Magazine article Sunset

The Art of Finding Things: Four Pro Shoppers Demystify Where and How to Score the Best Bargain-Priced, One-of-a-Kind Furnishings at Flea Markets and Antiques Malls

Magazine article Sunset

The Art of Finding Things: Four Pro Shoppers Demystify Where and How to Score the Best Bargain-Priced, One-of-a-Kind Furnishings at Flea Markets and Antiques Malls

Article excerpt

Cool L.A.-area fleas

Yes, the Rose Bowl is on most bargain hunters' bucket lists, but Molly rounds out her month with other stops.

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Melrose

Trading Post

It's the most compact and manageable in L.A., and it happens every weekend. Molly finds it's better for tchotchkes than furniture. "Don't be afraid to bargain--I usually start by offering half of what they're asking." Snack break: Mani's Bakery & Cafe, with no refined sugar in the pastries.

Long Beach Outdoor Antique & Collectible Flea Market

Held at the Veterans Stadium in Long Beach, this market has more than 800 dealers, and it can get blazing hot. There's a vendor who sells vintage ivory pieces from old-time hairbrushes and belt buckles. Molly then transforms the remnants into custom drawer pulls. Snack break: Grounds Bakery Cafe for great bagels and muffins.

Palm Canyon Galleria

An antiques mall dedicated to all things midcentury, the Galleria, in Palm Springs, has furniture, lighting, pottery, and artwork to give any home groovy '60s and '70s flair. In-house shop Bon Vivant specializes in statement-making decor--including a massive selection of vintage brass owls. Snack break: Poolside at the Purple Palm Restaurant & Bar at the Colony Palms Hotel.

Pasadena City College Flea Market

Held on the college grounds near the Rose Bowl, it's smaller--and less chaotic--than its neighbor. It's crucial to get here early since the best pieces get snapped up. Molly likes the charity angle: Proceeds go to support the school. Snack break: The tamale stand inside the market.

Rose Bowl Flea Market

The mack daddy--with more than 2,500 vendors. Molly shops it for larger items like lamps, side chairs, and cocktail tables. The breadth is incredible, with smaller items to be had at places like Rare Finds, which carries textiles from all eras. Snack break: Green Street Restaurant, with indoor and outdoor seating and, Molly says, "the most amazing Chinese chicken salad I've ever tasted."

Santa Monica Airport Outdoor Antique & Collectible Market

Because this market is a lot bigger on the last Sunday of the month than the first, admission costs a bit more then, but it's worth it. The merchandise reflects its terroir--beachy and laid-back. Snack break: At the Counter, build your own burgers using a million topping options.

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Northwest finds

Antiques malls with vendors sell great treasures with less chaos (and less haggling) than fleas.

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Camas Antiques

This antiques mall in downtown Camas, Washington, stocks everything from fine antiques and collectibles to reproduction items to soaps and lotions to give as gifts. Two booths to look out for are A Cottage Industry, which stocks beautiful vintage tabletop pieces and wedding cake toppers, and Brocanteur Vintage, which sells pretty ephemera with an old-time European feel. Snack break: Caffe Piccolo Paradiso is an Italian coffee shop serving espresso and gelato.

Madison Park

Set in an old clapboard house in Portland, Madison Park specializes in Victorian and Edwardian pieces such as ornate mirrors, curvy settees, and vintage dolls. The owner, Randy Parman, is hugely knowledgeable and has a discerning eye. His stuff is very much collector-worthy--even the curios are flawless. It's fair-priced considering the quality of the merchandise. Snack break: Jade Teahouse & Patisserie for its coconut rice noodle soup and freshly made French-style macarons.

Monticello Antique Marketplace

The biggest antiques mall in Portland, Monticello has roughly 100 vendors with really divergent aesthetics. …

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