The perfect piece may be just around the corner! Enhance your personal decorating style with one-of-a-kind acquisitions from flea markets, tag sales, estate sales, and eBay.
What: Dining Room Table Source: Brimfield Flea Market How it’s being used: Designer Katie Brown mixed the rustic dining room table she found at Brimfield (near Boston) with china cabinets and chairs from Drexel Heritage. She calls the Pratt & Lambert Vintage Claret walls "fierce, but warm."
What: Antique chest Source: French flea market How it’s being used: The marble-topped antique chest shares space in the foyer with an antique Persian rug, a mirror from Niermann Weeks, and a Victorian mother-of-pearl parlor chair.
Interior designers: Lili O’Brien and Leigh Anne Muse
What: Leather club chair and coffee table Source: Flea markets How they’re being used: The comfy club chair and rustic coffee table (an African flea market find) mingle happily in a cozy reading nook with a view of the kitchen below. The rug is from Alhambra de Taos in New Mexico. “We don’t worry about things going together,” says homeowner Steve McKenzie. “If you collect pieces you love, there’s a common story that allows you to mix those pieces together. They express your passions and desires.”
What: Dining table Source: French flea market How it’s being used: Found at Marche Biron, a sparkling gold-and-crystal chandelier adds a touch of luxury to a dining room that mixes and matches sleek furnishings with traditional elements. The elegant mirror hanging over the mantel came from Marche aux Puces, another flea market in France. Whitewashed doors from the 18th century and reclaimed 100-year-old heart pine flooring add layers of rustic charm.
What: Light fixture Source: Paris flea market How it’s being used: The copper light fixture -- with its wonderful green patina – supplements natural light in the breakfast nook. The rattan chairs are from Maine Cottage and the custom X-base trestle dining table is from Mecox Gardens.
Interior designers: Joe Lucas and Parrish Chilcoat
What: Starburst wall art Source: Paris flea market How it’s being used: This intricate starburst was given a position of honor in designer Gary McBournie’s Boston loft. Set against a painted brick wall, the wall art overlooks a tuxedo sofa lined with pillows and a matching pair of glass-top coffee tables. Anchor
What: Hutch Source: Flea market How it’s being used: Homeowner Carmen Lopez found the old hutch at a flea market, covered it in Behr’s “Elephant Skin” taupe paint, and filled it with jewelry and glass jars filled with bathroom staples. A sea-grass wall covering offers a textured backdrop for displayed items. “I keep the house as stylish as possible, but I can operate on the cheap,” Carmen says. “Decorating on a budget can be twice the fun.” See the next two slides for more examples of Carmen’s decorating style.
What: Bed Source: Estate sale How it’s being used: Carmen outfitted the master suite’s twisted-poster bed with a colorful mixture of decorative pillows, “Pearls” bedding by Barbara Barry, and a vintage throw. The eclectic design also includes Moorish bedside chests from Bernhardt, glass table lamps from Crate & Barrel, and a sunburst mirror from Ballard Designs. “It’s not a style per se,” Carmen says of her unique approach to decorating. “It’s a little bit of everything.”
What: Fine silver Source: Flea markets and antique stores How it’s being used: Carmen Lopez’s gleaming silver collection lines the walls flanking the arched opening in her dining room. She started her collection with the tea set (lower left), which she purchased on Portobello Road in London. Over time she increased the collection with goblets, cake stands, candlesticks, and other objects through her travels—from Boston flea markets to refined antiques stores elsewhere in New England. Many pieces are cherished gifts. “None of it is priceless,” she says. “It’s thememory each item exudes that makes it special.”
What: Player piano roll stand Source: Flea market How it’s being used: Similar in size to a safe, the vintage player piano roll stand with hand-painted canvas sides displays decorative art in the keeping room. Above it hang two paintings by homeowner Steve McKenzie, and a figurative painting by Moshe Rosenthalis. The curtains are from Peachtree Fabrics.
What: Dining chairs Source: eBay How they’re being used: After being purchased on eBay, the chairs were painted white and recovered in a glazed linen fabric with metallic threads that complement the sparkling walls. The lacquered-top round table was designed by Gail Plechaty, Real Simple Design. The silver-leaf floor was hand-painted by Karen Nelson.
