The day after we got home to Cambridge after our long summer in New York and Brussels, the Brimfield Antiques Fair started. I was exhausted after traveling, but the idea of moving boxes and getting settled back into our house was more exhausting than antiquing. So I left the house at 4:00 in the morning and made the hour-long trek out to Brimfield, MA.
I feel like I have days were my shopping skills are on fire and other days when I’m feeling happy to be shopping, but also a little slow-going. Unfortunately I felt the latter that day. I saw some cool things, but everything felt so expensive this time. I bought a few small items, like some antique block-printed linen and a few dinnerware items, but nothing too exciting.
The sun was starting to set. The vendors began packing up. Suddenly the idea of going all the way home from Brimfield having spent only a dew dollars and with nothing really cool to show for it bumped my energy up. I was racing from vendor to vendor, eyes darting, searching for my treasure.
At the very last vendor, who had a really prime spot at the beginning of the fair, right on the road, a group of five chairs caught my eye. Four side chairs and a Captain’s chair. They were sooooo dirty and completely trashed. The vendor was sort of confused when I asked about them.
“Those? You WANT those? Are you a professional restorer? No? Well, they’re going cost you a fortune to refinish so you can have them all for $30. No one wants them and they are taking up too much space.”
I sort of looked at him stunned, trying to process the information. “Umm ok. I’ll go get my car.” And before I knew what was happening, I found myself the confused owner of 5 really old and very beat up chairs.
The next day I started pulling out all the old nails and brads from a chair. After an hour of intense work, I had crazy blisters, a few cuts (and probably tetanus!). So all five of the chairs sat in my basement for a few weeks, untouched. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them.