when my local buyers visit the maison21 atelier to pick up an ebay purchase, virtually every person asks maison21 the same question: "where do you find all your great stuff?", and about half then add "i'm sure you don't want to give up your secret sources" but maison21 is pleased to shock them a little and readily admit where his goods are found. the truth of the matter is that there is no secret- maison21 shops the same places everyone else does: flea markets, estate sales, thrift stores, garage sales, all manner of antique shops from high end to low, as well as online sources like ebay, cragislist and bazillions of assorted websites.
the difference is that my buyers are simply normal people who enjoy nice things, whereas moi-self is a deranged decorating obsessive-compulsive. i'm crazy enough to spend 10-12 hours a day searching for pretty things, willing to climb into a dumpster to get them (and have, on more than one occasion), and willing to trek far and wide, even into some pretty scary areas in search of treasures (i've been into neighborhoods in some cities that look like bombed out war zones in search of a promising estate sale or junk shop). maison21 is also willing to take sick and wounded finds and spend inordinate amounts of time (and sometimes money) to nurse them back to health, something that a normal person probably would be too smart to do. so when my buyers want to know want to know the best and easiest place to find the pretty, without risking life and limb (or their sanity), maison21 gives them the simplest answer- just two little words: "palm springs".
palm springs, california is an amazing treasure trove for the lover of vintage and antique decor, and frankly, there is more than enough goodness to go around- that's why i don't even bother to try to keep my sources there a secret! so go, knock yourself out, shop until you drop, the stuff is literally is falling out of the trees the city is named after. the only place that maison21 has ever been that has better vintage shopping is the coastal area of florida from palm beach to miami- that stretch of real estate is literally heaven on earth for vintage decor, but palm springs is a darn close second. so having just come from a weekend in palm springs, maison21 thought he'd share a few of his palm springs "secrets" with his blog readers (all 5 of you).
maison21 has been helping one of his closest friends restore his 1950's era palm springs home-a project is that is literally a labor of love as there isn't much of a budget, but here and there, little by little, my friend has been whipping his desert home into shape. recently, he extended the angled roofline of his home to shade his patio- it may not look like much in the following photos since it now looks completely original to the home, but if you saw the hideous mobile home-like metal awning it replaced, you'd know what a vast improvement it is. maison21 recommended the simple ball lighting fixtures from fantasy lighting, used on the patio, and we think the whole thing turned out quite nicely. good job, rudy!
when the patio roof was added, a metal cone fireplace was also installed (the fireplace was a m21 find, as were the vintage fiberglass chaise lounges around the pool), and with the addition of the fireplace, rudy thought it would be nice to warm up the limestone floors with an area rug, so we drove over to one of maison21's favorite palm springs "secrets"- the alley- and purchased the cowskin rug shown in the bottom photo for the bargain price of $219.00!
the alley is a chain of stores here in southern california that stocks close-out home and kitchen items, and is the kind of treasure-hunt store maison21 loves: 99% junk with the occasional bargain priced jewel and m21 has found some really great items there in the past. maison21 also knows some very fancy fellow decorators shop there too, as he's seen the goods in their homes (not that they'd probably ever admit to it, unless forced). but since maison21 firmly believes in mixing the high with the low- nothing wrong with putting a target pillow next to a hermes throw- he is coming clean, and admitting it: moi-self has purchased from the alley! the trick is to be selective, and don't buy every item in your home from a place like the alley- mix it up with some really good pieces and it all looks great.
on this trip to the alley, besides the cowskin rugs, maison21 found these lifesize cast iron crane statues for $149.00, and while maison21 isn't crazy about the "antiqued" finish, he thought they'd be show stoppers if powder coated black or white, or even gilded. for those of you that like to DIY, instead of powder coating, a little black or white lacquer spray paint would do the trick looks-wise, and maison21 simply loves the stuff- it really works magic. m21 also spotted a set of three karl springer inspired shell mosaic vases/urns for 20-30 bucks each, and the biggest bargain of all, an awesome overscale fretwork framed mirror for $349- it's about 6' by 4', so that's a lot of decoratin' for the price! and last, check out the so-bad-it's-good fake fendi bag!
more palms springs secrets to come...