A very special collection of “Thrift Store SCORE!”s

So have you guys heard the news? I know it doesn’t mean a whole lot to anyone living outside of the Lynchburg city limits, but for us residents, it’s safe to say that we are devastated. The long and short of it is that our very favorite place for second-hand goodies is closing its doors forever. When I heard the news that the Estate Specialist was soon going to cease to exist, I was shocked. It’s touted as the largest single owner seller of antique and estate pieces on the east coast – Why on heaven’s EARTH would the owner want to abandon that legacy? Plus, where the HECK am I going to buy one-of-a-kind accessories and pieces of furniture for our home?

As soon as I was able, I planned a Saturday morning trip to the establishment with credit card at the ready. In my mind, it was going to be one of many outings to the store before they closed down in April, but all of those plans evaporated when I walked through the door. The rooms that were once filled with antique dining room tables, mid-century modern chairs and brass conversation pieces galore were heavily picked over and sparse. People were hurriedly grabbing up treasures and my sense of anticipation and excitement turned to an aching depression within minutes. I know it seems absurd, but I was literally SICK with distress and I knew there was no way I would ever be able to come back.

I somehow muscled through though, taking long hard looks in rooms I used to peruse for treasures so many Saturdays in the past. With a heavy heart, I made sure to choose my last purchases with extra care. In the end, this is the final “Thrift Store SCORE!” from my favorite store of all time…


The first is a beautiful pile of books. The top set of 4 was originally a set of about 12, but the lady at the cashier let me break it up since they ended up costing $6 each, which is a little steep for my budget. Although modern designers are constantly attempting (and succeeding, I must say) to emulate these types of graphic book covers, I’m excited to have a collection of authentic originals. There is no publish date on these beauties, but I did some Googling and found one listing a publication date of 1957. Regardless of age, value or rarity, I just can’t get enough of that artwork. If we ever have kids, I’m probably going to design a nursery entirely around these four little books.




For now, I’ve put them up in a place of honor on my studio bookshelf. Who knows where they’ll end up in the long haul, but I sure love seeing those happy, colorful spines greeting me every day.



But there was a fifth book in that pile…As soon as I saw this battered copy of Misty of Chincoteague tossed onto the books table, I ran smack into some hazy childhood memory. As I’ve narrated before, I was a big horse fan as a child. I rode horses on and off for years and briefly joined the equestrian team in college before transferring to another school. On top of all that, I distinctly remember this book being a big part of my childhood, although I honestly can’t remember much of the plot. I can’t wait to dive in and revisit the story, and feel like it was fate for me to meet up with it again that day at Estate.



After removing the torn cover (truth be told it’s tucked safely away for posterity’s sake), I set it up in the studio beside the bed on the coral nightstand. I love the age and character it brings to this side of the room.



Another piece I bought that day was this gorgeous little glass cup. It was actually in the upstairs attic of Estate, where they pile all of the less desirable pieces like cracked dishes, mountains of old dusty baskets and aisle upon aisle of cobwebbed sidetables from the 80’s and beyond. But something about this shimmering piece of serving ware felt out-of-place in the dark room so I quickly snatched it up without a second thought. Where did it end up? On the bar cart of course, to hold a handful of toothpicks for martini olives.





Believe it or not, this last piece is my actual favorite of everything that I bought that day. I have been in the market for a mid-century clock for ages. I have collected a rather astounding amount of clocks over the years (all from Estate actually…) but I have never found the squared, wooden, analog beauty of my dreams. So I spent a lot of time that last day digging through their clocks hoping to find “the one,” and I somehow managed to strike gold.



Sure the wood is fake as fake can be, but you can’t fake that aged character. The shape is perfection and the colors are spot on. My favorite part? That little “O” on the end of the minute hand. Doesn’t it add just the right touch? I’m unequivocally in love.

Funny story though. So as I mentioned, I was literally digging through boxes in search of something like this clock. When I finally found it, it was like the angels began to sing and the world was bright again. I lifted it out of the pile with all intents of beholding it above my head for all to see, but those visions were dashed to pieces when I couldn’t lift it more than a few inches out of the box – That is, without taking the massive tangled ball of chords and clocks along with it. In desperation, I turned to my right side and noticed a steak knife and grabbed it to saw the cord off, but John caught my arm midair with a desperate “NO!” Somehow, he managed to get me to back away from the electronics and put the knife down so that he could untangle our clock from the mess. Folks, he – meaning the clock – made it out in one piece.



Words can’t truly describe my disappointment at Estate Specialist closing down on me, but at least I have a home filled (LITERALLY filled) with reminders of the incredible and unique place that it was…We shall miss you more than you will ever know. Thanks for everything.

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