Even though we’ve been here since mid-August, our apartment remains in flux — a sort of holding pattern that’s lasted much longer than we originally anticipated. Recouping pieces scattered across the country after an international move, waiting for a coat of paint here, and hunting down that perfect, reasonably priced thing for that spot over there. Although I’m resigned to the fact that there will always be something on the apartment ‘To Do’ list, I think Z and I are both ready to get to a point where it feels like home.
Furnishing an apartment on a budget is tough, especially if you don’t want it exclusively populated with things that come flat-packed. Vintage and second-hand stores are good alternatives, but the DC area is pretty short on them. There are a few – Ms. Pixie’s is a personal favorite – but for the most part they’re either picked-over or outrageously overpriced. Unlike DC, the Atlanta metro area has a wealth of great vintage and antique stores for just about any price point. I’m fairly certain my patience for picking through these places exceeds that of the rest of my family, but they and Z very kindly indulge me on our visits.
A good place to start is Chamblee Antique Row. Covering a small area of Broad Street, Peachtree Boulevard and Peachtree Road in Old Chamblee just inside I-285, it’s a one-stop-shop for thrift stores, furniture shops and antique markets all within a few blocks of each other.
For the best buys, I love to head down the road to My Favorite Place. Rather uninspiring from the road, this place is much bigger than it looks. If you’re willing to poke around, dust off, and pick through there are some really great deals to be had.
Our previous DC apartment was furnished with mis-matched chairs from here, all of which we bought for under $50. (That’s total, not each.) This time, we bought a set of outdoor copper patio lights for somewhere around $100 less than retail and assorted glasses and bar ware. The selection here ranges from a good amount of junk to some great items that just need a little TLC. I’ve never left without at least one find.
For a more curated experience, head south to Decatur’s Kudzu Antique Market. The store is set up as a series of dealer-stocked booths with furniture, vintage clothing, records, dishware, and decorative items. There’s a nice mix of old and new here, including some work by local artisans, that’s really fun to browse.
The vintage clothes are well chosen and reasonably priced. I found a beautiful wool swing coat with a delicate line of buttons down the back, that I only wish was a little less snug in the shoulders. Z picked up a few used records. We also found an awesome fire-engine red cabinet and a vintage wooden toolbox that’s the perfect balance of decorative and storage potential for a small apartment with lots of DIY projects going on.
Know of any good places in the DC/MD/VA area for vintage and antiquing that I’m missing? Please share in the comments.
My Favorite Place
5596 Peachtree Industrial Boulevard, Chamblee, GA 30341
Kudzu Antique Market
2928 East Ponce De Leon Avenue, Decatur, GA 30030
Hot Town, Summer in the City: Atlanta
Collecting Bits of History in Georgia (New York Times)
Antiques of the Old South (New York Times)
Neighborhood Guide: Chamblee (Creative Loafing)
Neighborhood Guide: Decatur (Creative Loafing)