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, January 28, 2013

Winter Market Accessory Trends

January is a month of preparation and renewal for retail. It is also a market month, where manufacturers and their vendors present their latest wares to retailers. To say that the design mart is a barometer for our economy is an understatement. For many years, and even a couple of my past postings here at TTBJ, I have witnessed very safe offerings where companies simply continue to offer their strongest sellers and very little in the way of new or innovative wares.  
I am thrilled to say that there appears to be a change in the air (and at the market!). This market was the first time in over five years, that we saw larger collections with a wider variety of price-points, better quality items, out-of-the-box innovations and even an increase in U.S. & European made lines.
Market is a time for companies to showcase a hot item or a look that is trending. The equestrian look continues to be a big trend. Lines have expanded and include nearly every room of the home.
 Traditional upholstery, pillows and even a saddle!
Hunt style barware.
Spring-time looks of neutral garden decor, including these great urns paired with greens.
Another big garden focus was herbs. 
Platinum had a very strong showing for Christmas... yes sorry, we are already preparing for Christmas.
Tartan plaid is still strong.

Neutral upholstery and light wood tones continue to be a welcomed look creating a decor statement alone or as accents to darker upholstery and/or wood tones.
To top it off, there was a big improvement in decorative lighting. Many lines even included vintage components and designs.
All in all it was a great show. When I come away inspired to create new and different looks for the shop, I know it has been time well spent. Now the hardest part of all... waiting for our orders to arrive.
Next weekend treasure hunting and post to follow.
Happy Hunting!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Flea Markets on Film

There are dozens of television programs about home decor and design offered on U.S. channels on any given day. These shows generally follow trends in the market and currently the shows that highlight the antics of the picker, treasure hunter, flea market shopper and/or tag sale scout are fetching big ratings. I do not have the opportunity to watch most of these shows but week after week and month after month I have been seeing their film crews at our local flea markets.
Last week, I ran into Lara Spencer filming her show, Flea Market Flip at the Hollywood flea market.
Last month it was the crew and contestants from Market Warriors at yet another flea market.
At this market, contestants were being filmed in their flea market space working hard to sell their repurposed treasures.
Since we are in Southern California, filming of some sort, is rarely given a second glance. That is probably why it is easy for production companies to create their shows here with very little interruption.
Whether it is Flea Market Flips, Market Warriors, Flea Market Mania, Cash & Cari or any of the many, many others, these shows are responsible for bringing new customers to our local flea markets. This is great news for vendors, as for me... well, I think it is great for the vendors! Even with this new found popularity, the flea market is still great for treasure hunting. Just keep in mind, what they say is true... the early bird really does get the worm!
Hope you have found some wonderful treasures.
Happy Hunting!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Star of the Hollywood Flea Market

One of the things about treasure hunting which I love is learning about items from the past. Items I have never seen before and whose time have come and gone. We call these pieces "daunting decor" items. We may not know the original function but their design is still greatly appreciated. When I came upon this scene at the Hollywood flea market I was intrigued. 
I learned these two pieces came from the collection of a 94 year old dealer in Michigan. The vendor was generous with both time and information, sharing the design/workings of the front piece, a very nice victorian cast iron water heater and next, the purpose/function of that interesting copper piece standing behind.
Any guesses? Hum... well if you guessed a barber's towel warmer you are correct! From the turn of the last century this piece would have stood proudly in a barber shop. It's purpose was to steam towels and even sterilize instruments. Although from a bygone era, the style and form still have appeal.
The copper has a beautiful warm patina.
The base banding features a beautiful pierced star motif and the makers plate reads Kingory Mfg Co. out of Buffalo, New York. There is a date on the top box of 1901.
The top towel box still holds it's original ceramic liner. 
These artistic utilitarian pieces were an important part of a barbers business from the late 1800's until approximately the 1930's when they were replaced by electric versions. Shortly thereafter many of these copper beauties were donated to the WWII war effort leaving very few examples remaining today.
After walking about the flea market, continuing my treasure hunting, I just could not stop thinking about the barber's towel warmer. You know what that means... it came home with me. Since there is a resurgence of old-time barber shops here is California I may know just the right customer for this amazing piece.
Here are a few of the other treasures from Hollywood. The antique cigar forms in the back are from Holland circa 1920's. The Italian leather pipe holder and English humidor tin are great items for a Father's Day vignette at the shop. The silver egg cups for an Easter display and I am hoping that some of the antique terra cotta seed pots I have at the shop will fit into the silver double handled bowl holders to add to our spring garden decor- could be fun. Also, the cast iron woodpecker toothpick/match holder and the cute little dish from a restaurant in Cannes just because. All in all, it was a wonderfully fun day at the flea in the big city.
Happy Hunting!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Road to the Hollywood Flea Market

Today's treasure hunt took me to none other than Hollywood.  I lived not far from this area, years ago and I have never lost my fondness for it, there is alway something great going on. Having been to this flea market many times, it has been several years since I was last there. This decades old market has never disappointed, always a wealth of unique wares, interesting surroundings and the people watching is simply wonderful.
Heading in this morning there is one symbol that tells me I have arrived. That is it, just ahead in the distance... the Hollywood sign.
Continuing on, passing Paramount Studios which is always quiet on Sundays.
Then by one of my favorite spots, the Hotel Roosevelt. Their Library Bar is lovely, a true sleeper in town.

