From Hungary To East LA: Caitlin’s “Weird” Vintage Finds That Were Almost All Under $100 Each

Hello world! It feels like a good day for a little old-fashioned blogging – a few minutes of show-and-tell, if you will. Today, we’re headed around the world – briefly, at least – and checking out some of my recent vintage finds, collected from a tiny shop in Hungary to a best-keep secret vintage warehouse in East LA (with a few spots in between). It’s the nitty-gritty details, too: what I bought, what I skipped, what caught my eye, and what I wish I’d brought home – and how much I paid (spoiler: only one thing was over $100, but it was worth it). Was any of it actually good? Is my taste too weird for the internet? You be the judge. Let’s kick it off with two of my personal favorite recent scores…

A Few Pieces From Europe

But first, quick context: over the holidays, my mom and I went on a little European trip. I didn’t have a ton of room in my suitcase for souvenirs (amateur!!! What was I thinking?), but I did have enough space to bring these two pieces home! I grabbed the 1800s pear-shaped storage box at an antique shop in Budapest – I fell in love with the warm wood, thoughtful craftsmanship, and still-functioning lock and key – for about $100. The antique botanical print on the right was purchased from an old bookshop in Passau, Germany for around $20. (The original was painted in 1776 and it’s supposed to be a sea lion, in case the wild expression also threw you for a loop.) I’m so excited to get this absolute freak in a frame, though – he’s going to hang out in my kitchen, jubilantly cheering for me as I make noodles day in and day out.

We saw a ton of beautiful cutting boards at the Christmas Markets all over Germany, Austria, and Slovakia, but I was really taken by this one in Budapest – I loved how clean and graphic it was. I do remember it being a little out of my price range (I think around $80?), and I was SO STOKED when I got to open this on Christmas morning. Brenda had noticed my ogling and bought this while I was looking at some art. She’s the best 🙂

The Long Beach Flea

Annnnnd we’re back to America. This one is a classic flea market story: I spotted these Homecrest chairs when I walked in around 5 AM (does the darkness give it away?), asked for the price ($150 for 4 chairs!), and made it halfway down the aisle before turning around and racing back to Venmo the seller (@twosunbears – he does a ton of stuff in SoCal and has the best inventory!). I know they’re technically for the patio, but I plan to use them in the dining room – I love how the shape echoes the fans in my wallpaper. I’m getting some sweet little piped cushions made for the seats and I can’t wait to get them finished!

I was obsessed with this giant egg and wanted to grab it for above my stove, but balked at the price ($300!!!). The pet portrait also tugged at my heartstrings – very EHD of me – but I left it behind because the framing felt a little too ornate for the current vibe of my house.

AHH. How cool is this? I paid $50 for it, negotiated down from $80 – it felt a little high at the time (seeing as I am no Beth Harmon, in case you couldn’t tell), but I love it so much that I think it’s a fair price now. The inlay wood? The hidden chess pieces? It’s decor that’s functional (if I ever have someone to play chess with, at least) and I LOVE IT.

The bookshelf on the left sold SO quickly – I didn’t have space for it, but I loved those wrought iron balls up top. It made it feel a little extra regal and special, don’t you think? I’m also so taken by this type of mirror – the shape, the finish, the patina! – but this one was a little beyond my repair skill level (and I also don’t really have wall space for more mirrors, which is kind of insane).

Of course, I bought the old, giant, ceremonial ribbon-cutting scissors. OF COURSE, I DID. (But for $20, how could I not?) I don’t think they’ll live on top of my record credenza forever, but I do enjoy seeing them there right now 🙂 They could be fun on a gallery wall or hung against the back of a bookshelf. (My bet is that this will be the most polarizing purchase.)

Alright, hear me out: I’m starting to get VERY into embroidered and needlepoint pillows (I think a trend may be brewing here, too). I didn’t take any of these home with me, but I’m kind of regretting not nabbing the bright florals on the left or the sweet fish on the right.

Another “saw it, couldn’t stop thinking about it, had to return and nab it” situation. This burl jewelry box is HUGE, beautifully crafted, and in awesome shape. Originally the seller held firm at $80, but came down to $60 after he saw me pacing outside his booth. (Life lesson: neuroticism pays off sometimes?) This one still feels like an absolute steal to me – the newer version I’d been eyeing is less than half the size and more than twice the price. Let’s head on to…

The Rose Bowl

I’m not interested in hiking or camping, but I will HAPPILY schlep in the hot Rose Bowl parking lot for miles while hauling a whole brunch of stuff. I loved this campaign lingerie dresser, but the price was a little steep at $275. It’s technically totally fair – maybe even a deal!! – but these occasionally pop up on Marketplace for ~$40, and I wasn’t willing to splurge here. I was also super inspired by the matte black globe on the right – it’s so bold and graphic and interesting!!! – and it got me noodling on ways to repurpose some of the decor I’m no longer excited about.

I WAS very excited about this verdigris candleholders, though. I don’t think they’re actually copper or bronze (the finish feels more “painted” than “patinated”), but they felt like a fitting bridge between my previous postmodern-leaning style preferences and my current pre-1980s tastes. The best of both worlds, you know? They were $40, which felt like a pretty fair price.

