Marion, Kansas

Last week, I shared with you all one of the stops that I made on my ten day road trip (so fun!). Well, from here on out I’ll share with you all the shops we stopped out. But, I just had to share the site around Marion, KS. Well I mentioned last week that we stayed out at the Historic Elgin Hotel B&B. Sherri, the hotel manager, was awesome! I mean, true hospitality. She chatted with us late at night, met up when we got in later than the check-in time and was overall just lovely. Also, she made caramelized French Toast for breakfast. Yum.

The hotel was originally established in 1886 and has gone through quite a journey to become what it is today. The place was made into an apartment building in the ’70s. When the current owner took it over, they decided to fully restore it to what their research said it looked like when originally built. They’ve truly done a wonderful job restoring this place and I’m so glad we chose to stay there. Not to mention, it is within walking distance to Bearly Makin’ It Antiques! Bonus.

I loved the bathroom. It just proves such timelessness with white subway tiles. All the white was beautiful and I wish this was my bathroom!

Octagon and dot tile. I love it so.

The hotel owners have worked so hard to restore this place even down to the engraved marble above the elevator.

 This staircase was visually striking with this massive chandelier and dark wood paneled walls.

 In the lounge space, on the second floor, there was this light blue Chesterfield couch. Isn’t it beautiful?

 This is the view from the top of the staircase. That golden velvet loveseat was so pretty.

This space is in the ballroom area. Another beautifully decorated spot in the hotel.


 After we left the hotel, we set out to see the charming city. We drove up and down the original red brick streets, and I was intent with capturing the charm of this little town with my camera. I had my mom pull over so I could grab a quick pic of this perfect turquoise 1950s Chevy Viking.

Since we were here on the weekend before July 4th, everyone had out their red, white and blue decorations. Most of the time, I’m a bit adverse to July 4th decorations because I think that they quickly become cheesy, over the top, and lack taste. If you love the over the top decorations for July 4th, then by all means put them out! I’m just sayin’ they’re not for me. So, when we saw this house with the red, white and blue bunting, I thought it was perfect. I love how it fits with the style of the house and such a lovely contrast to the beautiful white moldings. Also, can you see the scalloped details near the roof? I love this! I’m pretty sure that I had my mom drive by 5 times before I got the right picture. I didn’t want to appear creepy by snapping a photo, but I just thought it looked so perfect.

 A lot of this town was established in the late 19th century, but they’ve preserved so many of the architectural details beautifully. This art deco building had also been kept completely intact and preserved beautifully.


We also spotted this perfect house. Look at that wrap around porch, those white moldings, the white columns, the stone walls, and that red roof. Perfect, right? There’s also large green ferns hanging between each column. Beautiful.

After driving around town we headed out to lake outside of town. Out there we saw this awesome vintage RV. It’s so shiny. So pretty.

The town, as I’ve heard from Jess about a lot of Kansas, is that it’s done a phenomenal job at preserving itself. The town was so quaint and quintessential Midwest. The old stone, the intricate architectural detail, just screams of a town that truly cares about it’s history and preserving it. I love that.

Thanks for being to good to us, Kansas!

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As Jess mentioned, I recently traveled the Midwest to make it to a friend’s wedding.  We hit 11 states in 10 days! Whew. It was so much fun and I’ve got a ton to share with all of you. My mom and one of my sisters went with me and we thrift/estate sale/antiqued shopped all along the way. I wanted to mainly visit places that I had seen on the blogosphere and friends recommend. We did just that, and it was amazing. I’m ready to do it again!

On the way up to the wedding, I knew I had to make a special stop at Bearly Makin’ It Antiques. They’ve got a huge barn full of stuff and they have a store in Marion, KS. It was featured on American Pickers but they didn’t show the store in town. Personally, the store was the best part. I heard about this place from Meg at Whatever, and knew we needed to make a special trip there. After stopping at Antique shops/markets in KS, MO, IL, MI, and OH, this was by far the best stop we made! I could spend hours and hours going through this shop. I’m most definitely going back!

We drove straight to Marion from my parent’s house outside of Ft. Worth, Texas. After a night’s rest in Marion, we headed to the shop.

First off, my photos with vintage graphic design. I really love old tins, and if the practical side of me were to vanish someday, I’d have an antique tin collection.

 Coffee is bliss, after all.

Look at this little gem! A Kitchen Maid Cake box. So pretty. I can just imagine being at a party where this was brought in and a delicious homemade cake was served. Perfect!

Since I spend my days working with children, I’ve really come to love old children’s books. Not to mention, Dr. Seuss was a genius.


Mason jars! I love the blue and the lids.

How sweet is this little lipstick caddy? The ribbon font is just too lovely. I’m kinda regretting not buying this.

