Hello decor8 readers! I’m Raina Kattelson from A Stylist’s Life visiting you today with part two of a mini series that Megan Camp and I pulled together for decor8 (her part one is here) while we were out shopping at Brimfield this month. I’m a NY-based stylist who has worked most recently with Anthology magazine, Country Living magazine and for designer Thom Filicia. I thought I’d share some of my personal highlights from Brimfield this year along with some tips of my own, so let’s get started!
Brimfield Antique Show & Flea Market is a stylist’s playground with acres and acres of super cool treasures. And since my idea of a perfect day is to get up before sunrise and spend hours walking around searching for potential props for shoots, and lugging them home that’s where I happily headed this month. Most years I spend several days there but this time around could only spend one day – which is hardly enough to see 1/4 of what’s there…agony!
So in the early dawn light I happened upon a booth calling to me with pottery in my favorite blues and greens. I scored a rectangular Italian blue vase decorated with charming flowers and an interesting glaze. I also added to my collection of Dansk cookware with a casserole dish in the most perfect shade of turquoise. The quirky chartreuse warming dish kept calling me so I couldn’t resist. It’s often the strange things that I wonder why I bought that become my most favorite props!
I usually go to a market with some sort of rough wish list, which of course means I won’t find any of it – that’s a flea market curse. This time I was looking for a sideboard, marble sink, and bathroom mirrors for our new house, so zippo. Instead I found a groovy mid century hand made tile top bench/coffee table, which I have absolutely no use for but LOVE! The best part is the secret compartment at the bottom with extra tiles. It will happily find a home somewhere in my house. I also found my dream chair a Bruno Mathsson “Eva” chair with leather straps in great shape, that alone made the whole day worth it.
After wandering the fields to the point of total exhaustion I can’t say I saw too many new trends this year. Industrial, taxidermy and horns, signage and shabby chic seem to be sticking around. I saw a lot of brass and lucite, including a table that was reminiscent of a table in Celerie Kemble’s new line. Worn leather sports equipment was in quite a few booths, though some of the larger pieces are best left as props.
I’ve been shopping flea markets since I was a kid and for years as a pro so here’s some super important tips so you can score the best pieces and not find yourself an exhausted puddle on the ground. Here are my 7 top tips:
1. Arrive early, I know everyone says it.. But it’s true! I hate getting up early, but for a flea 6am on the fields is the time to find the best pieces.
2. A list is good even if you don’t ever find them it’s easy to forget that you needed a new coffee table and quickly blow your money on yet another chair you don’t need. If you don’t believe me check out my basement – it’s filled with chairs!
3. Shop for larger pieces first (like furniture) – they go quickly.
4. If I see a piece I like but am not sure, I ask the price, take the booth number down and walk away. If it’s still calling to me a little while later I go back and get it. But if you really love it, jump on it right away. There’s nothing worse then going back and seeing your beloved piece with a sold sticker on it. And do write the booth info, no matter how much you think you will remember – you don’t. I have wasted precious shopping time trying to remember where something I now desperately wanted was.
5. Bring lot’s of cash and in small bills! It’s easier to haggle and then hand the dealer a small bill rather then whip out a $100 for a $10 item.
6. Look for shape – you can always repaint, refinish, reupholster.
7. Important things to bring: Cash, water, snacks – flea food usually stinks unless you are at the Brooklyn flea or Paris where the crepe truck is fab. Sunscreen, bags, bubble wrap and packing blankets are always in my trunk. There’s nothing worse then getting your piece home and finding it broken.
I hope that you have enjoyed my flea market tips! It was nice to be a guest on decor8 – thank you for having me Holly! If you missed Part One, click here.
(images/text: raina kattelson)
Hi decor8 readers, I’m Meagan Camp and I’m a photo stylist and designer based in New York who is visiting you today on decor8 with a guest post since Holly is working on location for her next book. Exciting! I’m going to talk about a favorite flea market in Massachusetts that I just attended with a little glimpse into my finds. So come along with me… Let’s go to the market!
