Chasing Nostalgia

February 5, 2013

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After moving into my house in Dallas, I was amazed at how hard it was to make it feel like a home. For the first time in my adult life, I wasn’t renting…and yet, it didn’t feel like mine.

I had all of the basics: tables, chairs, couch, bed…everything a single guy could need. But even after hanging some of my mom’s water colors on the walls and placing a few books and family pictures on the shelves…it still felt kind of empty.

To “fill the void” and to bring some life to the place, I would visit all of the catalog stars: Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, West Elm, Crate & Barrel.

Each one of these stores seems to have its own style signature…some variance of “traditional” from modern (Crate & Barrel and West Elm) to classic (RH and PB).

Don’t get me wrong…I like all of these stores and their “signature styles”. If I had all the money in the world, it would be sooo easy to just have an RH dining room vignette transplanted into my house and be done.

But on my single-income bachelor’s budget, that really isn’t an option. And…well, it wouldn’t be “me”….it would be the catalog-picture-perfect version of me that would be nice, but it would never be entirely authentic for how I live. I am just not that catalog-perfect-kind-of guy.

Then I found Mecox Garden. Have you ever been to a Mecox Garden?

Wow.

First off, it’s SO me: a gentle mix of old and new. Antiques mixed with contemporary, vintage collectibles combined with pedigreed treasures, all orchestrated into a statement of casual sophistication. ME, right? RIGHT?

I walked in there for the first time and said YES, I LOVE MEXCOX GARDEN.

Then, I saw the price tags, and I CURSED MEXCOX GARDEN.

When I say that Mecox Garden is expensive, what I mean to say is that it is ridiculously overpriced.

But I get it. To get the “Mecox Garden Look” takes a lot of work because everything in there comes from “somewhere”. It’s a curated collection of one-of-a-kind items that would take a lot of time, creativity and energy to try and put together on your own. It’s a one-stop-shop for a great look at a premium price.

But, if you want that “Mecox Garden Look” without breaking the bank, you could always curate your own collection just like they do. Every week there are estate sales and garage sales all over Dallas that are filled with bargains that would go for so much more in a shop like Mecox Garden.

If you have the time (and the aggressive nature…the people who show up to these sales tend to bring their “game faces”) and a very good eye, you could totally achieve that sophisticated, eclectic look on a budget, over time.

Check out: http://www.24-7estatesales.com/ for a weekly listing of estate sales in the DFW Metroplex.

If you’re hitting the estate sale circuit for the first time, get there early. Most estate sales start on Thursday mornings and run until Sunday afternoon….but if you wait to go until the weekend, all you’re gonna find are the scraps left over by the professionals.

If you can’t drive all over the Metroplex every Thursday morning curating small decorative items because maybe you have a life, there are other options.

I am going to start profiling my favorite spots to treasure hunt in Dallas. If it’s a Saturday afternoon, there’s a very good chance that I might be at any one of these shops because they’re always getting new stuff and you never know what you’re going to find.

If you decide to visit any of these locations, my advice would be:

a) Walk through the shop once and then follow the same path in reverse. You will often notice things that you missed the first time

b) If it speaks to you, buy it. It’s one of a kind

c) The value of an antique or vintage piece is based on what people are willing to pay for it – if you are looking for something specific, research it on Ebay or 1Dibs for reference and be a reasonable negotiator

e) Check out the Antique-ing In Dallas link

d) Stop thinking about Mecox Garden

 

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