01 May 2008

Antiques apprentice

I can say I am a late bloomer when it comes to antiques and vintage stuff... When I was growing up, my mom always bought everything new, and I am sure she would be absolutely horrified if she knew I actually pay money for chippy old furniture...!! Only recently do I remember my mom actually starting to enjoy going to antique sales and flea markets, so we always try to do that when I am visiting in Lisbon...!!

After I got married and moved to the US, I struggled with finding a style, and ended up falling into the "american country" trap, I thought that was the right thing to do... We moved to London when Anna was two and Clara was only 10 months old. I really did not appreciate antiques back then, and really wish I could "redo" our stay knowing what I know now and loving what I love now!! Oh, the eiderdowns I would have collected, or the barbola mirrors I would have hunted... I kick myself when I think that I only made it to Portobello Road twice, and came back with a bread knife and a little vintage child's dress... Our stay in London was followed by a couple of years in Morocco, where I gathered an impressive amount of rugs and occasional furniture (which is, at this point gathering dust in the garage since I don't really have a place to display it...). After spending three years overseas, and having left all our furniture in storage, it was quite an interesting feeling unpacking all our "old" items and realizing I actually didn't like them anymore!! I felt like I had outgrown most of our stuff...

It wasn't until we purchased our first home, a couple of years later, that I started finding myself... I had discovered Rachel Ashwell's shabby chic decor, and BAM, fell in love!! But I really didn't know how to go about it, so I started buying all these reproductions that had the shabby look...! Slowly, I realized that I could actually find the real deal for not so much money, and sarted becoming a more savvy and selective buyer. At that same time, I began selling items at a local antique mall with my friend Lisa (we barely knew each other when we got started, but we knew we liked the same things, so we decided to jump right in!!). Now, I feel this insatiable thirst for antiques and vintage, and I want to learn as much as I can!!

I have so many things around my home that I love, but there are only a few that hold a very special place in my heart , and I would like to share them with you.

This doll was given to me by my paternal grandmother, just a few years before she died. I wish I had asked her more about the doll, as I really don't know anything about it!! My paternal grandfather was a german salesman who ended up leaving Germany and settling in Lisbon in the early 1930's, when things were starting to look ugly for the jewish people. My grandparents traveled a lot around Europe, so I'm pretty sure it was purchased in one of their travels.

Another special item I am proud to own is a very old map of Portugal, believed to have been drawn in the 17th century!! The real interesting thing about it is that Portugal is drawn laying on it's side, with north to the right and west on top...!!! The amount of information already known in the 1600's blows me away!

The large travelling trunk belonged to my great aunt and was the one thing I chose when allowed to pick one thing from her estate. The large old bobbin cabinet used to belong to my friend Jeanne, I had always admired it, so one day she offered to trade it for a Singer Featherweight, and so it became mine...!! And the collection of pin money banks was one of the first collections I started shortly after we bought our home six years ago!! The majority was found on ebay, and they all sit on a chippy corner cabinet in my bedroom!

I am excited for the road ahead, and can't wait to see what more special things will be added to my adventures in antiquing!!


  1. I work in London and live just outside and can you believe I've only ever been Portobello Rd ONCE!!

    Hopefully with the brighter weather arriving soon (I hope!) I'll actually make some more frequent trips!!!

    Victoria x

  2. Hi
    You have the most wonderful treasures. I love seeing them, have a great weekend.

  3. I love your collection of pin money banks! I collect them too. Your corner cabinet looks so sweet with all of them in it.

  4. Well, you have gotten a grea start on your "new style" so just keep shopping! Just be sure to show us all the goodies! I love the doll, well, and the rest too, but especially the doll. Enjoy yourself as that is the most important part of the whole experience. Thanks for sharing!! Pat at birdnestontheground


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