I wait in anticipation for Brimfield every year, either shopping for myself or for projects, this market has become a very valuable resource for trend forecasting and is incredibly inspiring for my work as a stylist. I like to go early in the week for the best selection and beat the crowds, although the best deals are at the end of the week because dealers don’t want to pack things back up. For a show the size of Brimfield with thousands of dealers, it’s impossible to see everything so it helps to go in knowing what you’re looking for while keeping in mind it’s the thrill of the hunt. I’m often shopping for clients so I’ll bring with me detailed measurements and inspirational pictures — when I’m out in the fields there’s no time to hesitate so when I see something, I’ll need to jump on it!
Many of the dealers set up their booths like mini-stores with beautifully styled vignettes, great music, even incense or a burning candle — the spaces are so beautiful that I’ll just stand and stare and soak it all in! It’s incredibly inspiring how each vendor chooses to set up their wares. As a stylist, I can definitely get caught up in the little details (like the red milliner feathers displayed a white ironstone bowl, antique doll heads lined up in a glass case or a row of antique glove molds). I love meeting other designers, store owners, and artists who thrive on this sort of thing — people fly in from all over the world to attend this show and there’s never a lack of interesting characters or excitement. Every once in a while you’ll pass by a film crew shooting or someone giving an interview. The whispers of J.Crew buyers running in and slapping their “J.Crew SOLD” stickers on everything (if you’ve been to Brimfield, you know exactly what I’m talking about!) is always the biggest gossip of the week!
This year I was specifically shopping for a multi-functional table for a small apartment, a rustic farm table for an eat-in kitchen and any small props that caught my eye. Although I’m still on the hunt for a farm table, I found a wonderful vintage 1940′s drop leaf maple table with spindle legs that opens up to dining table yet can act as a console when the leaves are down. I also came away with an antique gray chippy adjustable stool with glass ball claw feet that will be perfect for a clients living room as a side table. A set of 1800′s antique plates with hand painted butterflies made their way home with me, I fell in love with their charm and couldn’t resist!
Both Raina Kattelson (a fellow stylist who traveled with me, who will have the part “two” for you soon on decor8 with her “take” on the show) and I have agreed the industrial style seems to be here to stay — almost every dealer had some kind of metal lab stool or rolling cart. It was getting a little out of hand there for a while where anything pulled out of an old building was considered “industrial” with a trendy price tag to match! I have noticed people are mixing the industrial pieces with more refined elements to soften the look of the very masculine, hard lines of the rusty, crusty metal; pale gray and cream painted furniture, faded linen upholstery, reclaimed wood, ironstone and silver pieces etc. This is a style I kept coming across while living in Northern California a few years ago and it seems to making its way to the East Coast. I was calling it California meets Swedish as it seems to be the play on light with a lived-in/casual lifestyle. Mid-century is also huge huge huge. I overheard a handful of dealers independently commenting about how they’ll need to bring more mad-men style pieces for the next show. Although I was there for the first day, many of the big pieces had already sold!
Cash is king at a market like this one, although I have found that many dealers are totally okay with checks for large ticket items and some will even accept credit cards. Negotiating is part of the game and the dealers expect it. I always try to start a conversation either by asking “what can you tell me about this piece” or “what are you asking for this piece?” From their answer I can usually gauge their mark-up and if the item is within my price range. In the heat of the moment, it’s important to remember you’ll always get more with honey than you will with vinegar — being polite and friendly will get you far! Negotiating a lower price can be as easy as asking “what’s your lowest price?” or “my budget is xyz, is there any chance you could meet me closer to that price range?” Of course, you don’t want to insult anyone by assuming their wares aren’t worth what they’re asking. If I’m really serious about something, I will let the dealer know how much I love the piece, the color, shape etc. I’ve heard some people say the opposite that you don’t want to seem too eager, but I have found most people will go lower on the price if they know the buyer appreciates what ever it is they’re selling — they picked it, pack it and unloaded it, after all! For many dealers, this is their livelihood and they appreciate enthusiasm for what they do.
Brimfield has definitely become a giant retail store over the years, gone are the “good ‘ol days” when you could load up your car with treasures at bargain prices. Technology and a general interest in the antique industry has made everyone very aware of what items cost. According to many of the dealers, “these damn New Yorkers are driving up the prices”… *gulp*… I guess I’m guilty as charged! Brimfield is a party for people who like stuff and I joke that attending this show is like going to war; you’re tired, you get dirty, your body aches and you push through… and I love every second of it!
