Remember when I bought this gem last year at the West Bottoms flea market?
She got a bit of an update this weekend. When we first got it, one of the levels was a bit more rusty than the rest, so we decided to remove it. I actually like the height of it better now. With all the openness of it, we needed to add wood to a couple levels so it could hold more. A friend of ours had some extra reclaimed wood sitting in her garage and was generous enough to donate it to us! The reclaimed wood just goes perfectly with the industrial shelving, don’t you think?
And I finally got our artwork from Charleston framed. I love the way all the colors in the art compliment the goodies displayed on the shelves.
There are three shows my husband and I recently found that we’re completely addicted to: “West End Salvage,” “Salvage Dawgs,” and “Picker Sisters.” On each of these shows, the shop owners buy and find salvage items that they can repurpose into new pieces, new designs, or just give them new homes. What’s not to love?
We have watched “American Pickers” for a couple years now, but these shows are definitely giving them a run for their money. Especially since we get to see how they transform items into new designs. Total Middle Redefined kind of stuff. If you haven’t given these a whirl, you really need to DVR them.
“West End Salvage”
On HGTV, this show features a shop in Des Moines, IA that not only buys flea market, antique, and architectural items, they also provide interior design services. It’s so fun to watch them reinvent, such as taking old barn wood and making wainscoting or turning elementary school chalkboards into a fireplace mantel.
My husband actually got to visit their shop recently on a business trip to Iowa. The shop owner and stars of the show gave him a tour of the shop, offered him a beer, and pretty much made him feel like the most special guest ever. He was over the moon, and definitely is an even bigger fan now. Check out their designs and more about their show at http://www.westendsalvage.com.
A DIY Network series, Black Dog Salvage (the shop owned by the stars of the show) is located in Roanoke, VA. They go around the country, disassembling old homes, businesses, and architectural gems. Their finds are then either used as-is in other peoples’ homes, or they completely repurpose the materials to create something new. Learn more at http://www.blackdogsalvage.com.
And my new favorite: “Picker Sisters.” Two absolutely adorable women from L.A. who had dreams to open a shop full of redefined items. They drive across the country a-la “American Picker” style, finding random items from barns, attics, yards, etc. And then they transform them into modern furniture. I’ve loved most of everything they’ve redesigned so far. Would LOVE to meet them, drink wine with them, and then go picking with them!!
These shows are inspiring and refreshing to watch. Especially as reality TV. The characters are true recyclers, appreciating the beauty found all over the country and finding new life for pieces that would have otherwise been thrown in the dumpster. It’s so interesting to see how these old architectural gems are given new life in their clients’ homes and businesses. Must-watch TV for those of us obsessed with interior design, flea markets, and Americana. Enjoy!
For my birthday in October, I asked for some decorating books. I know I’m really exciting. And my wonderful friend, Amber, got me my latest favorite – “I Brake for Yard Sales” by Lara Spencer. Lara is a host on Good Morning America, she’s a decorator on the side, and she also hosts one of my favorite new shows, Flea Market Flip.
Even though Lara has to have loads of money, she’s definitely a redefiner (no, I’m not sure that’s a real word). She loves turning flea market and dumpster finds into new, fresh goodies. Most of the items she shows in her book are ones she found for less than $200!
Here are a few of my favorite inspiration pages from her book. You should pick one up or check it out from the library because it’s well worth it!
OK, so with this little ones of course we already have a high chair. Correction – we have one of those chairs that sits on top of a chair. You know what I mean right?! And we love it – it is great (thank you Grandma Nette). BUT, how cool are vintage wood high chairs? And since we have a new little one and our Dax man will still need to be in the other chair thing by the time Jonah starts eating I figured why not search around a bit.
Backtrack a tad- Jonah woke up at 3a.m. Monday morning and wanted to party until 5:30a.m. so I had some time to cruise around the internet while he was coo’ing and smilin’.
I found this beauty on Craigslist of course…
Now sit tight with me on this one – I plan to paint this a BRIGHT high gloss citrus color or lime green. Or perhaps I will play up on the turquoise tray it has on top?
Regardless this beauty has great potential…I think my little “Jonah Bear” (yes that is a nickname not his middle name) will be very happy with his new seat.
