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.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Antique Display

The simplicity of the retail stores of 100 years ago has always intrigued me.  The wood floors, the tin ceilings and the wide variety of goods efficiently displayed were all charming features of the old fashioned shop. A very important tool for shop keepers of this era, as well as todays retailer, was successful displays.


I was fortunate to find a set of four antique glass shelf risers from old drug and candy stores. These risers were an important tool in creating displays using the vertical space to draw the most attention. Spacing these risers along a counter or on top of a display case and topping them with glass was an easy way to create transparent display areas allowing the merchandise to be the focus. Although these risers can be found in ones and twos, finding four of them was a real treasure. If you are fortunate enough to find even one of these, they can be beautiful in your home displays. A simple round mirror or piece of colored glass on top can make a stunning statement for displaying accessories or seasonal items. I will be using these at Le Potager this holiday season to display vintage Christmas decorations. I will post them in use as soon as the displays are set. Using unique items to display your decor makes it just that much more special.

Monday, September 26, 2011

French Enamel Lavabo Story

I recently met a young lady at a flea market who has just begun her business buying and selling French vintage and antique wares. She has a great eye and displayed some wonderful items, some I liked for myself and some for Le Potager. I was lucky enough to purchase a red and white French enamel lavabo set. This set has four pieces, tank with lid, basin and the rare little soap dish. 
The dealer had made the back board herself which was a nice way to display the items as they would hang on the wall. You can see it here, in the photo above, hiding behind the cart, right at my feet.
As you saw in my loot shots from last week, I brought the lavabo home, cleaned it up, took my photos and had then had a decision to make... shop or home, shop or home? 
 Well, to the shop it went. Although the lighting is not great in this photo, the lavabo lends a nice splash of seasonal color in the butler's pantry. We opened the tank a filled it with berry stems. The basin is holding the lid, linens, faux pomegranates and a vintage book. We even added a votive candle holder to the soap dish at the very top. It really is a charming display piece. 
Dimensional items, like this, add interest to your wall displays and give you the perfect place to add seasonal color.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Welcome Autumn Event

We have been so busy preparing the shop for our annual Fall Open House that I was sadly not able to post this week. Today was the open house event and we were thrilled to have so many of our customers, friends and family come into Le Potager to support us. It was fantastic to receive positive comments about the store website and blog and this, my personal blog. Today was the debut of many of the treasures I bought on my summer buying trip. We had several customers waiting when we opened to purchase an item(s) that they fell in love with via our blogs. I have attached some photos of the store from this morning. We are looking forward to some wonderful events this upcoming holiday season. I have a lot of shopping to do and I plan to share my new treasures with you as I find them. Happy Autumn everyone.
 Since Le Potager is in a 1917 house, we are fortunate to have a true home setting to display in.
The antique clock case was from the summer buying trip and is shown here displayed under a glass cloche and decorated with fabulous fall foliage. 
A true California autumn display of citrus with Italian pottery and beautiful table linens.
Antique and vintage silver was very popular today. This display has several items from the road trip that went to new homes today.  
It was very nice to have such great response to todays event. Thank you one and all.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Stirrup Cups

Noun:  “Stirrup Cup”  1.“parting cup” given to guests, especially when they are leaving  a home and have their feet in the stirrups 2. when a group of  (mostly fox) hunters stop for a drink during a hunt and don’t dismount.   3. “a drink at the door.”
Stirrup cups are unique ceramic, silver, glass or pewter vessels. When turned over the animal head serves as a stable base and when heads-up they are beautiful detailed works of art. The subjects change however, the theme is usually hunt related, with animals such as boars, elk, dogs, rams, and of course the fox.  I was fortune to find these three English stirrup cups this weekend at the flea market. They will join a set of 4 other cups I previously found and be placed on our English Woodland Table for Le Potager's table-top setting event next month.
Stirrup cups make a wonderful addition to your table decor and can set a theme. Imagine, a water glass, wine glass and a stirrup cup at each place setting. Especially for an autumn dinner, these cups are perfect for an after dinner aperitif. Stirrup cups are still affordable, depending on the animal represented as some are more rare than others. 

