Repurposing: When Old Is New Again

Finds at flea markets, thrift stores, or backyard sales don’t have to be antiques to have value.  Designers today have found that there is money in thinking out-of-the-box when it comes to old things.  HGTV is replete with repurposing, achieving that quirky artisan look, that corner that lends interest to a room, the je ne sais quoi item that draws attention by using “old junk.”

A new development in finding these objects is the rise of retailers to include these one-of-a-kind items for sale online.  For example,, Haute Look, an outlet for Nordstrom, has  new category labeled “Authentic Vintage Curiosities & Beyond.”  Here you will find old shipping boxes with faded manufacturers names or advertising that lend themselves for storage & organization, colored bowling pins to keep stacks of books in line, or a french gymnast bar for your exercise room, just to name a few.

Another retailer dedicated to a certain style, Napastyle, has a new spin-off Barn Door, advertised as a site for  one-of-a- kind finds & deals, so you know you are dealing with limited supplies of any item.  Napastyle first started bringing in collectibles from Europe a couple of years ago where there was a plentiful supply, and now this new site has expanded to include vintage, rare, deals, and even a “Final Markdown” category that span American eras such as early homestead, depression, to mid-century. Vintage tins, furniture, and home accessories such as scales and more are part of their inventory.

You must know your antiques and collectibles to find a bargain, but these sites are good to find a particular item to complete your collection or for us bargain hunters, this is another reference point to find what is popular, or the retail prices of what we currently own.

MarkdownMom On A Mission

The Arts and Craft Movement first started in Great Britain growing out of a desire to shed the ornate style of the Victorians.  Not as successful in G.B., it was embraced in the U.S. by Elbert Hubbard, founder of RoyCroft Press, who wanted to reproduce his book , Little Journeys, in the rich skilled style of William Morris’  Kelmscot Press.  He established an artist colony in East Aurora New York of craftspeople.  The Roycroft trademark was emblazoned on leather. metalwork. and furniture.  Later it produced furniture for Sears & Roebuck. making it available to the middle class. 

Later Mission Style and Prairie Stylewould identify arts and crafts design styles in architecture like Frank Lloyd Wright, furniture with the Stickley Brothers, and a number of potters, etc.  Mission to Victoriana is very much the first minimalist style with clean lines, utilitarian purpose.  MarkdownMom loves this style since it can be incorporated into several design themes, and one way to gain knowledge on this artisan inspired movement is to attend special showings similar to craft shows.  In St. Paul, Minnesota recently a gathering of merchants of vintage mission style and reproduced mission style furniture and accessories was held on the St. Paul Fairgrounds.   An entrance fee of $7 not only let you in to see the merchandise and talk with the vendors, but there was a free dog show with it!  Bargain hunters should avail themselves of opportunities such as these special events to learn more on the history, identifying authentic from reproductions, and pricing.

See what you missed at the Mission Style Show, Click Here→

Flea Bites!

For most of us the snow has come and gone and warm weather is beginning to show its’ face and sometimes colors.  For bargain hunters we await Spring in great anticipation of tag sales, garage sales, rummage sales and flea markets.  This doesn’t mean that there haven’t been these sales throughout the rest of the year, but come on, some of the fun is taken out of the bargain hunt when you have to climb mountains of snow or slog through the slush!  On the whole, there is more to pick from in warmer weather especially with flea markets since these outdoor events depend  heavily on the weather conditions.   MarkdownMom has come across a new publication thatwill enhance our quest this year:

  

Flea Market Style is a new magazine  making its’ debut this Spring.  It promises to be jam packed with tips, repurposing flea market finds, and decorating.  It’s such a new fledgling enterprise that you will be on the ground floor with its’ first issue!  Check your favorite WalMart, Barnes & Noble, CVS, Target and other outlets, or check  its’ website, $9.95.