Flea Market & Thrift Finds

September 16, 2008

I usually save the more ‘personal’ posts like this one for my Haus Maus blog, but I am way too excited about my recent flea market finds to not share on decor8 today. For those of you who may not know, my husband and I took on a second home here in Germany in addition to our New Hampshire home (primary residence) since we visit Germany 2-3 months each year and last year we got REALLY tired of always staying in a hotel suite. We wanted something that belonged to us, that we could furnish and decorate and live in while we’re here. And we needed a place where we could stay whenever we wanted, not having to check in with the hotel to ensure dates were available. BIG PAIN. Last Fall, we decided to take an apartment and it was gut renovated and became ours officially in April. Of course we weren’t able to come over right away, so we let it sit and wait for us over the summer and then we arrived the first week of August. We are still here and will remain until the 3rd week of December. We will then return back to New Hampshire to spend the winter and most likely, in the Spring or early Summer, come back over for 3-4 months. I’m guessing this will go on for the next few years so I’m really enjoying the experience of dual residency and western European living — it’s so nice to experience!

With all that being said, I’ve been working hard on our apartment here over the past nearly 6 weeks. I had to start from scratch, we only had floors and walls pretty much! It’s been a really fun process, but I have to say that I’ve enjoyed the thrill of the hunt the most… hunting for furniture and housewares. Between Amazon.de, a few German websites I enjoy, and all of the local stores I shop here in Hannover, I’m doing great and staying within my budget. One great tip I must share though is that if you do decide to relocate to Europe one day yourself, don’t pass up your local flea markets. Find out where they are the second you arrive. Also look at ‘junk’ shops. They are really great and filled to the brim with mid century modern furniture (mostly 1950s stuff) priced to sell. I recently purchased two 1950s bed tables (solid wood) at a local thrift shop for ?20- for both! They will be delivered this Thursday. I also found a beautiful mirror with lights for 100 Euros and some gorgeous white porcelain vases.

Flea Market & Thrift FindsFlea Market & Thrift Finds

Here’s a vase/flower pot that I found just yesterday for ?2,50- (that is around $3.60) that is a mid century piece. It’s very Jonathan Adler I think. I thought the flowers gave her some much need hair. She is so stylish!

Flea Market & Thrift FindsFlea Market & Thrift FindsFrom the local flea market I found some coasters with lace dollies and glass. All four for ?1!

Flea Market & Thrift Finds Here is another local flea market find. This is an old French plate with great colors and I adore the illustration on it. It has a hook for hanging, which is what I plan to do with it. It was priced ?32 but I got it for ?25.

Flea Market & Thrift Finds This is a vintage ruler for ?1. I will use it on my desk to hold my favorite postcards (once I get an actual desk, that is). Another great flea market find I think. I love old folding rulers in yellow. No clue why.

Flea Market & Thrift Finds This is a little desk lamp from the early 50’s. It was ?25 but I got the seller down to ?20. I have a rule, if it’s over ?8 I never pay full price. :) The vase is also from the flea market, ?7!

Flea Market & Thrift Finds These two blue/white floral bud vases are so sweet, both for only ?1 at the flea market.

Flea Market & Thrift Finds I found the best pink lantern candles and small crystal cube holders at the thrift shop yesterday, 20 candles and 3 cube holders for ?2.50. I like to light them in my window at night. The bowls, tea tins, and the lilac and white bowls are new. The tins are from House Doctor and the purple bowls are from Rice. I’m not sure of the company that produces the Lilac/White patterned bowls because they are not marked, sorry.

Flea Market & Thrift Finds For ?1 I found this stone mouse that hangs on the wall. I will paint it a soft gray and place it near my front door since my husband calls me ‘haus maus’. I can’t tell you what a great flea market day I had this past Saturday but I think these photos express that — it was just great. It’s amazing what a few vintage finds can do to make a new apartment feel warm and loved. I will be in Berlin this Saturday so I won’t be at the Hannover flea market this weekend, but I am attending a garden & home festival on Friday and a fabric bazaar here on Sunday, so if I find anything good I will post some photos next week.

Hope you enjoyed some of my flea market and thrift shop finds for the month!

