My Latest Rose Bowl Flea Market Haul…and A Question For You
I went to the Rose Bowl last month and I bought that woman above, Jen Gotch, for $40, amongst a pile of awesome garbage you’ll see below. She also convinced me/inspired me to buy some vintage clothes which I will debut later but of which Brian thinks are great additions to my costume box. I fear that’s only because he’s used to my years of chambray-all-day and has forgotten OG Emily who did in fact dress in questionable and risky/cool thrifted clothes because it’s all I could afford. People claimed I pulled it off, but that’s easy when you are 24 and preternaturally perky.
Jen gave no permission to post that image but I literally didn’t have any photos of me at the Rose Bowl from this last trip (stupid of me) and two really nice readers from Nashville stopped us as we were shopping and offered to take a photo (after they said some very nice things that made us both feel VERY good).
ANYWAY. Here’s what I bought and why.
What I Bought:
These two mushroom stump stool things are by far the best score of the day. Here’s why:
1. They are unique. I’ve never seen these before…have you? (Liar.)
2. They are conversation pieces and I’ve always said to splurge on the conversation pieces. I can recover the tops and put these in a kids’ playroom next to a white Target play table and a simple rug and the room would STILL look interesting and unique. These mushrooms are not “basic b” ottomans, no they are not.
3. THEY SWIVEL. Not sure why I want them to, but that’s pretty fun.
4. They are going to go in the mountain house in the kids’ attic playroom which I’m painfully excited by. I’ll likely recover the top in something extremely kid-friendly (although I kind of just want to go with something white so the wood pops). Ooh, maybe I’ll slipcover them so that I can wash them.
5. They are graphic, and while they are absolutely unique, they are also simple in shape. This is a silhouette that your eye can easily figure out. Your eye tells your brain “MUSHROOM” and your brain says, “wait, that IS a mushroom” and then your brain tells your mouth to say “omg is that an ottamon shaped like a mushroon made out of a real wood stump?” And then my mouth says “YES.”
Would this go in any house? NAY. But in my modern mountain Scandinavian California chalet family cabin, it sure does.
If you can’t tell, I’m VERY EXCITED that these two entered my life.
But the problem about shopping at the flea market without cash or a car (what…I uber on the weekends because I hate driving THAT MUCH) is that you kinda splurge at a single vendor because it’s so easy to pay and get delivery from just one guy. That might be hard to understand, but you know how sometimes when you are shopping it’s hard to break the seal and make that first purchase but then when you do you kinda throw in all these things you don’t really need mostly because you are paying already with Venmo (am I the only one that thinks that doesn’t feel like real money) and it’s just so easy??
Well, that’s what I did. This guy was like “sure I can deliver…want anything else? I’ll give you a good deal,” and the dopamine that I was about to get from that purchase spoke for me…
So here’s what else I got from him:
This chair. Now I LOVE the arms, I do, but I’m less excited about it than I was that day (again, the dopamine from my retail rush is responsible for my irresponsibility). The vendor was originally asking $300 for it, but I got it for less with the bundle deal. I’ll redo the fabric—likely just a cream linen but maybe charcoal depending on the room I put it in the mountain house. There is something about the dip in the top of the back that feels more ’90s contemporary than I want it to. We’ll see if I can make it work.
The table next to the chair (the big raw edge one on the left) is ALSO from the same guy, and no I don’t really need it either, but it was $200 and pretty great so I took it home with me. Dangerous is this dopamine drug, combined with free delivery and Venmo.
Now, this piece is cool and pretty in person and was $200 so I “threw it in” but it’s not in the best shape and needs some love. I don’t have a place for it nor do I really need it but I figured for a shoot or a flash makeover, it’s GREAT. It’s about the same price as a piece at a mass retailer, but it’s more unique.
Here’s the good news: that painting that I almost bought a month before at the Rose Bowl was there again.
I like it, I do and while I passed it up the first time because it was $225, I thought about it a lot the last month with only slight (but still there) pangs of regret. This time, the vendor told me it was $150, not remembering that it was more last time. Or maybe he did remember but dropped the price. Regardless, I wasn’t going to remind him of his previous quote because honestly, I don’t think it’s worth more than $200 (at a flea market anyway). So now I have my umbrella/shirt/bentwood chair still life that Brian has always been dreaming of (opposite).
Speaking of good news for Brian, I bought you another shabby chic landscape that i’I’llrobably never actually use but my heart made me do it…
It’s big and pretty and I think it was around $100 with a pretty crumbly frame. The style of the moutnain house is rapidly getting more eclectic. My inability to go truly minimalist is going to disappoint some of you, but my love of pretty old pieces will help give a newly renovated house some soul and charm. I want some quirky antique pieces to make sure it doesn’t feel basic. And this piece is really pretty. In my current house, which is feeling WAY TOO GRANNY RIGHT NOW, it would feel too…well, granny, but picture it next to all the modern finishes and fixtures at the mountain house and I’m into it. I can see it on a crisp white wall, next to our beautiful natural wood doors, a mid-century chair and ottoman, a sculptural task lamp, and thin black side table…feeling me?
