Earlier this year AT declared that Eddie Ross has become one of our favorite designers. Not only does he have an impeccable eye but his blog offers affordable, original diy projects and design tips with a more luxe flare than we're used to seeing. With his stint on Top Design behind him, he's bringing some common sense to decorating. And while his style might be luxe, his budgets are not. For him thrift stores, swap meets and a version of 'making it work' are imperative. Having a vision and finding the gems are what he's incredibly good at. But how would his traditional style translate at the Rose Bowl?
Given the state of the economy, it makes more and more sense to seek out bargains at flea markets and thrift stores and I wanted to see how a pro would do the Rose Bowl. So taking advantage of one of the many Flea Market tours Eddie has been doing across the country, I got in touch with him about his tour of the Rose Bowl Swap Meet and arranged to meet up.
Bright and early on a sunday morning I met Eddie at the Rose Bowl before his group arrived. We walked quickly through the alleys going from the bottom to the top (he does the Rose Bowl the same way Abby does) and I watched while he spotted a great milk glass punchbowl sitting forgotten and dingy on the back corner of a spread out blanket, found a tarnished set of amazing silver flatware and always took a closer look at a disorganized or otherwise messy looking booth.
Not surprisingly he passed up mid century credenzas in favor of 40's era tableware, silver and crystal, highlighting the versatility of such classic pieces. He found these great Dorthy Draper era lamps (that someone in the group bought) and some simple mid century patio chairs that just needed some powder coating and a new cushion. Simple lines, classic design and durable materials were what drew Eddie. Throughout the day he was gracious, insightful, patient and generous. He spent extra time at the end of the tour to help people find what they'd come for and was sincerely excited when people found treasures to take home. His enthusiasm was infectious and made me rethink what I normally shop for. I suddenly had a hankering for something...fancy.
Inspired by his Mimosa Brunch, I wanted to add some silver to my mainly colorful pottery collection and found this tray for $5. And with a little bit of elbow grease I'm excited to use this as a contrast to my more simple, modern pieces for entertaining.
(This is Eddie describing how to clean it.)
The bargain hunting tips that were reinforced for me:
1. Look for piles. This means that the vendor hasn't 'showcased' their wares and is where you are more likely to find treasures at a reasonable price.
2. Look for dirt. If you see tarnished silver, dusty old crystal or some slightly stained linens, remember that they can be cleaned and you're going to get a better price than a gleaming version of the same thing at a neighboring vendor who has already done all of the work of you.
3. There's always room for a classic. Going through the market with an eye towards more traditional silver and crystal was new for me but I realized was something I was missing in my own home filled with mid century pottery and modern white platters.
These days focusing on beautifully made heirlooms feels like the right kind of indulgence. Eddie reminded me that classic, grown up items--silver, glass and linen-- can add luxury to the every day. Just take a look at his new etsy shop that showcases exactly what I'm talking about. A pared down palette looks sophisticated and luxurious and because the pieces are older, they're better made and will last a lifetime. Plus everything in his shop is less than $100.
It's also worth noting that he was incredibly gracious and friendly and not much like the 'character' on Top Design. For more, check out AT New York's Flea Market excursion with Eddie and his blog for ideas for putting together your finds.