My passion, after my family of course, is Treasure Hunting. The simple beauty of things from by-gone eras have always spoken to me. Whether these treasures are found at a flea market, fine antique store, estate sale, thrift shop, or in the family attic, surprises abound.
As an interior designer, I believe it is vital to balance your decor by including found and family treasures. Surrounding yourself with things you love should always be the goal, from there you will find your true style.
As I shop, I may have a client in mind or I may want to resell at our french flea market or in my shop. I am lucky to have several outlets for my treasures including my own home! I plan to share my searching, hunting, travels, and treasures with you and encourage you to enjoy adding your treasures to your home.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Prepping for Holiday Displays

Over the last couple of weeks we have wrapped up our holiday ordering for the shop. We now have the majority of our displays planned and vignettes are being built with our signature combination of new, vintage and antique wares from around the world. This puts a new focus on my flea marketing, estate sale searching and tag sale stops.
For the holidays, I found two Ralph Lauren Stewart tartan plaid plates and a great vintage tartan round suitcase that will be perfect for display. One of our signature holiday candle lines has packaged their line in tartan this year thus allowing us to layer that pattern. One of the great things about tartan is that mixing and matching the patterns make a display even that much richer and visually appealing.
 I even ordered some european tartan paper to wrap books for risers etc. within the vignette.
Of course I continue to pick up items that are not holiday related like this sweet 1940 children's book, Captain and Me. Also, two very large, pretty vintage French tablecloths that will work perfectly in my outdoor, summer dining room at home.
Silver and vintage glass ornaments are always festive items to use just about anywhere.
This was a most unexpected find... an original French automobile advertising poster. It is a bit rough around the edges but the colors are still vibrant and the subject is charming. "Her" driver sits completely annoyed that she is wanting to try this new invention on her own! I think I will frame this up and save it for our next Paris Flea Market.
Finally, a fun variety of smalls that has a little bit of everything, including a couple more French tablecloths. The tiny copper molds would make perfect stocking stuffers as would the napkin rings. The vintage Belgian owl candy mold may find its way into a halloween vignette and the brandy warmer is a classic fall and winter item, even if you don't use it- they look wonderful on the bar.
The search continues for unique items.
Next week... back to the Hollywood Flea. Wish me luck!
Happy Hunting!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Art From the Flea Market

It is one of my favorite parts of going to the flea market... you never, ever know what you will find and what treasures will come home with you.
I rarely, if ever, shop fleas looking for specific items, you have to be completely open to just about anything attracting your attention. The majority of my weekend flea market finds have a common theme, art.  The more I shopped the more I found. I came away with a wonderful variety of original art, etchings, advertising art and signed prints.
This nearly four foot tall vintage original oil painting on board is definitely unique. It is well done. 
I love how the light has been captured on the stone walls.
I found a wonderful 1940's point of sale French champagne advertising sign.
This portrait of an American racehorse is a signed and numbered etching. The chippy red painted frame is a great compliment to the image.
English artist Arthur Elsley was known for his art featuring children and animals. This print is entitled Spring Songs, dated 1902. It is in it's antique frame and is in fairly good shape considering its age.
It is a really charming print.
I picked up this very large poster to use in a display of the vintage French Absinthe barware I have been compiling. I will paint the frame- possibly black.
Although this hand colored print is signed and numbered I have not been able to identify the artist. It is a quintessential Parisian scene featuring a busy street with vintage autos, Norte Dame and Parisian cafe.
Last but not least, is this oversized French foie gras advertising poster will be a great addition to our pantry at Le Potager.
We had a great day hunting for these items plus a few other small silver and copper pieces.
Thank you so much for reading.
Happy Hunting!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

A Week of Estate Treasures

Before we head off bright and early to the flea market I wanted to post a few photos of some rather nice finds from the estate sales I attended over the last couple of days.
I found this very large, antique English transferware pitcher. It is a shape and pattern I am not familiar with but I will do a little research. The pot de creme set is lovely, prossibly dates from the 1960's. The Pratt polychrome plate is well over 100 years old, they were produced from 1840-1885. It is in wonderful condition, features a pastoral scene of the English countryside with a bridge and estate home in the distance. The curled copper piece was originally made to hold flower arrangements inside of a bowl but I had another idea for it...
It just looked like a crown to me!
The double handled wood tray is very unique. I am not certain of its original use but I can see it in the bar or even as a cheese server. A French glass Lillet ice bucket... so many uses. Several pieces of vintage glass stemware each etched with a wreath and swag design, perfect for the holiday bar.
This Arts and Crafts style box is one of my favorites. The enameled clock inset into the lid and copper strapping add such great character.
Last but not least, a charming little vintage English biscuit barrel. The top has silver hallmarks so I will have to clean it up a bit to bring it back to its true glory. 
Fun treasures for the week.
I hope to have good luck hunting tomorrow at the flea and will share my finds in my next post.
Happy Hunting and thank you for reading!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Summer Citrus-ade

