I am handing over the reins of Life of an Architect today to a friend of mine – Morgan Satterfield, who can generally be found at the helm of her own website The Brick House. I find her endlessly entertaining and her site is one of a handful that I look at daily for new posts. With that – I give you Morgan.
I know you guys come here looking for Bob’s insightful commentary regarding current issues plaguing the built environment (or maybe for his awesome fashion sense) but unfortunately he handed over the reigns to some non-architect, non-Texan, grammatically challenged, potty mouthed weirdo living in California. I can smell the excitement already.
Apologies in advance, but I sort of hate doing this whole introduction thing. My name is Morgan, I edit a blog called The Brick House which chronicles the renovation of our less than architecturally interesting cement brick house located in the middle of a retirement community in Southern California. No, it’s not Palm Springs – that place is too fancy for us – we are located in dumpy old Hemet.
Writing on another person’s blog is so weird. It’s like wearing their underwear or breaking into their house and moving all the stuff in the fridge around just enough to creep them out later.
My blog, my dirty little minx of a blog, focuses on the slow process of fixing up our first little chunk of home with only our wits and our bare hands. We are young, we are broke, and we learn how to do things adequately enough to save money and live stylishly. Which, after all this rambling, brings me to the topic at hand: thrifting – as in to thrift, to be a thrifter, to live thriftly.
I live by a $100 rule developed by a good friend that states: Do not spend over $100 any one item for the house. Created out of a crushing lack of funds and tons of free time, this rule has been a go-to guide when out thrifting or trolling Craigslist for that perfect piece to add to the homestead. Sometimes we break that rule (my vintage Danish dining table was $150), or qualify it by selling other items to meet funding goals (I sold one sofa for $1200 and bought a sofa for $800 – which to me means it’s was free and profitable), but almost everything brought into our place has cost $100 or less. Sometimes a lot less.
How about we get started with The Brick House Thrifty! Hall of Fame.
It cost a whopping $4.99.
This is about the time people call B.S. or tell me they hate me, but don’t worry, I buy lots of other weird crap to balance out all the awesome.
Like this lady getting dangerously frisky with a dolphin in 1980. I’m looking at it right now hanging in my hall as I type and it still makes me giggle. Followers of the blog can attest to the odd art trend throughout the house. For example, the recent addition of The Captain to the master bedroom.
You can’t always find modernist masterpieces at the Salvation Army, so an eclectic collection of found art has permeated the entire house – to some peoples horror and to my delight.
There seems to always be an abundance of discarded original paintings and drawings at thrift stores. I always give it a quick look through to see if anything unique pops out, and usually some great thing does. I had to put a moratorium on art for awhile since the house is getting pretty filled up.
Another soft thrifting spot is for all things vintage and ceramic. My collection may not include incredibly valuable or rare pieces, but I find lots of really interesting works for only a few bucks a pop. Ever wonder where your high school ceramic project ended up? Probably at my house.
Weird portrait painting and ceramic piece? Double whammy.
This is maybe one of the best pieces I’ve found on my thrifting route and probably the best Thrifty! story, ever. Vintage Eames Lounger and a very special one at that…
Here is an edited recap from on old Thrifty! post:
I drove past a small thrift store I sometimes frequent and SLAMMED on my brakes, backed up in the middle of the road and pulled into the dirt lot. Sitting outside was a dusty but very obvious Eames lounge chair. I waited patiently next to it while the owner chatted on the phone. After he was done I casually asked after the price.
“Oh this chair? I just picked it up a half hour ago”. The lady owner shouts. “Hey, ain’t that one of those Eames chairs?”
For five minutes everyone sitting around discussed that yes indeed it was an Eames chair, and wow those are pricey, and what a nice chair, and oh we should clean it up it’s so filthy…
The owner man asked, “Well, do you know who’s chair this is? It’s Richard Page from that band from the 80′s, oh you know – Mr. Mister. He’s a wonderful artist, you should see his work. Just amazing. I know you like the chair don’t you? I saw you in the road stop and back up…”
Finally the topic of price came up after an excruciatingly long time chatting about 80’s rock ballads…
“Why don’t you give me $60 for it.” I countered with $50 because of the poor condition. “Alright sweety, $50 it is. You got yourself a good deal.”
And that is how I got Mr. Mister’s old Eames chair. Now it’s in my den, waiting for Journey’s ottoman.
In high school I started thrifting out of necessity (oh come on, I was also trying to be a rebel) and then never really stopped. I thrifted my way though college and now through my first home. I find it an incredibly interesting way to occupy my free time with the added benefit of beautifying our place. You never know what you’ll find out there, so that rush of finding something amazing gets addictive. Problem is, if you have kids or maybe a more strenuous social calendar, hardcore thrifting may not always be a successful venture. For every one thing I find, I usually visit five to ten stores and find nothing. I’ve had weeks where I go round and round and find absolutely nothing. It’s the consistency of going and not giving up that proves in the long run that all that patience was worthwhile. Luckily, I love the hunt and troll flea markets, craigslist and even the occasional estate sale desperate to find treasures, but – trust me – if I had more than 10’s of dollars to rub together I would be trolling 1st Dibs right now. And probably not living in Hemet.
Come on by The Brick House if you get a chance. We are always working on DIY projects to make the house a little less ugly and finding new and interesting things while out and about on the thrifting trail.
Thanks to Bob for letting me prattle on. Now he needs to break in and class things up a bit. You know, wipe that distinctive thrift store smell off your computer.
So, horizontal grain is a new trend? Yes please, lets get back to architecture…