I love to go and browse but I have to hold myself back from buying anything. So my trick is to take a picture of the things I like and then I come home and show Aaron all my "finds" and get his validation. At first this perplexed him, but he's learned that all I want to hear is: "Yes! What an awesome find!" That way it feels like I have the success of "the find" without filling up our apartment and emptying out our bank account. So as a result, I have a lot of pictures of furniture on my phone and before deleting them I thought, "Why not share what I found with the whole world?!"
So here are my favorite thrift/antique stores in the South Bay Area along with a sampling of what I've "found" at each place.
Salvation Army (Winchester Blvd., San Jose)
I could praises to this Salvation Army all day. When we really need to get out, I strap Eleanor in the stroller and we walk to this Salvation Army on Winchester Blvd (other S.A. stores have been total misses, but this one is great). Great furniture for a thrift store and lots of it. And every 3rd and last Friday of the month everything in the entire store is 50% off! I actually have bought a couple things here and I've been tempted by many others.
Here is a sampling...
^^I love that leather chair. And that side table. If only we needed them!
^^Definitely granny but a cool rattan rocker nonetheless.
^^A good standard over-the-fireplace mirror. And now that I look at this picture I think that that boy looks like my former Timpview student who was actually an exchange student from Brazil. Sometimes I really miss my students!
^^Such a great chair. The tufts looked a little saggy, but overall it was in great condition. I didn't love the orange color (although it's very similar to this cute one) but wouldn't it look great if it were in blue velvet like this gorgeous chair or this one?
^^I bought this little statue because it reminded me of Eleanor and Aaron. I waited til a 50% off day and it was still there. I may spray paint it white to modernize it but I don't know if the detail would fade too much.
^^I bought this dresser! I had been looking for a mid-century modern dresser that I could use as a tv console for months. Everything on craigslist was going for at least $400, which seemed crazy! So I was browsing the store on their 50% off day and saw two dressers crammed up against each other, with this dresser behind the other one, totally covered up. I spied the legs though and pulled the dressers apart and was amazed that it was just what I had been looking for for months! I braced myself for the price tag and my jaw dropped when it said it was $150. So at 50% off it was just $75! While finding steals like this might be normal for others, it is not my norm. I love to thrift store shop but feel like I rarely find the true deals. I guarded the dresser like a hawk and bought it before I could even get Aaron to respond to my text (in my defense though, we had been talking about buying something like this for months and he was totally on board. After buying it, I got his text that read: "Go for it!"). So now it lives in our apartment (see photo below, taken on the day we brought it home). I want to do an art gallery wall around it but I think I need some more modern looking pieces so the dresser doesn't look too dated. I like how art galleries take away from the importance of the tv (like here and here).
^^Fun little green nightstand. It was a little squatty and there was only one so it would definitely be hard to work with, but it reminded me of the nightstands in this room that I love.
^^Cute little task lamp for just $15
This store is part of a stretch of antique stores (about 5 or 6 in a row) on San Carlos. They are all pretty expensive but Thrift City Furniture seems to have a little more reasonable prices. It is quality stuff. I love their art and furniture (everything from art deco to hollywood regency to mid century). This is my favorite for walking around dreaming how I'd decorate my future home in really cool pieces.
^^Such a cool shape! Albeit pretty expensive. I like the brass detailing.
^^I love these lamps and was tempted to buy them. They are marble with a brass metal base. They were on sale for 2 for $100. They would need new shades (I think black or gray modern looking shades would be cool). I am so weary of buying old lamps that need new shades though because it seems really hard to find inexpensive shades that fit just ride. I know Target can be a good option for that.
^^Cool desk, although bulky. Aaron keeps talking about how he wants a bigger desk with drawers so I showed him this and asked if this was big enough. He chuckled and said: "No. By big desk I mean big enough to fill up a whole room. Cause one day I'm going to have a whole room in our house as my office. You know?" It might be forever till we have enough rooms that there is one left over for an office but we can dream until then!
^^Very masculine dresser in really good condition.
^^I'm forever trying to find good kitchen table chairs. I'm tempted to do the eclectic look one day where all the chairs are different. These were cute and the seats would withstand toddler food droppings for sure.
Antique Colony (another on San Carlos)
This is part of the strip of antique stores mentioned above. It is the largest store of the group and way expensive. I most likely would never buy anything in here because of the prices but boy is it a bunch of eye candy. Everything is beautiful and they have something for everyone and every style.