Quilts!!!!! I’ve shared my love of quilts, right? The past several years, as I’ve developed my tastes more, my love of quilts has remained the same. There were so many and they were so nicely rolled that I was a little overwhelmed to pick through them. After seeing that $18 price tag right there, I wish I would have.

How great is this clock? What a cool piece for a kids room. The little gold feet, the green casing, the unique hands, and the man and monkey just make it look so playful. But considering the condition and the $45 price tag, it didn’t go home with me.

This place was amazing and soon I will be posting about all my buys from the trip. It wasn’t much, but I love what a got.

If you’re driving through Kansas, you must make a detour to check out Barely Makin’ It Antiques. Their inventory is so extensive, and the people who work there were great! We weren’t able to check out their barn because for some reason it wasn’t open, which turned out to be okay because I’ve got no clue how we would have brought back large items.

Stay tuned for more from my trip! Update: Here’s the rest of my write-up from the lovely little town of Marion, KS.

I linked up over at Her Library Adventures: Flea Market Finds.


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As part of our ongoing series on choosing secondhand furniture, I’d like to discuss research tips when shopping for something secondhand.

Researching in the moment: Bringing along your smart phone or iPad and hit up Google, Ebay, or Etsy. These are quick sites to find what the item you’re looking at is currently selling for. More than likely you’re wanting to research quickly if you’re standing in the middle of a store, at a yard sale, or in someone’s home at an estate sale. Look up numbers, names, or any other information you find on the piece. If you don’t have a smart phone or iPad handy, then ask around. In a thrift store, someone might actually know something about the piece you’re looking at (patrons and employees). I know that this can be risky, but at the same time you might just find somebody nice. Often, if you’re at an estate sale, auction, or yard sale people might know about the piece anyway.

If you decide to buy without being able to research (at a thrift store), ask about the return policy. You can just go look it up and possibly return it if you’ve made a bad purchase. Most likely, you’ll love a piece regardless of what you find out.

Researching Later: If you think a piece might be a good deal and you’d like to look up quality, then feel free to leave. Go home (or to the nearest library) and do a quick Google search. Look for like items or things that might tip you off about what a piece is worth. Also, if you’ve got a camera phone or camera on hand then take a picture. If not, then jot down a description. That way it’s easy recall when you go to look it up.

Ongoing Research: For some folks the idea of researching just turns them off entirely. Which, I understand. Trust me, after grad school for 3 years, the word research still kinda makes me cringe. BUT, I love researching things that I’m totally into. Of course you can do this online, but another way to do “blanket” research (a one stop shop of sorts) is to get some books. If you’re like me, the reason you’re looking for a good deal in the first place is because of finances so loading up on books of your own isn’t an option. Well, that’s where your local library and Google Books comes in. My favorite find lately is by James W. McKenzie titled Antiques on the Cheap: A Savvy Dealer’s Guide to Buying, Restoring and Selling.

This book mostly has tips for used furniture hunting, but I’ve really enjoyed reading it. This author gives such a great run down and tips for antique buying. No, I’m not a dealer (even though I’ve got dreams of being one), but I still like to know what I’m buying. Also, he covers if it’s worth restoring yourself. Good questions and thoughts.

Lastly: If you like it and you don’t care about its history or worth, then by all means buy the damn thing. If it’s got value to you, for it to enter your home, then kuddos and happy thrifting!

Other tips for researching that I didn’t cover?

For the past several weeks Jess and I have been posting about things we think everyone should know about purchasing furniture secondhand. Just to recap: We wrote about why we buy secondhand in the first place here and here. Also here’s a quick recap of our previous posts.

  • Know Your Shared Style: Jess wrote about figuring out what works for both you and your partner. This leads to a happy home.
  • Reality versus Vision: Jess gave some great advice about taking a step back and not falling in love with a piece right away (some advice I should heed).


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I’ve decided to use our Thursday Tea Time series to share some of my teapots from my growing teapot collection with you over the next few weeks. The first teapot I purchased was this tea pot from Japanese manufacturer Toscany. I envision a beautiful display of teapots in my home at some point of my future, but this one had to be able to stand alone. I picked it out because I liked the feel of the metal handle, I liked appreciated the wear, and the colors and style matched my house. I’m still quite fond of it, and it did look great in my house positioned amidst my dining room center pieceuntil I purchased the next three teapots in my collection on a shopping trip a few weeks later.