A fun joke at my house goes as follows: I say, earnestly and casually, “oh, hey, good news Bri,” (he falls for it every time), “what”‘ he questions, then I continue in a cute/mischevious way with a big grin, “I bought you that indigo bolster pillow with tassels for the Paul McCobb chair in the bedroom you’ve been looking for.” He rolls his eyes, but we both know it’s hilarious.
NEW FUN FACT: Brian, my husband who lives in my house with me, literally didn’t notice that I changed out the chandelier OR DINING CHAIRS in the dining room. Charlie and Elliot did (and they love the new one because it’s “golden”). That’s how used to it he is and yes, he is welcoming back OG Emily because he sees how happy it makes me to change stuff out even though it can disrupt the house.
Okay, off to what I passed on and how I feel about my choice.
What I Didn’t Buy:
I love a modern take on the wingback, but my inventory is pretty high right now due to my constant chair hoarding and this felt annoying to deal with. The reason I love it is that irreverent pop of the wood arm with brass detailing. It says, “you thought I was a granny wingback with tufting, but actually I’ve got some edge.” I think they wanted $350 and knowing that the upholstery would cost likely another $300 (fabric + labor), I passed.
I liked this little dresser, but passed on it for the following reasons:
- I don’t need it.
- It’s a bit too “mid-century” for me right now. While I myself was trying to figure out what that actually means, I think it’s mostly the finish. It’s too mid-century teak and orange. So I’d need to refinish or paint it which would be a good option, but would cost $300. I didn’t ask how much it was but I know this vendor and I bet it was $350.
- I think I was mostly attracted to it for the cute knobs and hardware isn’t a good reason to buy something (unless it’s a steal, but not for $350). You can buy awesome hardware online to dress up any dresser. Now, had this been $75 with bad hardware then you’ve got yourself a deal and only a mini project of shopping for hardware online.
Next up, the victorian wicker and bamboo picnic lounge chair of Brian’s dreams…
I’m attracted to this kind of stuff and always will be, but it’s VERY specific and not the “simple but special” vibe that I’m going for. Could this “make the shot?” You bet your bloomers, but it’s not very functional (so low) and feels VERY fragile. It was also $250. Had it been $40, I would have hoarded it for its perfect editorial moment, but I wasn’t going to invest $250 in a large prop that my kids would likely destroy before I actually shoot it.
Then there was this bench.
I thought this bench was super pretty while I was at the flea market but now I’m questioning myself. It’s from a train station which is charming and it definitely could be GREAT at the perfect dining table or in a modern farmhouse entry. But I think it was like $400 or something insane like that.
Here’s another painting I’ve been staring at for two months:
It’s so pretty and I don’t know WHY I wouldn’t buy it, but there is something that feels too “bright” to me. But then I think “ooh, it can go in the kids’ room at the mountain house” and then I think well, is it sad? It’s also too expensive, weighing in at $350 (I think, maybe even $375). I skipped it again and I’m glad I did.
Lastly, I love a whimsical wood sculpture for a kids’ room…
I’m already regretting NOT getting this wood plane. It was really big (check scale by looking at the chair/ottoman) and while yes, it was just a prop (pun), it would have really created “a moment” in Charlie’s room (the next version of his room, which might be coming soon as I’ve NEVER been happy with it). We have a thing for planes in this family as Brian’s dad, both grandpas and uncle are/were pilots. So Charlie and Bobba (Brian’s dad named Bob, not to be mistaken with “papa” which is my dad…also named Bob) watch timelapse plane building videos all the time and he’s highly interested in how they are built/made. Which makes me think, actually, that maybe this one wouldn’t have impressed him nearly as much as it does me. It would go the way of the natural wood train set that “I got for him,” of which he rarely touched.
Anyway. It wasn’t a huge haul, but I did forget to take photos of two things that I’ll show you on my stories at some point today.
But a question for you: it seems like you guys are enjoying the flea market posts (THANK YOU #OGEHD). Now, in this post, we didn’t shoot the pieces at my house because frankly, we are backed up on shooting/editing right now and I said “hey, maybe we don’t actually need to re-shoot these…maybe the iPhone pics are indeed sufficient.” Our thoughts were this: we are trying to make some posts easier to produce so we can really focus our time on the larger design reveals that need more of a push on other platforms (we want to create more videos to support the makeovers but right now we are just too busy). The first flea market post took 2-3 additional hours to shoot/edit (with Brady and Sara) + 1 hour for me to write + 1 hour to edit and link + 5 hours for the roundup of similar pieces. Whereas this post took just 15 minutes for me to upload, + 1 1/2 hours for me to write + 1 hour of Arlyn’s editing and linking time, but that’s it. So, it’s basically 13 hours versus 3. Saving 10 hours a week of our collective time seems like a good thing.
We wondered if these flea market posts could be more fun and “less produced,” meaning with less good photos and no roundups. Now the proof is in the pudding (comments and traffic) but I’m curious what you guys think. What I WILL do next time, regardless, is take more and better photos of each piece and get shots of me IN the photos to make the post more fun. I wasn’t planning on posting these so I didn’t get enough photos and these photos are frankly bad.
But my question to you is, how much do you care about seeing the photos on a clean background, well shot, in my house? Does it really matter? or do you just like seeing the stuff and hearing about the whys?