It all started when I took a day trip to visit my lovely friend Danielle.
She recently bought a house and invited me to drive down one day to catch up and check out the new digs. Danielle and her fiance Matthew’s house in Pinehurst is stunning. I am always excited by the prospect of seeing friends’ homes and their actual decorating sense once they have settled down and aren’t preoccupied with temporary apartment decor. Danielle’s warm and welcoming residence definitely did not disappoint.
After a casual lunch in downtown Pinehurst, we browsed a few of the nearby boutiques and art galleries. Then Danielle suggested we go check out a few antique stores, which were just a short drive away.
“Because I know you like things like that.”
It’s true. I’m an avid purveyor of vintage home furnishings and interesting curiosities. I’d much rather fill my home with a well-curated mix of “happened-upon” objects than Ikea and Pottery Barn drones. I compare it to a gamesman’s love of hunting. It wouldn’t be the same if you simply walked into your local mall and bought a “bed in a bag” furniture set, complete with pre-selected carpet.
A hunter doesn’t just walk into a pet shop. It’s all in the chase.
For every individual that enjoys a great thrift, there is a person who just doesn’t understand why you wouldn’t rather buy that item at Target. Danielle, maintains this opposing view and that’s why I love her. I was excited to introduce her to the experience of treasure hunting for home decor and imagining what a piece of furniture could look like, with just a quick change of paint color!
So on we drove to the antiques district, a few small towns away.
I knew I had to bring my A game once the zoo of 34203 assorted motion-sensor animals near the door began their chorus of awful and intense welcoming songs. We weren’t even 10 ft into the space before she began whispering “Oh My God Can We Go!” I pretended that I had forgotten about her mild OCD and tried to distract her with a little pink turtle necklace.
Danielle did not want to look at the dragon statues. Or the 1960′s yellow and gray suede and fringe lamps (But those are your wedding colors!) I just kept winding back through the store, desperately trying to find something of value she’d grow to cherish and appreciate the treasure hunt.
That all came to an abrupt halt when Danielle discovered a huge fixture containing bags of potato chips. (Probably stolen) from Panera. Expiration 2007. For Sale.
Along with a generous buffet of half-eaten boxes of wheat thins, fig newtons and a suspiciously wrapped ‘lil debbie cake. Up to 70% off! Communicable Diseases free!
We high-tailed it out of that store faster than Sarah Palin put her youngest daughter on birth control.
What the hell North Carolina! What happened to your great thrift stores!? Your decent vintage shops!? Or maybe just retail facilities not trying to sell open food products!?
Etsy is awesome and is continually making it easier for the general public to access and appreciate vintage wares. But a sharper focus on the virtual marketplace has caused many retailers to close their doors. Why operate an expensive retail operation when you can list items cheaply online and reach a world-wide audience? I get it. It just makes me sad and frustrated to realize vintage outposts are now endangered species.
My favorite antique and vintage store is Uncommon Objects. Located in Austin, TX this emporium is the ultimate source for true one-of-a-kind home accessories and decor. It’s layout keeps you thinking and employs very interesting interior design schemes to showcase their goods. If you’re ever on Congress Avenue, you must check it out because it’s one of the last great vintage stores standing.
I’d take Danielle, but she’s probably scarred for life.