When our family moved from Arlington, Virginia back to Southern California we knew we wanted to get rid of our dining room table and chairs. Not only was it a heavy table but it had no character. The chairs were also annoying because they are all fabric AKA dirt catchers AKA single life purchase. But know this, I’m a huge fan of decorating how you want and not decorating to accommodate a kid. That being said, no one can expect a kid to not spill while eating – let alone an adult. Let’s go shopping for our dining room table and chairs at an antique store & flea market!
Finding a table
So we sold the table and chairs and moved. We knew immediately we wanted to find replacements at a flea market, preferably something we can refurbish ourselves. We dropped the little one off with Tayta (Grandma in Arabic) and head to the Rose Bowl Flea Market.
Let’s take one moment, one of many I’m sure, to reflect on how awesome flea markets are and in particular this one. The Rose Bowl is the granddaddy of flea markets for the west coast and we Southern Californians have a lot of great flea markets to choose from. Why do I love it? It’s enormous and has a wide variety of goodies at great prices! Visit the second Sunday of every month, come rain or shine. Parking is free, there is optional paid parking, and costs $9 bucks to get in. If you live in SoCal and haven’t been, stop playing and go next month.
As we walk around the market one table catches our eye, I’m not one-hundred percent sold on it, but Amir is. I keep going back and forth between our rustic farmhouse table and another one made of reclaimed wood from a mill-worker. They were both around the same price, $150. That’s right folks $150 not $500+ that you’ll find in the big stores. What really sold us about the rustic farmhouse was it came with two leaves, great for entertaining. Without the leaves it seats six people, with it can fit up to ten. Here it is below and we don’t need to do anything to it! Although I’m already thinking of painting the top…
Great, we found the table but no chairs at the Rose Bowl. We then remembered, from when we lived in La Verne, a cool antique place that had a ton of antique dining room table chairs. So a few weeks later we head over there, and sure enough he had a ton of chairs hanging from the rafters.
Here’s another reflecting moment. Go to antique stores. Particularly antique stores or antique malls packed with stuff and things, to the point where it’s cluttered and you wonder if the person is a hoarder. Those are my favorite ones. I find that those collectors really have unique and fabulous finds for great prices and really know their stuff. The name of the antique store pictured above is Ken’s Olden Oddities in La Verne, California and yes, Ken owns and operates it. It’s truly one of my favorite, if not my favorite antique stores ever. Ken will talk to you forever about whatever and give you tips on how to refurbish the furniture as well. He’s awesome.
We knew right away which chairs we wanted. We picked up four antique oak chairs from about the 1930’s, says Ken, for $125. Our chairs need work, love and attention and we couldn’t be more thrilled to do it ourselves. Here’s a couple of the chairs below – look at those sexy legs!
Let’s do the math here folks from our antique & flea market shopping for the dining room. One dining room table, with two leaves, and four chairs for $275. The table is ready to go, no change needed but we do need to completely refurbish the chairs that includes stripping, restaining the wood and reupholstering the seats. We were able to get vintage and antique pieces with lots of character that we’re able to customize to our liking – a win in my books.
That means I’ll be posting the steps soon on refurbishing the chairs as we go. First we’ll be stripping the chairs of their existing varnish, sanding as needed and re-gluing any pieces that might be wobbly. Next we’ll restain the chairs, probably close to the dark wood you see above but things always change! Lastly, we’ll reupholster the seat cushions. Whatever happens I’ll share it with you – every step of the way.
Southern California Flea Markets