Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Antique Finds | House by Holly Guide

Hi Readers,

Hope everyone is having a splendid Summer!  We have been enjoying the down time and I am holding steady that this Summer lasts for awhile...  
The impromptu gatherings and time spent on the shoreline is nothing I take for granted.  

With Summer here it's the perfect time to share my tips on how I get my antiques--my goal is for you to think twice when you pass by that next tag sale.. 

 When I see a piece of furniture or an 
accessory that I have to have, I always try 
to find a place for it--this is how your home evolves.

When you have home decor on the brain you have to be open minded to how you get your loot.  I find my antiques from Tag Sales, Thrift Stores, Consignment Stores, Craigslist, hand- me-downs from friends and family, previous home owners, the curb and even Tony--the old guy who started taking in old junk and packed his house with all sorts of goodies.  Doesn't it feel good to be greedy?

Tag Sales:

I get tons of compliments on this antique pie cabinet that I bought for a whopping $45.  The texture it lends to my kitchen sitting area is breathtaking.  I wish I could take the credit for the refinish, but I can't.  The heart shaped cut outs were replaced with small mirrors and it was distressed with cream paint. 

I find that sometimes you can find items already refinished or items that need to be refinished.  It really is hit or miss.

I found this antique blue dresser at a church rummage sale for $5. It is vintage Ethan Allen and was pretty much a call of the right place at the right time.  

Hitting a tag sale at the end of the day opens the door for all kinds of possibilities--everything must go, right?  Right!  This is when the negotiation works in your favor.  No one wants to drag that huge piece of furniture back into their home when they just want to get rid of it.  

But in the same breath, the early bird--gets the worm.  

These antique keys were just a few dollars.. Inserted into a gold collage picture frame backed with a beautiful card stock gives them a new and modern outlook. 

Just because there is a price on an item doesn't mean you have to pay that..  Always negotiate.

"Will you take...?"

My masterpiece hangs beautifully on the wall in my office.   

Curb Side Treasures:

This antique desk was found on the curb while on a walk with my neighbor.  She thought I was nuts.  I have to admit I kinda did too, but I am so glad I was at the right place at the right time.

I sanded and white washed it then brushed a coat of antique stain on top to give it a weathered look.

The best finds are FREE.

Another curb side find that had tattered and torn canned webbing.  I built the chair back up with batting and painters drop cloth, and made it the beauty it is today.  p.s. it was also featured on One Kings Lane.

My Mother towed this antique night stand and desk all the way from Texas once she heard the news we were having a baby girl.  It was found in an alley.  We painted them a creamy color and changed the hardware.  

If you find a piece of furniture on the curb try to envision it in another color and with new hardware.

Hand Me Downs:

This antique armoire was once my Mother's from as far back as I can remember.  It was a dark wood color.  Once I lighted it up with cream paint it became stunning.  One of my most favorite pieces of furniture in my daughter's room--the character is amazing!

My grandmother's antique costume jewelry was something I always wanted.  When it was finally passed down, I started playing around and found ways to create one-of-a-kind statement jewelry pieces.  

Always take hand-me-down jewelry--You can also use it to make fridge magnets, napkin rings, use it to embellish a bottle of wine for a special occasion and many other things.

I use a lot of this jewelry around The Holidays to embellish my decorations.

I am a child of the 70's so that means my parents and their parents had antique paintings with gold frames.  I slipped some of the paintings out and created a beautiful gallery wall in my office. 

My Nanny's old German clock entertained me for hours when I was a child.  I wanted to find a way to bestow the same pleasure to my daughter.  It hangs in her room painted robin egg blue.  It adds just the right amount of whimsy to her darling room.  

This wood and wrought iron antique lamp was my mother's.  I decided to give it a distressed look using cream paint and water mixed together.  Topped with an antique light bulb..
it's ready for the show.

Thrift Stores:

This little lady was found at my local thrift store for $60.  I instantly knew distressing it and recovering it would give it life again.  It now sits pretty in my Master Bath.  There were a lot of unbelievers with this one.

The beginning of the week is a good time to hit thrift stores.. this is after people have donated over the weekend and you can find the best pieces.

Don't be shy to ask for a discount on a slightly damaged item.  

Previous Homeowners:


  An old dresser may not mean much to someone starting fresh, but to someone purchasing a second vacation home-- 
it means everything.

Never be shy when buying a new home.. this is a time when the homeowner is ready to move on and this could work out to your advantage.

Make a list of the sellers items that you are interested in.. you will be surprised what they are willing to let go.

New knobs and some paint give this antique dresser a totally new life.

An old vintage trunk is hardy and can stand up to any child or animal.  That is exactly what I had in mind when I remembered another previous homeowner foolishly left this behind.  Now it's an indestructible breakfast cereal and craft specialist.  You literally can not destroy this coffee table.

Consignment Stores:

I envisioned this old antique night stand for something that it wasn't.  I liked the lines but hated the top compartment. After I hammered it off, it became the perfect dollhouse table. 
The $10 price tag was worth the experiment.

Many consignment stores mark their goods down after 30 days.  If you have your eye on something, sometimes it proves good to hold out.

Taking your unwanted items to a consignment store is a good way to fund your new antique purchases.

I kept the finish 'as is' because I liked the warmth it brought to my daughter's room.

This antique brass light in our Kitchen was purchased for $23.. another find worth the experiment of painting black.  

This nautical brass door bell was a steal for $8 and hangs beautifully in our beach house mudroom.

Tony The Treasure Guys Bottomless Pit:

My friend dragged me into a house that was filled with junk all the way to the ceiling and there was a tiny little isle to navigate through..  There was a small sign on the front of the house that said "Tony's". I have to admit this was a new one for me, but after a couple of hours of digging through all his nostalgic stuff, these antique globes shined in all that dust.  Thanks Tony!

When buying items from tag sales or a place like Tony's, you always get a better deal when offering a lump sum for your total purchase.  If you are with a friend put everything together and offer a price that you are willing to pay.

It doesn't hurt to put on your game face, don't let the seller know how excited you are about your "find".


 Sometimes we know what we want but don't want to spend the time looking for it.  I put an "In Search Of" ad in Craigslist for a wing back chair wanted for reupholstering.  

I quickly got an answer for a chair for $50.  

After cleaning it up, I was pleased to know it was an antique Hitchcock chair.  I used it in my office for a couple of years and the lady who sold it to me found my blog and wanted to buy it back.  I was thrilled to sell it.

Next time you are on your way through life and you pass that tag sale, curbside treasure, or bargain barn-- I'm hoping you might be tempted to actually stop. Or when Aunt Sally offers up that nice piece of antique furniture-- I'm trusting that you can visualize all that it can be.     
Let's not be hasty.. thrifty is the new chic.

Life is an adventure! Come keep up with me at HousebyHolly.blogspot.com

For more tips and a list of the best Summer Antiquing places in the U.S. visit Invaluable's blog.  If you are traveling this Summer, you may be passing by one of these great places to find treasures!

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  2. Hi Holly,
    What a great post and I love all of your makeovers! It's amazing what a little paint can do or just a little tweaking here and there. You've given us lots of great ideas and thank you so much.


  3. It is true we all are blessed with skill to turn old things into a master piece or even something closer to that. So great of you for sharing your ideas.

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