I renovated my home office last year. I’m sure OSHA would have been horrified with the previous layout as nothing about it was ergonomically correct. I was using a high, narrow sideboard painted a beautiful sage green. Through the years the wood had worn down in a few visible locations and was mottled with stains that no amount of effort could remove in others. The doors on either side were always ajar. They could only be closed with extreme effort and precise jiggling. I sometimes attempted to close them but not often.
We had pushed it against one wall which sadly removed any possible view of the lake but it was the only place it fit. We used it as a desk even though it was definitely the wrong height for the keyboard. It was awkward. The rest of the room was a jumble of mismatched, run-down furniture and an overly extensive collection of craft supplies, some more useful than others, and all of it bringing me dangerously close to hoarder territory.
When we finished updating the room, I fell in love with the results. It was everything I had dreamed it could be and a perfect space for a work at home person like myself.
Well, almost everything. I still had to corral some of the craft supplies that I wanted to keep. I’m a paper crafter at heart so my collection of small trinkets and embellishments is overwhelming and not easily stored.
I knew the exact location and style of the storage piece that would work and I wanted it to be vintage to counter balance the shiny, new pieces that filled up most of the space. And so, the search began. It would end up taking almost a year to find the perfect piece but the search is my happy place. I love the hunt. The hybrid antique piece that we eventually found had bright vintage teal paint and a reclaimed wooden top and bottom that bookended the rows of small metal drawers. It was exactly what I wanted.
Antiquing and the journey to find that perfect treasure is not for everyone. My husband breaks out in a sweat if he gets too close to a flea market. It makes him psychically anxious to be surrounded by the clutter often found in these type of places. It is the opposite of his happy place, although he certainly appreciates the items that I bring into our home. He just doesn’t want to be part of the search.
For me, it’s in my blood. My Dad is an especially adept antique hunter and a regular on the yard sale circuit. I’m sure it helps that he’s also handy and great at fixing things up, so those pieces that need a little extra repair don’t deter him.
Where do you find that perfect one of a kind treasure? Below is a list of five of my favorite places to go antiquing in Southern Maine:
- Portland Architectural Salvage. This is a great place to poke around for treasures both big and small. Many of the items have an industrial flair.
- Portland Flea for All. This consignment spot has a rotating collection of vintage and artisan items. I’ve blogged about one of the vendors that sells jewelry here in a previous a to z challenge post, S is for Stringin’ Along with ME | Giving new life to old guitar strings.
- Goodwill. There are three locations within 12 miles of my house, making this a weekly destination for me. I never have anything specific in mind and just enjoy poking around. There’s always something new. Lately, I’ve found some great Calphalon® cookware pieces.
- Maine Antiques Festival. No summer is complete without a visit to an antiques fair. One of the first and best takes place every August in Union, Maine. I don’t get to it every year but always enjoy the experience when I do.
- Maine Antique Trail. Coastal Route 1 in Southern Maine. If you’re looking for a relaxed, casual pace then this trail is for you. It can be slow going in the summer with all the tourist traffic but it’s worth the wait. There are a number of antique stores and artisan stops along the way.
I’ve also blogged about yard sales in the past, which is another great place to seek out that unique item that you just can’t find in a chain store. See Going to Yard Sales this Weekend? Here are some helpful tips.
Some antiques are already in our lives and don’t require any searching. Another piece balancing out the newness of my office is a globe that I’ve had since childhood. It’s long since outdated but I don’t use it for accuracy. I have it on display for the memories it triggers. It makes me smile.
I also have an antique doctor’s scale in my bathroom. Honestly, I’m not sure I could use any other scale. I’m too attached to this one. I’ve had it since college. A gift from my father. He took it apart and spray painted it red so it would be a little more young and fun for a college freshman. It dominated my dorm room and was a frequent stopping spot for the lacrosse players living in the dorm next to mine. I’m not sure that was my Dad’s intention.
While my house has a modern vibe, sprinkled throughout the more streamlined pieces are items from the past. Some found on my antiquing journeys, others handed down, but all displayed with love.
Why does this bring me bliss? Like most things in life it’s the journey, not the destination. It’s all about the search. I think you either have the antiquing gene or you don’t. I definitely have it. That moment when you find the perfect item is pure bliss.
Do you like to go antiquing? What is your favorite antique or vintage item that you own?
I’m participating in a Blogging A-Z Challenge for April 2020. I will be posting new content every day this month except most Sundays. Each post is associated with a letter of the alphabet, starting with A and ending with Z. My theme for the challenge is Bliss. To read more of my A to Z posts from this year, click HERE.