We grew up in a home where china was a big deal—more than almost any other possession, it represented personal style and taste. Grandma's Blue Willow combined her two favorite colors; Mom loved the classic simplicity of Franciscanware. Even now, vintage china has a strong pull on us, and we love sifting through thrift store racks (or web pages) to see what will turn up. Here are some of our favorite places to look.
- Kill Devil Hill (Brooklyn): Every object in the store has been handpicked by Mary Brockman or Mark Straiton on one of their many road trips across the country. If you ask, they'll tell you the story that goes along with it. Not only do Mary and Mark have a great eye for cool unusual objects, but they are also committed to keeping things affordable.
- Goodwill (Various Locations/Online): If you're a thrift store shopper, you've probably made a few visits to your local Goodwill store, but you might not have known that you can also shop online from the comfort of your couch. ShopGoodwill.com is an auction website with an extensive tabletop section.
- Englishtown Antiques (New Jersey): If you have some time, casual clothing, and love a good treasure hunt, you can find your own retro items here for a fraction of the price you'd pay in a more curated store. It is a massive space filled with a lot of dust and just about every item you could ever want.
- Three Potato Four (Online): Three Potato Four was started by husband and wife team Janet Morales and Stu Eli who "both grew up collecting things." It's one of our favorite places to shop for unique modern and vintage home items, like colorful plates and dishes.
- The Future Antiques (St. Louis): Their inventory is huge, particularly if you're looking for dishware or kitchen items. There are two rooms of shelves stacked with Pyrex bowls, Tupperware, and mid-century china sets.
- The Loaded Trunk (Online): As an Army brat, Roni Jaco grew up abroad, surrounded by "treasures and people and food from other countries." That early interest in cultural immersion led to her newest venture, which launched this past July. The Loaded Trunk carries vintage Turkish tinned copper pots, ceramic bowls from Turkey, and Guatemalan table runners.
- P.O.S.H. (Chicago/Online): P.O.S.H. sells dinnerware and china originally produced for restaurants. There is a definite gallic flavor to many of the choices, and the rest of Europe isn't forgotten either. Prices are reasonable for these items, which are workhorses due to their original design intent - the commercial market.
- Designlabshop (Seattle/Online): This e-retailer (there's a brick-and-mortar version in Seattle) is filled with "unique vintage and retro items selected for their great colors, beautiful lines, fun graphics and genuine character."
- High Street Market (Online): Interior designer Kelly Galvin Robson has a good eye for classic vintage housewares. She collects pieces from flea markets, antique stores, estate sales, and auctions, and sells them on her Etsy shop, High Street Market. Styles tend to be traditional, with a focus on durable materials like porcelain.
- TINI Store (Los Angeles/Online): TINI or This is Not Ikea, has been around for a while as a great online store and a series of storage spaces filled with treasure. Browsing recently through their online selection of vintage tableware we found graphic melamine trays, retro picnic baskets, and enamel mugs galore.
Photos: Kan Kanbayashi courtesy of Kill Devil Hill, Annie Werbler, Sarah Coffey, High Street Market, P.O.S.H.