OH MY GOSH. How could I not buy a little brass monkey? He’s looking at himself in the mirror, guys!!! I’ve never whipped out $5 faster in my life, I swear. And I’m such a sucker for these wicker suitcases and picnic baskets – I see them all the time on Marketplace for $10-20, but the prices are usually SUPER jacked up at flea markets (like, $60!). I lucked out here, though – the seller was super reasonable ($20) and he decided to cut me a 50% off deal in the hopes of making his first sale of the day. He made a sale, and I spent $10 AND got to ring a little bell he had set up. 10/10 experience.

SO PRETTY. I wish I had infinite rooms to decorate in my apartment (and infinite money to decorate with, I guess – that seems necessary, too). Look at the detail on the legs on that table on the left! Look at that rich pink rug on the right! GAH. I hope both of these things found great homes. That brings us to our next stop…

Urban Americana

If you’re not familiar, Urban Americana is an awesome vintage/antique mall (with an incredibly well-maintained IG presence, for the record) just south of LA. There are tons of booths and the curation here is TOP NOTCH – it’s all great stuff, selected by folks with really impressive design chops. Case in point: man, that antique dresser on the left really makes my heart skip a beat! I’m on the hunt for a second-bedroom dresser and this one was a great size, but it felt a little too country/sweet for the space in question. (Side discussion: dark woods are totally coming back, right? Let’s confer in the comments.) On the literal opposite end of the design spectrum, I LOVED these faux fur ottomans. So weird, so unpractical, so fun. I’m honestly still thinking about them. (Should I scoop? Is that insane?)

I was looking for a not-ugly trunk to store my little green machine and miscellaneous vacuum attachments. Both of these were SO COOL – I’d never seen anything like the one on the left, and the patina on the right was so pretty! – but both felt a little too precious or serious for my home. (I did eventually find a trunk – read on!!!)

I came home with this 1987 Haldon Group tortoiseshell ice bucket. It was $30 – about half of what it’d go for on eBay or Etsy – but I really liked the hexagon shape, lacquered finish, and space for a tassel. (I’m planning to replace this one with a tassel that’s a little more substantial.)

Vintage Junktion

OH MY GOSH. GUYS. If you live in the LA area and you have not been to Vintage Junktion, STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING AND REARRANGE YOUR SCHEDULE. (You’re going to have to because it’s only open from 11-3 on Wednesday and the weekend.) It’s 50,000 square feet of vintage and antiques, spread across two separate buildings – one for furniture, decor, and smalls (this building feels kind of like a giant office) and one for overflow furniture, building materials, and ephemera (this one feels like a warehouse). It’s PACKED and incredibly inspiring – how beautiful are the copper pieces on the left? Wouldn’t the mini-trophies be so sweet on a bookshelf?! – and I literally CANNOT wait to go back.

I found this Chinoiserie wicker trunk in the warehouse portion, snapped this photo, and headed to the cash register in the primary building to ask for its price. I’ve seen these listed between $20 – $200 and was hoping that this would fall on the lower end of the spectrum. The good news: it was on the lower end – $60! – and I brought it home. The bad news: the scale was a little larger than I’d imagined, so I think this will be headed to Marketplace VERY soon. That’s what I love about vintage – it didn’t work for me, but I feel great about recouping my costs here!!

I just wanted to show you a peek of part of this warehouse – it’s gorgeous. This is my kind of place 🙂 (Upon second viewing, I now realize that what I consider “gorgeous” – natural light, high ceilings, original wood, patinated furniture, well-loved building supplies – may also look like “a bunch of junk in an old building.” I stand by my initial assessment. I love it in here.) This concludes our tour of Vintage Junktion, and brings us to…

2 Marketplace Scores

Can you tell I love campaign furniture and wicker? Is that coming off? (I hope so.) I didn’t know where the Thomasville Huntley dresser would go when I bought it – at first, I thought maybe the dining room or the bedroom – but it’s landed in the living room and it’s actually the PERFECT storage piece for that space. It’s a great mix of shelving and drawers and it stores everything from board games and printer paper to old photographs and extra computer chargers. This wasn’t cheap – $400 after delivery, which I needed because it’s pretty massive and dense – but I have no doubts that I’ll be able to sell it for that price when the time comes.

And the tiny wicker dresser on the right was a $40 score for this tiny, previously unused corner of my hallway. It now stashes all my accessories – sunglasses, headbands, bobby pins, scrunchies, enamel pins, scarves, rings, etc. – and getting all of those things out of my closets/dressers/bathroom drawers and into one easily-accessible place has been pretty transformative, space-wise. HIGHLY RECOMMEND an accessory dresser. Huge fan.

This concludes my recent scores – WHAT SAY YOU? I’m ready to chat about all things brown wood, vintage pricing, and whether or not anyone else out there has a similar love of ceremonial scissors and brass monkeys. Let’s gab? xx

The post From Hungary To East LA: Caitlin’s “Weird” Vintage Finds That Were Almost All Under $100 Each appeared first on Emily Henderson.

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