Monday, July 8, 2013

A Trip to France--Without Leaving Town

Do you have a favorite neighborhood for estate sales in your community? A location that generally means you'll score something great? I do. In our city, a handful of neighborhoods hold special excitement for me. They always seem to harbor some of the vintage tresures I love.

Recently, I noticed a sale advertised in one of my least favorite neighborhoods. Uber large, high-end (and often very weird) homes built in the late 1960s and 1970s. Having lived through that period, I just can't get too excited about most of what is offered at sales that feature an abundance of items from that era. I almost didn't attend this particular sale. But, at the last minute, my trusty Subaru steered me in that direction.

I felt certain my suspicions would be confirmed and that I would be disappointed. From the outside, the home looked to be the typical weird '60s monstrosity that is so prevalent in this neighborhood. Walking in the front door, I took a quick visual survey. Yep. The standard period pieces that generally leave me unimpressed and uninspired. I came close to walking out the door until I heard someone talking about an awesome wine cellar in the basement.

Curiosity got the best of me. I checked it out and I'm glad I did.

The wine cellar inventory was pretty picked over, but in the corner was a stack of disassembled wine crates that had held wines from the early 1960s to the late 1970s. Coincidental to the age of the home, perhaps? Yes. Pure coincidence, I'm sure.

I picked through the pile of wood and selected 13 of the best looking panels.

When I got home, I added one to the shelf in the foyer. It coordinates nicely with the Eiffel Tower wall hanging. At least temporarily.

The wood panels are various sizes. Some have shipping stamps on them, others have shippers' writing. I think that just adds to the charm. These will be great for a repurpose or upcycle project. Some will likely end up in my Etsy store for someone else to play with.

When I was in the wine cellar at the estate sale, I noticed a man with an armful of nice vintage books. Most of them were in English, but a couple were written in French. So, I went in search of the books. I hadn't seen any on the main floor or in the basement.

The upstairs had a nice little nook with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and a big beautiful window with a window seat. I've never seen so many French books in one estate sale here.

I found some nice ones that I'll use for display, as well as some that were in rough condition. I'll take those apart and add bits and pieces to my ephemera journals.

On my way to check out, I came across a box of maps of France. All regions and towns. Jackpot! Snapped those up for my journals, too.

Now I'm reconsidering my attitude toward estate sales in this neighborhood. Never know if the next one will take me on a trip to Italy or Russia.

Make it a great day!


  1. Wow! As a former french teacher, I am very envious of your finds! What fun you will have with them! If you ever get a chance, I think you would love the movie version of La Gloire de Mon Pè of my favs! I used to show it to my class...with sub-titles. And who can resist Le Petit Prince! You must have hit the stash of a real traveler! Thanks so much for linking up at The Scoop!...hugs...Debbie

  2. Oops...that would be French teacher...typing too fast!

  3. Wonderful finds! I love the "Little Prince" book.

  4. You really found some wonderful treasures, I love vintage French books/classics! Good thing your instinct won over :)

  5. Soo Lucky. Lot's can be done with those wooden box panels. I am glad I checked your blog out before I headed out to ship out a chair from my eyst shop and check out a yard sale my husband called me about. I hope I get as lucky as you did...Barbara Ann


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