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Countertop Review

This time last year I was packing up our house to prepare for our down-to-the-studs renovation in our kitchen, family room, and master bath as well as the addition of a screened porch. The family room wasn't originally part of the plan, but that's a post for another time. The kitchen was where I really had to plan and scheme, and, yes even fret, to stay in our footprint and budget and to get the function and look I wanted. I love a challenge like this, though, so despite some occasional frustration with my client (aka me! ), I enjoyed the process. A key "want" of mine was honed marble countertops. There are dozens--maybe hundreds--of blog posts, articles, and showroom sites that compare various types of countertop materials and their pros and cons. I read most of them and took notes from a lot of them in the months leading up to our start date. One of the most helpful things was visiting a sweet friend's kitchen, where I was able to ask questions about cleaning, a

Finders and Keepers

Up at 5:15, I crept about my in-laws’ guest bedroom in the pitch dark to get ready for my day of antiquing.  At exactly 6:05 my sisters-in-law pulled up outside the cabin, and we were off on our annual adventure.  It’s a two-hour drive to Renninger’s, but the time went quickly as we solved the world’s problems and alternately discussed what we hoped to find at the Extravaganza.  IMG_3501

We scored a parking space at the bottom of the hill, which may seem insignificant at eight, but it is of utmost importance at five in the afternoon.  We breezed through the gate, thanks to a dealer friend who sends us three-day passes each year, and we were off to the indoor dealers.  As a courtesy to Renninger’s permanent dealers, the indoor stalls open at eight; the outdoor booths may not sell until ten.  Most dealers abide by this code, nevertheless, I am always eager to get outside and get going. 

First find of the day were these sweet thumb back chairs with solid plank seats.  The one on the right still has some of the original red paint.  IMG_3527

They’re just simple country Windsor chairs with good signs of wear and nice turnings, perfect to hold towels in a bathroom or to serve as an extra chair in a kitchen or informal bedroom.  Of course, I ask, What’s your best price?  How about ten a piece?  My reply is that I’ll be by to pick them up before the show closes.IMG_3537Next up, a brass lamp.  Heavy.  This was marked $80 with a shade I didn’t particularly care for, which turned out to be my bargaining chip.  When asked her best price, the dealer came down to $60 right away, and I countered with $55 if she kept the shade, which I thought looked a little too new and “Targetish” for this lamp.  Deal.  Now the question for you, Dear Readers, is shall I polish it to a gleam or leave its patina?

I still have a lot to learn about Imari, but I’m studying and trying to get the “feel” for what’s really old.    I love the navy, the rusty red and the bright spring green on these pieces.  IMG_3529 I tend to like the less formal pieces, those without any gold trim.  IMG_3530I’ve seen similar Imari in design, weight, and wear priced much higher, so I jumped at this scalloped bowl and plate.  Marked at $48 and $45, respectively, I got both pieces for $70.


This dealer had several more plates, and I am wishing I had bitten the bullet and bought them all, as I’ve seen them recently in the $80 to $150 range here in town.  I love how they look in our living room secretary.IMG_3578

Another favorite that I’ve gotten rather hooked on collecting, much to the amusement of my sisters-in-law and the Mister, are miniature brass fireplace fenders.   I know, crazy.  But I love them!  The debate rages as to whether they were made for dollhouses or as salesmen’s samples (which is what I think), but they add just a bit of brightness and interest to a bookshelf or tabletop.  So far, I’ve yet to see two alike.  Of course, I have only seen three for sale in the past two years, and I’ve bought them all.  This one is rather dinged up, but they are so hard to find that I really didn’t hesitate.IMG_3534  This show’s addition to my collection cost a mere, well, never mind; I think the Mister does read this.  Let’s just say that comparatively speaking it was a great buy and leave it at that.

