Design Antics at the Antique Fair

Once a month, the great city of Sacramento hosts an antique fair. It covers about 4 square blocks and includes everything from WWII paraphernalia to shabby chic framed chalkboards and all that exists in between. Neither Mr. Rathroy nor I had been to the antique market before and we figured it would be a good place to get a deal on some rustic decor (our favorite).

Unfortunately, the good deals were somewhat sub par. I’m a pushover when it comes to sticker price and Russ hasn’t haggled since his days in the Malawian market. And, as it turns out, 4 square blocks of bargain hunting gets tiring, so we only made one purchase.

The antique fair really proved to be more of a design research trip than a shopping spree and we started finding home decor inspiration that we could take home, chew on for a little while, and turn into DIY projects.

So, instead of spending money on things that other people have treasure hunted, I just hurriedly snapped photos of their displays in hopes of putting my own creative spin on our antique market finds.

An old ladder with a fresh punch of color becomes a great outdoor shelving unit.


One “antique” seller salvaged old picture and window frames and then cut chalkboard to fit inside. Her product was adorable and WAY overpriced for anyone interested in a DIY craft.


I love an old hutch! How cute is this light blue for a combo storage/statement piece?


We noticed this table immediately because the first piece of furniture that Mr. Rathroy built was a farmhouse style table that we use currently as a joint desk (I’m sitting at it right now!). Though the lumber we used was new, the finish is super rustic (one might say it’s been antiqued…) and we were curious to see how much a similar table would sell for as an antique.


Because of the wedding, I’m on a succulent binge and these little guys growing in old tea cups were just too cute!


Our finale piece was this old rocking chair. It was so masculine and worn in. The hefty lumber combined with the soft leather was the perfect combination of our styles. This is the piece that we’ll be working towards building for a long time…


And that was only a fraction of the goods! If we had the time and the endurance, I think we could have decorated our entire house with antique fair finds. However, neither of us are that patient, so we picked up a couple hearts salvaged from wine barrel wrappings and called it a day.


Our ultimate plan is to paint this patio wall a bright color and build a sitting bench underneath!

I’m loving that the whole rustic look is so popular right now because it’s so easy to find pieces that match our style, but I will also readily recognize the ridiculousness of buying something that looks like it’s been sitting in a barn for 70 years. That farmhouse table above looked like someone had literally taken a paintbrush and slapped it around on the surfaces. It was like the seller knew it needed to look crappier than just old wood in order to sell for $500. We’ll just take it as more motivation to build it ourselves I guess…

Are you a fan of antiques? Or does old stuff creep you out? I’m still totally on the fence about the creepiness factor, but I sure do love a good repurposing!

2 thoughts on “Design Antics at the Antique Fair

  1. I’m a BIG fan of antiques, though I didn’t grow up in a house with them and my mom deff doesn’t like stuff that others have previously owner. But, I love that there’s a story behind each antique – that what is now something special to you was once special to someone else and that it gets to live on. I frequent some of Chicago’s antique markets and last fall purchased a sunburst mirror for a fraction of what comps go for in the market. (here’s some of my fave finds: In our home, I’m working a bright, eclectic, modern meets mid-century vibe. It’s coming along, and I’m liking that it’s taking time to build a collection. That’s all the fun.

    If I was a DIYer, I would be all over recreating this stuff to. The rustic touch seems perfect for you two. Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

  2. I love the bright, eclectic look but always talk myself out of color and then I get all bummed out when our whole house is grey…I’ll keep your comment in mind as inspiration next time I have a color decision to make!
    I love all of the vintage jewelry from your Chicago market! What a fun way to find statement accessories!

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