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.


(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:


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:





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




  • 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:


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



  • 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:





Wouldn’t this be the perfect wine rack?!


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.


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.


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:






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


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.


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:


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!


Mid-Century Storage

Today’s reader Q & A comes from another college friend, Christy (Carnegie Mellon represent!). She, her husband Chris and their adorable daughter Hazel just moved cross-country from a condo in the heart of Chicago to an incredible tree-lined property, complete with horse barn, in Seattle.  But between two grown adults that work from home, a baby on the verge of walking and a menagerie of pets, they are in desperate need of storage until they have the opportunity to start the large renovation they’ve been planning.

As a result, they’re not looking to spend a lot as most of these solutions will be temporary. But, as both Christy and Chris are both very design-minded and crazy artistic, I’ve been charged with the  request that my solutions “can’t look ugly” and in terms of style, Christy said “I hate that country shit.”  She is also definitely not a fan of wicker (so there goes most of my basket ideas).

Here’s a little bit more about Christy’s design storage dilemma, in her own words:

OK, so here’s the deal:

We are completely overhauling this house within the next year (gut remodel), so I have been hesitant to fully “move in” and make my space just so. However, I have recently come to the realization that with all the other stress in my life, at the very least, I need my most-lived-in space to be a lot more livable in order to maintain a peaceful state of mind. (aka: SANITY)

I spend most of my time when I’m at home in these two connected rooms: the family room and kitchen. The family room serves three purposes: 1) Hazel’s play room, 2) My office, and 3) Relaxing on the couch in front of the fireplace (sadly, this rarely happens). 

This house has many attractive features, but one thing it is severely lacking is STORAGE. You will see from the pics of my kitchen that we are exploding out of the space. Believe it or not, my kitchen in our condo in Chicago had about double the storage space. We had tall ceilings with floor-to-celiling cabinetry, a large original built-in in the hallway, and a huge pantry. Now we have no built ins, no pantry, and only one row of cabinets (first world problems!) But it does suck, because then we end up using our precious counter space for things like loaves of bread and ridiculous milk frothers.
Oh – and our aesthetic tastes tend to converge around Mid-Century Modern +/or warm contemporary. We hate ultra-modern stuff (read: cold!) and love a good, simple, hardwood furniture piece. We dislike things that are “clunky.” I love industrial objects juxtaposed with warm organic elements. It’s the German in me coming to terms with the Artist somewhere in the middle. Luckily, my husband and I agree on most things aesthetic.
Anyways. I need help. And I can’t spend a lot of money. And I have like no time.  –  Christy






So, let’s attack the kitchen first as it seems their milk frothers are running over. I’d assume all of their cabinet space is filled to the brim. So with that in mind, let’s take a look at any additional areas we could take advantage of for more storage. Next to their wall oven is the perfect place to add some hanging shelves. Depending on how sturdy Christy can make them (she’s quite handy and is the one who taught me how to use a drill), she could use it as extra space for smaller kitchen gadgets, like those frothers, coffee grinders, etc. Alternatively, she could use those shelves for additional food storage.
kitchen shelves straight shot
open shelving ikea
open shelving ikea 2
In the open area to the right of the wall oven where the windows are, I’d recommend a bigger island/bar cart than what they have now. It will give them both additional table-top surface as well as additional space on the shelves below. I think the Ikea Forhoja is her best bet. It’s simple, made of real wood (and could be customized if she chose to keep it) and always has high demand for resale on Craigslist if they choose to not bring it back in to their renovated space.  It could also be put to great use for dinner prep if they are living in the space through the reno.  Finding a space to make a makeshift kitchen is essential to surviving a major renovation.

forhoja 2

Moving in to the living room, the first thing I would add is a console table behind their sofa. This will give them a shelf for additional storage and an open area underneath to store some of Hazel’s larger toys without having them out in the open. I wouldn’t recommend this table in terms of style for Christy, but it illustrates a creative way to store kids toys in an aesthetically pleasing way:
Some examples of great console tables that would coordinate with their current style are the Foundry table from CB2 for an industrial look or a vintage piece like this mid-century modern classic.

Cb2 Table

MCM Table

Underneath their new console or their coffee table, I would add some Christy-approved baskets for Hazel’s smaller toys. These from CB2 and Crate & Barrel would fit right in to their mid-century modern style:

Crate & Barrel

For that long wall filled with Hazel accutrimont, there are two ways Christy could go: the budgetary/immediate option or the pain and gain option. My first inclination is to spend a little more on some pieces that Christy and Chris can keep and use after the reno such as a mid-century modern George Nelson-style shelving system. It would require some rearranging of their artwork, but this option would provide the additional storage they need in the living room and still provide lasting value to their overall furniture collection.George NelsonI see this as something that would be a great piece in Christy’s future office to display her artwork, stacks of books, and pictures with her favorite red-headed friend, kind of like this one:


(Yes, this picture is now 10 years old… I suddenly feel ancient)

Alternatively, Christy could go with the lower cost option that is still made of solid wood and would not require her to put giant holes in her walls (or break her budget).  I’d suggest going with the World Market Espresso Charles Slanted Bookshelf.  The style is simple enough that it could blend with the current furnishings and as it’s moveable, could be reused post-reno.  Also good for resale on Craigslist if she chooses not to keep it.

A third option would be to go the budget friendly, industrial route.  This option from Ikea would add a significant pop of color and hide toys behind closed doors.  Another great piece that could be carried over to the future space, repurposed in Christy’s art studio, or resold.
Beyond furniture, there are a few other options Christy could opt for that would help corral throw blankets, magazines, and the stray dog chew toy.  I’m loving this basket (Christy, trust me on this one) from Crate & Barrel.Crate & Barrel Basket
This storage ottoman from CB2 would provide storage as well as an additional seat for when the house is filled with more grandparents than chairs, which from what I hear, is a likely scenario.
CB2 Stool

So what do you guys think – any other storage options you’d suggest for Christy?  And in case anyone doubted that a bunch of sorority girls knew how to drill (get your minds out of the gutters people!), here’s exhibit A:


(This may be my favorite picture of this girl.  She’s kind of bad-ass.  Although I’m slightly afraid that she may be revoking my design privileges for posting this…)