Alameda Antique Fair: April 2011 Edition
I was on the lookout for some cute nightstands for my bedroom yesterday at the Alameda Antiques fair. And I found them! I’m not sure if the top will stay green, but the color definitely helped them pop out at the fair. I’m hoping to put some sconces on the wall above the matching tables, like these from Pottery Barn, so I don’t have to keep Brentan awake with my crossword puzzle nighttime activities all the time.
I went to the antiques fair with Sarah, who was looking for new light fixtures for her house, and her friends Maryanne and Sam. I ‘did’ the fair a little differently than usual, thanks to Maryanne’s insider tip of starting at the back, and it was successful. Everyone found a little something.
And I discovered how important it is to find a good booth.
There are several kinds of booths and sellers at the antiques fair. Among them are:
- The Minimalist. Usually just a guy and a his truck full of random stuff, or the woman with a card table full of knicknacks. Generally low prices, and not usually stuff I’m looking for.
- The Haute Couture. Heavily styled. Usually full of French linens, boudoir items, and fashion stuff. They put a lot of work into creating an image for themselves and curating a beautiful selection of products, and you will pay for it. Pretty pretty eye candy and out of my budget.
- The Danish Modern. Full of Danish modern and 60’s teak furniture and accessories. Sarah and I drool as we pass, perhaps sit in a chair or sofa, but know that we already have beautiful teak pieces at home (and the best place to find theses pieces is Craigslist).
- The Specialty Shop. This seller only sells one thing. Like vintage telephones. Or antique hardware (see below). Or beer steins (not kidding, there is a booth that only sells beer steins!)
However, the best booth is the Sweet Spot booth. That is where I found the nightstands. Practical prices, fun, pretty items, and stuff you just really want.
These tables just called to me, but another woman was contemplating buying them. As she hemmed and hawed with her friend, I overheard the (completely reasonable) price of $80 for both looking around at the rest of the booth, and praying she would decide against them. I also discovered these gems: 60’s silver rimmed glasses, perfect for my bar! She passed, and I managed to negotiate the seller to throw in the glasses for free! Score one for me.
When you come across a good booth (or any decent seller, really):
- Check out all of their items. Some things might be hidden. If I didn’t look around, I wouldn’t have found perfect new bar ware.
- Ask them to hold the stuff you’ve just bought. Most sellers will honor this, and not make you carry around tons of stuff.
- Bring your friends back to check it out. If you saw something you liked, they might too. Sarah and Maryanne found things when I went back to pick up the tables before we left.
- Negotiate price. Or suggest a deal. At a different booth, Sarah got a great deal on a set of plates by asking for a discount on buying four. The seller originally asked for $8 a piece, but she negotiated it down to $23 for 4 ($5.75/plate).
- Go back! Ask for their card, make a note of their location, and buy again next month. They’ll appreciate the business, and you’ll appreciate the selection.
- And of course, smile, be friendly, and chatty. You’ll feel good, they’ll feel good, and you might get a good deal for being so gosh darn cute.