Below is a very nice site about the history of stirrup cups if you are interested. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Eclectic Treasures

As promised, photos from our flea market shopping sunday. This is the most eclectic group of treasures. I bought things that were interesting and unique, things that I knew I could use at Le Potager either for display or for sale.
The original focus for this outing was to find holiday items well, I did not find any holiday specific items. However, I will fill the red enamel French lavabo with large stems of holly during the holidays.
The English stirrup cups on the chair will be part of our "settings" events in November & December.
I was especially thrilled to find these 1920's and 1930's poultry and fall gardening ribbons. The English elk platter and plate will help set the theme in the woodland room antique display cabinet. The violin is for the musical Christmas tree along with a few other instruments we purchased on Sunday.
It was a good outing and in just hours we will start setting these, and many of the items from my August trip, out in Le Potager.  The L.P. Autumn open house is this Saturday- so much to do. Looking very forward to the event.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Flea Market Fun

Today, my husband and I spent the day at a local monthly flea market. It has become an outing that we enjoy doing together. The routine begins early, with a stop for lattes and scones on the way.  The drive is my chance to run down the wish list and enjoy classic Beatles songs on the radio. Upon arrival, it's ready, set, GO!
 My husband is my "go to guy",  he carries, scouts, is my second set of eyes and even pays! Today he added photographer to his duties. I am lucky he enjoys going and we have a great time. We had not gone to this market it several months. It was nice to be back after a break. Several new vendors, some with absolutely wonderful wares. Saw some old friends and made some new ones.
We noticed a better than usual variety of quality items at this months market. Brought back really great items for Le Potager, for myself and even a few gifts! Nothing at all from my pre-market wish list but, that is the joy of antiquing, you never ever know what you will find. I will be taking photos tomorrow of the treasures I (we) found today. You will be able to see the loot later this week. 

Mix 'n Match Settings

One of my fondest memories of my Great Grandmother Jacque was of her wonderful china. Her table was always set perfectly, everything in its proper place. But what was most memorable about her table was that each place setting was a different china pattern. She always told us she could never choose one pattern, they were all so beautiful, so she chose dozens of separate patterns that all related to each other in some way. With my Grandma Jacque in mind, I picked up four beautiful antique English transferware luncheon plates. They feature a lovely green floral swag pattern on soft white stoneware. Of all the traditional transferware colors, I think of green as the most versatile. I love to use green transferware patterns along with other colors to create a unique seasonal look. Green with purple transfer patterns for spring settings, green with brown transfer patterns for fall settings and of course green with cranberry for the winter holiday settings. This look is classic and festive for any meal this winter. Take a good look and your china, mix and match your dishes, you may be surprised how great the look when mixed together.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Clock Cases

This antique clock case was a flea market find. It was one of those items that you pick up and say "What could I do with this?".  It is in very good condition, glass in tact, door opens, closes and latches perfectly.  I thought it was just charming and brought it home. Although the display area is not very deep it still has plenty of room to add decor items. In your home, a piece like this is the perfect way to have a nicely contained seasonal vignette. Adding seashells, seaside postcard, starfish etc. and you have a beautiful summer look.  The possibilities are endless... you could even fill the entire case with vintage glass Christmas ornaments. This case could also be used as a fancy shadow box to display wedding keepsakes for newlyweds or for a special anniversary celebration. Keep your eyes open for these nice old clock cases, while they are still affordable, you will not be sorry.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Book 'Em

Antique silver repousse
vases on
blue leather volumes.

I took a series of photos at Le Potager today showing a few of my new treasures. I know a wonderful retired antique dealer who drops by a few times per year to show me items she has uncovered in her packed warehouse. 
Today, she brought me some absolutely beautiful antique books. I love to use books in vignettes at the store and at home as well. They are interesting, colorful, and unique ways to vary heights in displays. Try this with books you have at home.



Beautiful green marbleized boards
on classic leather bound books.