We decided against going to the flea market this morning as we were expecting triple digit temperatures. Instead we hit the to-do list in preparation of the July 4th holiday.
(Not nearly as much fun as treasure hunting by the way!)
In between chores, I thought I would make a quick pitcher of lemonade as we were parched. I picked three types of lemons... meyer, eureka and pink lemonade. While I was picking I also brought in a few oranges and a hand full of calamondin.
I have a wonderful old Sunkist lemon juicer/squeezer that makes this juicing job a snap. It allows juice and pulp to fall through and retains the seeds.
My original thought was lemonade however I decided that a citrus-ade using all the fruits I picked would be a nice change.
I discovered that by adding the juice of a couple small oranges as well as the calamondin juice, I was able to significantly decrease the amount of sugar I added and still have a juice that highlights the tart, crisp lemons.
It was delicious and quenched our thirst perfectly. Homemade lemonade... it is truly summertime now!
I did discover that I really need some mint in the garden. I have looked at the nursery several times but there are so many mint choices... what is the best for drinks, cooking, baking? Any suggestions?

Thank you very much for reading and Happy Hunting!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Gien China Platter Collection

It was nearly ten years ago when I happened upon my first Gien platter at a flea market. 
It was Le Boeuf - Le Charolais from Les Aventures du Boucher'.
The graphics were what first caught my eye. Then the combination of fonts and subtle colors paired with the unique subject matter made me want to take it home.
That 12" platter has hung in my kitchen, over my stove ever since. 
Occasionally I would do on-line searches to see if I could find duplicates, as a couple of friends had long admired it, but with no luck.
Then this winter I found three additional platters. Come to find out my platter was one of a 6 piece collection and now I am thrilled to have four of the six.
I have continued to search hoping to complete the set or even just find a duplicate. Well, I thought I knew what I was looking for until I spotted Les Aventures de Mareyeur. Same series, different purveyor. I had to add all six them to the collection. Bringing my collection to ten platters.
In both sets each platter features a favorite of the butcher or the fish merchant on the front and the history of that item in French cuisine on the back. 

I am thinking about hanging the platters rather high on the wall, all around the kitchen.
It may be just too much of a good thing. In the meantime they look wonderful in the china cabinet.
My search continues for the balance of the Boucher' collection and for information on the entire series.

Special flea market coming this weekend... post to follow.
Happy Hunting and Thank You So Much for Reading Me!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Welcome Summer

Today we celebrate 
the first day of summer... the summer solstice. 
As a native Californian, summertime holds a very special place in my heart, in my memories 
and in my life story.
In the 1970's my hometown, Hermosa Beach, was a sleepy and quaint beach community. This was the decade when I experienced the best of beach living. Summers spent on the beach, in the ocean and riding bicycles... everywhere. Sharing long sunny days with friends and family. 
I think of these times often and am grateful to have lived my childhood here.
Summertime. Time to enjoy outdoor living, sunny days and warm nights with starry skies.
Welcome Summer!
Thanks for reading... will be back to treasure hunting this weekend.
Happy Hunting!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Vintage French Copper Cookware

There are those shopping experiences you walk away from feeling like you must have been under a lucky star. That is how I felt after attending a special estate sale on Friday. Since I had a very small window of time, I thought I could get to the shop a little early rather than spend fifteen minutes at a sale. What to do? Well, the treasure hunter in me won the time debate and I am thrilled to report, stopping at the sale was indeed the right choice.
Like a moth to a flame, is how drawn I was to these vintage copper pots. An entire table filled with them. All different shapes and sizes. Some in better condition than others but each with wonderful patina and all in sound construction. Just one piece of copper like this would be quite a find but, to see so much in one place- I was in love! The quality was great and the prices were fair so I decided to take it all. I also found some nice vintage leather bound books to use in displays at the shop.
I placed the bottle of wine in the photo to give some reference as to the size of these copper pieces.
All the pots found their way to the pantry at the shop.
The vintage leather books, marked from the Harvard University Library, are now giving some charm to our new candle display.
We layered our loot into the shop displays right away and I am happy to say that they look as though they were part of our original display plan. That may be a good question to ask ourselves when purchasing new decor items for our homes. Can this item be added to my home seamlessly, complimenting or even enhancing my decor and not visually announcing 
"I am a new addition"? 
Just food for thought. Thanks so much for reading. 
Have a great week... Happy Hunting!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

