Friday, March 14, 2014


Tips on How to Rescue Retro ~

Antique Shopping Guide..


I use to think that antiquing was boring when I was a little girl... I have many memories of being dragged around by family members to antique stores. I didn't realize that the many trips would help me one day in the future when I become a little vintage obsessed. It started with my wedding that I decorated myself and created a vintage New York theme... I can't even tell you all the marvelous stuff I found for my special day in dusty antique stores.  I recently became smitten with the rattan peacock chair and it become a must for my home. I knew I wanted a real original chair but had no clue where to look for one.  My patience wore thin and I found one online... a duplicate for $800!! It's not really vintage and $800?  No thanks, man!  So I kept searching... another online for $380.  I almost settled for this chair until I decided to put my antiquing shoes on and dragged my family along for a weekend of Retro Rescue adventure.

Tip 1  Have Something in Mind
Making a list of things you want to find will keep you from coming home with a whole bunch of stuff you don't really need and will prevent you from having a future as a hoarder. YIKES! It's easy to go to these stores and just grab anything and everything that looks cool.  The older I get, I realize that less is more in a home and quality over quantity is important when decorating. If you want your vintage pieces to stand out... don't overcrowd your home with them and stick to the things that really get you excited.

EXAMPLE: I was all in it for the Peacock chair baby!! 

Tip 2  Do your Research
Research and read reviews on antique shops or dealers in your area. As much fun as jumping in the car and driving without a plan may sound... it will leave you frustrated and exhausted (especially if you are bringing along the family). Find places that are known for carrying the items you are looking for and if it doesn't take the spontaneity out of it too much, call ahead and see if places sell items in your category. 

EXAMPLE: I called several places and found three close by and several miles away that sold several rattan pieces.  With that I knew I had a lead!=-)

Tip 3  Map out a fun filled day
Let's face it, not everyone in your family is going to be excited to go look for stuff from an era that didn't have iPads and football on a flat screen... this is YOUR hobby and if you want the family to tag along you have to make it FUN! When you pick out your top places for shopping, research cool and new things around them. Any yummy ice cream shops along the way? What about a cool restaurant you saw on The Food Network?  Oh wow, that skatepark your son has been raving about just happens to be a few miles away from your second antique shop! ;) Include things that your kids like to do too and with any luck you will have them excitingly hoping in the car with you. If all else fails .. bribe them with their favorite TV shows and choice of dinner for when you get back ;)


Tip 4  Don't forget to Bring Your Inspiration
Finding that item that you have been dieing for can take some special shopping goggles. It's not easy to find specific things when antique stores can be over crowded with items and people.  Make an inspiration board with pics of what you are looking for and how you want to place them in your home. What makes this item so special?? Another option is to Start a Pinterest board and bring it along with you on your phone. Have something to show to the dealer and maybe they can find it for you. 

Example: Here is my inspiration board ..

Tip 5  Bring Cash and Put Your Bargaining Face On
Today most people don't have cash on them and there have been many times that I have found something awesome and the person next to me agreed. Oh no... I don't have cash! Where is your closest ATM?  As you are driving trying to find an ATM, the other person with cash is buying that item that lit up your face like the sun. This has happened to me... DON'T let it happen to you! You brought your cash and now it's time to bargain. Never pay the tag price! Any seller is going to try to get the most money out of item but you did your research and know what the item is worth.  Put your confident game face on and start negotiating. Hand them the cash and offer what you are willing to pay. Usually both parties can come to a mutual number.

EXAMPLE:  My beloved peacock chair was tagged at $120 and I talked it down to $80! I knew the chair was worth way more than the asking price but I didn't want to spend more then $100. 

Yaaaaay We found what we were looking for and got an awesome deal! Time to take this baby home!=)

Tip 6  Get The History on Your Item
If you are lucky the seller of the antique may know a little history behind what is in their store. There is nothing more rad then knowing who owned your buy and how it was used. Ask about the owner? Why did they sell it? What era is it from? Anything that will add to the value will make it even more special having it in your home.

EXAMPLE: My chair was from the 1970s and originally owned by a little club owner in Midtown Atlanta. The guy who sold it to the dealer was related and gave a whole spill on how people use to sit in it to take their picture in between dancing and drinking. I am determined to find out exactly what club this is=)
An Atlanta Midtown Club in 1973

Atlanta has some serious  hippie action going on in 70s.  I imagine the previous owner to look something like this.. HEY.. it's MY vision ;-)

Tip 7 ➳ Enjoy Your Item
Now that you have your item home sweet home .. it's time to display it proudly! 

EXAMPLE: Just knowing that people posed in my chair over and over and thinking about all the crazy folk that probably sat there... well ya know... I had to join in the fun too ;)  With a little help from Brooklyn, our little model of a Bulldog, we snapped a few pics of our own. 

I paired my new rescued piece with a Fiddle Leaf tree, Moroccan pouf, sheep skin rug, and English Bulldog ;-)


  1. Tips 1 and 2 are great! I really need to keep those in mind. At least number 2!