Antiquing at High Point Design Market

At the High Point Antique & Design Market.

At the High Point Antique & Design Market.


Fall is the season for antiquing so I began my annual trek of all things vintage and gorgeous at the High Point Antique and Design Market.

To summarize: it was pure bliss. I could have spent a month there. 

This favorite venue of the world's hippest retailers and leading-edge designers features exquisite antiques, vintage pieces (my favorites), original works of art and one-of-a-kind finds.

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As a Fort Myers interior decorator, for myself and my clients, I love to use vintage pieces as accents. It's a little tricky to incorporate these pieces and at the same time keep your home from looking like grandma's house or a flea market.


A few tips when decorating with antiques:

  • Use an antique to anchor your room.
  • Don't be afraid to paint to give the piece a modern look.
  • Avoid a cluttered look. Minimal is best. Don't surround the piece with lots of other "old" things.
  • Pair old with mode
  • Update upholstery with a gorgeous, contemporary pattern.
  • Create a backdrop for the piece. A corner with artwork. A vignette that shows off the antique.

Just a few of my fun finds:

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Photo 7 Fun old elements and accessories to give a room personality.JPG
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Vintage meets modern: Pretty, uncomplicated lighting that's made in America!

                                                                      All photos courtesy of Barn Light Electric.

                                                                      All photos courtesy of Barn Light Electric.

I've been doing some sourcing for a client who is beginning a complete redo of her home and lighting is a huge part of her makeover. She loves the industrial look but I wanted to soften it a little. And then I found it. Lighting that does not take itself too seriously.


Barn Light Electric is American manufactured and the collection of interior/exterior lighting fixtures and accessories reflects a vintage-meets-modern style that includes everything from warehouse shades, gooseneck wall arms and porcelain enamel lighting, to pendant lights and sconces. It's uncomplicated and classic.

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So, I headed to Titusville for a look at their new showroom and to see for myself. I was impressed with the quality and I love the yummy colors. These are a great choice for kitchens, sconces, bathroom vanities and outdoor spaces.

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Why porcelain? Unlike other painted finishes, porcelain enamel can be restored to its original condition by washing with mild soap and water. After five, ten, or even twenty years, porcelain enamel is the one finish that retains its beautiful original color. Porcelain enamel successfully resists harsh weather and work conditions; extreme humidity, cold, and heat are no match for porcelain enamel. This type of finish does not deteriorate or corrode when in contact with chemicals found in most industries – it retains its original shape, glossy color, and texture, ultimately providing years of extended use compared to other fixtures.


And it is stunning in a simple, classic, industrial with a touch of coastal sort of way. Perfect for my client. And for my next redo of my own home space.


Simple pleasures: flea market treasure finds new home

The last Renningers antique extravaganza of the season is always bittersweet for will be a long stretch from February until the next season begins in November. It's a lot like waiting for Downton Abbey to return and we all know how that feels.

But I found a great little treasure in this beautiful field shaded with a canopy of old oak trees. After tromping through acres and acres of vintages finds, there it was. I knew the minute I saw this turquoise terrarium that it would likely go home with me. But I walked away and kept coming back.

It is old, a little rusty and the pretty turquoise paint is peeling just enough to give it character. The stall owner had filled it with dishes. I knew I could give it a better life. So, we made a (good) deal.

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I knew just what to with it.

I coated the bottom with some of my favorite shells that I have collected from Upper Captiva Island and some of my treasures from New Zealand beaches. Now they are all mingled together and sitting in the middle is a small piece of driftwood that I found that is just perfect. And my prized white nautical shell is the focal point.

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Now it sits in my entry on an early 1800's, English sideboard that is from a kitchen. Coincidently, this piece was also discovered at Rennigers in Mt. Dora. I like to think that it came from a manor house kitchen but will never know for sure.

