Vintage Art

I have a somewhat new thing for vintage art, paintings in particular. Most of the art hanging on my walls already is either self-made or inhertied-antique, so as I’m shopping antique paintings for the first time I’m learning it’s slightly challenging to snatch what I would consider decent/reasonably priced stuff. I mean, you really have to look, and you have to know the right places to look.

I’m especially drawn to landscapes. Pieces are ideally framed in real wood. I also like when you can see the brush strokes and/or texture of the canvas. Signatures not required–I can’t even pretend to know anything about art, so awareness of the original artist isn’t a top priority of mine, which is also probably why I refuse to pay more than $50 for a painting. Sorry.

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Above: Home of Julie Paterson of Cloth Fabric on The Design Files.

For local shopping, I’ve had the best luck at The Eclectic Collection, both in Abington and West Bridgewater, MA. I’m literally at these shops every other weekend because they are such gold mines. The prices are unbeatable.

When the season calls for it, the Brimfield Antique Show is a day-trip of a shopping experience with rows of vendors for as far as the eye can see. I’ve only been once but it was amazing. My next big antique extravaganza planned for the spring is The Elephant’s Trunk Flea Market in CT which is just as grand as Brimfield. Both events are ideal for art shopping but maybe skim Apartment Therapy’s guide to shopping large events like these before you go, as they can be pretty overwhelming.

As far as online shopping, the best place for antique paintings I’ve found is Etsy. You can sort by the type of art you are looking for and you can also add a cap for pricing. Shipping costs are usually pretty decent too.

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Above: Home decorator and textile designer Laura Liess’s kitchen.

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Above: Guest house of Catherine Burke, writer of A Country Farmhouse blog and contributor of Country Living magazine.

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Above: The Woodsman Tavern and Market of Portland, OR via Remodelista.

A Lesson in Lighting

Lighting is an important element to consider when decorating a space. On the practical end of the spectrum, we have the kind of bright light needed for tasks such as cooking in the kitchen, beautifying in the bathroom, or reading at a desk. The opposite side of that spectrum is softer lighting for ambiance. The most comfortable rooms sit at a balance of both, a lesson I very recently learned in my own living room.

My problem wasn’t that I didn’t have enough light. It was actually that I had too much, or too much in the wrong places I should say. When we moved into the apartment, all we had in terms of table lights were task lamps, which are great, not dissing task lamps at all here. The one we were using atop our living room side table was this awesome Industrial Task Lamp in polished nickel from West Elm. I’ve had it for years and it’s served its purpose in a number of spots in my home, however there was something about having it right above our heads at the couch’s corner seat that felt a bit like we were under police interrogation. You know, like, ‘We have witnesses who place you at the scene of the candy bowl massacre last night.’ It really wasn’t good.

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Above: Gaby Burger’s home via The Glitter Guide. Photo by Anna with Love Photography.

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Above: Shannon Claire’s living room via her Burlap and Lace Blog.

It is pretty, isn’t it? Which is definitely why it took me so long to switch the task lamp for a traditional table lamp, of which I probably wouldn’t even have tried if it weren’t for the ginormous new flat screen television we purchased “for the Superbowl” which forced me to switch around some existing tabletop decor.

The end result of this accidental improvement is light that feels cozy and rustic.

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Above: Photo via Pinterest via Desire to Inspire. Original designer unknown.

Our apartment walls are Sherwin Williams Dover White so the natural toned lamp shades provide a warmth even when not in use. Create the look with the following pieces:

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Above: Weston Rattan Table Lamp via Overstock.com.

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Above: Linden Droplet Table Lamp from Target.

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Above: Lite Linen Shade Lamp from Crate & Barrel.

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Above: Coventry Summer Lattice Lamp via Bed Bath and Beyond.

Basket Madness

I seem to have a newfound appreciation for baskets. Possibly a basket obsession, if you will. I mean, I’ve always liked them and recognized them as go-to decorative storage pieces but I’m not sure I realized just how multi-purpose they are. You can literally put them anywhere.  Looking around my place: I have a basket to hold my television remotes, a basket to hold my living room decorative tree, a basket for throw blankets, lidded baskets on open shelving with literally nothing in them, a basket on the toilet that holds tissues and facecloths, a basket on the dresser to hold everyday knick knacks, and I even have a lamp with a basket-inspired base. I’m not fooling around here people.

My latest basket adventure was sparked when I stumbled on this kitchen space from Better Homes and Gardens.

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I saw those above-the-cabinet bins and was like I need this. And so it began.

My biggest challenges:

  1. Shopping online. This was unavoidable since I needed so many of the same kind of basket. Normally I would just swing by Homegoods and call it a day, but knew chances were slim at finding 6 to 8 of-a-kind in the store.
  2. Strick size requirements. My height could only fall between 7-9 inches and depth no greater than 12 inches. When considering width, I also had to take into account the couple of inches I wanted to leave between each basket from wall to wall.
  3. Budget. $20 for a single basket? I don’t think so! Not trying to break the bank here. Cue weeks of online browsing frustration.
  4. Style. I really wanted baskets with lids however challenges number 2 and 3 above came into play. I was forced to make adjustments to my decorative vision.

The most beautiful baskets I found were from Pottery Barn, Pier 1, and World Market. Prices deterred me.

The most reasonably priced baskets I found were from craft stores like Michaels and Jo Ann Fabrics. Sizes were not right.

About ready to call it quits on this project, I finally stumbled on baskets at Burlington Coat Factory of all places. Who knew?

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The free shipping was also a plus. In fact, I was all ready to order these perfectly priced baskets from The Container Store but stopped in my tracks when they tried to charge $15 for shipping. Just not cool.

My Plan B for this look was to display an assortment of baskets, much like in this kitchen below which I found on Design Milk. Photo by Trevor Tondro for the New York Times.

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Not sure what I’ll put in my new baskets yet but the possibilities are endless!