(Hoosier cabinet at Savannah’s Two Women and a Warehouse. We haven’t purchased this — yet — but we’ve picked up a few things from this store since moving into our house…)
We had put in the offer on the house as soon as we got into town, which happened to be the first week of August. That meant that in the month between arriving in Savannah and moving into the house and starting to work, I had very little going on.
So I did a lot of Pinterest-ing. As you do.
Pinterest is a glorious world of fabulousness, if you ask me. I say this as someone who has known how to use Pinterest for pretty much exactly one whole year. Here’s the rub: This time last January, Manny and I were planning our wedding and he introduced me to it to help me organize ideas and share them with our families. (Please ignore the fact that I did not already really know what Pinterest was.) The skeptic in me — that part of me, in other words, that decided to become a medieval art historian because I am inherently wary of new things, particularly things of a technological bent — was all: ‘Whaaaaaaat is this…?” Only to quickly realize it was made for people that don’t like complicated technology and love looking at pictures. Yeah, I came around.
(How could I not? I literally went into a profession for which a core requirement is I look at pictures and show them to other people.)
Anyway, here is an example of the kind of image I got geeked about as I was oogling and googling:
If you consider the way our bungalow’s living and dining spaces turned out, you can probably see how much I was struck by this particular bit of inspiration.
I’m not really the type that ‘shops’ (i.e., actually buys things) on a whim. Don’t get me wrong, I love to look. But if I need (or… want?), say, a new pair of shoes, I typically, time and energy permitting, do research before I settle on something. This is not because I’m super savvy, or some super-evolved enlightened person. Really: It’s because I was in grad school for seven years. I was poor and had to travel and move around a lot. So I got sort of used to being picky/careful about what I bought.
Anyway, as soon as Manny and I made an offer on our house, my research-machine got going. And during that month of waiting, I wasn’t going to the bungalow regularly because the sellers were still living there. So I was *incredibly excited* about our soon-to-be-place but wasn’t confronted daily with its problems. Basically, I got to think about our house in the abstract, from the comfort of my mother’s very comfortable couch, without worrying about the work it was going to take to make it pretty. And it was glorious.
I also read some books because the academic in me freaking loves research. Jane Powell’s bungalow series was especially helpful. Manny’s a gem and he would collude with me in the evenings and let me run things by him and get his opinions. We started working toward a strategy.
But something was bothering me. Often, I’d see a picture I liked and it would go as follows: “That Crate and Barrel Jules Large Accent Table is divine!” Then I’d see the price and think it just didn’t seem worth quite that much to me.
Around this time, Manny and I made a few discoveries, some fueled by tips from others, some discovered on our own. Basically, Savannah has an incredible cadre of antique stores, secondhand stores, auctions, and estate sales. And THEY. ARE. WONDERFUL. They have unique real wood furniture, perfectly worn in rugs, great vases, lamps, you name it. We looked and looked, but I think the only thing we bought during this time was a pair of framed vintage bird pictures from the 1940s. Gawd, I love a good bird picture, don’t you? Anyway, we got to know what kind of stuff was available.
Here’s a view of some of the wares at Seventh Heaven antiques mall in Savannah:
I love that old timey rug. But alas, it was too big for our house. I think the wear on it is TDF (“to die for” — wait, are you supposed to spell out acronyms after you use them? Regardless, I’m making TDF a thing on this blog. You’ve been warned…).
Another place in Savannah we started stopping by a lot just for fun and to look is Pinch of the Past. It’s hard to summarize, but let me try: They. Have. Everything. Do you want a purple toilet from the 1940s? Got it. Do you want a microwave from the 1960s? Got it. What’s that you’re saying, though? WHAT, you don’t want those things? Okay. How about some sweet vintage light fixtures, Victorian salvaged doors, tin ceiling tiles, and/or clawfoot tubs? Yeah, they’ve got that too.