(images from holly becker for decor8)


  • Reply doreen September 16, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    Your finds are terrific! I really thought that vase was Jonathan Adler’s. Last summer I went to the most fantastic estate sale in the town I just moved to, and found some amazing things. The woman was an artist, collector, and world traveler. I went back twice, and could have hauled more if I had a truck. All have been refinished and re-purposed in new ways, and I love that I have pieces that are unique. It’s a very satisfying way to shop, don’t you think?

  • Reply decor8 September 16, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    Yes Doreen, you are so right — there is this deep feeling of satisfaction when you find exactly what you need/want used and are about to recycle or repurpose it. It’s a nice feeling to be part of the circle sometime instead of always buying brand new. There are so many beautiful things waiting for homes in thrift shops, at flea markets, estate sales, yard sales, you name it. I’ve been trying to buy more from such places because they bring with them this life of the past. The 1950s night tables that my husband and I found are so great, they will arrive on Thursday and we could be happier since they have such character and charm. My husband said they remind him of his grandparents, they are almost the exact ones that they had, so he instantly felt ‘attached’ to them emotionally.


  • Reply Charlie @ So Lovely September 16, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    What a wonderful collection. Most of my furniture in my house is from flea markets or thrift stores. About once a month I also do a run up to Ventura and load up the car. I mostly wear vintage clothing too.

    I just love the fact that with vintage, flea and thrift finds – there is a story to tell. And its different. You don’t find the same thing in every store.

    If and when, you eventually move back here permanently will you ship (in a container) everything back? Or are you always going to keep your European residence?

    Charlie @ So Lovelys last blog post: Chris Burden sculpture

  • Reply AK September 16, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    So lovely-very jeu de paumes-ish.

  • Reply Sugar Plum Invitations September 16, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    Wow, such great finds. Not only do I love treasure hunting, but it’s a great way to re-use/ re-purpose items that would have otherwise been wasted. Love it! So often vintage pieces have great stories behind them, so much more fun that cheap knock offs on a shelve new. I love finding unique, one of a kind pieces.

  • Reply Jen September 16, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    Great great finds!! I love that planter!! So much personality.

    Jens last blog post: Drake takes the Cake!!!!

  • Reply moodboard September 16, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    I’m jealous of your female vase, I found a similar one at a thrift store last year. They wouldn’t take anything but cash so I asked them to hold it and I ran down the street to an atm. When I got back they had sold it! The saleswoman said, “we really aren’t supposed to hold things and someone wanted it.” Yeah, me!

    That mouse tile looks vintage 60’s, is it? If so I would be reluctant to tamper with it. It looks great the way it is, very graphic.

    moodboards last blog post: New Orleans French Style

  • Reply Jennifer September 16, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    i LOVE all of your finds! especially the jonathan alder-like vase. how fun it must be to start decorating from scratch.

    hope you’re having a lovely september. :)

    Jennifers last blog post: Experimentations in Drawing

  • Reply Denise Smith September 16, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    I keep looking, too, at auctions and second hand stores. I am hoping to strike gold one day and get an Eames recliner from some old estate where the family doesn’t want Granny’s old “junk”! Well, we all have our dreams…
    I love the Adler-ish vase!

    Denise Smiths last blog post: Search Engine Request: Decorating a Half Bath

  • Reply decor8 September 16, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    moodboard – yes it’s from the 60s. i am glad that you like it. i love how graphic it is too. i’m sorry about your vase, what a shame… i’m sure you’ll find one someday again. check ebay…

    charlie@so-lovely – not sure yet really. we want to start a family in a few years and by then we are thinking we’ll want to bring the kids back and forth for awhile so who knows. we may buy a home here. so much is still ‘pending’ but the goal is to someday be here more full-time and in america more part-time so we’ll see….

  • Reply Chelsea September 16, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    Wow! You really made a fabulous haul! The little blue and white vases are so cute! I also love your rule about pricing/ negotiating at the flea market! I do the same thing! If it’s over $10 at a flea market, or garage sale, I always try to bargain with the seller! Kudos!

    Chelseas last blog post: Je T’aime

  • Reply Rach September 16, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    Wow! Nice haul!

    I really wish we had some charity shops in my area or better yet a flea market! Unfortunately, I live out in the sticks. :P

    You are doing very well with your decorating, not surprisingly. ;)

    Rachs last blog post: Handmade Wedding

  • Reply samantha hahn September 16, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    I love love love that desk lamp Holly!!!

