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.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Picture Perfect

My husband and I call it the "Internal Happy Dance"...what is going on inside when you find an awesome treasure and you don't want anyone, especially the dealer, to know! 
I spied this beautiful frame in a big bin full of frames at a local charity sale. The detailing was charming, I was interested. The price was fair, I was very interested. The internal happy dance started. Then, with one look at the markings, my interest turned into a must have.
It is marked with the sterling silver mark .925 and the Italian makers mark star and number along with the city mark of Firenze (Florence), Italy. This frame's size (8x10), shape and subject make it complimentary to many decor styles. 
Think about using your frames for things other than photographs. Frame an antique postcard, a piece of fabric that compliments your room, a printed menu for your dinner party, a basket weave of vintage ribbons. This frame will go to Le Potager and will hold the biography of our artist of the month, at least until someone decides to take it home.

Anyone have a match?

In days-gone-by craftsmanship was truly honored and craftsmen themselves revered. Nearly all personal items carried by both men and women were made to be beautiful, functional and last for generations to come. This stunning sterling silver match safe is a perfect example of each of those points. 
Other pieces commonly carried included pocket watches, watch fobs, calling card cases, match safes (as shown below), dance card cases, snuff boxes and so many more items.  
These items were meant to use and more importantly designed to have long lives, unlike much of today's craftsmanship. This lovely floral embossed, sterling silver match safe was a real deal at a tiny yard sale. The little gem was dirty and black with tarnish and with just a little attention, it is once again a true beauty.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Tray Chic

    Trays are arguably the most versatile decor item in your home.       A tray can be a star or hold a supporting role when accessorizing.  Consider trays to anchor a centerpiece, contain a collection, in a stand on a bookshelf or kitchen counter or even hanging on the wall, which is where this tray was designed to go.
This very large hand painted metal tray is the perfect compliment to an art wall. When creating a wall grouping, of mainly framed items, it is always smart to add other dimensions. That includes display corbels, clocks, plates and of course, trays. 
This vintage tray is a piece of art itself. I snapped-it-up at an estate sale last week. The painting style on the face of the tray is neutral enough to compliment a wide variety of interior styles. 
The moral of the story?  Pull out those trays you use once a year and put them to work.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

What is a Gurgling Jug?

My treasure du jour is a fabulous vintage English "gurgling jug".  I have a soft spot for green majolica glazes with their rich deep colors, which is what attracted me to this pitcher at an outdoor flea market.  Some uses for this pitcher are obvious, water pitcher or flower vase.  Consider using a unique pitcher to set and/or compliment a theme. Imagine this pitcher full with soft coastal style grass centered on a vintage silver tray filled with sea shells and star fish. It is a simple contained centerpiece for a summer beach themed table.  

Gurgling jugs were intended for use as water jugs – they inherited their name due to the sound they made when liquid was poured out.  They were also used as advertising items by breweries, and over the years hundreds were made to advertise ‘Plymouth Gin’.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Cabinet Plates

I was lucky to find this set of four antique metal 1905 cabinet plates at a local estate sale.  Each plate is printed with a different colored border and center scene.  Beautiful display pieces for a kitchen or dining room.
Decorative plates have been a part of residential interiors for centuries. During the early part of the 20th century, plates made of china, porcelain, and stoneware were costly and considered items for homes of the wealthiest families.  As the working class began the "keeping up with the Jones' approach to living, lower quality, less expensive versions of porcelain decorative cabinets plates made of inexpensive metal were marketed to the masses. Today, these brightly colored lithograph plates have become very collectable.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Fox & the Grapes

I was so excited to find this piece on the road. The Fox and the Grapes is a classic Aesop's Fable which I could not help but recall when I spotted this wonderful treasure.  Antique silver stand features a pair of foxes flanking a grape vine with grapes just out of reach. Beautiful ruffled glass insert adds to the charm. 

