Thursday, November 18, 2010

“I’ll Trade You”

There has always been something very special and appealing about antiques and vintage “stuff”. The reason I call it “stuff” is because antiques are not just fancy pieces of furniture, or something you might think you would buy like you would a piece of art, purely for the pleasure of enjoying its beauty. Antiques and vintage items include just about everything. I’m not really sure how old something has to be to be referred to as an antique, maybe 75 years old? I hear different numbers on this all the time, but the point being, even “if” something is 100 years old, it doesn’t necessarily mean it can’t be functional in our homes!
My kids are all grown, in their twenties, and they have spent their lives surrounded by vintage and antique stuff. I’ve always used the majority of my antiques and vintage finds as part of our household, part of our daily lives. They’ve held a functional part in my home. And in my kids homes today, you find the same thing. The cool part about these great treasures is that they are “one of a kind.” It’s not like you can go out and order a vintage pie safe, or a primitive harvest table. Actually, you could do that but it would be what is called a “reproduction.” And hopefully the seller would identify it as such.
So, when any of us in my family are re-arranging a room, or if we purchase something we can’t live without, that means something usually has to go. In other words there is no room to squeeze in another piece. Here are the options that the Jackson family uses. First, we consider selling the piece at “the store” (our name for Country Roads”). Then someone will speak up and say, “that is just too cool to sell, you never find something like that anymore”, which is actually true. Pictured is an old cabinet, that lost its back at some point, and someone back in time just patched it up with an old metal sign. I had this cabinet in my home prior to “the divorce”, then it went to my short lived Long Beach store, and after that sat in my storage for while. After Katie finished remodeling their home, the cabinet then traveled to her house. And now, the piece is in Brande’s apartment. See, that is the beauty of vintage stuff. They can be used in a variety of ways, in a variety of places.
When it comes time to “trade” a piece, the conversation starts like this, “what if I trade you this antique for that awesome harvest table”? In our family that means they are trading you something smaller for the bigger piece, which is alright because it is still in our family. This system usually works out pretty well, unless a family member breaks the most important rule of all! You happen to be walking around “the store”, and then you spot something that you traded one of your kids for something else. You look closer, and what do you see? A Country Roads price tag with THEIR own number on it! This is the unwritten rule of “I’ll trade you”, that you never, ever violate! You never sell something you’ve traded for, ever. If one of us had something that is very special, that you never see anymore, it usually goes upstairs at “the store” until one of us has a use for it somewhere. But you never, ever sell something; otherwise no one in your family would ever trade you again!
Antiques and vintage stuff is the best way to recycle, to re-use, giving something old a new function in our lives today. The idea of “I’ll trade you”, not only practices recycling, but it also puts sentimental value on certain antiques that we all love so much and have been part of our families for years. I guess that’s why I love what I do so much. I’m surrounded not only by great pieces of history, vintage stuff everywhere, but also by my Country Roads family. It’s fun to go to “the store” and call it work. And while we are working, we are always searching for the next, “I’ll trade you” treasure.

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