^^I think those knobs are so cool!
^^This dresser looks so much like the one I scored at Salvation Army, no?! Except that this one here is $795. Also, can you spot Eleanor's cute little toes?
^^I love the brass, black lamp shade and how it's sitting on marble. I feel like there are a lot of copycat lamps like this out there (like this for example), but this is the real, vintage deal.
^^Cool right? It reminds me of this Ikea chair with the buttons but this one's the real thing (Danish, teak wood). And guess how much it was? Just $895! And then I'd want to pay someone to reupholster it in blue or gray linen on top of that. So I passed, obviously :)
^^Comfy and cute office chair in surprisingly good condition.
Way overpriced but it's still fun to go look around. Most of the furniture is traditional. Again, I probably wouldn't buy anything here but I don't mind walking around the store.
^^I think that twin sized, rounded wood headboard in the back would be really sweet for a girl's room. The wood was really pretty in person or else I think it would look sweet painted. It makes me want to have a room like this.
^^Eleanor's rockin' in style these days. I didn't buy this but I wanted to. Baby sized rattan rocker? Yes, please.
^^We've been looking for an end-of-the-bed bench. I wish this had carmel colored leather and was longer but I like the idea of it.
^^This picture doesn't do it justice but I really liked this scalloped mirror side table.
Whatnot and DoDads (downtown Willow Glen)
I always stop in here when we are in Willow Glen. Most of the store isn't my style per se (one vendor does a lot of heavy distressing to the furniture, shabby-chic esque, which isn't me so much) but there are a lot of things in here I've found that I've loved. It's a great place to buy gifts for people who appreciate antique things. And we actually bought our dining room table and chairs there!
^^Adorable little end table.
^^Look, it's Eleanor! I was trying to capture her out on an exciting thrifting adventure with her mom, but now that I look at this picture I just laugh. It's like she's crossing her arms all annoyed, furrowing her brow and saying, "Mom, I'm sooo over this."
A fun antique store to browse. They have really beautiful things. I actually bought some crystals from here to make a necklace when we were living in Redwood City for the summer. And a major perk is that it is right across the street from Anthropologie so it's like a two-in-one happy shopping experience.
^^The crystals I bought and painted. I took other photos of furniture at this store but I think I took them with my mom's phone. There was a really pretty all wood dresser and lots of brass mirrors I loved.
Consignment Plus Home Furnishings (Walnut Creek)
Okay, so this is in the East Bay, not the South Bay, but I wanted to include it. My mom has found a lot of great stuff in here over the years and I really like stopping in there when I'm at home. Things are pricier, but if you are patient and let the price drop then it seems like you can get a reasonable deal. And it's HUGE so there is plenty to look at.
^^Loved this brass mirror. Would be great over a dresser.
^^My mom and I found that little desk/console thing there and it's sitting in my entryway. I love it. And I love that I am no longer 8 months pregnant :)
Ha! This is definitely not a vintage store but I just wanted to include one note. Did you know that at the end of June (and I think maybe sometime in winter), they put a ton of their floor samples on sale for a fraction of the cost? I just happened to walk in during this final sale and got excited. It's tricky because with every passing week the prices on the sale pieces drop even more so you have to gamble--either snag it at the current price or risk it and wait for the price to drop. People call in daily to see if the store still has a certain piece and at any point the caller can buy it right there on the phone. I didn't buy anything but I sure liked some of the stuff that they had on sale.
^^Green velvet sofa! I'd really love one just like it but in navy.
^^For Aaron's very manly future desk. I didn't get it but Aaron did say he liked it.
^^I think our next table should be a farm style table. We need something more heavy duty and meant to withstand the energy of young kids. I feel like we have to be so careful with our current antique table, and I think when Eleanor get's older I'll just be so stressed that she will hurt the table. And I don't want to be stressed all the time.
^^Such a happy little bench.
So if you read this and are from the Bay Area, are there any stores I missed? I'd be excited to get suggestions! Speaking of which, I hear there is a great antique mall in Monterrey that I want to check out!
P.S. I remember I used to think that thrifting was only about finding cool vintage clothes. I thought the idea of vintage furniture was so boring. Times have changed! I hardly spend any time thinking about clothes anymore (new or old), but I love to dream of how I'd furnish my future home. Until then though, I'll just keep taking pictures of what I find :)