Friday, April 22, 2011

Garage Sale @ styleNorth

I am a fan of styleNorth and had so much fun on the DIY "brass-turn-chrome" transformation.  So when I heard that Christopher was hosting the styleNorth first ever garage sale, I just had to be there to see what Christopher hides behind those closet doors!  I mean really, the garage sale was the only motivation that could get me out of bed at 7am on a rainny Saturday morning ... and Thank God I did!

There were four "booths" in the gallery where Christopher and three other co-hosts showcased their treasures.  I was determined to be there early, but due to the weather and me mistakenly walked into "gallery two" a.k.a.  the farmer's market on Saturday morning, I arrived "gallery one" at 8:10am.  The place was busy already, which surprised me a little due to the weather condition.  Apparently nothing can stop us treasure hunters from our callings, not even Mother Nature.  Here are the items I spotted upon my arrival:

Art Deco swivel arm chair accented with cane woven back and leopard print, and mid century modern lazy boy with orange velvet seats.

A pair of solid brass side tables with two glass shelves and a round coffee table that works in any contemporary space.

A testament of style: 1880s vs. 1980s

I love these vintage piano chairs with the claw-foot legs on these fantastic glass globes.

Incredible pair of lamps with dramatic matte black shades and impeccable engraving on the body of the lamps.

Pretty amazing bargains don't you think?  I also learned a couple of things from this garage sale experience.

1.  Don't be too Polite!

I know we are in a civilized society where people respect each others and follow certain basic social rules (i.e. lining up).  However, one has to remember at a garage sale, all the people are determined to kill for good deals!  So forget about being in Canada and don't be too polite!!  I had missed out on at least two great purchases because (a) I waited for people to finished chatting with Chris (so I wouldn't interrupt their conversation) and (b) waited for people to walk out of the tight corner so I could have a closer look.

Big mistake!! These people talking to Christopher were potential buyers and ended up packing most of the potteries.  A dealer also didn't "wait in line" either.  He marched right into the tight corner (mind you he was also 2 times my size), and took the great pair of side tables right before my eyes!

2.  Don't Think!

Being a ex-shopoholic myself (I hope), I am now trained to stop myself from impulse buys and really go through the thought process of "Do I need this?" and the "Where do I put this?".  However, you can't do that in a garage sale!  You don't have time for that thought process!  I saw this nice flat woven rug in bright cheerful oranga stripe and thought it could be a great rug for a current project.  Not too sure if it would work yet, I walked to the other table and looked at a pair of alabaster vases. 

Again, BIG MISTAKE!  Apparently a lady was also interested in the rug and the moment I walked away, she was right there to pick it up.  Thank God she discovered it was a little small for her.  So at her mercy, I was able to pick up the rug.  My tip to you though, if you are unsure about the piece, pick it up (if it's not too heavy) and carry it with you while looking around.  At least the option is yours after you're done browsing.

3.  Book a Pre-View!

If you know the person hosting the garage sale (and you know the competition will be furious), you should volunteer to help set up the sale ... a.k.a. having the first pick before the crowd!  Christopher was going to bring the last brass mid-century modern coffee table base to the sale and since I knew that ahead of time, I snapped it up before the garage sale.

4.  Be Early!

I arrived at 8:10am, 10 mins after the garage sale started.  I am not too sure what I have missed out already but I can tell you if I had showed up at 8:45am, I might as well just stay in bed!  The pieces were flying off the shelves in record time and I witnessed it all in the short 30 mins I was there.  I checked with Christopher after and he confirmed most of the pieces were gone within the first 2 hours!  So if you are serious about getting some good pieces, it pays to arrive early!


  1. Tim, how delightful to relive the sale through your eyes; thanks for blogging about what I hope will be an annual event.
    One funny story: My decorating partner, Kevin, had the bright idea to use paint swatches as price tags. He affixed two to my gorgeous blue, flat weave rugs that many people seemed interested in but nobody bought. Late in the day someone turned over the tag, made a face, and said, "Ew, Debbie Travis" which was the brand of paint Kevin had used for swatches. The rugs were handmade, probably in the Middle East and had nothing to do with La Travis but the buyers were wary and the rugs didn't sell. Which is okay with me 'cause I love them and will someday find another way to use them. But I learned a good lesson; next time use Farrow & Ball tags!

  2. Hey Tim, just reading this now - I wish I had known you were there, I would have tried to find you! I was also there right after 8 and got a bunch of Chris's pottery and a brass and glass coffee table (that I have no idea what to do with!). Next time! :) (And I'm so glad you got that rug - I loved it!)

  3. @Chris: you totally need to do this more often! funny story of people commenting on the paint tag. So Debbie isn't good enough? Maybe Martha? or RL?

    @Lisa: so that was you and your kids chatting with Christopher!! I will "interrupt" the conversation next time! :)