In addition to being my first teapot purchase, it was also my first purchase at an antique show. And that’s where my feelings begin to mix. The teapot had a sticker on the bottom when I first saw it that said it was $6. I saw it, turned it over, got excited that it was only going to be $6 and started to commit myself to buying it. The man working at this particular booth at the antique show came over and said that he had $25 on it. I should have been quicker to say that he actually had $6 on it, but instead, I just got flustered. I ended up talking him down to $18 because it wasn’t worth $25 to me but I still feel like I could have gotten a better deal. It was a teachable moment, I guess, because now I think about what I would be willing to pay for something before I even look for a price. It helps me decide when I would feel okay deciding to walk away from a potential buy.


As a related complaint, I hate it when dealers put stickers on antiques. This teapot was okay because a little gentle use of acetone removed the sticker and its residue just fine, but I’ve decided not to buy pieces because someone thought it was a good idea to try to sell them by applying a sticker to an organic material like leather or wood. I want to base my decisions on how great anew find will look in my house–not on whether or not I feel like redoing my manicure after undoing some unnecessary damage to a new purchase.

Let the curator in me assure you: adhesive is evil.

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On a recent trip home from work, I decided to stop in at my local Goodwill. It’s literally right down the street and within walking distance. I stop in there often to just see what they have. I usually walk out empty handed or with thoughts running through my head about furniture I just saw (i.e. I wonder what that would look like blue or how could I make that piece work).

Well my last trip started to seem like it would be no different. I walked the aisles of furniture and decided I would take another quick look back through.

Here’s how the conversation I had with myself went on my second trip back down the aisles:

“Wait, what’s that? No way, is that…is that a Cedar Chest? Hmm..

(pulls out said chest) Okay, the outside’s not too bad. Hmm, what about the inside?

“Oh my god! Oh my god! It’s a Lane! Okay, calm down. I’m sure it’s too expensive.

What?! $60?! Oh, I’m taking this.”

For the next ten minutes, I pulled it out, opened it up, turned it over, and just stood there trying to calm myself down to having rational thoughts. After quickly deciding it was for sure coming home with me, I didn’t move from that spot. I just waited for a Goodwill employee to walk by, and he did. He had to go get a cart for me to tote it out. At the register the cashier asked what it was so that she could type it into the computer. The guy helping me said “Um, a box” I thought, “if you only knew buddy.”

Okay, I’ll admit. My freakout over this cedar chest was a little nuts. But living in Austin and seeing what they go for, is what informed my decision to grab it up. I knew it wasn’t going to last long once it was displayed better.

Once I got it home, and the fella and I examined it a little bit closer. I realized, sadly, that the bottom had to come off. We just took out the screws and the ones that were too deep we had to break off the wood to get to them. As you can see, the damage was pretty bad on the base. It was broken, some worm holes, and quite a bit of water damage. Not to mention a lot of the veneer had started to come off. If I could have saved the base, I would have. Because removing it significantly decreases the value of the piece. That’s okay with me though. I’m not planning on re-selling it anytime soon.

After a quick clean up with diluted white vinegar, liquid detergent, and then a polish with beeswax, it looks so lovely in its new home. I’m on the hunt now for new legs.

After doing some research, I discovered that my chest was manufactured on May 16, 1950. That meant that the day after I bought it, it turned 61 years old. Such an awesome discovery.

Also, I left the original marketing stapled to the inside. How awesome is that typography?

Do you have any treasures that made you freak out upon discovery? Please tell me that you do, because I’d really like to not be the only crazy out there! Also, if you know where to buy some cool legs for this chest send them my way. I’m considering these after I saw them on Retro Renovation.

I linked up over at Her Library Adventures: Flea Market Finds and Apron Thrift Girl: Thrift Share Mondays


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Just a recap: Jess and I both wrote about why we purchase secondhand here and here.  And last week started the beginning of our “Choosing Secondhand Furniture” series. Read Jess’s thoughts from last week about Reality vs. Vision. Right now, I’m passing along everything that I know about determining quality while thrifting furniture.

All that I know, I learned from my momma and through experience. My mom has fantastic taste in good quality furniture. Her bedroom suite she bought back in the 70s has survived four children, a dozen or more moves, and did I mention four children? Also, she only purchased one nightstand at the time and so when she married my dad she’s always needed another one. That was 30+ years ago. When in Lubbock, Texas recently, I found her a second nightstand at an estate sale! It was an awesome and the price reflected the quality.

So here are thoughts to consider:

1.) When considering purchasing anything that has drawers check to see if they’re dovetailed. (i.e. dressers, nightstands, cabinets, crates, etc.) Dovetailing consists of “pins” and “tails” that fit nicely together. Example:

(Hello, pile of laundry in my desk chair!)

Dovetails indicate quality. Yes, there is still quality furniture out there that is nailed, glued, or screwed drawers, but in my experience the drawers don’t last as long. Dovetailed drawers hold together because the two pieces of wood are made in such a way that they fit together. That’s important when it’s going to be a piece of furniture that you use often. Keep in mind that dovetail joints can pull apart over time if not taken care of properly. So make sure it looks solid and the fit is snug. The face of the drawer should not be able to easily pull away from the body.

