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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

This Weekend's Estate Sale Science (or Is It Art?)

Springtime is one of my favorite times of year, not because of the blossoming trees or chirping birds (although both are nice) but because springtime means estate sale season is back in full swing!  At the risk of revealing some trade secrets, scouring sales (both good and bad), over the past few years has taught me a lot.  The main lesson that I think is most helpful is how to identify what is going to be a good estate sale and what is not (same for yard sales, although they are definitely dicier). 

I attended an estate sale near my house this past weekend, and this house is the quintessential estate sale location.  It was an older house that hadn't been updated lately, and the folks who lived there were there for many years.  You don't want it to be such a fancy house that the owners would have updated frequently and thrown out all the vintage treasures. 
In this case, this is one of the last ranches in this neighborhood that hasn't been torn down and rebuilt with a massive house (although I will readily admit that in this neighborhood, the new construction is generally very tasteful, and the mature trees were left in-tact).  

But as you can see, this little ranch was surrounded by much larger, fancier houses.  This is perfect estate sale territory.

For what it's worth, when looking for estate sales, I'd avoid the suburbs like the plague.  You'll never find anything good, unless the house happens to be one of the remaining original houses yet to be bulldozed and replaced with a builder-grade home.  I'd also avoid a super fancy house, where you know all the good "finds" have ended up in the hands of antiques dealers long before the sale.

Back to my weekend sale...  I actually didn't make it there until the third day of the sale.  That's both good and bad I suppose.  The really good stuff is probably gone, but the remaining items can typically be purchased for a lower price.  These sellers were two daughters in their 70's cleaning out their mother's estate.  The dining room was full of knick-knacks.

There were some heavy pieces of furniture, but I wasn't in the market for anything that major.

This bedroom was full of vintage linens, like napkins, sheets, placemats, and hand towels.

I wish I had taken a picture of the room full of vintage clothes.  It was AMAZING.  Racks of clothes from "The Lilly" (vintage Lilly Pulitzer), DVF, Neiman Marcus, custom evening gowns, etc.  Probably 100 fancy hats with their original hatboxes, and more costume jewelry than you can imagine.  It really was unbelievable.  I picked up this vintage cardigan for MoS Washington- it will be so cute with white jeans!

I love vintage bargello pillows (Jonathan Adler's pillows are a new version of bargello), and I was thrilled to find this one that's the real deal, backed in gorgeous dupioni silk.

This camel saddle came home with me.  The cushion needs repair, but I think with a new cushion it will be super cute in baby girl's nursery!

Inspired by a recent listing on MoS Marketplace, I had to pick up this midcentury chair.  I may recover it, but it's just the right size to fit in a bedroom corner.

Also for baby girl, I bought this colorful lacquered Chinese jewelry box.  My mom has one that's similar that I have always loved, so I think it will be fun for her to play with in years to come!

And lastly, for baby girl's nursery, I was thrilled to find this pair of vintage poodle plaques!  I don't want to go overboard with vintage poodles, but I am just loving the cuteness of these to hang on a wall!

Do you have any tips for finding good estate sales?  Do you agree that an older ranch (not upgradeds) in a nice part of town is the best place to find one?


jandjhome said...

Amazing finds. I love that chair. I've never really been to an estate sale, I may have to give it a try. I do garage sales often, but this seems even better.

ashley said...

I use to find the local sales. I'm like you though... I'm looking for those older homes that haven't been constantly updated to find hidden treasures. If there is something that I see in the pics that I really want, I will go the first day. Otherwise I'll wait until the second in order to get better deals. It's amazing how much some of these estate sale people will try to charge for things...

Ashley said...

Great finds! I'd love some tips on how to find and score great deals at estate sales...for me, they are the "final frontier"!

Julie said...

Great finds! Love the poodles.

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