Last week, we talked about how to rejuvenate your home for 2018, but sometimes the answer isn’t something new, but something old. The demand for vintage and antique items has been constantly climbing over the past few years, and the small business owners of Phoenix have risen to answer that call. Here are some of our expert tips for finding the best of the best in pre-loved goods.
Before you do anything else, make sure you have accurate measurements, a phone chock full of reference pictures, and sample material and paint swatches if you have them at your disposal. It’s all too easy to get overwhelmed by the array of knick-knacks and unique pieces on display, become taken with a beautiful piece, and bring it home only to realize it is not quite the right shade of gold or the decorative motif clashes with your upholstery. It is important to take your time and be discerning in your choices—if you don’t have the time to assess your options properly, then it’s better to wait than to make a rushed decision and be stuck with an unsatisfactory item you now have to get rid of.
The Price is Right (But Could Be Better)
Don’t be afraid to engage in a discussion over the price of the items you select! Haggling is an expected and accepted part of the antiquing world, in particular when it comes to temporary situations such as flea markets or seasonal antique shows. Unless the price tag has a specific indication that the price is non-negotiable—common markers include “firm” or “ND,” meaning no discount—then it is a worthwhile effort to pursue a lower cost. If making your own offer right off the bat seems intimidating, you can also try for a “best price” to get the ball rolling instead. Not every seller is willing to negotiate, so don’t get discouraged if you are turned down the first few times; with more practice, you’ll start to learn how to recognize what a vendor is willing to come down on, and you’ll get better at talking prices.
Think Outside the Box
Antique frames from the Reves Collection at the Dallas Museum of Art
It is always important to keep an open mind when antiquing; while you want to stay focused and make sure you achieve what you came in for, you never know how the perfect addition to your home may come from an unexpected place. If you’re on the hunt for wall decoration, don’t limit yourself to fingering through posters and art—take a look through the smaller pieces and baubles, and keep an eye on the frames, even if you don’t always like what’s inside them. An empty frame around some mounted oddities can make for a unique, three-dimensional conversation piece. If you have your heart set on decorations for the study, then keep an eye out for old machinery and outdoor tools as well as the more standard shelf décor. The joy of antiques is in their singular identity and anachronistic appearance in our modern life, so feel free to highlight that by taking things out of their expected environment.
Displays at monthly market Sweet Salvage
The greater Valley has a thriving small business community, and that includes those with a taste for the older things in life. You have plenty of options waiting to be explored, but a great place to start is the Sweet Salvage event on every third Thursday-Sunday. Each month, North 7th Ave becomes a mecca for vintage enthusiasts for four full days, and even that may not be enough time to cover everything this market has to offer! Sweet Salvage also welcomes artisans and creators alongside antique sellers, making for a fantastic diversity in goods and pieces.
If you like the set-up of being able to jump from stall to stall, then the best place to try next is an antique mall. While you may not always be able to talk with the individual sellers directly, they are a great way to see a large number of antiques of various periods and types all concentrated in one place—and most of them are large enough that you can take several trips before you discover all of the stalls. Antique Gatherings on Indian School and Call it New / Call it Antique are both expansive and well-run, and you’re sure to find something to fall in love within at least one of their many booths.
If you prefer a more closely curated experience, then the next place to stop is the string of vintage shops in the trendy Melrose area along 7th Ave. Zinnias at Melrose, Retro Ranch, Twigs & Twine, Melrose Vintage, Rust & Roses…and that’s not even all of them! You can hop from one shop to another and enjoy the specialty and singular taste of each space, traveling from the mix of custom furniture and modernist finds at Twigs & Twine to the 60s/70s wonderland of Retro Ranch.
Whatever your preferred flavor of history, there is no lack of places to meet your every need—somewhere out there is someone’s abandoned junk destined to be your next statement piece. On with the new year and in with the old!