives up their price and I want to redo it my way. But it’s a delightfully curvy little set. The chairs would be painted white or pale grey (or maybe a bright colour… hmmm…) and recovered. The table could be painted or refinished in a darker stain or even used somewhere else to mix up the set.
So if anyone has a warehouse for me to store all this stuff. And a list of clients. And a way to give me more time. Let me know, and my career as a thrifty stylist will commence! ;)