Using books with
themed titles can be fun!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

French Tapestry Display

A little follow-up to my post from 9-10-11 on the French Tapestry I bought on my August road trip. I had a set of rod clips (that are tassels with the clip hidden up inside) and used them to hang the tapestry on a large scale black iron cafe rod. I hung the tapestry, behind the antique sofa, from an antique iron fence panel. The look is soft, eclectic and adds vintage charm to the room. This tapestry would also make a beautiful headboard. The room pictured here is one of the upstairs bedrooms at Le Potager. We call it "Lillian's room" after the woman who had the home built in 1918.  I am beginning to display some of the road trip items, like this tapestry, at LP this week and should have all the new displays set by next week.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

ANTIQUE ENGLISH PUB TABLES



Just the words "pub table" take you to a certain time and place. A time long passed where the community gathering place was the neighborhood pub. Yes, where everybody knew your name.  

We were beyond lucky to find three antique English pub tables on our buying trip. Made by the Gaskell & Chambers Ltd.Barsetters Company, Manchester, England, these tables were manufactured in the 1880s. Each table being slightly different, they have unique features such as, Britannia holding a shield of the Union Jack framed by the words: “Abolished Slavery”, lion head, floral swags and hearts. These tables have it all going for them- history, style, form and function.  Although originally intended for use in what was then called “public houses”, or pubs, antique pub tables like these have found their way into the home, garden and conservatory over the decades. Sometimes found with the original wood, slate or stone tops, these have 40+/- year old wood replacement tops. Marble tops would make these tables show stoppers in any d├ęcor, whether eat-in kitchen table, family room side table or garden accent table.  Stop by Le Potager to see these historic tables, we have a feeling they won’t be here for long

BREAD BASKETS

To say that I have a fondness for boulangerie baskets is an understatement. Believe it or not, a basket just like these two outside baskets actually saved my life not too long ago. I will only say that it involved a serious fall that would have been into vertical rebar if I wasn't holding one of these baskets. Sadly, the basket did not survive, but I am happy to say I am alive and well. (This is only a very slightly exaggeration). I found the three baskets here, each separately, on my road trip. These baskets are to be placed in Le Potager's pantry. We fill them with fresh baked baguettes for store events and our customers love them for kitchen soffits, walls and even on islands. The unique center basket is an al fresco serving basket, holds fruit and or bread in the top section, plates on the center shelf and the bottom section holds water and wine bottles. 
Remember, unique baskets are always in fashion, especially in the kitchen or pantry. They can add texture and dimension to key areas. Once the "decor" item of the 80's, I am happy to say quality baskets are back...use them and enjoy them.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Pantry Treasure

Today my flea market focus was to find French inspired items for the Le Potager pantry to serve as display items for the culinary goodies we carry.  I had a rather successful day finding these items and a few others you will soon see. Shown here are my pantry purchases; a new "the" canister to display with our French Noel Tea for the holidays.  In The French Kitchen Garden book to accompany our Herbs de Provence display. The vintage French silver and cut glass pepper mill and French white ceramic salt shaker to highlight our French herbed salts. The vintage wood nutmeg grinder from France, to display with our signature whole nutmeg nuts and graters. The great vintage cut glass and silver syrup pitcher to go with our signature honey display. The vintage English mustard pot to show off our French Tarragon and whole grain mustards. And of course the classic Laguiole spreaders and Invicta cast iron enamel trivet are must haves for the French kitchen. It was fun to shop with such a narrow focus today. Next week's focus will be holiday purchases for our upcoming settings events. Stay tuned!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

American Spirit

As I, like much of the world, look back 10 years to the morning of 9-11-01 I can't help but think of all the ways the world is so very different then when I was growing up. My wish for the future is for my children's generation to be proud and productive members of the global community. I hope that their worry and fear are replaced with happiness and joy. That they learn tolerance for one another and that they become the change that they wish for the world.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