June Jacaranda Season

It is an annual event that I always look forward to. Here in California, turning the calendar page from May to June usually finds the Jacaranda trees in full bloom. This year is no exception.
 For me, the brilliant, blossom filled trees announce a special time... when our sons were small it meant the end of the school year and the unofficial beginning of summer. It is the time of weddings, graduations, days at the beach, dining outdoors, late sunsets and warm evenings.
Each time I look at these beautiful trees I am reminded of those and many other happy events and memories that seem practically framed in the lilac haze of the Jacaranda. 
I feel lucky to drive to and from the shop each day down, none other than, Jacaranda Street. As lovely as driving on Jacaranda Street is, I took the time on Saturday to walk down the alley of purple. It was a true visual feast.
As the blossoms begin to rain down and gather on the street and lawns the color surrounds you. 
It is simply wonderful.
This weekends Loot Shoot coming up next.
Happy June and Happy Hunting!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Happy Memorial Day

As time passes, I have come to appreciate the real significance of our holidays.
This weekend being Memorial Day here in the U.S. it is more than just a three day weekend. It is a time to honor those who gave their lives defending our country or our allies.
I have many family members who served in our military, almost all U.S. Marines, serving in WWII, the Korean War and Afghanistan, respectfully. I am very thankful they returned home however I know too many of their friends did not. To those lost and to their families I say thank you!
Happy Memorial Day! The official start of the summer season!
Now, go and enjoy a wonderful three day weekend in their honor!
Happy Hunting!  ~Jen

Monday, May 20, 2013

Sunday Flea... Saveloy Tin Plus

My crazy schedule of working at the shop, designing a commercial space for a client, several garden projects and wrapping up an immense estate sale we held for a friend, I was very much looking forward to a quiet Sunday at home, for the first time in months. Instead I found an email Saturday evening informing me I had won 2 passes to a large monthly market not too far from me... well that changed everything! Not that this market charges much for general admission, but the "early bird" fees are much higher and multiply by 2, since my husband and I go to these markets together it was too tempting. So that is just what we did... off early, early to the market.
We had a great day and to say it was an eclectic haul is oh so obvious.
Could not pass up this saveloy warmer. I admit I did not know what a saveloy was and either did the vendor offering this piece, as she had acquired it just a day earlier. So out came my iphone and the search was on. It was fun for all of us to learn about saveloys... red, spiced wieners typically offered at British fish and chip shops. Wieners are kept in these heated warmers either on or just behind the counter. Anyone in the know- please correct me if I am wrong! I will first offer this piece to the owner of a quaint British pub a couple of doors down from the shop.
This nice wall planter is perfect this time of year. It's vertical design allows it to work well in a variety of spaces. Imagine planted with flowers and ivy. As you may have noticed in the first photo, I purchased a taxidermied hen and I must say she looks great in this planter as a nest. A combination of hen with ivy would be fun in a mudroom or butler's pantry. I purchased the hen as a reminder of a kitchen I designed many years ago for a well known comedian and actor and his lovely wife. We lined the top of an antique welsh china cabinet with taxidermied hens in basket nests and stems of rose-hips as accents, it looked beautiful and they loved it. I may end up keeping the hen and doing something similar at home.
We picked up this set of antique garden bench frames. The beautiful design is in the faux bois style. We were inspired to pick these up knowing that friends of ours purchased a spectacular set in France and we thought they were such a great find. We were lucky to also find a vendor selling 120 year old reclaimed American oak lumber. We will be picking up a couple of 10 foot boards from them to recreate our bench- we just need to decide on the bench length.
A small variety of silver, most in the repousse style. Along with the repousse candlesticks I picked up a couple of weeks ago, massed together it will make a nice vignette for the shop.
This is one of my favorite finds of the week... an entire box of antique and vintage poultry award ribbons. Dating from 1906 to 1948, they are still in very nice condition.  They will be great additions to antique silver trophy cups I already have and perhaps a few special ribbons I will have framed. Not only do I love the ribbons but I must say how impressed I was by the young man I purchased them from. He is paying his way through college by selling vintage and antique items at the weekend fairs! I will make a point to find him at future fairs to do what I can to help him realize his dream!
Believe it or not I am working on Fall and Holiday decor and displays for the shop. I made note of several vendors with items such as majolica, antique decoys, transferware and linens all in anticipation of tabletop vignettes. It will be here before you know it!
Have a great week. I will be polishing silver to post as a follow-up to this and the last loot shoot.
Happy Hunting!