  • Reply Diana September 16, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    Great finds! I love your idea of using the vintage ruler to hold postcards!

    Dianas last blog post: Lovely Things from Lovely People

  • Reply sugarblush September 16, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    Awesome finds! I agree with moodboard about not tampering with the mouse tile. It looks great how it is! oh, and i love your full price rule :) I wish I could bargain well. I might need some tips!

    sugarblushs last blog post: Knock Off: Mid-Century Style

  • Reply jen September 16, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    this post makes me want to move to germany!

  • Reply M September 16, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    I love all of these finds so much! I especially love the little lamp with the glass shade. Thanks for sharing such a nice post.

  • Reply Ayesha September 16, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    what gorgeous finds and what an lovely post.
    This is dual fun for , ‘cuz i haven’t been to europe yet so, i’ll get the taste from your blog, also it would be so much fun to see you decorating you new place.

    I am moving o a new apartment which has slanting roofs in bedroom. initially i thought they look weird but now i think they are a great design opportunity. I know you are very busy but can a newbie drop a lin to you and ask for design advice??

  • Reply Christina @ Pardon My Vintage September 16, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    That white vase pictured with the lamp is fabulous! Is it marked “Kaiser W. Germany”? It looks a lot like that company’s work …

    Christina @ Pardon My Vintages last blog post: Two red enamel mugs

  • Reply ArtShades September 16, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    You’ve had fun! I am surrounded by things my husband and I have found in junk shops over the years. It’s good fun to remember back to where we got them from – they’ve become our souvenirs of trips in the UK, other parts of Europe, and the US too! I LOVE your idea of using the wooden rule as a ‘letter rack’ – we have a few (collected by my husband along with many other vintage woodworking tools) and now I will ‘borrow’ one for my desk. Brilliant.

  • Reply sonia September 16, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    where’s that rad white cordless phone from in the 8th photo?

    sonias last blog post: Final Frame: You Think You’re Attached to Tech?

  • Reply Sue September 16, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    Wow you’ve found some great things, I wish I had that nack of bargain hunting, all I ever seem to find is junk or expensive items that never seem to be a bargain, maybe thats just the in the UK. I love your blog by the way, I only found it a couple of months ago and have been following your move across the atlantic ever since, it’s very exciting!

    Sues last blog post: Purple Circles Card

  • Reply Tamar September 16, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    LOVE your latest finds Holly! we used to spend summers in France and my favorite pass time was going to every possible “Brocante” (something between a flee market and a garage sale…) oh my gosh, what fun that was, Europe has such wonderful stuff and great prices too, most of my plates are from there, I would wrap them up really well and bring them back with me.
    I miss those summers and markets so much!!!

    Tamars last blog post: Breakfast at Shelburne Farms Inn

  • Reply shay September 16, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    Great post, I have always been curious about the flea/second hand market in Europe.Looks like it is good,very good.
    I have decorated our home with treasures found at estate/garage sales and flea markets. I love things with a past, they are so much more interesting than buying new not to mention a lot less money.
    Your apt. is looking great.

  • Reply Liza September 16, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    I love the lamp! and the vases, the ruler and the mouse. Thanks!

    Lizas last blog post: Old, but Blessed

  • Reply Elizabeth September 16, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    I love all your finds! I have several of the wooden folding rulers, also; and I definitely think that vase is very Jonathan Adler!

    Elizabeths last blog post: You Gotta Laugh…

  • Reply Chitra September 16, 2008 at 5:41 pm

    Hello Holly

    Fabulous finds. I love the vase.

  • Reply AshleyL. September 16, 2008 at 5:59 pm

    i love this post. those are great little details. how pretty and fun! thank you for a great post (as always) ;)

    AshleyL.s last blog post: a room in bloom

  • Reply jennie September 16, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    Um, I hate you! I never find cute stuff, if I do it’s expensive. Maybe I’m in the wrong country.

    jennies last blog post: Fashion Twilight Zone

  • Reply belinda September 16, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    gorgeous! not fair – why is it the only porcelain at my local thrift stores is adorned with cats? and not even cute ones!! love being along for the ride Holly as you decorate – beautfully, too, I might add!

    belindas last blog post: new book: madison living

  • Reply *B* September 16, 2008 at 9:19 pm

    Oh wow, you are good at finding beautiful things!!