What do you think? What color would you go with?
AND I don’t want to spill the beans too quickly but after I refinish this it might decide to sell this in our SHOP. EEK, get excited! The Middle Redefined online shop coming soon!
I decided to go with charcoal gray paint and cobalt blue cushions. We used paint and primer outdoor paint by Behr from Home Depot and had them custom mix the paint. At first the shade was too dark and then too much green and finally achieved the hue I was going after. The poor girl that was mixing the paint was probably highly frustrated with me but outdoor paint is tricky because you have to consider sun, shade and all different sorts.
Craigslist has been an amazing resource for flea-market junkies like me and Jill. When it started, it provided this whole new world for vintage seekers to hunt, negotiate, and score their perfect next treasure. You’ve seen lots of examples from Jill of items she’s found through Craigslist and spruced up to fit her home. She seriously has a knack for it. I was a bit leery of it at first, just because I’d read stories of burglaries or people taking advantage of those buying or selling. However, last year I decided to give it a whirl, and now it’s definitely a go-to resource for our family. I’ve also had luck selling a few things, which makes it even better!
After taking baby steps and talking to pro’s, like Jill, there are a few tips for buying and selling on Craigslist that I’ve learned along the way:
Make sure you’re photography is helping sell the item. It amazes me that people post coffee tables with trash all over them, or a chair with clothes all over the floor in the background. C’mon, put a little effort into it people! Those of us buying online are so visual, so anything you can do to “stage” your piece will help sell it. Clean up your item for sale and take a photo of it in a room as you would recommend using it if you can. If not, try to at least make sure the photo is bright enough that potential buyers can really see it. Too often, people take a photo in their garage or basement on their phone, and it’s really difficult to see the full potential of the piece.
Give all the dimensions and product information you have. This is something I didn’t really think about at first. I posted my first items for sale and forgot to even measure them. The first questions I was always asked was, “what are the dimensions?” So, after that, I decided to give every measurement I could, the brand name, the exact color, and anything else I thought was pertinent for a potential buyer. That helped cut down on the email questions I received that never turned into sales.
Be willing to negotiate. You have to understand that people shopping on Craigslist are looking for a deal. Part of the fun is negotiating a price that makes the buyer feel like their hunting paid off. So, start your price a tad higher than your bottom line – that way, you have some wiggle room. If you aren’t willing to alter the price at all, type “price is firm” in your description. But what’s the fun in that?
Keep yourself safe. If you’re a buyer, have the seller meet you in a public parking lot if possible. Do the same as the seller. Or, if you have to go to the seller’s house, ask them to bring the piece outside for you to view it. As the seller, you should do that as well for your buyer. Email is great for initial discussions, but talk with the person over the phone as well to understand why they’re interested. And try to have someone else with you if you can.
Here are a couple of my favorite Middle Redefined Craigslist finds.
Jill’s fabulous media console re-do.
Before Media Console
Media Console After – middleredefined.com
And my pendant lights.
Craigslist Pendant Lights
New Pendants with Vintage Light Bulbs – Middle Redefined
Hope this inspires you to give Craigslist a whirl if you haven’t already! It takes some serious time to weed through everything. But when you find that perfect treasure, it’s all worth it!
Oh West Bottoms, you did it again. Amazing items all over the place. Even Kingston bought his very first flea market find – an old ice cream scooper. He just had to have it because it had that little mechanism on the side that pushes the ice cream out. So fun for a four year old.
Anyways, back to our big buy. We found this fantastic industrial shelving unit! It appears to be something they might have used in a convenient or grocery store to hold soda. She’s a little rusty around the edges, but we’ll get her cleaned up. She was only $48, so I think we can deal with having to use a little elbow grease at that price.
It’s just perfect for the space next to our kitchen cabinets, and we’re going to add some wooden boards across a couple of the shelves to hold our dishes. Haven’t figured out the rest of it yet. Just excited about the possibilities!
I’m going to get rid of the rug in the kitchen since it’s hitting right under the shelf. And I’ve debated on removing it anyways because for some reason half of Kingston’s dinners end up on it every night. So probably not worth having a rug in there until he’s a bit older. We’ll see. We’re also planning to install open shelving right above this pretty lady, so I think I’ll be taking away the top section of the industrial unit – yes, it all comes apart, which makes it even better! It will just fit that space a bit better if one of the levels is gone.