Through the neighborhood brimming with a vast array of lovely homes. Traditional,
classic Spanish and everything in between.
I arrived at the flea market and did my fair share of shopping. I will share the flea market itself and the treasures I brought home next time.And finally on the way home, a quick drive up Mulholland Drive to look over the city. In the distance is the Los Angeles skyline. Coming closer is Hollywood and then the world famous Hollywood Bowl there in the foreground, nestled in the trees. It was a beautiful California winters day.

Watch for the flea follow-up coming soon.
Happy Hunting! 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Our Shop's Annual Team Dinner

It has become an annual event that we all look forward to... our team dinner. At Le Potager we are only successful because we are lucky enough to be surrounded by really wonderful people. Now in our 13th year, we have created a tradition of sharing an evening to celebrate the year ending and the new year ahead. It is our small way of thanking our Le Potager family for all of their hard work.
 For years our dinners was held in local restaurants. They were nice however, the meals seemed rushed, we were unable to move around to talk to everyone and it never felt as special as we wanted it to. With that in mind, a few years ago when we were planning yet another team dinner, we were having a hard time finding a location that was just right. It finally dawned on us- let's have our dinner in the shop. Yes, in the shop... we can take our time, move around to talk with everyone and the ambiance will be just right.
Our decor for the table this year was layers of fresh magnolia branches, cedar, pomegranates and antique statuary. Added china, crystal and candlelight for a rich, beautiful look.
This was the fourth annual team dinner held inside the shop. I cherish the memories of our celebrations and am most thankful to be able to spend time with our special friends- off the clock.
As seen in the first photo, I made the place cards once again. This year I used photos of the Eiffel Tower, I took on our fall trip, made into magnets and held up with wine corks... just fun!
Team Le Potager.
Fabulous friends celebrating our history and our bright future. Thank you one and all.
We enjoy these evenings so much that we decided to have this dinner twice a year from now on.

I will be flea marketing this weekend in Hollywood. Will share my treasures with you next time.
Happy Hunting!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Cold Winter Flea Market & Loot

The weather today was chilly and windy with scattered rain showers, not always the best for treasure hunting. The bad news was that some vendors did not attend the market due to the rain but, the good news was the rain ended early and the crowd remained quite small.
I found many interesting items today. I have alway wanted a Staffordshire lion. This pair was lovely but  they were just a bit above my budget.
Spied this beautiful stove- unfortunately it sold just moments before we saw it. Today I made time to speak with vendors to get some insight into their next shows, wares they buy and what is currently hot in the marketplace. It provided both useful and enjoyable. The seller of this stove was from England. This was his first market here and I look forward to visiting his stall again.
Loved this vendors little table with vintage culinary copper ware. The roaster was spectacular.
This beautiful duck press frame caught my eye.
Don't I wish! Sweet pillows and small rugs from a very nice couple I have met before.
My wee loot-du-jour. Today I did pick up a few little treasures. Since both of our sons have places of their own now I have been picking up some kitchen-wares for them, hence the vintage salt & pepper shakers and the Le Creuset kettle. 
The antique tray shown above is both a table-top tray with small bun feet and a bed-tray as seen here with long folding legs. The simple inlay detail is charming.
A fine set of four Staffordshire Italy pattern plates. Also, in the group is a French zig-zag corkscrew and the interesting little clover shaped item? Appears to be hand painting with a lady on the face. More on this piece coming up- if you have any ideas let me know. I even found a large Le Creuset Dutch oven, a tiny Eiffel tower and a cute enamel coffee pot. All in all, it was a fine hunting day. Hope you had a perfect weekend and wishing you a wonderful week ahead.
Happy hunting!

Friday, January 4, 2013

our last holiday event... disneyland

Now that the dust has settled, Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year have come and gone, the girls get together to take in holiday decorations Disney style. 
As the happiest place on earth is just 15 minutes away, it is a wonderful place to take an evening stroll.
We have a wonderful dinner and drinks with a lot of chatting and catching up on holiday travels and family news.
This is the way to enjoy the park- no rides or lines or stress, just wandering to take it all in.
The sounds of Christmas carols, the aroma of freshly made chocolate candies and caramel corn and the sights of holiday decorations abound.

This has become a much anticipated tradition for us... our reward for a holiday season well done
(if we don't say so ourselves!).
Everything was simply beautiful.
It was an all around lovely evening with my dear friends, whom I truly treasure.
Celebrating our official end to the 2012 holiday season with fireworks, of course!

Merry Happy!
Happy Treasure Hunting...  will be flea market shopping this weekend.