French Tapestry

Centuries ago tapestry was one of the first real home decor items. Serving two purposes, tapestries are the true beginning of the interior design fundamental core of form and function.  These lovely woven items hung on the stone walls of damp castles mainly to keep rooms warm, and to absorb both dampness and sound from the rooms. As time passed, the weavings became very detailed, bright, less insulators and more decor.
This sweet French tapestry was another find from my road trip.  It was rolled up and in a huge basket of fabric remnants in an antique shop. Stamped France on the back these pieces were mainly made for the tourist trade from the early 1900's on.  At over five feet long this piece is perfect for a headboard application. However, I will be hanging this tapestry at Le Potager behind a beautiful antique French sofa using tassel clips on a drapery pole.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Pin Pointed Treasure

I have been on the look-out for unique vintage jewelry pins for the last few months.  This is a small example of the treasures I have collected. I was lucky enough to find two additional brooches today. We all have at least a couple of brooches, maybe from our grandmother or family members. Unfortunately, most of us rarely, if ever, wear them. After finding some of these great little pins at several flea markets, I began to look through my grandma's costume jewelry box and have found a new appreciation for her, now vintage, style.
My plan, although not an original concept, is simple. We carry dozens of beautiful vintage French ribbons at Le Potager and as the holidays approach I will wrap a single band of this French ribbon around a pillar candle 2/3 of the way up. I will attach one the vintage brooches to the ribbon and I now have a way to enjoy these vintage family and found treasures that otherwise would sit in a drawer. These candles are not just for the holidays however it is a wonderful time to give them. Consider creating this candle using a family brooch as a gift for a new daughter-in-law along with a note that tells the story of the original owner. It is a simple, lovely gift from the heart that can start a new family tradition.  

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Mystery Silver Sleeve


I found myself in a funky auction warehouse.  They were closing in 5 minutes, it was over 100 degrees,  dark and honestly, a little weird. I was okay leaving empty handed, I just wanted to get back in the air conditioned car and then something caught my eye. Just a little gleam on the back of a deep dark shelf.  I dove in and grabbed...the clock it ticking, the announcement over the p.a. system is declaring closing time. The etching was intriguing, the silver had a nice rich patina, but the size and shape had me stumped. No time to think, I can't even look it up on the iphone. Yes or no? I had time to ask the most important question of all... Is it unique? Yes, without a doubt. Then I need to take it home.
After bringing this beautiful piece home and doing some research, I learned that it is a silver plated cover made to fit over a tin pipe tobacco can/canister. Circa 1930's this sleeve is heavily etched with an English street scene on the body and an amazing wild boar on the lid surrounded with a frame of oak leaves and acorns. While researching, I found another identical sleeve on an online auction site. I purchased it and am thrilled to have a pair of these canisters. They will be beautiful displayed for fall on a mantle filled with autumn botanicals and the lids standing to show the beauty of the etching.

Trinket Treasure

I found this lovely, tiny trinket box at a funky little "junktique" shop. I was taken by the subject matter, material and the age of this two piece ceramic treasure. It looks like many of the Staffordshire pieces I have and has great vintage charm. I figured I would take these three sisters home with me.
It was at that point, when I had decided I would purchase the box, that I looked at the bottom. Searching for a makers mark, of which most Staffordshire pieces do not have, I found something even better...
Yes, one U.S. dollar!!  SOLD...I love a deal like this, something I was going to buy because I loved it and then it has an unbelievable price, that is a winning combination.  This is the deal-o-the-road-trip!!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

New use for an old Lid

 This is one of my favorite kitchen decor items. But it's just a lid you say! Yes, but not just any lid, an English transferware stoneware lid that is so much more than just that. Many times when you are antiquing you come across lone lids from vintage and antique tureens and casseroles. They are usually very affordable and they don't really need to be in perfect condition for this use. I have in the past, and do from time to time in the shop, attached these beautiful, colorful stoneware or china lids to the wall with a plate or platter hanger.  Then I hang a cafe curtain ring over the lid handle and hang a kitchen towel from the clip. You have a very pretty towel holder for the kitchen that the towel does not fall off of! You can use any lid that matches your decor and a curtain ring in the finish of your kitchen hardware. This lid was a find from my August road trip and I will be hanging it in the pantry at Le Potager. This is a great way to repurpose an antique and add a unique piece to your kitchen.


