FOURTH FLOOR WALK UP

Brooklyn based lifestyle blog by Lauren L Caron

Brimfield Antiques Show

Bedroom Updates Part 2: The Chandelier

CREATE, SPACES, VINTAGELauren CaronComment

For the second part of my bedroom updates series I wanted to discuss the new light fixture. Remember the pretty chandelier we purchased at Brimfield for under $200.00?

I wanted to refinish the metal because it was spray painted an unattractive gold color that looked flat and fake. I chose a Modern Masters Antique Bronze ME204 finish that I painted on with a brush then sponged off.  I focused the darker bronze color around the crevasses and details. What this did was give the material depth and integrity. After refinishing the metal I had to clean all of the crystals individually by hand. This took some time but it was totally worth it.

Jack installed the chandelier but ran into some issues with our old wiring. He also had to build a circular holder in which he could drill into to keep the chandelier from falling. He's still thinks that someday we'll wake to crystals crashing on our legs.

 

Brimfield 2012: My Purchases + Tips to Gathering Vintage Treasures

SPACES, VINTAGELauren Caron1 Comment

I spent this past weekend in New England, visiting my mother (for Mother's Day) and galavanting through the Brimfield Antiques Show! Three times a year, Brimfield Ma, hosts one of the largest antique shows in the country with acres upon acres of booths, where dealers from all over the country come to sell their goods.  There are a number of genres from silver to furniture dealers and many many kinds in between.  My parents happen to live quite close so my mother is veteran who has been going for many years. Although I'm relatively new to the experience, I have learned well from my mother and each time I go, I come home with some treasures.

This time I came home with two light fixtures - one for the bedroom which is a large cascading crystal chandelier, the other for the dressing area is a small crystal chandelier, and a brass crab - that was a gift to my boyfriend.

For anyone planning to take the trip in the future, here are a few tips that I always suggest to newcomers.

  1. The show is three times a year:  May is the best, because dealers have been hoarding their stuff all winter and are ready to sell.  July is the worst, its very hot and many dealers choose to only come in May and September.
  2. Weekdays are the prime shopping days: The show starts on Tuesdays, and weekdays are often when the professional buyers come to shop.  Sometimes dealers even buy from each other early in the week then sell their purchases at the same show later on.  I suggest that if you can take the time to go for more than one day, do it and to plan to head there on a Thursday and Friday.  Thursday you will still find a lot of great deals and the selection will not be picked over. On Fridays, the J & J's field opens, which is where I seem to find the best stuff.  You do have to pay to enter J & J's but it's always where the best vendors set up shop.
  3. Go early!  This time we made the mistake to leave at 9 am.  We should have left my mother's house at 7 am. A drive that typically takes 25 - 30 mins took us 2.5 hours. We were stuck in traffic the entire way! It was horrendous!
  4. Some fields are better than others: J & J's is the best, but they do not open until Friday.  May's is the second best.  I hit those two first, then make the trek down the road into the others.
  5. Go with a plan, know what kind of things you have in mind: This way you'll be able to scan the shops more quickly and be less overwhelmed by the amount of merchandise.  I usually create a small list of "stuff" that would be nice to have.  You shouldn't however be too set on specifics because you may not find what you're looking for and will feel unsuccessful.  For example, this time I knew I would like to find lights for the bedroom, dressing room, and entryway.  As well as a sculpture for over the bed.  Lastly, I'm always on the lookout for a nice little object to display on the bookcase.
  6. Dress appropriately:  It can be very dusty, muddy and hot all at once at Brimfield and you must be prepared for all sorts of weather. This year it rained entire week before the show.  I brought with me: my wellies, my comfortable shoes, jeans, a sun hat and wore a few layers.  I didn't end up using the wellies but I was thankful for being over prepared.
  7. Cash is good! Checks are too! Some dealers except credit cards, but you will typically have to pay tax when purchasing with cards.  They love checks, because they don't have to make change, but cash is great for bargaining.
  8. Bargain! I typically ask for about 10 - 15% less than the asking price and they usually accept my offer.  Sometimes we just meet in the middle. I've also learned, when they tell you the price, hesitate and they may even come down without you having to say a word.

*The booth where the lights were purchased is Antique Lighting Guild based out of Saco, Me - they're currently remodeling their site (antiquelightingguild.com) so they can be contacted through lighitingguild@aol.com.