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Back from the past: restored 1890's ice box is ready for its closeup

It may come from the fact that I was born and raised in Virginia's Peninsula area. Surrounded by the history of Yorktown and Williamsburg. The ghosts from our country's past were everywhere.

I've always held a fascination and wonder for antiques from the past – primitive furniture mostly – that was used by our ancestors in their homes, shops and workplaces. From dry sinks to pie safes, from step back cupboards to wooden iceboxes and farm tables and beyond, their faded paint, worn patina, scrapes and knife cuts almost speak out loud their past and individual stories. And as a Fort Myers interior decorator, I love working vintage pieces into the beach houses, traditional and contemporary homes where a little wow is needed.

In fact, with a little imagination, sometimes one discovers a piece that almost cries out to you, “Look at me…if you only knew the history I have been through…the people who have used me in their daily lives…the conversations that I have heard from owners long-since gone.  And while my looks have long since diminished, I am still standing.”

Such has been the case with much of the antique furniture I have found and collected over the years, one-of-a-kind pieces that I will always treasure. And up until recently, I thought I’d seen just about every antique that could possibly take my breath away.  I was wrong.

Last summer, on a website of a well-known architectural salvage firm in Roanoke Virginia, I stumbled upon an offering of what can only be called the “mother of all ice boxes.”

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Simple Pleasures: A vintage piece becomes a holiday treasure

It was easy to walk right past this little gem at the antique market in Mt. Dora.

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Someone had tossed some dried twigs on top of it and this vintage, white rocking chair didn't have much of chance with all of the other great pieces for sale. Plus, it was covered with dirt.

But the minute I saw it, I knew it was going home with me. More shabby than chic, it's white paint is very weathered. Perfect. Someone put a lot of love into making it as it has a pretty curved back. It must have spent many years on someone's porch. And now it was looking for a new home.

So, after negotiating a rock bottom price, into my car it went. I had no idea how I would repurpose it but as I always tell my clients, when something speaks to you, buy it. You will find a place.

Photo of vintage chair repurposed for ChristmasAfter a good bath and some gluing, it has found the perfect home. Years ago, a dear friend in Orlando gave me two holiday reindeer (dressed for Christmas dinner) that she purchased at an auction for a children's charity. It has become my most treasured holiday decoration. Today, they sit in my new (old) chair on my front porch with a holly berry wreath on the back.

Simple pleasures really are the best.


Want to turn plain rooms into Spectacular Spaces? I can help. Contact me!

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Decorating ideas: Searching and finding a vintage treasure

The only thing more fun than going to one of the winter Antique Extravaganzas at Renningers in Mount Dora is when you are lucky enough to find a real treasure.  And I found one yesterday.

I knew the moment I laid eyes on this 1800's, primitive farm table in one of the more than 800 dealer stalls, that it would be going home with me.  Nothing gives me more pleasure than repurposing a vintage piece. It is gratifying to "rescue" a piece of furniture that at one time functioned as an important part of a home someplace. After being forgotten for so long, it will once again be the focal point of someone's home interior.  I can just imagine the conversations  that took place in the farmhouse kitchen around this table. 

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Once this table is cleaned up from the years that it sat neglected in an old shed, it will be a great accent piece.

Because one of the services offered by Spectacular Spaces is searching for unique accent piecesfor its clients, I am constantly on the 1st Dibs site so I know the value of rare, vintage pieces such as this lovely table. If you are not familiar with 1st Dibs, check it out. It markets itself as the purveyor of "the most beautiful things on earth." And it totally delivers.  I first learned about 1st Dibs from Nate Berkus and have been hooked ever since.

If you are looking for an accent piece for your home, here is a decorating idea from Spectacular Spaces:

Buy what you love.  What speaks to you.  What fits your design style.  Blend the piece with other styles in our home.  Don't try to make everything in the room match in the same style. Instead, decide what works for your lifestyle.  Search for it and create a beautiful space around it.  

I think I have found a new home for this treasure.  Mine.