My last two finds include a brass-knobbed walking stick, which was just not that interesting when photographed, but it does look good in my umbrella stand, and this charming gent. IMG_3575

I’ve had a thing for silhouettes for years, but I’ve only recently been collecting them.  This piece appears to have  a wedding announcement on the back, stating Lovell-Pugh.  On the 23d inst., at St. George’s, Hanover-square, by the Venerable the Archdeacon Clive, Peter Audley Lovell, Esq. of Cole Park, Wilts, to Mary Jane, youngest daughter of David Pugh, Esq., M.P. of Montgomeryshire.  Handwritten below is what looks like February 1857.  Again I have a lot to learn (starting with, does the gentleman’s costume fit the time and occasion?), but that’s part of the fun.  I paid $40 for this obviously hand-cut silhouette.

Did I mention that the Mister came to meet us for the second half of the day?  Well, he did, and we had a lot of fun, but the Mister needs care and feeding, so we stopped for a quick bite at one of the market’s many food vendors.


While we were scarfing down our sandwiches and chatting with a nice lady from Maine, I glanced up and recognized Eddie Ross and Jaithan Kochar walking up the hill!  In a most out-of-character moment, I excused myself and hopped up to chase after them!  I caught up with them at the next chow wagon, where I managed to blurt out that I didn’t want to bother them, but I just had to tell them how much I enjoyed their work in various magazines and their blog.  They could not have been more gracious.  Eddie even found a gentleman to take a photo of the three of us!  They were at Renninger’s on assignment for Southern Living magazine.  They will be doing a feature called In With the Old, which makes its debut in the May issue—I can’t wait!  Read all about it here.IMG_3496

So here we are under the oaks.  I loved that Eddie and Jaithan were carrying LL Bean camouflage bags, but I guess I’ll have to wait a few months to see the  finds they were toting!

Thanks so much, Eddie and Jaithan, for taking a few minutes to talk with me.  I hope we run into each other again sometime!  In the meantime, I look forward to keeping up with you at Eddie Ross {dot} com.


  1. This is my idea of rest and relaxation! How fun that you make this a yearly tradition with your sister in law. You found some lovely pieces {love the silhouette} and some wonderful friends. I met them this past fall and they are both sweet and charming.


  2. Sounds like a wonderful time! The Imari is gorgeous.

    Great photo of the three of you! I know you were thrilled to meet Eddie and Jaithen.

  3. What a fun day.....can't imagine anything more enjoyable than scouring a fun market and not knowing what you might find..the thrill is in the chase! Love the pretty pieces you found....the colors of the Imari is just beautiful.

  4. Loved meeting you at the flea market! And such great finds too!

    E + J

  5. How cool that you not only met Eddie and Jaithan, but you got the scoop on their new contribution to SL! That looks like such a fun event - love the bowls/plates that you scored!

  6. What fun!! I think my favorite is the silhouette!! My in-laws have a fabulous Imari collection including some gigantic platters from when they lived in Japan. They are beautiful but I would have no idea what to look for. Looking forward to seeing Eddie and Jaithan's finds as well!

  7. Forgot to mention how much I like the new look!!

  8. What a fun post! First, this day sounds like heaven to begin with; I have always wanted to go to Renninger's. Your found treasures are wonderful. Thanks, now I am going to be looking for Imari - without gold trim - because it looks so amazing in your secretary! And maybe most funny of all to me, is that I was just reading about E&J going to Renninger's for Southern Living on his blog (FYI - I am proud Northern girl with my very own subscription to SL). AND my Baby Boy will turn 27 this Sunday and we are going to the Chelsea Flea market in NYC with E&J for his "birthday party" - we SO excited. Last but not least, I love the picture of you with E&J - you look terrific - all that treasure hunting suits you.
    Warm regards,

    PS Thank you for your most recent comment - and yes, I was reflecting...

  9. How awesome to meet them there!! Great picture too.

  10. I would LOVE to go to a market like this! What an awesome tradition....and celebrities to boot! L.U.C.K.Y. YOU!!


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