What: Light fixture Source: eBay How it’s being used: In this Brooklyn brownstone, the parlor floor houses the kitchen and dining room—both of which were furnished by the homeowners from a variety of sources. The contemporary chandelier purchased on eBay hangs above an olive green Strut Table from Blu Dot, and Salt Chairs from Design Within Reach. The area rug is a family heirloom.
What: Tripod lamp Source: Paris flea market How it’s being used: The antique tripod lamp—scored by homeowner Adam Pincus at aParis flea market—stands at attention in the den/office/guest room. Other den furnishings include a mid-century modern coffee table, an area rug from West Elm, a tag sale mirror on the mantel, and a sofa from Ligne Roset. See more of Adam’s and spouse Suzanne Myers’ great finds in the following two slides.
What: Desk chair Source: Paris flea market How it’s being used: Found at a flea market, the antique metal desk chair pulls up to a vintage desk topped with a desk lamp by Thomas O’Brien for Target. The chair fabric is also by Thomas O’Brien. The Orchid wallpaper by Cole & Son, which covers a single wall in the master bedroom and den, makes a stunning backdrop for the couple’s eclectic collections of furniture and artwork.
What: Fireplace mantel Source: Paris flea market How it’s being used: Designer Suzanne Tucker found the 9-feet-tall carved limestone mantel at a Paris flea market 15 years ago. She kept the 16th-century artifact in storage, waiting for a room with the proper proportions to handle it. Now the mantel resides in Lauri McFarlin’s cavernous common room furnished with three antique Oushak rugs that define separate seating areas. The Italian neoclassical tole lanterns on the mantel, circa 1780, still bear the original paint.
What: Wicker furniture Source: Flea market How it’s being used: Now repainted a lush green, the wicker furniture provides comfy seating behind a colonnade the runs the length of the home’s exterior. Formal columns and original shutters frame the retreat (which faces a Mediterranean-inspired garden), while Moroccan lanterns and hanging lights add a romantic touch. “I love collecting,” says homeowner Tracey Smolin. “The hunt for the perfect piece is always around the corner in my world. Wherever we go, I shop at antiques shops or flea markets to see if there is a treasure there awaiting me.”
What: Needlepoint chairs From: Paris flea market How they’re being used: They may not be imposing, but two small-scale needlepoint chairs discovered at a Paris flea market were the impetus for the home’s palette. “These chairs just called to us,” says homeowner Mary Lynn Mannon. “When we found them, we didn’t know where they were going to go, but we knew we had to have them. The colors are so beautiful and easy on the eyes. They set the tone for the house.”
What: Loveseat, French chairs, coffee table Where: Paris flea market How they’re being used: The custom loveseat, matching French chairs, and coffee table create a comfortable seating area in a pleasingly pastel, French-inspired master bedroom. Antique porcelain cherub lamps rest on new gilded end tables. The chandelier is original to the house.
What: Art Deco smoking chairs and a map of Paris Source: Paris flea market How they’re being used: Designer and homeowner Michael Connors framed the circa 1734 map of Paris and hung it in this colorful bedroom. A pair of French art Deco leather smoking chairs (one of two shown) now sit atop a contemporary sisal rug. A mirror substitutes for a window behind the bed.
What: Etchings Source: Yard sale How they’re being used: Homeowner and designer Roger Higgins bought the etchings of Florence, Italy, at a yard sale. “I love etchings and drawings without color,” says Roger. “They can move easily from room to room.” See next slide to find out what Roger did with other estate sale finds.
What: Side table and coffee table Source: Estate sale How they’re being used: The glass-top coffee table and gold side table, both estate-sale finds, serve a well-appointed seating area in this Williamsburg-style home. The neutral sofa is backed by an antique embossed-leather screen purchased at auction. “I call it ‘jarring juxtaposition,’” says homeowner Roger Higgins of his decorating style. “A beautiful antique paired with a chrome lamp, or taffeta with a sisal rug. The mix keeps things fresh.”
