Yesterday I went on a hunt for chairs. We don’t have a table yet, but I know exactly which one I want from IKEA so I thought I’d start contemplating chairs to go with it, you know, so we can sit at a table instead of our easy chairs for dinner?
We’ve been in our apartment for two months right now, but because we spent all our money on the move we haven’t had a chance to buy any new furniture and we’re living life like frat brothers in their new off campus apartment. I mean, if frat brothers also shared a queen sized mattress on the floor in the only bedroom in the apartment. I’ve tried to mitigate the feeling of emptiness in the apartment by setting up the place as much as possible. Our bookshelf is unpacked and the pictures that will go on the wall above the futon I want to get are organized and waiting to be hung. I’ve hung a world map above the bed to give the room a little more structure, and organized the bedside tables. But that’s it. You remember, we had to throw out our bed frame when we were in hand to hand combat with the bedbugs, and since it was worn out and we were planning to move anyway, we thought we’d save ourselves some trouble and just wait to replace it. We’ve been living off a mattress on the floor since March, and it’s not too bad, but I do look forward to the day when I don’t have to literally roll out of bed to get up in the morning.
So, in light of our planned trip to IKEA tomorrow, I went out and did a little thrift shop scoping. I wasn’t sure what I’d find so instead of pressuring myself to buy something I just enjoyed a day of driving around town to the thrift shops I’ve never seen before. And I also stopped by the Austin Antique Mall.

Not exactly a thrift mall, but a find nonetheless. I’ve never really been to an Antiques Mall before, and I’m kicking myself that I haven’t. At first when I walked in I thought it would be like a tiny, cramped store I once visited in Old Town Alexandria on my break, Trojan Antiques [snicker]. That store was a maze of glass cases stuffed full of everything from tchotchke to treasure. Need a vintage add for Alka-seltzer? Or perhaps the belt buckle of a Civil War major? How about some silver spoons?

The Austin Antique Mall does have a bit of that vibe, but it also has a hip, modern approach to vintage (if that’s not too much of an oxymoron). The whole warehouse is broken up into separate vendor spaces, each measuring about a four by four spot. Some of these spaces are outlined in the center of the store by quickly constructed walls and tape on the floor. Others are actual little nooks in the perimeter of the building. Each vendor gets to display his wares in his own way. For some that means everything out to see, crammed onto display tables or into display cases. The amount of things in some of the spaces is enough to overwhelm even the most experienced thrift/antiques shopper. Other vendors choose to curate their spaces to fit their own aesthetic. There was one space made up exclusively of vintage Christmas decor. Another was all white. Some looked like the wet dream of a Restoration Hardware designer and others like the too cool for school apartment Aja and I once considered subletting in, until we discovered a bedroom with a broken window in January.

I examined every vendor space, winding my way around the maze, hoping by the end that there was still more I hadn’t discovered. I made a fast promise to myself that from now on, if I get the urge to buy decorations for a space this is the only place to go. If you need or want something unique and cool for a space, these people have you covered for prices that seem pretty reasonable. I only wish I’d brought a camera so I could document some of the great things I found. Unfortunately, even though there were some very cool chairs I didn’t see any that fit my budget or my vision, so I’m still shopping. But if Texas is filled with antique malls like this one,  then I think life just got a little better here.