2.) Does the bottom of the drawer look like it can handle the weight of the items you’ll be placing in it? This is really something to investigate. The bottom of the drawer should be snug and not gaping on any of the edges. It should also be able to handle some pressure. Also, is there water damage? If so, this might be a piece you should pass on.

3.) What’s the finish like? Is it veneer, paint, stain, or something else? And what condition is the finish in? For veneer: Check to see if it’s chipped. If veneer is chipped badly, it will more than likely be really difficult to make it look good again. Most of the time, even if you take the piece to get it refinished, you’ll spend more money redoing the veneer than the piece is actually worth. So, the condition of the veneer is definitely something to consider. For paint: if it’s an older piece make sure to ask the dealer/seller if it’s been tested for lead paint. This is really important especially if you’re thinking about stripping or sanding the piece. Here’s an example of chipped veneer from a piece I bought recently (details in a post this week!):

4.) Look for a name brand which is sometimes called a mark stamp. With furniture, they can be hiding anywhere. Check the inside, side, underneath, and back of drawers or the back of the piece itself. Just remember that it’s usually tucked away but not too hard to find. Don’t be worried about pulling the piece out and investigating it. I used to be really shy with this and never wanted to disrupt, but honestly if you’re going to buy the piece you of course need to know what you’re getting! Here on my Drexel desk, the mark stamp is hiding in the top drawer on the right:

5.) I’ll cover this in greater detail in a later post about researching, but the easy way to recognize a brand is just to bring along something with the ability to Google (i.e. iPad or smart phone).

Do these guidelines work ALL the time? NOPE. No way. They are just that, guidelines. Things to consider. Hell, it’s entirely possible that I will find the most awesome piece of vintage furniture without dovetailed drawers. And guess what, if I love it, it’ll probably go home with me.

Alright, that’s all I’ve got for quality. Anything you think I’m leaving out or you’d like to add?

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Happy Thrifting!

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I’m pretty sure this was the most amazing antique/thrift/flea market shopping I’ve ever done. How have I lived in Texas all this time and not known about the antique shopping around Round Top?!

My sister (1 of 3), Kelly, and I headed out of Austin early on a Tuesday morning. It was the only day I had off work, so we had to take advantage of it. We stopped at Cafe 290 in Manor, Texas on our way for coffee and breakfast tacos. Such. A. Good. Idea.

The drive was about an hour and a half and went so smoothly until we saw this site…

Yep, that’s a line of cars, trucks, vans, and RVs all waiting to get into Marburger Farms. Crazy. I honestly didn’t expect this. Well, as first timers to this antiquing awesomeness, we didn’t really know all the places there were to go. Marburger Farms had absolutely beautiful things, but it was PRICEY by comparison to the other shopping. I mean, really expensive. Example: This beautiful very large piece of furniture was $5000! It’s more than likely something that was used in an old hardware store to sort nails, screws, and such.

So after we left there, we went down the road and we discovered miles of antique shops. I had no idea. It was an amazing site and it also dawned on me that I wasn’t wearing the right shoes.

We stopped in at Zapp Hall which was recommended to me by a friend. I’m so glad we did. Things are not presented as beautfully here as they are at Marburger, but I love that. I love to see the potential in a piece of furniture.

We were here for like 6 hours and bought very little. I think we walked around in a daze and next time we will be prepared. Since these shows happen TWICE a year! We will for sure be back in fall between September 21st and October 2nd! Also, there’s Kettle Corn everywhere…yummm!


So, if you’re planning on this adventure. Here’s my tips:

1.) Wear comfy shoes. It’s mostly outside on concrete, dirt, grass, and gravel.

2.) Everybody is willing to take some off their prices. Just ask.

3.) Take your time and maybe even a couple of days if you have it.

4.) Do your research. Look at reviews of the places and best ones to go to. Next time, we will be traveling a little further down the road so that we can get the better deals.

5.) This is of course a personal preference, but bring a back pack or comfortable tote. You never know what you’re going to find, so having something comfortable that can carry bulky items helps.

6.) Eat some Kettle Corn, drink some sweet tea, and say y’all as much as possible!


I’ve linked this up to Flea Market Finds at Her Library Adventures

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So Eclectic is a blog dedicated to great ideas for home design. Austin, Texas-based writer Mary Marcum and Savannah, Missouri-based writer Jess Rezac feature affordable decor, decorating solutions, and inspiration. At So Eclectic, we experiment with design together. So Eclectic posts new content every weekday.

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