It seems that so many of our stories (or in this case, blog posts) start with, “well, we pulled this out of the trash” or “yeah, we picked that up at the swap meet last year”. Which got us to thinking…
Do we brake for yardsales? Hell yeah! Do we troll craigslist on the daily? Duh. Do we feel a magnetic pull towards our local vintage swap meets? A resounding yes! What does this lead to? What we are calling (at least today) “Swap Meet Style”.
So yes, we spend a lot of time digging in the garbage (literally, we have been known to crawl into a dumpster) and pulling trash out of our alleys. Why not though? The thought of some of these treasures going into a landfill just breaks our hearts. That said, we really enjoy the juxtaposition of these old items in our newer designed spaces. It makes them feel lived in, like they have a story, like it’s ok to spill something or leave your shoes on.
This obsession is deeper than just searching for a bargain (although admittedly that is part of it) and it’s more than collecting. There are many things that are for sale that we, very simply, aren’t interested in. But that’s what makes it perfect! What’s the saying? One person’s trash is a blonde girl’s treasure? Ha!
So anyways, Swap Meet Style, let’s discuss. First, how to accomplish. Sometimes it just comes to you. For example, something a friend (or parent) doesn’t want anymore and you love! They are OVER IT and you have just the spot for it in your design. Destiny!
That’s the best! Or sometimes when a friend sees something that might remind them of you. Usually, our friends are sending roosters and chihuahuas our way, except this was a good one too…
Then there are the things that you hunt for. We looked for years for this vintage peacock chair and finally saw it at the consignment shop The Find in Newport Beach, CA. We were ecstatic!
We hunt for birdcages, or floral frogs. For baskets, trays, side tables, and floor lamps. Sometimes we’re in a textile mood and end up with old dishtowels to make into pillows or frame as a piece of art. Or a mirror mood catches us and we spend our days foraging all things reflective. Why? We don’t know, but it sure is fun!
Often times folks ask us where we “find” all this stuff. So here is a simple list:
1. Like we mentioned before, people give us stuff. Also, if you are looking for something, let people know! You never know who will be the one to help!
2. Craigslist. Most people think of weird “missed connections” section – you know, “Saw you on the beach in a green bikini, did you see me?” type of posts. But there is a lot more to craigslist and if you are willing to wade through the posts, you can really find some gems. Try to be specific with your searches and be smart with how you meet people. (Don’t go into someone’s house…come on people!)
3. Trash. Ok, this sounds gross, but we are serious! We are mostly talking about stuff that people put out in the streets that they no longer feel a need for. Remember, this stuff is FREE and as long as you can fit it in your car…that’s pretty instant gratification. Don’t believe us? Check out this before and after of a guest room headboard. Straight from the trash! Hey, you can’t beat free!
A coat of paint and it turned into this beauty!
4. The Swap Meets. We live in Southern California (lucky ducks) and we have some of the most impressive Swap Meets around. Get there early, wear walking shoes, bring cash and a bag/cart. Don’t forget the sunscreen! The question to ask when going to the Swap Meet isn’t, “what are you looking for?” since the perfect purchase might be an item that you have never seen before. Online searches are good to identify Swap Meets in your area. One of our favorites is The Long Beach Antique Swap Meet.
We could go on about this topic for days. We LOVE it after all! The hunt, the thrill of the purchase, the process to make it your own, and finally, the moment you get to use your vintage item in your own design. All hail!
Ok, the caveat, we know that some of you are just positively 100% NEVER going to accept used furniture, dodge the craigslist creepers, dig through the trash (gasp!), or get up at the crack of your @$$ and haggle over $5…we get it! Luckily for you, there are people (like us) that do it for you. Here are some of our best “traditional” resources to help you achieve “Swap Meet Style”:
1. Etsy. We love this online marketplace. All of our buying and selling experiences have been positive and there is a great selection. Never been? Might we (humbly) recommend starting at our store? WAREHOUSE COLLECTIVE ON ETSY. Here’s a sneak peak…
2. Local Merchants. So many to list but there are a few standout stores in Orange County.
- Heritage Mercantile at 1720 Santa Ana Ave, Costa Mesa CA
- Juxtaposition at 7976 East Coast Highway, Newport Beach CA
- Peinture at 3323 Highland Ave, Costa Mesa CA
So, I think we thoroughly covered how to accomplish Swap Meet Style. Please share with us your experiences, your journeys into the world of used items, and what it is that gets you excited!
In conclusion, we pulled these roses out of the trash the other day…just saying…