Cambridge Antique Market (Part I)

E surprised me on my last day of orientation (which went swimmingly, btw) by having a bike helmet and lock waiting in the foyer when I came home!  I proceeded to spend the rest of the night plotting an adventure for Thursday and viewing Google bike maps wondering if I was going to kill myself.

Bike Accident by photographer Julia Fullerton-Batten (click for more)

I remembered a pamphlet I’d saved from when we first moved and were hitting up all the tourists’ traps for the Cambridge Antique Market.  While I’m not a pro at thrifting and have never discovered that perfect coffee table for something silly like $1.50 or an Eames chair for $10 because the seller didn’t know what (s)he had (really, it’s just so annoying when I read this crap.  Where the heck are these people shopping?  Or are they just dirty liars?), I still love going to flea markets, thrift stores, and perusing Etsy searching for unique vintage wares.  Who knows, maybe my luck will turn one day and I’ll be one of those annoying thrifter-boasters you can tell to shut-the-f(ront-door)*.

The antique market is only a few miles away and I made it there with all my limbs intact and an appreciation that I was smart enough to at least buy the 3-speed cruiser (Cambridge is deceptively hilly in parts! And who the hell replaced my body with a geriatric’s?).  I pulled up to a giant brick building and was greeted at the front desk by a gaggle of spirited workers informing me there were 5 stories and 150 different vendors to view to my antique-lovin’-heart’s-content.  Jackpot. 

*Apologies for the lousy photo quality.  I didn’t bring my camera (read: I didn’t trust my unobservant ass with a camera on a bike) so I had to rely on my cell phone to snap these tidbits.

To show you how dramatically different the “booths” of the individual dealers could be, above are two examples.  One jam-packed, chaotic, and puking chotchkies (higher likelihood of a hidden gem) while the other is sparse and obviously curated (less chance of that surprise diamond in the rough but the discerning eye of the vendor makes the items on display carry more weight and the breathing room makes visualizing the item in your own space much easier).

My friend Nicole introduced me to the kick-ass world of bookends.  Just do a search on Pinterest and you’ll be hooked.  Above are a few I spotted at the Market.  In my love-of-all-things-brass, the globes piqued my interest immediately and the Honest Abes had a quirky charm.

I’ve been moving at tortoise’s pace setting up our foyer because I have so many contradicting ideas.  It just might be my favorite room in homes and I want something dramatic (stripes, non-gaudy stencils [ha!], who knows?!) .  Only thing I have slated for the space thus far is a campaign-esque style dresser that I’m debating painting before it’s moved over from the bedroom.  In trying to plot what should go on top, I remembered a few nice touches I’d encountered before – an antique toast rack to sort mail (holding out for the perfect gold one), a typewriter where visitors can leave notes as a makeshift guest book, and, of course, a stack of books – topped with quirky objects.  In college I collected matchbooks (and as a non-smoker they were rarely used) from restaurants and vacations.  I’ve had them stored in an uninspiring jar that was hidden in my bookcase for years.  I’d love to get a great container and make it part of the foyer vignette for easy access and start adding to the collection once again.  Not sure the above piece is the perfect fit, but this Planter’s Peanuts jar was GIANT and I liked the shape quite a bit.  Maybe to store laundry soap instead?

Left: This couch had simple lines and for a couple hundred dollars the price was right.  Wouldn’t it look awesome reupholstered in a blue velvet or grey linen?  Right: I’ve slowly been phasing out plastics from our kitchenware.  Container store has great glass tupperware alternatives that we use every single day.  Next I want to replace my plastic mixing bowls with a porcelin set.  These cobalt blue ones caught my eye – what a gorgeous color!  I do love open shelving in the kitchen though, so for years I’ve only collected white dishes to keep it cohesive.  However, the blue could add an interesting pop of color to the mix and might be worth breaking the rule.  Plus, in my dreams of a Le Creuset collection I’m once again leaning towards the blue (this changes weekly).

Now for a little randomness.  Top: One vendor had a stash of 70’s porn and of course I snapped a pic thinking, “Hmmm, maybe I can convince E these places are interesting.”  He’s a good trooper when I drag him to flea markets (usually with the allure of food trucks and vintage watches) but even I know this place could be overwhelming and you really need to browse at leisure.  Bottom: I parked my bike in the back parking lot and these kitties were giving me the stink eye as I was leaving!  Someone built a makeshift shelter for a group of strays and they assembled a little kitty colony (see the big guy sunning on the top?).  So sweet.  Ask my friend Jill, I’ve never met a stray cat I didn’t try to interact with (even on the dirty streets of Italy to her ill-hidden dismay).

Part II coming up!  My favorite stuff I found with accompanying inspiration photos on how I’d use it.

*Meh, probably not.  I have a theory that when an item is actually priced too low, it somehow loses its appeal to me, instantly evoking the question, “Uh, what’s wrong with this thing?”  Also, I lack shopping-patience, which seems crucial in thrifting and a huge contributor to why I’ll never be crowned sales-rack queen.   

2 Responses to “Cambridge Antique Market (Part I)”

  1. 1 Jessica September 14, 2011 at 8:03 PM

    Just curious how much the Lincoln bookend was going for? I’m pretty sure it was made by the Howell Company, formerly of Geneva. We have some that are identical on display at the museum!

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about me

Newly-minted New Englander (via Chicago). In pursuit of a stylish home, vast art collection, wardrobe of classics, sagging bookshelves, culinary prowess, and a fully-stamped passport. You know, just the basics.

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"The secret to happiness in life is to be conscious of what is uniquely great about your current situation and put your focus there."



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