Monday, September 5, 2011

Fall Pheasant


I will admit it, I have a thing for vintage taxidermy. I am enamoured with the history and the by-gone era where hunting was a way of life. For me, smaller scale taxidermy adds a unique dimension to your decor. Today's treasure was a lucky estate sale find. It has a plaque on the base from the Crosby Fur Co. in Rochester New York circa 1925.
If you are unable to find or not comfortable with the thought of vintage taxidermy consider new "faux" taxidermy. The new faux versions are well done and nicely priced. Adding a bird to your fall decor creates a classic and timeless look.  A pheasant on a mantle surrounded by pumpkins, gourds and fall branches with leaves is just stunning. A sideboard or sofa table are also excellent locations to create a vignette using taxidermy. I keep a vintage pheasant up year-round on top of an English armoire accompanied by antique boxes, books and a vintage clock. This proud bird will be highlighted on a French sideboard for Le Potager's fall Settings event.
                                

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Just Desserts

Pastry forks have become forgotten pieces in modern flatware sets. Today the standard small fork is both salad fork and dessert fork. Antique pastry forks, like these, have unique tines with one larger crust cutting tine and only 3 tines total versus 4 tines in a modern dessert fork. Circa 1905, this pattern is Leonora from the WR Keystone Silver Company. I picked up this charming set of 4 forks at a yard sale. It always amazes me what a little silver polish can do for old, dirty, tarnished silver...they are just beautiful.
With the holidays approaching vintage flatware is the perfect hostess gift. Consider, when taking a pie or dessert to a holiday dinner party, tying a vintage pie server or pastry forks to the top of the bakery box. Even if you bake your own pies invest in nice bakery boxes. Tie the box with festive ribbons and add the forks or server into the bow. This is an unforgettable token that will make a lasting impression. It is little details like this that tell your host & hostess how honored you are to be welcomed into their home.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

French Four Seasons

Today's treasure du jour is a beauty.  Framed wood panel nearly five feet long of which 4 vintage chalkware plaques have been attached. I adore the use of the four seasons in vintage home decor items.
You saw one of last month posts, a set of vintage Borghese chalkware statues "the four seasons". On today's piece, each of the four discs on the panel represent a different season. Children, in relief, are surrounded by their own seasonal flora and fauna and the name for each season in French.
This unique piece was found at a local estate sale. I was so happy to find it in such good condition. I think I will paint the cream background a new color but not certain of color yet...maybe a deep gold. Consider this framing idea for any group or series of decor items you may have. Plates, tiles, clocks, smaller paintings, even a collection of metal crosses or seashells would be beautiful mounted in this fashion. I will be using this piece over a bed as a compliment to a headboard and fabric cornice with side panels.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Repurposed Silver

While on my travels this August, I came across a very large charity thrift shop. I passed through rather quickly, scanning as walked.  I was about to leave when I notice a little counter in the corner with a sign "Treasure Corner"...what a coincidence, I am looking for treasure! So there it was, in the corner, in the back, piled up and all taped together. It was 5 pieces of victorian silver plate. "May I see that please?" I asked the young lady working there. I knew I would buy this pile-o-silver before it was even in my hands. There was a floral patterned brides basket, a calling card dish with sheep heads and a dog, a large bowl, a bud vase and this piece...
At one time this was a pickle castor stand. Now, without it's glass vessel, the silver stand has no real function or purpose. Well, it was so beautifully detailed that I had to find a use for it. 
This candle is a bit too narrow, but you get the idea. I plan to use this stand as a unique base to hold a deep red citrus and spice candle at Le Potager this upcoming holiday season. Today's treasure can be a lesson to us all about repurposing items, even antiques. In addition to holding a candle, this piece could hold; a simple glass vase, a liquid soap bottle, small flower pot or even a perfume bottle.