What: Dining chairs Source: Garage sales and secondhand shops How they’re being used: Assorted chairs turn two old tables slipcovered with water-resistant fabric into an elegant al fresco dining area where the Bonds eat most of their meals. The loggia in question is sheltered by a wisteria canopy and vine-covered courtyard walls. “It was about going for a great amount of light and a sense of the indoors and outdoors being one,” says homeowner Marcia Bond. See the Bonds’ kitchen on the next slide.
What: Farm table Source: Yard sale How it’s being used: Marcia found the vintage table base – minus a top – at a yard sale where it was chained to a tree. She topped the wood base with a large slab of marble and a 36-inch stretch of butcher block to create a 96x39-inch island. “We needed to make it taller and longer so it wasn’t dwarfed,” Marcia says.
What: Desk Source: Side of the street How it’s being used: Designer Suzanne Grua McGrath found the desk on a street in Brooklyn, and appropriated it as a small corner writing table in her living room. She then gave it to daughter, Lauren, who reinvented it as a vanity by adding a bargain mirror from Anthropologie. “We just cobbled together pieces for a great look,” Suzanne says. “[The table is] probably not worth anything, but it has good bones.” See more views from this apartment on the next two slides.
What: Lamp Source: Flea market How it’s being used: The mother-daughter pair found the bold yellow lamp caked in dust at a flea market. “It adds the perfect pop of color,” Lauren says. The love seat is from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, and the Swedish occasional tables were found in a consignment store.
What: Chair Source: Craigslist How it’s being used: Lauren says friends flip for her old cane-sided chair – one of a pair found on Craigslist for $25. Once an ugly pink, the chair gained new charms when Lauren painted it black and upholstered it in inexpensive fabric. “It’s probably the most inexpensive thing here,” she says, “but all my friends say, ‘Oh my gosh. Where did you get this chair?’” Lauren also turned an heirloom dresser into a statement piece by painting it white and adding hardware found in a sale basket at Anthropologie.
What: Dress form Source: Flea market How it’s being used: An antique wire dress form’s curvy silhouette stands out against the back wall’s painted picture-frame molding. Standing the form beneath an oil portrait adds texture to the living room’s furnishings. Other found pieces include an Aubusson-style rug from an estate sale and a vintage Lucite lamp from a resale shop. The mirrored screen is from Niermann Weeks.
What: Regency Chairs Source: eBay How they’re being used: Mahogany bookshelves offer a gleaming backdrop to Regency chairs purchased on eBay, one of Designer Zem Joaquin’s favorite shopping sources. (Zem is known for her eco-friendly interiors and decorating with used furniture.) The vintage Louis XV-style games table, purchased from Coup d’Etat, is by Alberto Pinto.
What: Chandelier Source: Texas Round Top Antiques Fair How it’s being used: The old iron chandelier was scooped up at the nationally popular Round Top Antiques Fair. Now it hangs over a kitchen table that belongs to homeowners Jerry and Lisa Simon, who relied upon older materials and recycled elements to build and furnish their new home. “We scoured the countryside to reclaim beautiful, timeless materials that would add the texture and create the interest we wanted in our home,” Lisa says. “We hoped to convey a collected feel.”
What: Louis XV chairs, vase Source: Marches aux Puces flea market How they’re being used: Found in Paris, this pair of vintage Louis XV fauteuils (open arm chairs) were updated with a painted stripe down the center – an homage to 20th-century fashion designer Pauline de Rothschild. They now flank the apartment’s ornate fireplace and a coffee table showcasing a large 1930s Lalique vase found at Marches aux Puces. The decorative moldings and fireplace mantel are original to the home. The patterned fuchsia drapery fabric is from Manuel Canovas. See next two slides for additional flea market details from this apartment.
What: Horn sculptures Source: Flea market How they’re being used: In a bedroom, matching horn sculptures mingle their rustic attitude with a Parisian street scene photographed by a family friend and a lamp from Bazar de L’Hotel de Ville. The mirror over the antique chest is from Kaolin in Paris.
What: Portrait Source: Estate sale How it’s being used: Homeowner, designer, and long-time antiques collector Christopher Coffin filled his living room nearly to the top of its 20-foot vaulted ceiling with antique portraits bought for their looks more than price or provenance. The one above the fireplace cost $50 at a Tulsa estate sale. “He’s all bunged up, but I love him that way,” Christopher says.