They also have… KITTENS! As evinced in this shot taken by Manny in September. So the kittens might be cats now. But they’re probably still super cute.
By the time we moved into our house, I’d started to satisfy my research demon and we’d gotten a lay of the land. And now, seeing the reality of the space everyday, we could start to shop in earnest.
Here’s a picture of the first piece of furniture we bought after we moved in:
I adore this simple little craftsman-style table, especially the wooden pins that hold it together at the bottom (hard to see in this pic, I know). And it’s perfect for our space. Our living room has an enormous, room-dominating fireplace with two small alcoves on either side. When we bought the house I had no idea what we’d put in them but thought “Eh, we’ll figure it out.” Bull Street Auctions in Savannah figured it out for us, though. That’s where this little baby came from and it’s where we picked up the things I’m about to show you now.
I hadn’t even wanted to go to the auction that day, incidentally. I was trying to unpack our clothes and set up our closet (difficult because someone had apparently punched holes in the back of it, which I needed to patch and cover) when Manny came in and told me about this biweekly happening. He asked if I’d be up for taking a little break to check it out. I was overwhelmed and sort of desperate to not feel like a squatter in our own home. I told him I was in the zone and wanted a pass. He said “They have food there.” We went to the auction.
Manny knows me too well. When we saw the little table go up, he handed me the bidding card and said, “Why don’t you give it a shot and bid?” I had never bid on anything at an auction before, let alone won. It is a rush! We smiled and kissed each other in triumph! The auctioneer made fun of us. Which we deserved.
Buying that table broke the seal. We also walked out that day with this little beauty:
That light fixture is yuge, you guys. You can’t necessarily tell from the pic. Anyway, the plan, then as now, is to turn it into a pendant light and put it in the breakfast nook in the kitchen.
Our sweet living room rug also came from Bull Street Auction:
(Tilly is a great model. Also, she knows her way around a good rug. Snooze-city!)
What I love about this rug is there’s no latex backing. It’s not machine-made, and it doesn’t shed. It’s just a nicer rug than you get at, say, Pottery Barn. And it cost less.
Here is yet another great item from BSA we really love:
I bid on this chair because –um — it’s green. No one else seemed to want it so it went for fifteen buckos. And I really do love it. I think I bought it for the living room, but it didn’t work in there so I put it beside our closets in the master suite. I cannot explain how great it is to have a good chair to sit in when I put on my shoes. Ah, the little things. I also sit here and talk to Manny as he gets dressed in the morning before work and when he comes home and changes his clothes. Best fifteen bones I ever spent.
Then there are these little lovelies:
Manny has a thing for old painted chairs and he was dead set on these. We always do the “How much are we willing to pay for this?” conversation at auctions before we bid. Sometimes we go over (I’m guilty of bidding higher than we had agreed we would for Potbelly, which I introduce below). Oops. But often we get a steal. I can’t remember what we said we’d spend for these painted chairs. But we bid ten a piece (“two-times the money,” as they say). The auctioneer didn’t see Manny raise his hand at first, though, so he dropped the price and we got them for five. Not too shabby, even if the chairs are. Shabby that is.
This kind of furniture isn’t for everyone, of course (pretty sure my mom thinks my sweet green chair is an uggo). But we love it and it’s so right for this house. Those little painted chairs are a tad fragile, as their appearance and price would suggest, but we use them as end tables/nightstands next to our bed. Eat your heart out Crate and Barrel Jules Accent Tables.
The icing on the cake is definitely Potbelly, the little French marble-topped commode we keep in the corner of the dining room. This picture doesn’t do him justice, but trust me: he’s a dashing gent. The pic was taken before we bid on and bought it while it was on the floor of the BSA (I think I took this pic to send to my mom for moral support):
To close, I would just add this: Picking things up from antique stores and auctions and the like supports local businesses!
A few of my favorite resources, here in town and online:
*I also never overlook Etsy and Ikea 🙂
Let me know if you have any favorite resources I should check out!