Vintage Hunting: it's not all glamour.

It's no secret that I love beautiful interiors that showcase a mixed look. And to achieve that look, I don't mind spending time searching for those quirky, special pieces. I'll admit, I'm a pretty dedicated picker. I love a unique find and a good deal. OK, I really love a good deal. But it's not all Instagram shots of pretty finds and visits to quaint shops. No, some days it is decidedly the opposite, and this is the story of one of those days.

Steve was out of town, and I  had seen an online posting about a large antiques shop having a 50% off sale on every item. Every item. Like a moth to a flame, I was dying to check it out. I won't name the shop, and the reason for this will become apparent shortly, but believe me when I tell you that this incident has in no way put me off a return visit. But maybe I'm a bit more single minded about these things than others.

The shop was fantastic. Three floors crammed with treasures, small and large - and at 50% off, I was less likely to grumble throughout about "prices for tourists" and the like. Despite the incredible volume of items, the staff had clearly taken time to arrange things thoughtfully, some even in beautiful little tableaus.

vintage hunting - it not all glamour

Between texting clients with a few images of items they might be interested in, and scoring a ridiculously over the top swag light for $10, I spotted it. A lovely, huge, green demi-john, sitting in a corner, strapped into what I can only describe as someone's seventh grade shop project.  The wooden containment system was ridiculous, but the beautiful green, glass container was mine.  All mine.

vintage hunting - it not all glamour

I lugged it down to the cash and giddily paid my money. (You know I'm happy with a find when I don't even haggle.) I first carried the light fixture out to the car and returned for the demi-john. The man from the store was holding it and seemed somewhat insistent that he would carry it to my car. As kind as that is, "IT'S MINE NOW GIVE IT TO ME." Um, I mean, "Don't trouble yourself, good sir,  I can easily carry that." And with that, I took it out of his arms and headed happily to the car. Happily, that is, until I glanced down into the bottle and caught sight of what appeared to be a tiny, wizened skeleton.

"Oh crap. Dead mouse." I wavered for the briefest of moments before my brain reminded me that this was 50% off. "It's just one small, very dead mouse," I reasoned, "No biggie. Be cool. Just get it in the car Quickly. Ick. Now. Hurry hurry HURRY!" As I set it in the back of the car, my face hovered perilously close to the opening of the bottle. Oh God. Would I get the the plague? Ugh. Trying not to think about what was in the bottle and its potential implications on my health, I drove home. The weather forecast was calling for freezing rain that night and the next day, so I was going to need to take care of this issue today, unless I wanted the Plague Bottle in my house.

vintage hunting - it not all glamour

Normally, a hideous task such as cleaning up rodent skeletons falls to Steve. This is less because I don't want to do them, and more because I want to watch Steve do them. He has a weak constitution and strong gag reflex when it comes to such things, so it's great sport. We once hit a crow while driving on the highway (a strange incident where the crow was shoved out in front of our car by two other crows)  and did not realize for about three hot summer days that it had landed neatly inside the fog light hole on the front of the car. You can probably guess what alerted us, after three hot summer days, to its presence in this cavity. The extraction of its incredibly rank remains nearly did Steve in. I, meanwhile, stood at the end of the driveway, hopping from foot to foot, making disgusted yelping noises and capturing the whole thing for posterity.

But I was on my own today, so I pulled on the gloves, got a very big bottle of bleach, and began. The first task was to remove the wooden containment system it was in and then determine how much of this problem could be shaken right out of the bottle. The bottle was so dirty that it was hard to see what was going on inside, but as I hefted it up and gave it a bit of a shake, I immediately realized that I had underestimated the scope of the carnage inside. There was clearly a second body.  Ugh. I carried the bottle out to the yard and tried tipping it upside down and giving it a good shake. The loose contents flew straight for the opening and, rather appropriately, bottlenecked, refusing to fall out.

Defeated, I realized that I was going to have to get a stick of some sort and extract these bodies. I rooted around, found what I considered to be a reasonable tool, and then began enacting what would have been a ridiculous scene had anyone been around to witness it. A twenty litre bottle is pretty sizeable, especially if you want to tip it upside down with one hand, jam a stick in it with the other hand and forcibly evict what you thought were two carcasses from the bottle. I say this because, as I grunted and struggled and gagged a bit, the bodies just kept coming. One, two, three, four. Four dead mice. Three small, and one rather large.

