so much more character than new
things, and the prices speak for
themselves (“Two bucks!!”).
There are two rules I try hard to
enforce on myself when hunting: I can’t
buy anything that’s in need of repair, or
anything that I can’t figure out (right
then and there) where to put. As I’ve
mentioned on this page before, these
rules come after years of frustration
trying to get rid of what I thought were
great finds. There’s nothing worse than
chasing your tail on this stuff: the
initial thrill wears thin very quickly
when you get the repair bill or, worse,
when it ends up not repaired and taking
up valuable space in the basement.
THJEu AnRkTi OnFg
Photography by Ishi/Hair by Philosophy/Makeup by Victoria Dixon, Judy Inc./House & Home vase, The Bay/Styling by Trish Johnston
I firmly believe that even the most
committed city dweller should find a way to capture just a few
moments of good old-fashioned summer in the country each year.
For me, a trip to Bountiful just isn’t complete unless I can find a
great local flea market, thrift store, antique show or auction. I’ve got
to find at least one if I’m going to have a good holiday —if I don’t, as
my family will attest, I get quite cranky. And what none of them
seem to understand is that it can’t be just any old antique store. It
has to have just the right amount of junkiness: not too fine but not
too rough, not heavily edited but not hopeless heaps either. It’s a fine
balance that I can usually spot a mile away — or two or three,
depending on the signage — given the chance.
I search out those places wherever we go in the summer; I won’t
(OK, can’t) stop hunting until I find one. The thrill of unearthing a
stash of treasures in some place off the beaten path is something
only those of us who collect can truly understand. It’s an out-of-body
experience that I’m convinced is beyond our conscious control.
The best part is coming home with the sure sign of success — a
grocery bag full of odds and sods wrapped in newspaper — and
proudly laying them out on the kitchen table, boasting with glee to
anyone who’ll listen (usually only my eight-year-old daughter),
“Five bucks! Two bucks!” I buy Christmas presents, things for
friends with collections, things for the kids, things we need for the
cottage or at home (platters, quilts, juice glasses, books...). They add
Yup, it’s a ruthless business, this junk
hounding. You’ve gotta make tough
decisions on the spot; be unafraid of
dirt roads or dirt on your hands; be
unabashed about haggling over price;
act cool when there’s bartering to be
done; act fast when there’s competition.
It’s a skill, really. While some people
work on their golf swing, others, like
me, work on their back-road navigation
skills and excuses for unexplained two-hour absences.
I’m just starting to get excited about
this summer’s searches. I’ve got a lead
on a few new haunts near our family
cottage. All I need now is a free block of
time (or a new excuse) and I’ll be off in
a cloud of dust.
18 H&H AUGUST ’07