It is no secret that James and I like nice quality things in our home. But, we are not fools about it- we do not pay full price and we've learned to shop the deals! Some of our best finds have come from auctions and estate sales- back in SC we used to go to them all the time. We also loved to go to warehouse-type discount retail outlets- including this place where we've shopped at for years and found a lot of great deals. This photo for me represents a few of our better finds. This is my entryway, and these are all things we brought from the old house.
The piece below we bought at an auction house, which is the best one we've ever found. We could spend an entire day there, and I can say without hesitation those were great times we had together, even if we never bought anything. Anyhow, the piece below was made by a local NC artist, who I'd never heard of but was quite famous. I just knew I loved the piece. I know metal wall sculptures are so 70's, but I didn't care. This piece of art is completely metal- bronze and copper I think- and everything was handmade by the artist. This photo does not do it justice. After we bought this piece, we did research about the artist and his work, and found very similar pieces to the one we bought. We learned that we got this one for a fraction of what they originally cost. Even better, the artist is retired now and very reclusive, so I don't think I will see anything of his anytime soon.
The piece of pottery below is another item we bought at the same auction house. It's certainly not an antique, but I do believe it was handmade. Instead of a "Made In Wherever" sticker on the bottom, there are instead hand-carved initials. I'm assuming by the potter. It may not be completely handmade, it may have been created from using clay slip and a mold, but I don't know. I just know it was another one of those "I love it" items. I do not collect Asian-inspired pieces at all, but I liked this piece, perhaps because of my pottery background. Since I don't know anything about it, I can't tell you of it's value, but I know I paid less for it than I would have for a similar item at Pier One or World Market.
The furniture below came from the outlet store mentioned at the beginning. We've bought a lot of furniture from them over the years, and artwork too, but this piece I just love. They were literally just unloading it from the truck that day when we found it. We were looking for something to fit into the entryway at the old house, and this was perfect. It's got a lot of storage, and I love the granite top and the hand-painted design. We were told it was leftover from Ashley Furniture's inventory of things that hadn't sold, and they were bringing in all new items so had to get rid of "last year's" stuff. We got this piece for 1/4th of what it cost at the original store. This outlet furniture store does not sell "damaged and dented" items- everything in the store is new and came from other larger retail chains who were changing out inventory and had things that didn't sell. I won't say how much we paid for this, but I can tell you I've seen furniture in Target that cost more!
And finally, I saved the best for last. This rug is from the old house- the previous owner left it for us when we bought her house. I say it was free, James says we had to buy the house to get it. So, however you look at it. We just liked it, and I don't know anything about rugs- again, we've bought all our rugs as discount outlet stores. So recently someone who does know about rugs came to our house and looked at it. He said it was a hand-knotted rug from Turkey, and worth about $1,000. Yikes! (I thought about that this morning when I was cleaning up a pile of thrown-up cat food on it.) I said maybe I should take it away from the front door, but he said no, it's made for heavy use and can withstand it. He said it should last us another 30-40 years. I guess that means we will be taking it with us the next time we move for sure!
Those are just a few of our "cheap" finds. I love estate sales, auctions, flea markets, outlet stores, consignment shops, antique stores, you name it. Right now my favorite piece in the house is the antique bookcase that belonged to James' great-grandmother. I have absolutely NO knowledge about furniture or antiques or values, I just know what I love when I see it, and James can love the discounted price tag when he sees it!!