A site to bookmark

A few weeks ago, I introduced you to a favorite online flea market. Today, I have another site you should definitely bookmark. The savvy women behind One Kings Lane launched a new marketplace for vintage and used goods. And Hunters Alley definitely has some goods.

It’s not a site you should venture to in search of a bargain. When a velvet embroidered pillow has an asking price of $265, you know you won’t be getting a steal on anything. But if you’re in the market for something specific that you haven’t found anywhere else, Hunters Alley is worth searching. I would also come window shopping here if I wanted the real deal in terms of vintage or antique.

Here are a few of the things I love.

Hunters Alley

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Shopping the Brussels flea market

Brussels flea market
Rusty tools, vintage cocktail shakers, schlager music on vinyl, some furniture and all these suitcases are just a few of the treasures I uncovered at the flea market in Brussels. These old-fashioned travelers would make a fantastic end table or nightstand when stacked on top of each other. Smaller designs eat up bookshelf space stylishly.
Expensive dog
A couple of months ago, I shared a craze in doggie decor with you. So I instantly fell in love with this guy but didn’t purchase since he was almost 500 euros. If you happen upon inexpensive canine figurines, and you’re a dog lover, I would snatch them up. With unique shapes, these vintage pups look stylish sitting on the mantel, a bookshelf or a side table. A few I might buy: this vintage ceramic terrier, this vintage Dachshund statue and this French bulldog bank.
Vintage white dogVintage dachundScreen Shot 2013-09-11 at 8.16.02 AM






I have to say that if it were realistic for me to cart this fantastic rocker back to Switzerland–and eventually back to California–I would have nabbed this. But in doing just a bit of research, I found Ikea’s rattan high-back lookalike online. It’s not a rocker, but I’ll still take it.
ChairIkea lookalike











If you head to Brussels, and you like flea marketing, follow this advice that I sadly learned too late: The flea market happens daily and officially ends at 2 p.m. Wait until 2:30 p.m., and there is a very good chance you can pick up some of these coveted finds for free! Some sellers never clean up when the market closes and leave some good stuff behind. Be quick! Locals filled me in on this little secret so they’re hovering too.

Flea marketing in Nyon

I’ve now been to flea markets in Geneva, Paris and Nyon. I love the Geneva market, was horribly disappointed in the Paris market (asking 45 euros for a simple wine opener) and found some interesting things in Nyon, a lakeside village about 20 minutes west of Lausanne. Point being, there are loads of flea markets in Europe (read: there will be many more posts on the subject).

Flea market chairs

But is that treasure really a deal? I decided to do some digging. I found these fabulous green vintage metal chairs (left) in Nyon. The seller was asking roughly $75 a piece. Seem pricey? The green retro chairs in the center are $135 if you live near Ruffs Dale, Pennsylvania; $635 anywhere else in the country. Or these rusty chairs (right) that need some serious TLC for $75 for one lucky New Jersey resident. Bottom line? My Nyon finds are priced fairly.

Tea set

I adored this tea set (left). The orange-and-gold color combo felt so 70s chic. The Italian vendor wanted $194 for the 18-piece porcelain collection. This one on the right collected $250 at auction. My advice? When you’re looking at a vintage piece, go with your gut. If you love it, buy it (within reason). You may never see something like it again, and you don’t want to kick yourself years down the road. Technology allows you to check Ebay, Etsy and Craigslist pricing on the spot. If your find falls within the scope of prices you find on these second-hand sites, then I say, “Let the negotiating begin.”

Letterpress letters

Be an archeologist of style. Buy what fascinates and speaks to your design aesthetic or your nostalgia. Letterpress letters remind me of my journalism roots, even though these alphabet pieces came way before my time.

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I love vintage because I like the pieces in my home to have a story, which is why I bought this set of carved wood pears in Nyon. The larger one is a box. I am completely intrigued by what might have been stashed inside. Jewelry? Love letters? Keys? The possibilities are endless and allow these ordinary objects to create interest in any room in the house.

Making traditional Swiss fondue

Making traditional Swiss fondue
I love food. When I travel, I base destinations around my stomach. So when we arrived in Lausanne, fondue topped my cuisine wish list.

Scott and I found the local favorite in our small town, a nondescript restaurant in an arcade that’s been cooking up a meal of melted cheese since 1951. Cafe Romand did not disappoint. We dipped our white bread in cheesy deliciousness and sipped our small glasses of red wine. Final cost? About $53–kind of pricey for a pot of melted cheese and some bread, no?

Luckily, I found a traditional Swiss fondue pot–steel exterior with an enameled finish on the inside–at the Geneva flea market, which only set me back $5. Unlike the purists at Cafe Romand, I served my cheesy dip with chorizo, sliced chicken, pears, a baguette and potatoes.
Serving fondue
I researched several recipes before coming up with my own version of traditional Swiss fondue.

1.5 cups shredded gruyere cheese (Note: Don’t go overboard with the gruyere. Too much gives the fondue a gritty texture. Stick to 1.5 cups)
1.5 cups shredded emmenthaler cheese
.5 cups shredded Appenzeller cheese
2.5 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 garlic glove
1 cup dry white wine
One teaspoon fresh lemon juice
A pinch nutmeg
Fresh-ground pepper to taste

1. Rub the garlic over the inside of the fondue pot. Heat the white wine over medium heat. Don’t let it boil. Just get it hot.
2. Mix all cheeses and flour in a bowl.
3. When wine is hot, add lemon juice.
4. Put a handful of the cheese and flour mixture in the wine. Stir until the cheese is completely melted. Repeat until you’ve used all the cheese mixture. Lower heat and constantly stir, allowing the cheesy mixture to bubble slightly.
5. Stir in the nutmeg and pepper and serve.
**We don’t have a burner so we put our pot on a wooden cutting board and started dunking.**
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Flea marketing in Geneva

I go to get a glimpse of this culture’s relics, and of course, I go to make one man’s castoffs my treasures. I go to flea markets because I love them. In fact, my first Google search after moving to Switzerland included pinpointing the locales of these ritualized scavenger hunts that I so adore.

The Plainpalais market happens twice a week in Geneva, and it’s where the locals go to hawk their junk (read: my fabulous finds). This visual playground featured tables and tables of vintage dinnerware, art, books, curiosities, clocks, lamps and furnishings. Here, a few of my favorite things.

Leopard setee and vintage sign
A leopard settee and a metal shop sign for “haute-coiffure canine,” my absolute favorite find. Even Scott, my husband, agreed. I envision the vintage sign as a focal point in a dining room. I would paint the settee and furnish my office with it.

Vintage leather camp stool
I just did an e-design mockup for a client’s master bedroom, and I included camp stools in that design. This one would be fantastic in the reading nook of a child’s room.

Scott and I talked about the souvenirs we want from our time in Switzerland, and a cowbell tops that list. I mean who couldn’t use more cowbell? I would use one of these larger bells as a fun decorative object in the kitchen and get a smaller one for the center of an evergreen wreath come winter.

So what did we buy? Three things for less than 15CHF (close to $15), but you’ll have to wait and see them in other posts.

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