Barn sales aren't a new concept, but recently they've become a popular favorite with events like barn crawls cropping up around the surrounding DC area. Chartreuse and Co, which opened for business in 2007, is one of the better known regular barn sales, and for good reason. Owner Virginia Crum and her impressive group of sellers have capitalized on the concept, combining the thrill of the hunt with the pleasant appeal of attractive displays.
In general, the wares are similar to the Old Lucketts Store — lots of sturdy painted furniture, re-imagined vintage wares, cool industrial pieces, and a heavy dose of shabby chic. And like Lucketts, not every piece is a total steal — but there are good deals to be found and plenty of unique pieces.
With tidy displays, curated collections, and the occasional collection of new items like design books, the main barn resembles more of a neat flea market or funky retail space than a chaotic barn. However, the large barn is literally filled floor to rafters with stacks of wooden furniture, mostly unfinished and waiting for a good home. The latter and the outbuilding/shed are where the best deals are to be found, and most of those found items will require a thorough cleaning and, most likely, a little refinishing. However, if you're a decent DIYer the big barn is a goldmine. During my last visit I spotted a solid mid-century hutch for $150 and more than a few sub $100 solid wood dressers and sideboards.
While there is definitely an element of the competitiveness among shoppers that accompanies any good flea market/junk hunt, the vendors at Chartreuse and Co. are extremely friendly and helpful, making the shopping experience that much more enjoyable. And, as a bonus, some vendors treat their shoppers to baked goodies and refreshing drinks from local sweet shops — perfect for surging adrenaline and plummeting blood sugar! With so many vendors, there is a great variety of wares, but personally I seem to have the most consistent luck at Madison & Mabel where owner, Kelly Tyree, continually provides a great selection of vintage industrial pieces.
The three-building site sits roughly an hour outside DC, and makes for a relatively pleasant and painless drive. In addition to opening during regular monthly tag sales, appointment sales trips can be also be arranged, so check out their website for details. Also be sure to check the site regularly for sale dates, as it is frequently updated.
NOTE: Dress appropriately! Although the main barn has space heaters in the colder months and fans in the warmer ones, the spaces are uninsulated, which means you will feel the extreme weather. Also, the grounds can get muddy, so be sure to wear comfortable and durable shoes.
Images: Leah Moss
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