So let’s recap with my 6 top tips:
1. Go early in the week for the BEST selection or end of the week for the BEST deals.
2. Go in knowing what you’re looking for.
3. Bring detailed measurements and inspirational pictures. (Holly wrote a post detailing a binder she made back in 2008 when she lived over here - check this out!)
4. Cash is king (though many dealers are totally okay with checks for large ticket items and some will even accept credit cards).
5. Negotiating is part of the game and the dealers expect it.
6. Be friendly with dealers - you’ll always get more with honey than you will with vinegar — being polite and friendly will get you far!
Psst: If you missed the May Brimfield show, don’t worry… There are two more for you to catch this year – here are the upcoming dates: July 9-14 and September 3-8. So rest up and get ready to shop!
Nice to visit you on decor8 today everyone! If you have any questions, please comment below and I will try to answer you. Thanks for having me! – Meagan.
(text/photos: Meagan Camp)
Hello everyone this is Jillian posting from Australia today! How are you? If you love a natural approach to living then you’ll love this month’s edition of shopgirl where Brook Farm General Store in Brooklyn is given a friendly visit and photo shoot.
This inspiring shop (also with an online store) is a modern interpretation of the traditional general stores of New York City. Over the years I’ve seen the store featured on decor8 and in a few other blogs and magazines, so when it was my turn to visit New York, Brook Farm General Store was on my list. The store stocks well designed practical goods, the kind of items I like to use in my own home.
Brook Farm General Store is located in Williamsburg nestled in a small street just under the Williamsburg Bridge. Philippa, one of the owners, welcomed me to the store and let me wander around the shop snapping away to my heart’s content. The shop is neat, bright clean and light, the perfect palette to highlight the wares on display.
So what did I find in the store? A little bit of everything! There were goods for the kitchen and items for pets. There were things for the office and for the home like lights, brushes, enamelware, rugs and throws. This store stocks iconic brands such as Falcon enamelware and Opinel in addition to items from their own in house brand, Tourne. Of course I had to go home with something, but with so many lovely things all around me, it was hard to make a decision. As I love to cook, a box of Opinel French knives came home with me tucked carefully into my luggage.
What would you have packed away in your suitcase?
Next time you’re in Brooklyn, you can find Brook Farm General Store at 75 South 6th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211, (718) 388-8642. If you’re not in town, they have a great online shopping site that you can find here.
Wishing you all the best for the holidays! – Jillian.
(images & text: jillian lieboff)
Hello everyone! I’m kicking off a new column today, Holly Shops, that will begin now and run into the new year. It will be all about places that I shop at when I travel, featuring my own photos of stores, fairs and markets along with other travel-related highlights that simply inspire me. I am frequently on the road more and more, though I remember a time when I would have loved to travel this often and envied those who did! That’s why I want to do a bit more travel writing on decor8 so that you can come with me, even if only virtually.
It’s funny though… Once you start traveling for mostly business you forget the pleasure and sometimes you miss having fun along the way. Holly Shops will help me to mix business with pleasure much more because it will encourage me to create content for this blog as I go. I’ll post Holly Shops at least once a month, sometimes more, depending on my schedule.
So let us get started! On Sunday, I was in London so I woke up early for breakfast with my friends Charlotte and Steffi and then I ventured off on my own heading straight for Columbia Road Flower Market. I’d never been so I must first confess that I wasn’t “feeling it”, you know those days where you just want to stay in bed and pull the blankets over your head? I thought that being at a flower market would be nice, but since I was due to fly home the next morning I couldn’t really buy any flowers and it was quite chilly… Excuses for sleeping in kept dancing in my mind but I dragged myself to breakfast anyway because I kept thinking that I need to be a good role model to my students. What I mean is that I preach constantly in my workshops and e-classes that they have to use their blog as a catalyst to live their best life.