    *B*s last blog post: My Princess, my baby, my everything

  • Reply Pamcasso September 16, 2008 at 9:32 pm

    Gorgeous finds, especially love the illustrated plates and doily coasters.

    Pamcassos last blog post: New School Icon: Kate Young, Stylist

  • Reply Maggie September 16, 2008 at 10:25 pm

    The vase/flower pot is just priceless. What treasures you must find! Nothing is more exciting than browsing a flea market with a friend in the fall and later sipping on a hot cup of cider discussing what great deals we found.

  • Reply Alarna Zinn September 16, 2008 at 11:37 pm

    What a lovely, lovely post!
    I am a serial thrift shopper and feel exactly the same – heading out and grabbing a few preloved items certainly is a fantastic and inexpensive way to make your home feel warm, loved and lived in!!

    I must say I love your rule: anything over ?8 you never pay full price!
    I think I may have to adopt this (except in $!)

  • Reply kanika September 17, 2008 at 1:39 am

    Hi Holly! congratulations for such great finds! I love Lady Vase. I am not usually a lilac and pink person and so wasn’t sure how you’d put the colours together in your house (been following the process since its inception:), i must say that the colours look great and i love the shape your house is taking, love the delft blue bud vases too!

    kanikas last blog post: follow me

  • Reply alis September 17, 2008 at 2:18 am

    The french plate and the blue/white bud vases are my favorites, but they’re all great bargains and such cute gems! Btw from the first picture I can tell your house is really coming together, it looks amazing already!

    aliss last blog post: Holding On Tight

  • Reply Linn September 17, 2008 at 4:10 am

    I don’t know the name of the flower in english, but I do know that It means bad luck to bring those into your home.


  • Reply Bobble September 17, 2008 at 5:07 am

    We’ve been doing up furniture we’ve bought locally at flea markets and off eBay (in the UK) and love it. Wallpaper, paint and some hard sanding and voila you have a great armoire! It’s great taking something unwanted and recycling it into something you love. It’s unique, good for the environment and adds instant character and “home” to a place. Good for you Holly! Keep those finds coming :)

    Bobbles last blog post: Another day…

  • Reply lucky September 17, 2008 at 6:22 am

    longtime lurker here :)

    loved your last 2 posts – all the finds!!!

    luckys last blog post: was talking

  • Reply Nina September 17, 2008 at 6:31 am

    So funny: I’m always supposing that flea markets and thrift shops in the US are so much better than ours, but turns out a lot of Americans see it exactly the other way round! Probably we all like the unfamiliar…

  • Reply Judit Gueth September 17, 2008 at 9:33 am

    I love the French plate. Reminds me of old European children’s books.! :-)

  • Reply radish September 17, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    Holly, this is very exciting to read about. your elephant tray is the same one i have in my new apartment (which i am also trying to decorate as I have just moved and had to get new everything). :) Love the flower pot — mid-century modern pieces are so lovely! And the price you paid is just fantastic.

    radishs last blog post: a short break

  • Reply Melissa de la Fuente September 17, 2008 at 5:52 pm

    OH! These are just AMAZING finds, Holly! I looooove that vase and the flowers you put in them, those bowls from rice and your ruler(what a great use of it too! ) Just love it…..isn’t fleamarketing SO much fun!

    Melissa de la Fuentes last blog post: kindness

  • Reply decor8 September 17, 2008 at 5:56 pm

    Thank you all! I am still amazed by the Adler look-a-like vase, it’s my favorite find of the bunch. And the ruler idea wasn’t mine, I saw one in a shop here in Hannover this week with postcards in it so I found a vintage yellow ruler at the flea market a few days later. My friend Emma told me that it’s in Dutch magazine 101 Wohnideen too so I guess we are all inspired by rulers now!!

  • Reply Grace@PoeticHome September 17, 2008 at 10:42 pm

    What fantastic vintage treasures!!! There is something very magical about vintage pieces — the stories they tell, the lives they have led before our homes…I LOVE the vase with the “hair” – so whimsically chic. :) The stone mouse is very charming too — I loved seeing it all!

