By Denise Sherman
For New Homes & Ideas, Jodi Sauerbier, Publisher
You can create a room magazine spread worthy with your own indelible style and you don’t have to drain your bank account doing it. One way to get a big bang for your buck is shopping local consignment and thrift stores. These professionals often offer design advice at a steal. They make their reputation on finding just the right pieces at just the right prices. You don’t need to road trip far from home. An in town adventure can be just your ticket this summer to outfitting your home in a one of a kind design.
You can get more for less on any kind of budget. So if you want to design on a dime, the local thrift store scene may be calling your name. Great finds can be found that mirror your own unique personality. Take Kathy Lee’s cottage sofa. Lee, who owns the Korner Flea Market in Benson, found a sofa at the Salvation Army for $50. The frame was good and she had a vision. She bought a multi-colored bedspread from a catalogue company Linen Source. She paid high dollar, $150 to be exact, for the spread, but then had the cushions on her couch reupholstered and filled in with checks and florals in reds and yellows and had a one of a kind cottage sofa. After the reupholstery job, she emerged from her flea market finds with a custom sofa for under $700. Not too bad.
“I’ve always decorated on a dime,” says Lee who started out giving family and friends decorating advice when she was a young woman of 30. “I’d find one piece I truly love and decorate all around it. Don’t be in a hurry. There are deals to be had. Don’t run out and pay retail because you need it right then. Give yourself some time.”
That’s what Kathy did. Kathy lucked out when her friend moved to Colorado and got rid of three-unit Ethan Allen walnut bookcases for $300 that Kathy had always coveted. The bookcases retailed for $3,500. They were just perfect for this aficionado of Southern novels and she transformed one side of her den into a wall of books.
Add the leather red Hickory chair Kathy picked up at another flea market for $150. For $60 she found a wool rug that picked up all the colors of her cottage sofa and pulled the room together. She added a red suede recliner she found in Dunn. She outfitted the windows in the room with matching plaid twill and upholstered a large ottoman in complimentary colors for a coffee table. It took her six months to sleuth out the finds, but once she finished she had a one of a kind showroom perfect room of her own making and one that reflected her eclectic tastes.
“If you’re comfortable with it, don’t worry about what the next person thinks,” advises Kathy. “It’s your house and you paid for it.”
Kathy’s business is chocked full with finds just like those she turned up in 10,000 square feet of space beautifully appointed by 23 vendors. Prices run from $2 to $1,000. And there are deals to be had. Take the $595 pine china cabinet painted red, a practically new cherry sleigh bed for $299 and an interesting neutral brown love seat and sofa for $400.
There are flea markets and thrift stores and then there are upscale flea markets like Trish Yovanovich’s SoHo Consignments at 5655 Western Boulevard. “It’s an upscale, furniture and accessories consignment store,” says Yovanovich. “The consigners bring me beautiful, upscale things. I don’t even have to go searching for them.” The stuff looks showroom new for a fraction of the retail price. She’s got a high-end Brown Jordan chaise lounge for $250 that retails for upwards of $1,900. Then there’s the Lloyd Buxton regal, very big, cane inset bed that’s going for a steal at $4080 when you consider that on the showroom floor in High Point it’s priced at $12,000. “It’s not for everybody,” says Yovanovich. “If you’re on a budget and can afford that kind of money, it’s a steal. I have a Pearson, 15 foot long sectional sofa to die for. It has a really nice fabric and it looks brand new.” Retail it’d set you back $12,000, but at Yovanovich’s SoHo, you can buy it for $3,700.
“If you can afford it in your budget, you will be getting a high-end item next to nothing compared to what you would pay retail,” says Yovanovich.
Not everything in Yovanovich’s shop is high dollar. She’s got a blonde wood desk for $250 and deals on original art and wool rugs. A $2,000, four feet by five and half feet unframed canvas by John Spurlock goes for $494. There are one of a kind finds like the plaster and painted coral and black chalk ware lamps with Pagoda shades and a $250 custom fountain on a wrought iron stand. Wool and cotton German rag rugs run from $414 for a 10 by 14 and $35.70 for a two by four foot rug. Oriental wools at 9 by 13 sell for $659. And you can also get designer advice at SoHo. Yovanovich studied interior design at the University of Cincinnati and spent her early career in corporate design in Atlanta. “If they asked for advice, we give it” says Yovanovich. “For more extensive advice, it’s $20 an hour. It’s not going to be a full blown drawing kind of design. We don’t have time to do that.”
John Cranford, who traded in his previous career in urban planning and architecture, runs Passage Consignment Shoppe at 1924 Wake Forest Road. He takes pride in the fact that he can sell items like lamps for $30 a piece and sees similar ones at pricey antique stores for $300. Cranford is big on keeping design in scale and not buying more than you need. “Stay true to your vision,” he says, which can start off simply enough -- a picture from a magazine.
Cranford has a novel approach at keeping decorating uncluttered. He suggests getting rid of the items you don’t want before starting anew. And Cranford’s shop is a great place to do that.
He tells of a woman who has a $5,000 account based on items she’s sold at the shop and now is really to start outfitting her home in one of a kind pieces from Cranford’s consignment inventory. That way, a room never becomes cluttered. Some of Cranford’s latest finds include an antique wicker outdoor patio set, a sewing table perfect for an end table and Matland Smith occasional tables going for $135 a piece that retail for $225. “Something is always on sale,” says Cranford. “We cycle through the inventory.” There’s always something new to catch your eye.
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