This means that a blog should inspire YOU first and help you to live a happier life – to create a more interesting life because of having a blog and a blog can be big time motivation to push yourself. This often means challenges and to do what doesn’t always come so naturally, or what you don’t want to do BUT since you have a blog to write on then you need to be doing cool stuff or else you’re readers will fall asleep and the most dangerous part is: so will you. If you aren’t having some fun in your life then it’s time to use your blog as a push, a motivator, to go out there and find something interesting to do so that you can feel encouraged to share it and inspire action in others.
Think about your own blog for a moment. If you have readers who interact with you via the comments section, don’t you feel a sense of responsibility to them? If you say you will go to this or that event and that you promise to share it, then you don’t – they feel let down but most importantly (and my point) is that you let yourself down. You can push your way out of bed, push through fear and even push past self doubt the more you DO things that build your confidence level. So many of us have built up our skills very publicly – I know lots of bloggers who were amateur photographers or budding food stylists when they started their blogs but the more they worked on blogging and bettering their skills the more their blogs blossomed. This is what I mean when I say to use a blog as a catalyst.
(These ladies, The Sugar Sisters, were so good! Listen to them here.)
When I am feeling down or lazy or not motivated, I reason how I should be using my blog to better myself and how can I do that NOW? Should I go to a flower market that I don’t really feel like going to because it will give me an interesting experience and blog post? Okay, sure – why not do it because usually, 10 minutes into the adventure, I’m SO HAPPY that I pushed myself to do it. Having a blog gives me a healthy dose of obligation I guess you can say – it makes me accountable and if there is one thing lacking in modern society it’s accountability. We really need it to grow and become better people – when we are accountable to others for some things, we push ourselves more than if no one would ever watch or notice.
It’s the difference between singing in your underwear in the bedroom with your hair brush as a mic and singing at a local karaoke bar – when we’re before others, we try a little harder and this often helps us to build up our skills. There are a lot of professional singers who got started in small bars and clubs. We all start somewhere and often it’s accountability that motivates us. I’m sure those big names out there wouldn’t be as efficient if they weren’t as accountable, right?
So that is the approach that I took on Sunday morning, that I would go to the market alone and turn my adventure into a blog post. This blog post! Now let us talk about Columbia Road Flower Market, shall we?
What I didn’t know about this market is that it’s not just about flowers! I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the road is lined with independent shops, tiny bakeries and cafes on either side and a few street performers thrown in for that lovely London charm. There are a few little passages here and there to, where I found a lovely bakery called Lily Vanilli and they happen to have a stunning bake book called Sweet Tooth just out, too! Girl, you know it’s true! I noticed that Columbia Road LOVES paint – it seems that every door and facade had a delicious paint color beckoning passerby’s to take a peek. I was so excited to see all of this COLOR since I was staying in a mostly gray and white part of town behind Victoria Station in Eccleston Square at the Eccleston Square Hotel which was all black, gray and white inside and out. Leaving the monochromatic decor for colorful Columbia Road was quite a happy start to my day!
When the flower market isn’t in full swing on Sunday mornings, you can shop the lovely stores any day of the week so during my visit to Columbia Road I did a little bit of everything. I loved the coffee at Lily Vanilli and the big brownie that I shouldn’t have had but hey, I hung out with some nice Londoners at a big farmhouse table near the window so it was worth it. Aside from that, I didn’t have lunch or anything because I really wanted to play photographer and take some nice photos before it became too crowded. I also wanted to spend time perusing the shops and I wanted to pick up some presents.
On Columbia Road, you will find a bunch of beautiful stores – a full shop list can be found here. I popped into Elphick’s, fell in love with Jesse Chorley and Buddug, loved the art and signage at Nelly Duff, spotted cute candies in Suck and Chew, visited Ryantown, found nice tiles and other things in SuperNice, and drooled over the ceramics in Nom. Vintage Heaven was loaded with granny chic. Oh, and I loved some of the vintage jackets with sewn on patches and fabric from Queenie and Ted.
I am so glad that I visited this gorgeous market, aren’t you?!?
If you’re in London between now and the 19th of December, shop the Columbia Road Christmas Market that is now open on Wednesdays from 5pm to 9pm. More information can be found here.
Have you shopped Columbia Road before? Oh and what do you think about my thoughts on blogging above???
(images: holly becker for decor8)