Our Memorial Day weekend was pretty excellent on all counts and though not quintessentially American, at least was quintessentially us. There wasn’t hamburger grilling or lake going, but there was Broken Spoke dancing, Grandfather visiting, Greenbelt hiking and—perhaps most excitingly—thrift store shopping. What started as a What-Else-Do-We-Have-To-Do rainy Saturday quickly turned into an OMG-I-Can’t-Believe-We-Found-All-Of-This-Affordable-Second-Hand-Stuff-That-Is-Precisely-Exactly-What-We-Have-Been-Looking-For awesome Saturday. We found stuff like…
…these two framed and matted Craig Holmes prints of the Brooklyn and Golden Gate bridges. We picked them up on the cheap from Corner Collectors Market, one of my favorite Austin junk stores. Heath is planning to hang them in his classroom as a classy and educational addition to his U.S. history curriculum. Pay attention kids, that’s what you call [hashtag] wining.
Another treat for Heath was getting his hands on some old books from Recycled Reads, the Austin Public Library’s used bookstore where they sell all the titles they no longer want in circulation for dirt cheap. Hardcovers: $2. Paperbacks: $1. Watching Heath make a pallet on the office floor so he can lay in a sea of his newly acquired library: priceless.
But the real “HOLY MACARONI” moment (For me at least. Let’s be real, Heath was checked out by this point, he had books to read and posters to hang.) was finding this midcentury dresser from Room Service Vintage. It was in great condition, it cost less than humdrum Ikea furniture and it matched our other bedroom dresser like its long lost twin sister. Or actually, a taller, skinnier, prettier sister. Those were great perks, but most importantly, it met the must-have criteria I was looking for in a new dresser. Namely, it fits perfectly against this awkward, small bit of wall in our bedroom and it’s stupid cute.
I like to pretend that my fascination with and adoration of vintage furniture and knick knacks is rooted in and based on actual interest and not of the that’s-all-we-can-afford ilk. But who am I really kidding. Despite being out of college and now one of millions of living, breathing working adults in this country, I admit that 90 percent of the furniture in our house is either a) a hand-me-down, b) homemade or c) purchased second-hand… not ideal for the wannabe interior designer that lurks within. Luckily, we live in Austin and the city has no shortage of wonderful places to visit if you’re in search for a truly unique furniture find that is second hand, yes, but also completely funky and affordable.
Last weekend we took inventory at a few of our favorite second-hand shops in Central Austin. Even if you’re not in the market to buy, these places are least worth dropping in if only to oogle at their outrageously wonderful mid-century modern treasures.
5453 Burnet Road, Austin
This place is ideal for tracking down well put-together Danish modern finds at reasonable prices. We actually transitioned from window shoppers to real-life customers when we purchased a dresser there last year—marking our first major furniture purchase as a married couple. The prices are moderate, it’s true, but what’s fun about this place is the set up and showcase or each of their pieces. The organization is spectacular and walking through the doors really feels like walking onto the set of Mad Men.
Room Service Vintage
107 E. North Loop, Austin
As great for its clothing, light fixtures, and kitchenware as it is for its furniture, Room Service Vintage is, to me, the anchor vintage shop of myriad second-hand joints popping up in this corridor of North Loop. The atmosphere is hip, the shopkeepers friendly, and the walls always covered in wonderful ’50s through ’70s eye candy from retro clocks to back issues of Playboy.
Second hand? Yes. Boring? Never.