Designing Diva: A Trip to the Brimfield Antique Show

Some clients want to incorporate a family heirloom or a favorite antique piece into their décor. There is usually one special place in every room that lends itself to display, and this often becomes the focal point of the whole room. For those who love the look of a unique piece but are not yet fortunate enough to have one, we need to resort to antique shop finds. This year I decided to go to Brimfield to see what was available.

I have been hearing about the Brimfield Antique Show for years. For one reason or another, I never had the opportunity to go until this year. My sister went a few times when she was in her Victorian oak phase, and she gave me great advice: wear sneakers. Prepare to walk a lot. And don’t expect any bargains. This last piece of advice gave me pause: Don’t expect any bargains? You have got to be kidding, I said. Of course there are bargains!

It turns out sis was mostly right.

The day I chose to clear my schedule for this field trip, the forecast promised a light noon drizzle followed by afternoon sunshine. When we parked near the acres of antiques-filled tents, it was pouring so hard we could almost visualize Noah at work on the ark. But no problem, I thought, and set off with hopes of a great find in my heart.

While years ago there were many bargains to be had in the antique world (I have fond memories of a fabulous Queen Anne chair I bought for $25, and a copper carafe that cost $10), prices have risen dramatically since I first started in business. Brimfield had many lovely things, though: beautiful majolica plates, silver of every description, vintage jewelry and textiles, and of course, acres of furniture. If you are prepared to pay just a little too much for almost everything, it’s antique heaven. For a bargain hunter like me, I wandered the aisles feeling more than a little deflated.

Brimfield is a fun place for glimpses of the past. There was a tablecloth from the ’50s that was an exact duplicate of one I remember in my mother’s house, and numerous vendors offered complete rooms of vintage furnishings from the ’60s and ’70s as well.

As the day wore on and my hunt for something special (and inexpensive!) seemed fruitless, I started to lose enthusiasm for the chase. Jumping through enormous puddles and trying to avoid mud-laden areas where the traffic flow was heaviest, I saw a vendor shoveling water out of his tent. That’s it! I thought. I had had enough. I decided to head home.

As I walked towards the exit, I stopped in one last tent. The vendors were two lovely ladies from Canada selling exquisite antique laces and linens. There were lovely antique Chinese jewelry pieces, silks from Japan, and a basket filled with some intriguing decorator fabric samples from the ’50s. Finally, I spotted it: a beautiful pale-yellow bed coverlet, hand woven in a damask pattern with a four-inch fringe. I was afraid to ask the price. The shop owner said it had gotten a little damp with the weather so I would need to have it cleaned. The price was $25. Eureka! I got it! My Brimfield bargain after all.

Anne Hentz of Ann Lee Road is the Designing Diva at Readers with a decorating dilemma can email a description of their home to for future consideration..


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