Brimfield finds and a trade show hunt

Today Kelly and I spent a glorious day trekking through the wilds of Brimfield Antique Show. If you've never visited Brimfield, think of the biggest flea market you've ever been to. Now imagine something twenty times that size. In reality it's a collection of markets along a half mile stretch of highway in, you got it, Brimfield, MA.  Each market has it's own flavor and if you can dream it, you can find it here.

Although I try to go at least once each year for fun, this time I was on a mission to scout props, furniture and inspiration for our trade show booth design in 2012. It's always a challenge coordinating two (and three) visions for a shared space, coming up with a scheme that works for everyone and is functional for display to boot. Today's keywords: vintage industrial.

This cart was amazing. Too big for our little 8x10 booth, but the fact that it's on wheels made up for its weight and I considered it seriously but briefly. The folks selling it had used it as a kitchen island in their own home for years. Love.

Hmmm, anyone looking for a fish dresser?

Oh boxes, how I love thee, let me count the ways... I swear that the day I have a free and empty wall, I will buy one hundred of these boxes and stack them just so on their sides for a honeycomb of fab industrial shelving and storage.

Check out the scale of this dollhouse! I'm pretty sure my daughter could climb into one of those rooms herself.

My first serious inquiry of the day was about these windows. I've dreamed for years of a display centered around salvage windows, and I love the giant scale of these. They would, however, completely dominate the display and in the end I passed them over. I did, however, break the buying ice by picking up a narrow five-pane window frame for just $10. Whether it makes the cut for booth decor or is simply the newest office installation remains to be seen.

Both Kelly and I toted around these giant safety pins until we learned their price (too much). Ah well, lesson one of flea marketing - be prepared to walk away from many things you love but will not buy.

I don't know what these racks were once used for but they're mighty fine. I imagine draping cards over each rung - maybe at craft fairs? I didn't get one but this is a vendor that comes back year after year with much of the same merchandise.

The same vendor was selling off some random collections of sorts. When I asked whether the $2 was the price for each box she laughed. When she told me they were $2 per letter I laughed. Good lord.

Not far away, a full print shop was to be had for $1000. There's a treadle Kelsey (flywheel disengaged, hard to tell how well it operates) and a rusty small guillotine, plus a cabinet of type and furniture. Letterpress start ups here's your chance.

Valve knobs - they would be super fun as replacement drawer pulls in a kid's room (bright orange and blue and red, oh my!).

The next successful find - a cabinet full of metal drawers (well, not quite full). Many of the cute metal file cabinets, card catalogs, mailboxes, etc. go for hundreds of dollars. I scored this one for only $25 smackeroos. Just wait until you see it transformed...

Nothing quite so grand as this ginormous wall of drawers which once housed bulk spices. I can just see an industrial loft where these line the wall of the bedroom - no need for a walk-in closet when you have this many drawers.

There were lots of charming little stools like this one. Maybe I'll head back in September to find a nice matching pair. Other items of which there were no shortage - salvage windows, fiestaware and bakelite, industrial wooden/iron carts-cum-coffee tables.


I found this table, we measured it, thought about it, looked some more and then left. It was nearly all Kelly and I talked about as we trekked through many more fields. Finally, getting back to the car and taking measurements to see if it would fit, I called the seller and offered him a lower price. He bit and so we went to maneuver the table into the car. We only scratched the ceiling a little bit getting it in the backseat. With a little love and refinishing, this is going to be our trade show table starting this August.
All in all, a successful, exhausting day (and yummy - don't dis the food vendors - I had an amazing Pilgrim sandwich and we dessert-ed on apple cider doughnuts). Here's to the next trip!

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