Imagine a few stems of fall leaves in this unique piece. Just for fun, I will be adding some height by setting this vase on an Aesop's Fables book. Look for this on an autumn table at Le Potager.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hold the Wine

When you set a beautiful table it's the details that add personality. Whether you are serving wine, champagne or mineral water, a "wine coaster" provides both form and function. The coaster protects your linens and table while adding another layer to compliment your table setting.
I was lucky enough to find several vintage wine coasters on my buying trip this month. My favorite is the hammered copper coaster with embossed fleur de lis. Remember, don't put them away after dinner, they look beautiful on the bar cabinet. Alternative use? How about a pretty holder for the olive oil!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Treasure that Almost Got Away

This is one of "those" treasures. "Those" being that item you go back and forth hold it and justify the price and do the math ...and ponder and ponder and finally walk away. I thought she was out of my head but I could not shake her.  So, in true movie road trip style, I yell "Turn the car around!" Back we go, the dealer gave me a great price and the rest is history.  
She is a "jewelry casket" (to die for) sorry, couldn't resist that! Beautiful metal with a golden finish. Hinged opening and an interior that could hold so many different things, perfect on the vanity holding jewelry or hair accessories etc.  
Keep and eye open for these lovely antique boxes. They may be challenging to find but, when you do come across a treasure like this, don't let it get away. As we say at Le Potager, "Sometimes you regret the things that you don't buy more than the things you do!" I would have regretted not buying her, I am very glad I came to my senses.

Birthday Treasure

In celebration of the 2nd anniversary of my 49th birthday, I was so happy to be presented with a plate piled with a rainbow of french macaroons.  I am sorry that only three remained by the time I took the photo! What a surprise treasure this was, from my wonderful husband who has been hearing me go on about the little lovelies for months now.  They were heavenly!
I remain on the hunt for a local baker of these French classics so we can carry them at Le Potager during holidays and for special store events.  My quest continues for the perfect wholesale source for these tasty little treasures. You will be the first to know when I have found my macaroon creator. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Seasonal Treasures

Borghese chalkware figures have been a favorite of mine for decades.  I think this set is one of the nicest they produced. As time has passed (well over 70 years since these were produced) the odds of these four remaining together decrease greatly.  So, you can imagine my delight in finding this foursome, known as "Borghese's Four Seasons", in a Roseville California antique store.  I have only ever seen the complete set twice before and neither of them were in this lovely clay and gold finish.
These sweet putti are perfect to place one at a time in seasonal vignettes or use all four together to create a stunning display.  Accenting them with both faux and real seasonal botanicals would be a wonderful addition to dining room table, dining sideboard, entry console or mantle.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Stunning Staffordshire Ware

Imagine my surprise while strolling through a 150 year old mercantile building (in a tiny town of less than 300 people) to come across this classic piece of 19th century English Staffordshire ware. What an unexpected pleasure. This rather large statue is a rare and unique presentation piece to commemorate a wedding.
Absolutely charming, features the betrothed couple on horseback with the words Going To Marrey along the base. This would make a stunning cake topper and be the piece de resistance for a true Victorian wedding.  Would also be a thoughtful one-of-a-kind anniversary, engagement or wedding gift. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Real Ringer

A treasure from my road trip... victorian silver napkin rings.  Napkin rings... they aren't just for napkins anymore!  I love to use antique napkin rings as pedestals for seasonal items on tables, mantels and shelves.
Summer is shells, as pictured. Fall is mini orange and white pumpkins. Winter is pine cones and red glass ball ornaments. Spring is Easter eggs.  Of course they are also a welcome addition to your table setting when holding pretty napkins. 
It's the small details that will always set your decor apart from others. Be creative!

There is no place like home.

Oh, to be home again!  I have taken a glorious tour of such lovely places. I have come home with a van full of treasures and a memory full of people and places that will always hold a special place.  But, as Dorothy said, "there really is no place like home".
As I unpack the fruits of hundreds and hundreds of miles of searching, picking and digging, I begin the next phase of my "decor hunting gathering"... where will each item go next?  Will it be to Le Potager, to the Paris Flea Market, or will it live with me for a while?  I will be returning to my daily "Treasures" tomorrow with a fabulous road find.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

California Gold

This was my last full day on the road. Had a very productive time visiting some wonderful California companies researching the possibility of carrying their products at Le Potager.
The day began with a visit to a family owned honey company. Then to a 75 year old California olive oil company.  Later,  lavender farm, nut company and boutique California cheese company. 
All visits were very successful and I came away with some lovely, unique product ideas for the store.
Will be returning to southern California tomorrow.     Look for my "Treasure" postings to resume soon.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Flea Market on the Road

Today was a successful treasure hunting day on the road. Up at 5 a.m. Started shopping the flea market by the light of the August full moon. Discovered very unique items and met equally unique people.
Wrapped up my Sunday shopping spree by 6 p.m. in a tiny town 50 miles from where I started.
Tomorrow's plan: 5 locations... stay tuned.