    Grace@PoeticHomes last blog post: Airplanes + Vintage Industrial = Voila!

  • Reply Claudia S. September 18, 2008 at 6:28 am

    We have made in Berlin our new home for the last 4 years, and all I can say is that it is such a pleasure to walk around this city, hunting for nice things to bring home. The range is unlimited, Berlin is so connected to its past and when visiting flea market, it is like walking into an old movie.
    Holly, I am looking forward to the Saturday workshop, I need a final push to throw me into the blogging adventure!

  • Reply drey September 18, 2008 at 8:50 am

    everything you got were real gems for mere bargains! i love the vase, the lamp, the little mouse plaque :) actually reallllly good to read all about YOUR place and what YOU pick to be in your home :)

    dreys last blog post: Outdoor organiser for my wee courtyard

  • Reply Sarah September 18, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    The white porcelain vase looks like a Bjorn Wiinblad? Is it? Could be a collectors item – a great deal for $4!!!

  • Reply ellen September 18, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    That vase is a real treasure!

    I love reading about flea market and thrift store finds! Thanks for sharing.

    ellens last blog post: this is why I need to learn how to sew …

  • Reply lena September 18, 2008 at 6:20 pm

    I think the Lady Vase is Bjorn Winblad from Denmark. That is his signature face I think.

  • Reply K September 18, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    Cheap and gorgeous.. my kind of finds!
    I just sat for a good little while, swooning over the doily coasters.

  • Reply Liza September 19, 2008 at 10:34 am

    Did you see that your home is on Oh-dee-doh?? And it looks perfect.

    Lizas last blog post: Auction Finds

  • Reply Marjolijn September 20, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    I?m not sure whether this lilac/white patterned bowl is from the Danish brand ?Tine K Home? or from ?House Doctor?, but I think it?s from the first one (just check out their nice website and stuff –> http://www.tinekhome.dk !) :)

    Marjolijns last blog post: Do you have an appointment?…

  • Reply Ali Schaffer October 25, 2008 at 9:51 pm

    Hi, Your photos are beautiful and I especially love the vase. You have such excellent taste and your home is lovely. These flea market and thrift finds are treasures and anyone would be proud to own them and at such great prices too! That is why I love to shop in flea markets, you never know what you are going to get and you found some wonderful items! Good luck in your new home in Germany.

    Ali Schaffers last blog post: How flea markets help you save and make money

  • Reply Mary July 26, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    Hi there, just discovered your blog, and envy you for being in a position to live in two places during the year. Absolutely love the desk lamp, and the way you have pulled the whole look together. I am visiting Berlin in November for a few days and wonder what would be the markets or thrift shops NOT to be missed, as we won’t have much time. Also they’d have to be central.

  • Reply Skippa January 27, 2010 at 5:04 am

    I love it! How can some people have all the lcuk finding lovely things!? All the best for your new home – you have good taste so happiness will surely follow!
    .-= Skippa´s last blog ..Highway to Hate =-.

  • Reply Vintage Vase June 9, 2010 at 10:46 pm

    Great finds! I love the vases hair it goes so well with your other furnishings. The stone mouse is very cute as well.
    .-= Vintage Vase´s last blog ..Where to Find Amazing Deals on Vintage Vases =-.

  • Reply Ppponky December 20, 2010 at 9:58 am

    I am still amazed by the Adler look-a-like vase, it’s my favorite find of the bunch. And the ruler idea wasn’t mine, I saw one in a shop here in Hannover this week with postcards in it so I found a vintage yellow ruler at the flea market a few days later.

  • Reply slice2020 June 10, 2011 at 5:33 am

    We have made in Berlin our new home for the last 4 years, and all I can say is that it is such a pleasure to walk around this city, hunting for nice things to bring home. The range is unlimited, Berlin is so connected to its past and when visiting flea market, it is like walking into an old movie.
    Holly, I am looking forward to the Saturday workshop, I need a final push to throw me into the blogging adventure!

  • Reply Lyllos October 10, 2011 at 1:17 am

    I just love the Jonathan Adler pot and the desk lamp of course!!
    This is the first time i am here… very nice!!

  • Leave a Reply

    Scroll Up