Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I Brake for Yard Sales: And Flea Markets, Thrift Shops, Auctions, and the Occasional Dumpster by Lara Spencer

As I put to you the other day {here} - how far will you go for a vintage bargain?  How much can you 'see' in a piece sitting in an antique store?  Or even unloved by the side of the road?

I thought my own finds from garages sales, vide grenier (attic sales in France), council pickups, Paris flea markets, antique fairs, estate sales and auctions showed just how far I would go - but I do draw the line at dumpsters!

Someone who doesn't draw that line is the unlikely dumpster-diving author, Lara Spencer.  While holding down her day job as an anchor on Good Morning America, she moonlights as a designer sourcing items from all of the above!

Her book, I Brake for Yard Sales: And Flea Markets, Thrift Shops, Auctions, and the Occasional Dumpster, is a great eye opener for uninitiated, into the world of what-can-be-achieved with some creativity and vision and a very few dollars.

I'm a sucker for a 'statement piece in a room, and just adore the way her industrial-edge railway sign find, has made it's way into this lounge as the key focal.

And I also love quality antiques, but pairing them with this modern wallpaper really enhances their natural beauty.  Making them shine where they may have seemed old and brown, they take on a more modern edge.  (I'm also a sucker for bamboo mirrors - have a look here.)

But it's not just about leaving them 'as is' either - look at this fantastic wood campaign chest sprayed vivid green.  Not a 'go to' colour for me - but in this room I love how it enhances the beautiful teal blue velvet on the re-purposed chairs, and the peacock wall paper ties it all together.  Truly visionary to come up with this scheme!

Lara Spencer, on a sofa purchased from a Thrift Shop then recovered to match the room.  Side chairs, coffee tables, lamps and artwork also found and recovered or revived.
She says her mum "was instrumental in teaching me to get high style for low prices by using the three R's - Rescue, Recycle, and Reinvent" and in the book she tells us how to do it too!

Kathy Griffin's living room as designed by Lara Spencer.  Love that find: retro bubble mirror!!
Apparently while holding down her demanding television career, she designed her friend Kathy Griffin's house, who gave her a resounding recommendation: “Here’s the deal, folks: Lara Spencer decorated my entire {...} house while she was busy being a hot, blond TV host. She teaches you how to mix and match old, new, high-end, medium-end, and weird stuff that only she could find at a yard sale…and guess what? I love it all.”

Lara says: "It's fun to decorate your home with items that speak to who you are.  The word home is like a big hug."  

And I totally agree.  It really doesn't matter the style or the era: by surrounding yourself with pieces you love, with a little clever and creative styling, it turns from a mash of 'old pieces' and periods, to something that makes you feel like you've come home.

{The book can be bought here, delivered to you.}


  1. Oh, how I love that gold geometric wallpaper in the entry! I'd like a bathroom full of it, if I could...

    1. Agree - I am into sunny yellow at the moment and this is a lovely way to brighten and unify a space. Jen x


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