One of our friends, Brianne, also has an addiction to the West Bottoms Flea Market. So for today’s guest post, we asked her to share her favorite finds and how she’s used them in her home. As you can see, she’s so creative and has a knack for accessorizing. Jill and I are thrilled to be able to share her post with you because we know you’ll be inspired. Hope you enjoy today’s post, written by Brianne herself – thanks Brianne!
About two and a half years ago I was watching The Nate Berkus Show (RIP, unless you count the reruns on Oprah’s network, which I don’t.) There was a lady on that was showing how she repurposed furniture and she mentioned having a store in Kansas City called Good JuJu. She mentioned it being in the West Bottoms, which I only knew as the location of the haunted houses and a cool backdrop for urban style family photos. A quick Google search showed me that her store was amongst others in the Bottoms, all of which were only open the first weekend of every month which was called Warehouse Weekend. I hit the next sale to check it out for myself and have missed very few weekends over the years. Just to show you all that the West Bottoms have to offer, I thought I’d share some of my favorite scores! All store’s vendors replenish stock throughout the weekend. Many of my earlier purchases came from Good JuJu. I purchased this buffet from a vendor there. She then painted it for me the color I needed. I love the clean lines and all of the storage it provides.
Refinished Grey Hutch
This turquoise mirror is also one of my Good JuJu finds.
Little Girl’s Room
I custom ordered this bookshelf from a store called Bottoms Up Antique Market. Bottoms Up has over 60 vendors and four floors. The vendor had one bookshelf on the floor but could also make them the dimensions you need and with the metal finish you’d like.
Metal Shelf Accessorized
The tar-stained wood was from a chicken barn and was unfinished, but after living with it for a while I decided to stain it. The darker look just felt more like me and now I love it even more!
This milk crate came from a shop called Nook and Cranny. I love the milk company’s name on the front. I cleaned it up and filled it with some of my husband’s favorite adult bottles since we don’t have space in our home for an actual bar. Father’s Day gift success!
My most recent purchase was this amazing gold ornate mirror at this month’s sale. I literally walked/ran to it when I saw it from the doorway of the second floor at Bella Patina because I was so worried that someone else was seeing it at the same time I was. It was seriously large Marge and although I had no idea where I was going to put it, I knew I had to have it and would figure it out.
My favorite store by far for antique & vintage shopping in the West Bottoms is Restoration Emporium. Much of my smaller decorative items have come from here. From mason jar soap dispensers to décor for every season and holiday, it has everything and is always our first stop. I came across these vintage bug prints and knew they’d be perfect for my son Rowan’s camp-themed room. I purchased the wood-grained finish frames from Ikea and hung them above his art table. If you only have time to visit one store in the West Bottoms, Restoration Emporium is a can’t miss.
Little Boy’s Room
Thanks for checking out some of my favorite flea market finds! Hope they’ve inspired you to do some exploring and rethinking for your own home!
My husband works at a university and frequently shops their surplus store. When faculty transition or when a remodel occurs, all the old desks, chairs, fixtures, etc. go into their surplus storage and are then available for sale to the general public. Many schools have these, so you should check with your local college to see if they offer surplus sales.
After his trips to the store, my husband has come back with lots of awesome-ness, such as cabinets for the garage, children’s chairs that we’ve donated to our son’s school, a Restoration Hardware light fixture, and an old small locker. The locker looked like a perfect addition to my son’s room, so I decided to give it a new look.
Here’s what it looked like when he brought it home.
School Surplus Locker
I got some spray paint primer and dark blue spray paint and started covering the whole thing. I ended up running out of the blue, and I didn’t like that brand, so I ended up trying Rustoleum’s spray paint for metal, which was MUCH better – I found mine at Lowe’s (sorry, I didn’t snap a photo of it).
Spray Paint for Metal Locker
After about four coats of paint, it was a great addition to my son’s bookcase in his room.
School Locker Redefined
Isn’t it fun? There are so many things you can do with old classroom surplus…you just have to redefined it.
I’ll show you more of my little guy’s room throughout the week!