Whenever I travel or even when I just take a walk in the park, I always come home with my pockets and bags filled with sea shells, pine cones, rocks, leaves and twigs. These really are some of my favourite things–and, best of all, they’re free!
I also love old, sturdy pieces of furniture that don’t come with an assembly sheet in 16 languages and a hex key. Remember when furniture used to come built and ready to use? And it used to last from generation to generation! That said, here is one of my favourite pieces–it’s an old oak wash stand that I bought for $80 at an antique barn somewhere in the Ottawa Valley (can’t remember where it was, darn!).
It’s a charming little piece that can be used in any room in my house. As you see it here, it’s in a space between the dining area and the living room (kitchen, dining and living rooms are all wide open). It adds some sense of division, without creating a barrier. This funny little cabinet came with just three knobs–there never was a fourth. Anyway, I bought some antique ones and will, eventually, put them on–all four of them.
The gorgeous cast iron lamp comes with a story, too: one warm summer’s day, my daughter and I took a walk near her home in Carp. We came across a house owned by a lady who collects all sorts of treasures, like this lamp, and sells them every Saturday morning at a garage sale. I fell in love with the lamp, so my daughter knocked on the lady’s door and asked her how much she wanted for the lamp. “Nothing,” she said, “if your mom likes it, it’s all hers.” That was a deal I couldn’t turn down. When I got home, I added a silk champagne-coloured lamp shade that had been sitting in my basement for a couple of years. They make a beautiful couple!
The “vintage” metal pitcher is my $7 Walmart find; the pretty silk flowers come from Dollarama.
These hand-carved chess pieces were given to me in 1974 by a military friend who had been stationed in Africa. She bought the entire set for a dollar! I gave them to my dad for his birthday in 1975. After he passed away in 1995, I asked my mom if I could have them back, as a keepsake. I’ve never figured out a good way to display them, so when I unpacked them this time, I put them in a bowl ($2 in a sale bin at Pier One Imports). Now, every time I look at them, I think of my dad and that funny grin he got on his face when he was about to say, “checkmate!
This pretty little oval plate on a stand is another one of my Dollarama treasures. I bought it because I liked the message on it and because the colours made me happy! For me, value is all about how something makes me feel, regardless of the numbers on the price tag.
The oval mirror above the wash stand was left to me by my great-aunt, Dorothy. It matches several other pieces of furniture that date back to the mid-1930s and have passed the test of time.
And, last but not least, the brocade table runner is a heavy woven fabric, fully lined and trimmed with braiding and a deep fringe on each end. This lovely piece was $6 at the Christmas Tree Shop in Vermont.
In summary, here are my costs for this vignette:
Wash stand: $80
Oval plate: $1
Brocade runner: $6
I hope this inspires you to take out some of your treasures and group them together in a pretty vignette!