This past weekend M and I went to 2 wonderful estate sales. One of the best things about going to estate sales is getting to see how people really lived their lives. It used to make me sad, watching a bunch of strangers rifling through a deceased persons belongings. Now my focus is on the beauty that was woven into each of their lives. You see the dishes they used each day, the art they looked at and the wear marks of a favorite chair. It really is an absolutely fascinating glimpse into a life lived.
The first sale was a home in Sierra Madre, a pretty little town near Pasadena. The gentleman that lived here was a collector extraordinaire. The company that organized the sale said it took them nine, 15 hour days to get it only partially sorted. Imagine that. There is still a great deal that will have to be gone through and another sale will take place in the future. One of the rooms in the house was dedicated to his work and love of the Navajo. There were gorgeous rugs, baskets and a museum worthy photography collection. But there were also collections of butterflies, arrowheads, shells and axe-heads that he cataloged with painstaking detail. Just check this out...
Above is just a small sampling of his shell/arrowhead collection. Each and every one of these tiny shells and arrowheads has a notation on them as to the location it was found and the date. There are thousands of them! Each arrowhead, each butterfly...everything was recorded in this manner. It's an incredible collection and the attention to detail is staggering.
The other sale we went to was in swank San Marino, an upscale town also near Pasadena. It appears the lady of the house was at one time an antique dealer specializing in French antiques. She was a lover of beautiful art, books and gardens. It was pure joy walking through her home. I picked up an old teak garden chair, a couple of old books to give as gifts and a lampshade that I thought might fit a lamp I had gotten at an estate sale about 2 years ago. The shade is beautifully made but I wasn't sure it would fit. For $3 I took a risk.
Here is what the lamp looks like...
The lamp was $5 and so pretty but I failed to realize how hard it was going to be to find a shade that fit it. But low and behold, 2 years later a perfect match was found.
Everything in this cabinet, including the cabinet itself was obtained 2nd hand. I think that's why I love shopping this way. It's a slow, steady and mindful path to beauty.
Those tiny pine cones were picked up last year while walking through Prince Charles' garden at Highgrove. I'm sure a definite no-no but I couldn't resist. Inspired by the gentleman in Sierra Madre, I'm going to put a little notation on these pieces so maybe one day someone will see a story instead of just an object when they pick it up. Decorating this way takes time but it is so rewarding. Your house won't just be a reflection of your taste but will indeed tell the story of your life.