I’m sharing all our summer vintage finds and our plans for them. Plus, find out which ones were items we were looking for, and which ones were unexpected finds.
Antiquing This Past Summer
We’ve both been so busy with work this summer. In addition, with pandemic restrictions being unpredictable, we had decided not to take a vacation this summer. But I was looking forward to going hunting for vintage and antique finds on a couple of day trips. That’s one of my favourite things to do together, and that’s also how we ended up spending our 10th anniversary.
We did manage to get away and take two day trips to small towns to go antiquing. And then last weekend we spent a spontaneous hour at a used book sale out of town. I had so much fun and it felt so nice to get out and do something “normal” for a change.
Want Vs. Need
Our house is not that large, and we are actually running out of room to put things. This time when we went antiquing, I wrote out a list of items I was looking for. It was a lengthy list, but anything on that list is something I’ve been searching for for a while now. As well, if we found any of those items, they would have a home or a purpose.
However, as I’ve written about before, sometimes the thrill of the unexpected find is half the fun of antiquing. And you can’t be guaranteed you’ll actually find anything off a specific list when you go. But I prepared my list anyway, and went into these trips trying to be a little more disciplined about making unplanned purchases. I’ll walk you through what we found so you can see how I did!
Our Summer Vintage Finds of 2021
Small Vintage Frames
Small vintage frames have been on my list since last summer when I started oil painting. I’ve wanted to have a grouping of small frames that I can put my small oil paintings in. My plan is to hang them as a grouping in our dining room, and periodically swap out the paintings. Things look best in odd numbers so I’ll probably want 7, or 9 of them to cluster. But these three are a good start. I was thrilled to find something off my list.
I plan to remove the art that came in one of them. They could all use a bit of cleaning up and maybe a bit of glue. The top frame in the pile didn’t come with any glass or even a backing, but I can solve that problem. And I don’t think I plan to use glass with my oil paintings because I want to be able to see the texture of the brushstrokes more clearly.
Vintage Wire Locker Baskets
While I didn’t have vintage locker baskets written down on my list, it was something that I did have in mind. Our entry way is empty – there are no closets, hooks, or storage of any kind. We have plans to install some board and batten, a little bench, some hooks, and a little row of cubbies for baskets for gloves and things. We actually have some vintage white wire locker baskets already. However they are much wider and won’t work in the small space we have to work with.
Therefore, when I saw this trio that are narrower, AND have colour, I was very excited. In order to make our whole house feel cohesive, it’s my goal to add a few vintage touches into every room. Once completed, our entry will still be small and utilitarian with not many opportunities to add vintage without also adding clutter. So I was thrilled to find these practical vintage baskets that are just the right size, a great summer vintage find!
Here are a few items that were not on my list.
We ended up finding a pair of vintage cleaning brushes, as well as a giant vintage paintbrush.
These vintage brushes have lovely patina on the wood, with lovely routed grips on the edges. And the larger of the two has an engraved design. They were both inexpensive and I felt they would be lovely on display somewhere, as well as possibly being useful.
The vintage paintbrush is something I’ve never seen before. It’s hard to capture it in a photo to accurately explain, but it is very nearly round and there are so many bristles. The photo below is the side profile.
It feels so hefty in your hand and I love the roundedness of the bristles. Since there is a hole in the handle, I might tie a string through it and hang it as a decorative item. I’m planning to make a peg rail to store/display some of my painting things.
Vintage Brass Chandelier
When we moved in, our house had ceiling fans everywhere. While they’re practical for air movement, I don’t really like how they look. While we had someone removing our ceiling stipple, we had him remove all the ceiling fans, including the one in the stairwell. Unfortunately we hadn’t decided what should go in its place, so there hasn’t been a light there in the 2 years we’ve lived here.
We’ve tossed around ideas and hunted for that whole time. But we’ve not been able to agree or fallen in love with any option. Until this summer when we found this vintage brass chandelier. It came with all the crystals, but they were not attached when we bought it. We have counted and made sure they’re all there, and the chandelier itself needs a really good cleaning (as you might be able to tell from the cobwebs!).
We’re going to have to get some special scaffolding to install this light fixture in the stairwell, so I can’t imagine it’s going to happen anytime soon. Or an alternative plan we have is to replace the more modern looking fixture we have in our dining room with this instead. But I think it would be nice in the stairwell. It’s a similar style to the chandelier we have in our bedroom, but this one has more lights. This is definitely one of my favourite summer vintage finds.
Vintage Wooden Ladle
You may have already read about our next purchase in the recent post about cleaning and conditioning vintage wood. While I didn’t remember to write it down on the list I had for antiquing, I’d been wanting a wooden ladle for quite some time to replace a black plastic one I disliked.
Therefore I was so happy to discover this lovely ladle. And I’m even happier now that I’ve brought the finish back to life with walnut oil. It’s great that this will be one of our useful summer vintage finds, and not just more clutter.
In a recent post about decorating with vintage books, I wrote about how we can’t seem to stop buying books. And that continues to hold true. Before we entered our first antique store, I read off my list to my husband and said that we should stop buying so many books. The only books that were on my list were Penguin and Pelican books for our collection in the stairwell, yellow hardcovers (for an accent colour pop), and books that fit our interests like gardening.
On each of our two antiquing trips, we bought two splurge books that are very large and have fancy spines/covers. During the first trip, we bought The Garden Encyclopedia, and Birds of Canada because those are things we are interested in. On the second trip, we bought Good Words and Queen Victoria: Her Life and Reign. They’re so neat and have such elaborate covers. There were so many similar books that we wanted to buy, but we did manage to limit it to these four.
But then, we went to a Habitat for Humanity Re-Store that has a $1 book section. And when books are $1, it’s hard to say no. And last weekend, we saw that there was a used book sale out of town where all books were a $1. Luckily, we could only spend an hour there or else we would have come home with a lot more than the 28 books we did buy.
Let’s see some of the books we found between those two places that were $1 each.
Blue books are so easy to find, but we did find some interesting ones and I can’t resist gold lettering on spines. We were also excited to find this dramatic set of black Ernest Hemingway books.
Here are some random books we found, mostly green. We did manage to find two turquoise Pelican books for our shelf, though one has a library label on it. I liked the two small Mary Webb books because they’re muted but have coloured flecks to them.
I was super excited to have found a small stack of yellow books because yellow books are challenging to find, and I love how they brighten up a shelf in a group.
And finally, my favourite book out of all of them might be The Diary of Snubs, Our Dog.
It’s an adorable set of cartoons about a family dog, Snubs, and his life from his point of view. At the end of the book he meets a terrier friend, Tiddlywinks, and he helps her fit in. Tiddlywinks’ body language reminds me of our dog Oliver so much, and this book makes me smile.
After taking photos of all of our book finds, I was trying to find good homes for all of them, and it’s becoming clear that we can’t keep buying books at this pace. But buying books at $1 is a quick way to fill a shelf and make a decorative impact on a small budget.
Our Planned and Impulse Summer Vintage Finds
I think that all in all we did fairly well this summer. We found a few things that we were actually looking for, and found a few unexpected pieces, but nothing crazy. And then we made a lot of impulse book purchases, but at a good deal at least.
I’m very much looking forward to being able to go vintage hunting again. But if it’s not for a while, I’m satisfied with our summer vintage finds and looking forward to fixing up some of these pieces and finding them a good home.
I want to hear from you! What’s a vintage, antique or thrifted find you’ve found lately that you love? Do you try to stick to a list, or do you go in with an open mind to unexpected finds? Let me know in the comments below.
All the best,