Antiques or antiques can be a great source of character in making your home appear more collected and cozy. If you’re fortunate enough to have some items from relatives or friends, adding a level of treasures to the collection is enjoyable. When you’re looking through thrift stores or estate sales to discover treasures, it can be challenging to distinguish between the garbage and the glory. We questioned Lily Barfield, the keen eye and awe-inspiring spirit behind the Houston-based Lily’s Vintage Finds (an online retailer of vintage and antique items and furniture), to reveal her secrets to success. Here are six things she is looking for when she is thrifting.
Diamonds in the Rough
“I am aware that this is a bit familiar, but I seek out items that grab my attention and stand out in the midst of garbage. If I come across something that catches my eye I grab it,” says Barfield. Then, she suggests placing the item in a neutral location, far from other objects, such as on an empty table or a countertop. “When you isolate that item, you can usually better picture it styled in your own home,” she observes. “You can typically quickly tell if it’s a gem or just junk.”
“I am not hesitant about getting down on my knees or hands to crawl underneath the furniture piece to search for maker’s marks. I’ll look around throughout the day when I think I’ll find a fantastic mid-century makers mark on the underside the table’s edge,” says Barfield. “For this reason I don’t wear clothes when shopping. There’s no way to think you’ll stumble across the floor of a thrift store in search of an item that’s labeled!”
Makers’ marks don’t have a universal meaning or are always put in. Upholstered items are typically marked with a maker’s mark beneath the cushions. Desks or chests might have maker’s marks hidden within drawers or doors to a cabinet.
Crystal is a beast of its own It is a beast of its own, says Barfield. “Hold it up to the light and look for etched makers’ marks,” Barfield notes. “Not all crystals are stamped, since some manufacturers employed stickers at various points in time, but a few do, which is why it’s fascinating to see crystal that has been stamped. It will be a long time since I remember how exciting it was to come across an entire set of stamped Baccarat crystal flutes at the thrift shop!”
Quality and Style
“Frankly, many things aren’t marked,” Barfield warns. Barfield. “Feel how heavy the furniture or object. Then, rap against the hardwood. It is important to ensure that it is solid and feels weighty! If it appears and feels like it’s made well and you are awed by the style then you’ve discovered an amazing find! A few of my favourite pieces in my home aren’t usually identifiable or considered to be worth some thing. They are worth the price because they’re distinctive, well-made and give me joy.”
“While we tend to see imperfections as negative, they can be a positive sign! If, for instance, I’m taking a look at a piece pottery or porcelain I’m trying to figure out whether it’s handmade or manufactured. small imperfections and imperfections could be an indication that something is made by hand,” notes Barfield. “Same is true for glass that has been hand-blown. You’ll want to look for the bubble, ridge or pontil mark at the surface.”
When it comes to antique furniture, it’ll likely be scratched or damaged everywhere. “If there’s a thing that’s perfect and flawless, it’s likely to be old. The imperfections are a part of the charm,” says Barfield.
Minor imperfections could be the catalyst for the possibility of purchase; it’s crucial to look for significant imperfections. “I can’t tell you how many times I have gotten excited about a piece, bought it, gotten it home and realized there was a big crack, chip, or stain,” Barfield says. Barfield.
However, it does not guarantee that projects aren’t a good idea unless you’re sure you’ll never complete the repair. “If you find something that needs a little work, make sure it is the type of project you will actually complete,” Barfield says. Barfield. “I typically get extremely overly ambitious when I thrift and convince myself that I can fix something completely, but it ends up on my property for a long time, much to my husband’s utter surprise. Think big, but remember you are capable of it.”
Items You’ll Use and Love
The most valuable antique or vintage find is one that makes your home feel more authentic to you. “There are certain things I gravitate towards over and over again: silver Champagne buckets, cocktail shakers and pitchers, Murano and art glass bowls and vases, brass accessories, beautiful sets of vintage china and crystal, unique lamps, burlwood pieces and French antiques.”