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Friday, May 1, 2009

Girl Friday: Thrifting Guru Stan Williams

Thrift-ing is, without a doubt, my “Crack”! Junking, antique-ing, thrift-ing, garage sale-ing, flea-ing - whatever your label, it, to me, is therapy minus the psycho-pharmocologist. Sometimes I’m looking for a specific something and other times, I’m just doing it to “get my dig on!" Sometimes it finds me and sometimes, I find it - “IT” being the treasure or “The Find.”

Which leads me to today’s post on The Find, authored by Stan Williams, a fellow blogger, thrifter, lifestyle writer and editor. It will be available May 3rd. He has teamed with the design experts at New York City's most popular thrift store, Housing Works, to show, not just "what" to look for in vintage decorating, but also how to recognize a treasure. It's elegantly photographed and filled with practical sidebars from some of today’s most clever style makers, including Simon Doonan, John Derian, and Real Simple’s Kristin van Ogtrop – all of whom are pronounced diehard devotees of New York City’s Housing Works. They not only show what to look for, but also how to look at an object to identify a great piece. You know, the trick of seeing beyond nicks and wobbles, color and intended use. One example, for instance, is encasing a vintage leather trunk in Lucite, and PRESTO!, you have a stunning coffee table. Further suggestions are taking pages from old books and wallpapering a foyer, or fashioning a cushion for a garden chair from a baseball diamond’s home plate.

The Find includes chapters on furniture, accessories, small spaces, and entertaining while offering unexpected ways that secondhand or vintage items can make statements throughout a home. This book is a combo handbook and inspiration for vintage decorating and reinforces the thought that secondhand does not have to mean second rate. It is documented proof that there’s always something special to be found.

You can find this book here and Williams’ blog The Elegant Thrifter is a must read. The Housing Works Thrift Shops occupy seven upscale locations in New York City, selling high-end vintage treasures to bargain hunters and fashionistas alike - Sarah Jessica Parker is a huge fan and contributes to their cause by donating goods. More information like auctions and other events, online shopping and ways to donate can be found here. The shops not only provide more than $12 million in funding per year, but also ensure a supply of clothing and essentials for our clients. It's times like these when I wish that I had unlimited funds to buy passage to "The Big Apple!"

My recommendation: Put your "Junk Gypsie" boots on and hit the estate sales, garage sales, thrift stores and flea markets this weekend to get a little shopping therapy, and skip the doctor-approved happy pills.

Book cover photo by by Jim Franco, and is courtesy of

Photo of trunk courtesy Turquoise LA - this piece designed by Jordan Cappella, features a vintage Goyard inspired trunk under a lucite base.


The Elegant Thrifter said...

Thank you for such a nice mention!! Stan

The Elegant Thrifter said...

Thank you for such a nice mention!

French-Kissed said...

I just happen to be in NYC at the moment and just got back from my nearest Housing Works (West 10th) a bit ago. I have been hunting at all HWs for years and it looks as if the launch of Stan's book may have caused a temporary shortage of treasures! It has been slim pickins for the past few days and I'm betting it is due to the successful launch of this great book~I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy! I had better give a yell out my window to my across the street neighbor Sarah Jessica and let her know we need her to donate more stuff. Here's a toast to the givers, the takers and the writers wrapped up in this fabulous shopping sub-culture that gives so much to our community. Cheers!

Unknown said...

Stan, it is my pleasure and privilege! - I can't wait to get my copy! And French-kissed - I agree, Cheers to Stan and our fabulous sub-culture!