Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Humble Abode: The Thrift Store Aesthetic

Ever open a magazine and see a gorgeous high-wingback chair or a beautiful table setting and, after completely falling in love with it, catch sight of the tiny little letter of a pricetag that isn't so tiny? Yeah. Me, too. So I find myself memorizing images from magazines and making a mental shopping list for the next time I'm "junking."

Vintage is a sneaky, manipulative word. It's the materialist's nicest of way of saying "used." And it makes buying "used" things seem hip and progressive, rather than trashy and cheap. But the biggest difference between the word "vintage" and the word "second-hand" is in the number of zeros before the decimal point. And you know what bugs me most about "vintage" items? That Fiestaware is just an opinion away from a Goodwill bin. Seriously. That "buyer" who works for the vintage boutique paws through piles of junk to find things that are truly worthy of the label "vintage." So you know what? I'm doing it, too. These "Humble Abode" posts are going to highlight the vintage things in my home. You know why they're vintage? Because I got them secondhand. That's the only qualification. Some things are from thrift stores and garage sales, some have been passed down from my mother and my grandmother, some things were even rescued off the trash heap!

In our entire apartment, I can only legitimately think of three pieces of furniture purchased new. The sofa, an armchair, and an end table (already falling apart, I might add). Everything else is on its second, third, or fourth reincarnation.

I'm excited to share some of them with you!

I love to hunt for dishes. Here's the table set for dinner tonight.

One of my favorite things is to mix old and new dinnerware. So we have the silverware and white square plates that were wedding gifts, the red quilted placemats from my mother's dining room, the green and purple plates from Goodwill, embroidered linen napkins that belonged to my great-grandmother, and copper napkin rings my parents received as a wedding gift.

The green plates and purple dessert dishes were 59 cents a piece at the thrift store and stacked randomly on different shelves. If you can't tell, I'm a fan of the jewel tones. I managed to put a set together after digging through for awhile. Total: $4.72.

Anyone have a favorite set of dishes or tableware that they either use everyday or save for special occasions?


Janet Thimell said...

Well, I personally love my absolutely retro green dishes all purchased at Salvation Army stores and used furniture stores in Switzerland. Someday they, too, will be yours, Baby Girl. At least I hope so!

Jenni said...

Your home seems so very cozy, Elizabeth. :)

Emry said...

You've seen my polka-dotted dishes and wine glasses. Although I too love a good thrift store find, they're my favorite, despite being brand new.

Next time you come to Warren, we are going to the Allegheny Book Mart. You'll love it.

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