Friday, August 12, 2011

California's Bounty

Although I am on a buying trip for antique and decor treasures it is impossible to travel through California in the summer and not appreciate, and indulge one's self in, mother nature's bounty.  The fields and family stands are overflowing with grapes, peaches and watermelon.
 Apple trees are full of fruit for the upcoming fall harvest and nut trees are heavy with the walnuts and pistachios we will be using during the holidays!
As I continue north I will be shopping some large annual flea markets and several local estate sales. There are more treasures to be found and I am hunting them down! 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Loot Shoot

Here it is... my first loot shot from the road.  Just some treasures from this week.
Who knew I could find a little piece of Paris in a tiny old town in California?  This great antique cafe chair.  Ready to hit the road again in the morning continuing north.  Will check in soon...wish me luck!!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

On the Road

Traveling through some of the most historic and beautiful parts of California...Gold county. The land that the 49ers built. Antiques are abundant the people have been wonderful. The back of the van looks like a sea of bags and blankets, all hiding fantastic treasures. Will take and post a "loot" shot in a day or two.
Continuing north... destinations unknown. Shopping, eating and coffee only in "mom & pop" places... no chains this trip. I am supporting small businesses all the way!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Road Trip

I am hitting the road for a 10 day buying trip. This is one of my “hunter-gatherer” trips. Driving north from Orange County toward Oregon…antiquing all the way.  No schedule or reservations…totally free-styling. I am looking forward to finding some really great things. Had Chinese food for dinner tonight, could not believe my fortune: “YOU WILL DISCOVER AN UNEXPECTED TREASURE”
I will check in from the road- wish me luck!

Glorious Grapes

Today's treasure walked right through Le Potager's door this afternoon!  A rep for a French company we buy from, brought us some lovely things from her latest container. We could not pass up several items, this being one of them. A vintage grape washing goblet with it's own grape shears. The goblet is very sizable, quite heavy, and is embellished with etched grapes & vines. Fits perfectly with  Le Potager's motto of "Expect the Unique". What a beautiful and unique piece for the bar or wonderful centerpiece for wine tasting.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Hide & Seek Treasure

I believe I found a true treasure!  This beautiful piece was hiding, tucked under a stack of shelves in the garage of an estate sale.  I have never seen anything like it. Large silver plated pedestal features three winged seahorses whose tails appear to support the center column which holds a deep cut crystal bowl.  Yes, it needs a little TLC but even without it, this piece will display wonderfully.  Would be a stunning centerpiece overflowing with roses, piled with citrus fruit or even filled with seashells. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Tarnished Treasure

I spied these dowdy silver goblets at an estate sale dealers preview last night.  With Le Potager's fall table settings events just ahead, I could not pass them up. Was busy today in the shop but I had time to polish one goblet and wow!  Now, how to use them?  I love unexpected vessels, like these, for floral arrangements. They would be gorgeous filled with fall color on our harvest hunt many choices. Stay tuned for photos this autumn.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Basket Case

Found this great vintage mini version of the traditional laundry basket at a flea market.  I immediately thought how perfect this basket would be on the kitchen island overflowing with seasonal fruit or in the bath filled with rolled hand towels and scented soaps. Whatever the case, try to use your baskets and incorporate them into your decor. Baskets can add texture and color to your room not to mention holding our goodies and looking great doing it!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


European transferware was in virtually every European home during the 18th & 19th centuries and mainly used as every-day dishes.  For that reason, many pieces did not survive but, every-so-often you can happen upon a true treasure that is antique transferware. It is the beauty and history of these pieces that add to a room display or tabletop. I found a sweet little set this weekend…soup cup and saucer. Although I would not use for soup today, this would be a beautiful sugar bowl or drop a clear glass inside to hold water for a petite floral.  Bottom line is, if you are lucky enough to have true antique transferware, use it – it is beautiful!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Box me IN

I love vintage boxes! They can be used for so many wonderful things.  Whether it's a unique way to present a gift or the perfect hiding place for the remote controls, boxes are stylish solutions.  This beautiful vintage box, from a quaint second-hand shop, features inlaid detailing of a charming scene with chariot, cherub and deer. I plan to use this box as a chest to hold tea bags on the buffet table.