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.

Great gift ideas for Dad

Father’s Day is just around the corner, June 16. Don’t procrastinate picking a present for your dad, brother, husband, uncle or grandpa. Check out the gift guide I did for Parade magazine, featuring 18 fabulous finds. You can see the story here. Or pick up one of these–some of my faves that are personal, unique, even a bit quirky.

Father's Day Gift Guide

For the performer
Back up the a cappella rendition of “Don’t Stop Believin’” that Dad belts out in the shower with this wireless, waterproof showerhead speaker that pops in and out for easy recharging and streams music from any Bluetooth-enabled device up to 32 feet away.

For the metro man
Laced with aloe vera and witch hazel, these aftershave-filled flasks soothe his vulnerable skin and leave him smelling slighting warm and woodsy or fresh and citrus-y.

For the sports enthusiast
Want to knock this Father’s Day out of the park? Let Dad root for his home team wrapped in this luxuriously soft cotton robe that’s embroidered with his favorite ball club’s logo (also available with NFL logos).

For the perfectionist
Tool or toy? Depends how he uses it. Whether Dad’s handy or just curious, this field rule accurately measures the imaginary foundation for his future retirement home, the distance to home plate, even the girth of a tree.

For the minimalist
This curious-looking gadget weighs less than a ping pong ball but combines everything he needs for quick repairs and a bite to eat. Masked as elements of design on this four-inch stainless steel multitool are a flathead screwdriver, three metric wrenches, a spoon, a fork and a bottle opener.

Wine barrel lighting

You might not know this, but the Swiss drink a lot of wine–four times more than their U.S. counterparts. In fact, starting mid May, there’s at least one wine festival each weekend celebrating the opening of the caves. We went to one this past weekend and took my cousins with us. Do you like the glasses-round-the-neck souvenirs?

The McCues at the wine festival

When I got home from the festival, I became slightly obsessed with finding a light fixture for my dining room. I really want a vintage wine barrel chandelier. I love the rustic authenticity of this one, crafted from discarded French barrels.

Restoration Hardware

I like the price of this one better, but its faux aged finish lacks charm.

Shades of Light

And then I found this one on Craigslist. It’s not as massive as the others and it’s void of that curved teardrop shape, but I love the detail on the four wooden staves crafted from vintage European oak wine barrels and the price ($275 but likely negotiable) is great. Advertised as custom made, light fixtures may created on a made-to-order basis. Here’s hoping.

Craigslist chandelier

While this listing expired, this find reminded me to ALWAYS check Craigslist first when it comes to hunting down something I want. Use keywords like “wine barrel chandelier,” “crate chandelier,” even “wood lighting fixture.” If it’s an item you’ve been searching for, expand your search. I virtually searched as far as Santa Barbara for the wine barrel chandelier (I was thinking wine regions outside of Temecula but not as far north as Napa or Sonoma).

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