Monday, September 28, 2009
Don’t you just love finding treasures in the most unexpected places? Last weekend, Sharona, Richard and I spent a fun-filled weekend in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware . After a Friday night of debauchery, complete with karaoke and dancing, we ventured out on a sun-drenched morning into town. For those of you unfamiliar with Rehoboth, it is a lovely ocean resort with a mix of New England and Victorian charm. The main street is Rehoboth Avenue, lined with shops and restaurants. The shopping experience ranges from T-shirt and surf shops to chic and funky boutiques.
After battling for parking (Richard, bless his heart, agreed to be the chauffeur for the weekend, making it more pleasant for all of us), we immediately happened upon the tiny consignment store Pass It On. Sig-O and I had noticed this store before, but since it appeared from its window displays to carry only women’s fashions we always bypassed it. However, since Richard and I were on a mission to ensure Sharona spent all her Fall ’09 clothing budget by the end of the weekend, this time I insisted we stop by to have a look-see.
We were all immediately charmed by the tiny shop; it’s racks and shelves were filled with an eclectic mix of ladies’ fashions, and included many desirable labels. Richard I quickly overwhelmed Sharona by yanking out armfuls of must-haves (‘fashion by inundation’ was our modus operandi for the weekend!). In the midst of the mayhem, I happened to gaze upon a funky little vintage armchair in the corner: ‘30s/’40s vintage with chunky carved feet, but upholstered in early ‘70s yellow and gold floral chenille (CHENILLE! Must alert Lady D! [see previous posting, “The Princess and the Flea ”]), in fabulous condition. Upon further inspection, it appeared that the chair was part of the store’s furnishings, placed there for weary customers and not actually for sale. Seldom deterred once I’ve set my sights on a potential find, I decided to take a chance and asked the salesperson behind the counter if the chair might possibly be purchased. At the same time, I noticed one of the store’s display tables – a long, low bench with stylized oriental lines, with a rather distressed royal blue lacquered finish. Perhaps another find?!?
The lovely sales girl offered to contact the shop’s owner to see if she would be willing to sell both items. After hearing the owner’s offer (which, by the way, was a good starting point for negotiation), I chose to take a few moments to consider the purchase (I’m sure you’ll be shocked when I say I am SO prone to impulsive home décor purchases!), and wandered to the back of the store to locate Sharona and Richard.
Sharona had managed to find the “Everything $10” clearance room. While she was considering a lovely lace camisole, I zoomed in on yet another chair; while this one had the same ‘70s chenille upholstery, the piece was decidedly more early-‘50s vintage, with lightly stained exposed wood (birch?) sleek arms and legs. While Sharona was left to fend for herself amongst l’items de clearance’, I rushed back to the salesgirl and asked her to contact the owner to see if she would instead sell me the two chairs (for a price lower than her original chair-and-table offer). SUCCESS! Not only did the owner agree to my suggestion, she offered to throw in the oriental table for free!!
Yes, dear readers, I fell into that giddy state that I hereby dub “Vintage Vertigo”. You know the symptoms: the adrenaline rush, accompanied by visions of refinishing/refurbishing/repurposing that occur when you happen upon a particularly exquisite and desirable piece of vintage décor….The euphoria experienced as you examine your newly found treasure, and immediately begin calculating the best price for which you can acquire the piece. Vintage Vertigo is often accompanied by glassy eyes and drooling, but NEVER EVER includes thoughts of, “But where will I put it?” or “But what will I do with it?”.
After proclaiming the two chairs and the table ‘sold’, Richard readily agreed to make the multiple trips required to haul the pieces back to Sig-O’s Rehoboth house. (Such a gracious act earned him the title, “Patron Saint of Vintage Décor Addicts”. We’re minting little medals.) Once all three pieces were at Sig-Os place, I decided that the chairs worked very nicely in two of the upstairs bedrooms (the table, originally intended to accompany us back to Arlington, unfortunately had to stay behind in the beach house garage; Sharona just had too many purchases, and we couldn’t fit everything into Richard’s SUV. Sharona will try to tell you it was due to all my luggage, but don’t listen to her!) I called Sig-O to ensure I had his permission to store the pieces at his beach house, at least temporarily, and even took pictures to show him how well they worked in their new quarters. Believe it or not, he thinks they blend well with the house’s décor, and agrees that these were indeed a worthwhile purchase. (I don’t think he realizes the chairs’ chenille upholstery is a bit ‘mod’….I was careful not to zoom-in on the fabric’s details!).
Oh yeah…Sharona ended up with an armful of Pass It On clothing, including a stunning Ann Klein lingerie-inspired cocktail dress and a faux fur stole….But whatever; must EVERYTHING always be about her?!? ;-o