The Oldest Thing in My House #2 – Books

Probably the oldest stuff in the house are my books. Steve has some old crap in the basement, like a 100-year old tiger skin from China, but we’ll get to that later. Let me show you some of my oldest books.

About twenty five years ago, I was visiting a friend who lived in a small town outside of Boston. One day, we roamed through an antique shop, and I rummaged through a basket of old books under a table. I picked up this old copy of Little Women, which is one of my favorite books, and bought it for 25 cents. I promptly put it away in a box and forgot about it.

I found it last year and put it on my Etsy shop. After doing a little research, I found out that it was a I believe it was a second edition from 1870. I sold it in couple of months for $700.

I’ve got a Robert’s Rule of Order from 1876.

I’ve got “The Red Cross” by Clara Barton from 1899, but I haven’t listed it yet.

I love this illustrated history of the Civil War from 1895. I honestly don’t want to part with this one. (Click on the link for all the beautiful and horrifically racist images inside.)

I lost today to parenting chores. Ian was home from school for the Jewish holidays, and he needed a lot of help with an engineering project. For the rest of the week, I’m continuing my break from real writing and will the time listing a huge allotment of vintage textbooks that I bought a couple of months ago for $3. Engineering textbooks from the 1930s are surprisingly collectable.

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The Oldest Thing in My House #1

Picking up a comment thread in the last post, I thought I would find the oldest things in my house. (I’m waiting around for edits on a draft and don’t feel like starting anything new until next week. It’s the Gig Worker’s prerogative.) We’ll do our own Antique Roadshow here at Apt. 11D for a couple of days.

A couple of weeks ago, I unpacked my grandmother’s old sewing machine from its box in the basement and decided to display it somewhere in the house. It’s kinda cool. Check out the beautiful scroll work.

I actually had no idea how old it was until a few minutes ago. It’s from the 1940s, which means it’s probably not the oldest thing in my house, but it’s still cool.

My grandmother used it, until she died about fifteen years ago. In fact, I used it ten years ago for some project or another. It still works great.

More to come.

Decorating Apt. 11D with Vintage Furniture

In my last post about our lawyer’s bookcase, there was some discussion about whether people still are interested in vintage furniture.

I go to a lot of estate sales to find old books for my badly neglected Etsy shop. The dealers are lined up out the door. Of course, they don’t buy just anything old. They buy certain old things — good lines, well made, not destroyed. There was crap in the old days, just as there is now.

I don’t pay for my vintage stuff. It usually just falls in my lap one way or another. Hi, I’m Laura, and I adopt stray furniture.

1/3 of the stuff in these pictures is vintage, 1/3 is quality new (Crate and Barrell, Room and Board), and 1/3 is crap new (IKEA or Wayfair). Our dining room chairs suck. They’re $14 from IKEA. I think I’m going to upgrade to these. I just got that new table runner, on sale at Crate and Barrel.

The vintage prints came from my in-laws. I had reframed them in modern frames, but hated the look. I put them back in the beat up vintage frames, where they looked more at home. I like them hung asymmetrically. (But not crooked, like that bottom one, which needs to be adjusted. I took these pictures in about five minutes. No time to clean up and fix errors.)

The mirror was in my grandmother’s Bronx apartment in the 1950s. The buffet are two bedroom side tables pushed together. I found them on the street on trash day in New York City. Don’t look too closely at them, because they’re a mess.

Because we have a super white kitchen (excuse the mess in the background) and a mid-century modern house, I think we really need the old vintage stuff to give the house some character. I was in a new-build house a few weeks ago, and the whole place was white and light blue. I was redecorating in my head the whole time. The woman’s house DEMANDED some character.

Does anyone else redecorate in their head, when they’re in a particularly cluttered or bland house? I’m sure you all do, and it has nothing to do with some undiagnosed OCD on my part.