With the corpses all assembled on the ground in front of me, I couldn't' resist the urge to poke them a bit and try to work out who died when. Were two or more ever alive together in the bottle? If so, what Donner Party nightmare did they live out? Did a third mouse land in the bottle and see two already emaciated bodies and immediately realize its folly? How quickly did this all happen? How long would the bottle have to sit there to fill up completely with dead mice? What sort of a discount could I have got if I pointed out the tiny mummified remains in my bottle?

And of course, I named them.

vintage hunting - it not all glamour

With the bodies removed, I brought the bottle back indoors and commenced bleaching and scrubbing it to within an inch of my life. And here it is today:

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I await the next dinner party when I can casually mention that the big green bottle was once a crypt for rodents. And soon, I will head out on the road again, seeking beautiful finds with perhaps a touch less drama.

 

 

 

Old with New

Mixing old with new can give you a gorgeous result in your home, but it can also be a bit of a daunting task to take on. Not to worry - we've got some great examples of mixing antique and modern together in rooms around the home.

Living Rooms

Using key features such as light fixtures or large pieces of furniture, you can easily show off your mix of old and new. The spareness of some of the modern pieces contrasts beautifully with the more intricate look of the antiques.

Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor - antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.
Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor - antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.
Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor - antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.
Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor - antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.
Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor - antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.
Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor - antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.

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Kitchens

Typically when mixing old and new, we see old buildings and rooms with newer furniture and fixtures. In the first kitchen below, we see a beautiful modern kitchen given some real interest with an antique cabinet.

Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor - antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.
Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor - antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.

source

The next two examples show modern fixtures in an older home.

Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor - antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.
Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor - antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.

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An older table with modern chairs is a quick and fun way to mix things up.

Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor - antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.
Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor - antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.

source

Dining Rooms

In some cases, simply adding one or two modern items into an older space can do the trick. Below you see a modern light fixture and chairs doing the job.

Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor - antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.
Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor - antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.

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In this room, the modern chairs add a contrast not only through their form, but stunning color as well.

Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor - antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.
Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor - antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.

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Here the contrast is also in color and form, with black Ghost chairsand a modern pendant lamp contrasting beaituflly with the old white table.

Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor - antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.
Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor - antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.

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Bathrooms

First up we have a real stunner. The high walls and antique chandelier are juxtaposed with a sleek modern tub and some modern recessed lighting.

Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor - antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.
Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor - antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.

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This bathroom contrasts a sleek, modern shower (heaven!) with a gorgeous claw foot soaker tub. The dark color of the walls allows the striking light fixture to really sing. A stunning room.

Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor - antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.
Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor - antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.

source

This bathroom is all sleek, white and modern with a splash of beautiful contrast in the antique cupboard. A great use of color, texture and style.

Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor - antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.
Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor - antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.

I Recommend: Spitalfields Life

Do yourself a favour today and take a visit over to Spitalfields Life, a wonderful blog that deatils life, art and beauty in the east end of London. Here we have a stunning old home whose walls and spaces are now lined with a collection of original French nineteenth century designs for satins and silk velours, created at the Lyons factory of Antoine Donat between 1840 and 1865. L2082733

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Just stunning. View more of these and then lose yourself for a while in the beautiful stories there.

I Want: O'Keefe and Merritt Vintage Stoves

I love to cook and I have a lot of kitchen-crushes on different ranges and ovens from Aga to La Canche. And then this popped up in my Facebook feed...A stunning O'Keefe and Merritt restored antique gas range with multiple ovens. What a great stove. The white and chrome finish are amazing.

It feels like I passed "want" back at a gas station about 7 miles back, and have hurtled straight to need. NEED. Dear me. My brain is having trouble processing how wonderful this is.

It's a restored O'Keefe and Merritt stove. They were American made and no longer in production but there are some companies that keep them going, like Antique Gas Stoves. What a dream, yes?