A Flea Market-ing First

A few weeks ago, I trekked out with a handful of cash, a bottle of water, and some sunscreen (which turned out to be a great recommendation after reading a few Yelp reviews) and headed out to the monthly Rose Bowl Flea Market.  This was my first forray in to the world of flea marketing and I really enjoyed browsing all the home goods; there were such great finds that would really turn a neutral space in to something unique and add loads of character.  Another fact I learned: I will never be able to buy used clothing.

The flea market is a great resource for all things vintage in LA and you’ll find all walks of life here from your average garage sale shopper to legit designers looking for those authentic pieces.  I even saw a favorite HGTV star, Carter Oosterhouse, shopping for pillows with his wife.

My first task once I arrived was making the long hike from the parking lot in to the stadium as I was not looking to spend $20 for the premium parking for just a few hours of browsing.  I definitely got my work out that day.

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(This was taken 3/4 of the way in to the stadium)

After paying the entrance fee ($8 during normal hours, a bit more for the early bird special prior to 9am), I headed to the right through the vendors that surrounded the circumference of the stadium.  Here I discovered that apparently not only do they allow vintage and antique dealers as well as all sorts of artisans selling new, one of a kind pieces.  And maybe some not so unique goods too:

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HGTV even had a stand, handing out branded tote bags filled with the most recent edition of HGTV magazine.  The people working the booth were also encouraging passersby to stick around for demonstrations on DIY gardening.

I continued my way around the bowl and once I reached the backside was when I hit the real vintage goods.  Some of it was junk, some targeted collectors, and others had great one-of-a-kind items.  And there was mid-century modern until your heart’s content.

The trick with the Rose Bowl is that you have to be very careful about pricing.  Turns out, those fancy interior designers and hipsters from Silver Lake are all willing to pay a pretty penny for a nice piece of furniture with clean lines and the sellers have definitely caught on.  So do your homework before you go if you have an idea of what you’re shopping for, know how much you are reasonably willing to spend, and NEGOTIATE.  The worst the seller can do is say No.  Or they can meet you in the middle and you walk away with a great piece of furniture.

This trip’s purpose was mainly just to educate myself on what the market had to offer as well as do a little recon work for future projects.  But I did want to share the highlights of some of the great pieces I came across:

  • Mid-Century Modern as far as the eye can see:

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  • Some great newly made industrial pieces sourced from reclaimed wood.  I’m loving the bookshelf in particular:

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  • I came across these guys and immediately thought about them as a gift for my mom, who’s looking to finish off their guest room with a slightly nautical and beachy vibe:

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  • What glorified garage sale wouldn’t be complete without a little weird?  I had no idea Trolls were still such a hot commodity!

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  • And now for the BEST: the truly vintage pieces including an old trunk and some French berry buckets that were supposedly over a 100 years old:

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Wouldn’t this be the perfect wine rack?!

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If I had the money, this beauty would have come home with me.  It was a classic piece constructed with old-school dovetail joints.  Switch out the knobs for some vintage glass ones and it would have a permanent place in my bedroom.

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One of these bad boys should have been my first purchase.  They would be great to corral our bottles of liquor on the bar/island and the red labels would have tied together our dining and living areas.  I will definitely be back for one of these on a future trip to market.

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The antique costume jewelry was stunning.  It would be the perfect place for a bride to find her something old.

  • The vintage glass and dishware was incredible.  I now know where Don Draper’s bar cart is stocked from:

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Still wishing I would have brought this simple dish home with me. Would have been perfect on top of my dresser for perfume bottles.

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This dish was huge.  At least 20″ across.  It would be beautiful on a dark wood dining table.

I was surprised to only found one stand with old letterpress pieces.

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Luckily, it was the perfect first-time find to take home with me.  After much searching, I found the last ampersand and paired it with an M and a G.  I think it is a great addition to my desk space:

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All in all, it was a great first trip to the Rose Bowl.  I’m really looking forward to heading there in a few weeks to see what else I can find!

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9 thoughts on “A Flea Market-ing First

  1. ohhh the glassware! whenever i finally make it out to LA to visit my brother (and you!) i want to plan my trip around this monthly occurrence.

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  2. Nice post. And I love the berry buckets. I wonder if they’d work for collecting shells along a New England beach?

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    • Of course. If you want one, let me know and I’ll pick one up next time I go. In the right color, one could be perfect to set on a bookshelf/small table in your front guest bedroom…

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  3. WOW! It’s probably best for my pocket book that we don’t have this awesome of a flea market around here. We have a permanent structure/all the time one, but the prices are ridiculous, and set (no haggling). A few thoughts:
    1) I agree on the clothes. I know there are great vintage pieces and fabulously priced finds out there, but unless it’s one of Nora Charles’ dresses from After The Thin Man, or belonged to a family member, I just can’t do 2nd hand clothing.
    2) JEALOUS! Is Carter Oosterhouse as perfectly dreamy in real life, or is it the magic of television?
    3) Check out the bat mitzvah troll on the right side. I totally had one. It was the centerpiece of my troll collection.
    4) The crystal bowl in the pic right above the letters: my mom has that EXACT bowl. I was just washing it last night…a little on the heavy side, but a fantastic serving platter. Neat to see it here!

    A great post, as always!

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    • You could just SMELL the clothing section from rows away. Totally gross in my opinion. Handbags, *maybe* shoes if they’re the right pair, but I just couldn’t do clothes. As for Carter, what you see is EXACTLY what you get. It may have been the highlight of the day…. As for the crystal bowl, that is awesome. I actually saw a few of them so they must have been popular. I just thought it was great because it could fit in to so many different styles of décor, be it traditional or modern thanks to the pattern in which the glass was cut.

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