Adventures in estate sale-ing

Usually I like to get to estate sales early in the morning. I used to think that if you weren't in the first fifteen people group to enter a particular house, then nothing worth grabbing is going to be left to grab. With most estate sales starting on Thursdays, the day job usually gets in the way of me being able to attend on opening morning.

So... getting there at noon on Thursday, this was the horror that I was met with. A pile of vintage cement flamingos with sold signs on them. Ugh. I've got 4 vintage cement flamingos already and these flamingos were supposed to live the rest of their lives happily at the edge of the Breezeway lagoon! Dammit. 
It IS true that the best stuff usually get picked first, but there can be some cool stuff to find if you dig a little deeper. 

That being said, a new(ish) horrible trend in estate sales that I've grown to notice is that they have been marking most stuff at retail prices. A couple of days into the sale and they get easier on pricing because they just need to move the stuff... But it's frustrating to get up super early sometimes, looking for a deal, and finding retail pricing. I've even heard dealers, shopping at estate sales, yell at estate brokers about that before. It gets tense. 

Anyway, let me take you on a tour of an incredible estate that I attended in Santa Ana, CA, this past weekend.

Word on the street was that there was a vintage Sputnik lamp at this estate sale. I knew that by my time of arrival, I would miss my opportunity to buy it. It's probably for the better anyway, it sold for $300. Maybe a little under retail for a vintage Sputnik lamp but still more than I wanted to spend...

And look at that living room! Wowzers!!

The whole place was decorated with incredible metallic wall paper! That's a design trend that I think needs to make a bit of a comeback.

Especially this sea life wallpaper!

There was a ton of vintage clothing. 

Though mostly '60s and 70's my friend, Riley, found some great stuff! Like this skirt with amazing arrow detail on it.

And poodles! Lots and LOTS of poodles...

Elvis tabloid papers on a long gold couch...

Some incredible late '60s and '70s lighting and wall partitions...


Which went, oh so well, with her Madonna Inn worthy decor style...

But enough of that, lets get to the stuff that really lit me up... 
Like this incredible lamp!! Even at $125, I have no room for this kinda thing.

These barstools would have been great for The Breezeway. Though at $40ea, I wasn't into pulling the trigger on them. Especially seeing how I'd have to recover them to more of a tiki aesthetic. I'm not looking for more projects at this moment.

One lone remaining flamingo by the edge of Neptune's swamp. 

I can only imagine how amazing this place was when it was all new and clean. I especially enjoy the eclectic pairing of the Greek god statue and the Japanese bridge.

Vintage, but chipped, bullet planter

Expensive bakelite purses!

Seeing how I used to find mugs for $1 and $5 at the thrift stores in Stockton, at $15 each, these moai mugs were just too damned expensive for me.

Ceramic Cuban drummer guy!

Gold and black ceramic nubian figues...

So what did I end up with? Well, I went Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. The first day, I checked out the prices and came away with little cheap things that I stumbled upon; like a bunch of 45s, a signed '70s-era Ventures glossy for $2, a 1950s(?) speaker, and those sparkly things. No one on the internet could tell me what they were...

Until my girlfriend came over with a pair of her vintage Spring-o-lator high heels. They clipped right on to the heel! I thought that they were some kind of decorative shoe thing. She has one of the biggest vintage heel collections around and even she hadn't seen this before! Super cool for $4!!

The second day, I went back because some co-workers wanted to go see the sale. This time, I came away with the two Nubian figures. My bedroom has somehow become themed in a Moroccan/ Nubian-inspired aesthetic, so they will work great in there. I love the contrast of the gold on the black of these two!

One of my co-workers saw this little pineapple toothpick holder and surprised me with it!
It sits happily, on a shelf in The Breezeway now.

And on the third day, everything was half off. It's a risk going on the third day because all of the cool stuff may be bought up... But the Cuban drummer and the moai mugs were still there!! $15 for both mugs! Great deal on the drummer too. 

AND, the moai mugs are from the mythical Tiki's theme park in Monterey Park, CA! I hadn't noticed that when I picked them up earlier. That's a BIG bonus.

And I had to get that bullet planter. Here's Astro, sniffing it out at home. 

It was a really fun estate sale. Estate sales do kinda bum me out a bit though, seeing how they are usually the result of someone passing on... but it seems that the lady who owned the stuff really had a great life. Eclectic, full of whimsy and glamour. Your house is what YOU want to make of it. Don't be tied to Pottery Barn or Ikea. There's radder stuff out there. Live like her. Dig a Japaneese garden pond and put a Greek statue at the waters edge.


By the way, if you're looking for some design and weirdness inspiration, grab our 
Tiki Weirdo-Land DVD. Only $20 and it runs for 2 hours! It's rad. I promise.

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