When I walk in the front door of an antique boutique,  junk shop, thrift store, architectural salvage yard or flea market, I have a top ten pick list on a mental Post-It note stuck in my head.  I am always open to add to it, but there are the solid ten things I love and am always on the look out for when I’m shopping…

Junked Chicken Nest Box1.  Wooden Chicken Nest Boxes:  I love chicken nest boxes- they can be repurposed in so many ways and I have seen some really neat uses.  I recently sold an old white chicken nesting box by displaying it with pieces of old ironstone and oddities in each little cubby.  They can be hung on a wall or places on a larger table.  You could put legs on them and put it in an entry way or use it as an accent piece to hold your wine collection.

Antique, wooden, Tea Cart

2.  Antique Furniture with wheels/casters:  What is it about wheels and casters on anything?  I love them as long as they are wood or metal, big or small and have an old/antique or industrial look to them.

Vintage, Alarm Clock

3.  Alarm Clocks:  The more antique/aged, the better.  Are they beat up and not working?  Perfect!  Old world typography?  Yes!   Metal?  Absolutely!  Plastic?  No, thank you.

Antique, Ironstone, Skeleton Key

4.  Skeleton Keys:  Oh boy.  I have a special place in my heart for antique skeleton keys (as you can tell from my logo).  I look for and pick out keys that have the tell tale sign of age- patina.  They have to be authentic and can be any size- I love the tiny ones that might go to an antique wooden jewelry box just as much as I love the giant ones that fit an old west jail cell lock.

Metal, Clock Face

5.  Old Metal Clock Faces:  The bigger, the better.  They have such character in the typography that was used for the numbers or roman numerals.  They usually have scratches, dents and dings, are worn and weathered and have peeling paint.  I love every imperfect part of them.

Vintage, Pool Balls

6.  Croquet, Cricket, Bocce or Pool Balls:  It doesn’t matter which of these four I come across.  I will grab them everytime wherever I see them and pair them up in unexpected ways- in the bed of an old tin toy truck (see below), in a gumball machine, in an antique cast iron mortar and pestle.  I love them by themselves, I love them with other items.

Farmhouse, Vintage Table

7.  Farmhouse Tables: The chunky legs, the scarred up table tops, the patina of the old and very used finish and the lifetime worth of history that comes with an antique dining room table.  How can you resist them?!

Architectural Salvage

8. Interesting Architectural Salvage:  Old House Chic began with interesting architectural salvage- iron panels taken from the front porch railings of historic old homes, medicine cabinets, phone cubbies, barn lighting, mantles.  I almost salvaged a charcoal drawing sketched by an unknown artist onto the drywall inside an old carriage house/garage.  The beautiful drawing was a woman in a thoughtful pose.   It was huge and would’ve taken a lot of finesse to remove it safely, and in one piece, from the carriage house…I left it behind, instead, and will forever regret that decision.

Vintage, scale

9.  Scales:  Just look at the picture above and tell me you haven’t already fallen in love.  Scales in any form- large floor scales, kitchen scales, hanging scales- they all have such a unique look when put to use in different ways.  A hanging scale could be used as a produce basket in your kitchen.  A kitchen scale could be used to display a particularly beautiful piece of china. A large floor scale could be used in an entry way with a wooden crate to hold your purse, shoes and a dog leash.  They are lovely, old and irresistible.

Bellows, Antique, Junk

10.  Seriously unique one-of-a kind pieces:  This is a catch all, you-know-it-when-you-see-it category.  Take the picture above for instance- this is an antique blacksmithing bellows and it is as tall as I am.  I’m 5’1.  If you were to spread your arms, perpendicular from your sides, as far as they could go, the width of the widest part of the bellows would probably still be wider than your reach.  Seriously cool.  What can you do with it?  You could make a table, you could lean it in a corner.  I garantee you this:  an antique bellows hanging out in your living room or repurposed as a coffee table would be a show stopper.

What antique/vintage/salvage/junk items do you have on your list?  Share with me so that I can add new things to my list!

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