When it comes to furniture, I love giving new life to old things and for that, there's nothing more inspiring than a trip to the flea market. Back at House Beautiful, I used to travel the country, scouring some of the best flea markets around for those precious few diamonds in the rough. And rough they are, at times; so much so that most people just walk on by the pieces with the most potential! Take this pair of Victorian benches I spotted at a flea market in New Jersey years ago. The shape I thought was fantastic, though they'd definitely need work.
A couple of coats of high gloss black, cowhide upholstery, and these benches had a whole new life! WIth such a traditional shape, I wanted to shoot them in a space far more modern that one might have expected. Here, at a friend's loft in the city, I love how their lines soften the space, while the cowhide updates them, adding a cool graphic element to the room.
The way I see it, pieces with great potential really aren't so precious few—they're everywhere! Whenever I'm out and about, I always try to look past the dated finishes, the tattered fabrics, the unfortunate colors and imagine another life altogether. Check out this video clip from a flea market shopping trip we took with readers to the Big DC Flea in September.
So if you're looking for inspiration and ideas on how to give old things new life, whether with furniture, china, silver, linens, glass or even art, meet us at a flea market near you! We'll be in LA on Sunday the 14th of this month for the Rose Bowl ($55), then in New York on the 25th of April for two of my favorites there ($50). Email Jaithan (firstname.lastname@example.org) for reservations. We're also planning our trips now through the end of the year. Any favorite flea markets you'd like us to visit?