Brimfield 2012 Here We Come!

VINTAGELauren CaronComment

It's that time of year again when I will be trucking up to the Brimfield Antiques Show in hopes of finding the greatest treasures! I'm looking for both work and my home and the expectations are high this year. The week began on Tuesday (5/8) and I'm sure those who were lucky enough to be there on day one have already snatched up the best pieces. Luckily though, there is plenty to go around and I still think I have a chance. I'll be tweeting and Instagram'ing great finds - probably many that I won't be able to take home.  I hope to see you there and most of all enjoy! Wish me luck! Here are a few of my favorite finds from last year's shows.

All photos by: Lauren Gries ©2012

 

Apartment Progress: The Bathroom

SPACES, VINTAGELauren Caron2 Comments

Other than the holidays things have been a bit busy around here.  A few weeks ago we made some progress on the bathroom.  It seemed to all come together after I spent the whole day painting and Jack installed the fixtures.  The light was a purchase made on a trip upstate, the polished nickel towel rods and toilet paper holder were purchased from Pottery Barn and the shower curtain (second one) arrived in the mail from Burke Decor, after 4 months of being on back order!

If any of you are wondering what the paint color is, well it was mixed.  I purchased Apparition by Benjamin Moore for the room but after painting one wall it seemed to look too much like concrete. I decided to lighten it with Benjamin Moore's Mascarpone, a warm white that I used as trim in the living room.  It's a little hard to see in these photos but the mixed result is a light warm gray.

The last two components to finish this room will be the fish prints that we had purchased on the same trip we picked up the light fixture and the bamboo roman shade that I plan to purchase from Home Depot.  The prints are being framed right now by my mother's favorite frame shop in North East, CT - Killingly Glass (he does a great job and very reasonably priced) and the shade has to be cut to size.

Once I have the finished prints I will photograph them, but I just wanted to give everyone an update on our apartment's progress.

Mini Trend: Charts for Classrooms Up-Cycled Into Works of Art

SPACESLauren CaronComment

Last year I visited a friend of a friend's apartment who had a large diagram of the human skeleton hanging above the couch.  At first I thought this was an odd choice for wall art, but soon I recognized that I was more captivated by this screen than the usual painting or print.  It may have been because the diagram was both educational and interactive (I really started thinking about the skeletal, neuro, and muscular structure), but also because  the large skeleton held the same sort of characteristics that maps do- which also come on these large pulldown screens.  Since that evening, I have been on the look out for a similar screen.

For the July Brimfield Antiques Show Jack and I discovered a vendor who specialized in selling large hanging, pulldown charts/screens (whatever they're called).  At his booth the majority of the diagrams were based on scientific and biographic subject matter.  They were all in German, seemingly to have come from one school.  We both loved the idea of purchasing one as an inexpensive yet graphically interesting piece of artwork for our new apartment.  Unfortunately we could not agree on a favorite, (although I still remember mine) so we decided to pass on these until the next time.

Fast forward 1 month later and I am passing by the recently renovated, downtown  J. Crew store on 5th Ave.  What do I see but a window display with a large hanging diagram!  At first glance I thought it was a vintage screen of the Periodic Table of Elements, but upon closer examination I realized that it is actually a replica formatted to fit their visual story.  The title is "Elements of Style" with a graphic that reads like a table with the initials of each element as well as the boxes laid out in the same fashion.  In some of the boxes however, there is text that defines some of their classic skus.  I must say that I think this interpretation is a chic and simplistic concept that really works.

 

Aside from the J. Crew windows, I have also began to see this screens pop up at antique stores and within interiors.  Last weekend when we were upstate for a friends wedding I saw a real antique screen in the window of the antique/curio shop Kabinett and Kramer.  This shop also sold several styles of diagrams, mostly related to biology and chemistry.

Lastly, while perusing the sneak peaks section of Design Sponge the other day, I noticed that one of their featured home owners (Jesse James & Kostas Anagnopoulos) hang multiples of these screens throughout their home.  I think these screens look very

Would you ever use one of these screens in your home?  Do you think that they are they soon to be the next overused and overpriced item in the design world?  Especially since a mass-market brand like J. Crew has tapped into the mini-trend? I'd love to hear your thoughts.