Friday, December 15, 2017

More Chic Decor on a Budget

Our festive cheery-red Bougainvillea is blooming in time for the holiday season :)
I am excited to show you the rest of my auction finds from the same week I bought our 'new' table recently.

In my dreamy vision for a 'Ralph Lauren on a budget' interior decor style, I knew I wanted to mass paintings on one of the walls of our living room once we paint it in a dark shade.  I am now on the hunt for paintings (that I love) to achieve that.  Without spending much money, of course!

These two paintings below were in the same lot at the auction.  I bid successfully on them and bought them for $30 - for both, I was very happy with that.  They are painted on linen and look quite old.  The frames are handmade from timber.

The next two paintings were in a box lot with a few other less attractive items and, for fun, two  painters palettes just in case I felt like creating my own picture.  I paid $24 for this box lot.  I think the first picture below is my favourite out of all my finds.  It's quite small, the back is made of wood, I adore the picture and the gilt frame is a bit battered.  Perfection :)

This one below is borderline my style, and I know my mum has her eye on it.  If it's missing off the wall, I will know where to find it.  Again, it's very old.

I am in love with the authenticity of these pictures and get why people go to auctions.  I like the idea of looking around antique stores, but the reality is that the prices are often very high.  And I know they have to pay rent and hold stock, I used to own a retail store, but when you're decorating on a budget, I think auctions are the way to go.  It's fun because you never know what's going to come up one week to the next too.

The china below is a cool story.  When we first moved here in July, my mum found some teacups, saucers and sandwich plates in an opshop for $20.  She bought them as a housewarming present for me because the china's name is 'Fiona' (from the Paragon Star china company in England).

At the auction when I bought the paintings I peeked into the box lots and saw more pieces of 'Fiona' - taller coffee cups and saucers, and a beautiful coffee pot.  I had to have it - at the right price naturally.  I couldn't get there in time for the start of the auction, and of course my 'Fiona' box lot was number one - number one for goodness sake!

So mum went and bid for me, and got it for $16.  What a fun score, and amazingly enough, I started out with my teacups and extra saucers, whereas the coffee cups didn't have enough saucers.  When I put them all together I ended up with nine cups in total, and nine (identical) saucers.  I'd say that was meant to be.

 Just in case you wondered what the legs on our 'new' old table were like, here's a picture I found.  Jessica is photobombing, or maybe she is showing the scale of the table.  I don't know.

Have I enticed you to give auctions a go yet?  I can't wait to see what else I can find in the new year for our 'Ralph Lauren on a budget' home.

Now go get organised for Christmas, I know I'm not :)


You can find me here too:
Find 'A Chic and Simple Christmas' here on Kindle or in paperback.

Find 'How to be Chic in the Winter' here on Kindle or in paperback.


  1. Auctions are such a great spot to buy things! I have not been to one in ages because our small home is full. If I were needing a rug or old furniture the auction is where I would definitely start my search. Lovely china! Your mom has a good eye!
    Happy Holidays to you.

    1. Yes, I agree that auctions wouldn't be so tempting when you don't need anything. I'm hoping I am one of the few who are filling up while others are downsizing :) And I would love some large rugs, Persian but not red. Plus, I know that what I like in furniture isn't nearly as popular as mid-century right now, so that's something in my favour. I saw a box of five beat up old enamel teapots go for $60 or so. Each to his own!

  2. This is lovely! So pleased for all your marvelous finds, Fiona. :-) ... Aside from the normal benefits of auction pieces (good prices, ethical-sustainable-reusing-etc), I personally love something that has a secret story behind it. Something deliciously old and hopefully loved or if not loved, then with a new chance to be loved and appreciated by me! With most things, I'd rather have something with history and mystery rather than something impersonal, shiny and coldly new. And yes - auctions can be addictive! I've been caught before. :-) Looking forward to seeing more of your "new" treasures in coming days.

  3. Love the china - I am a bit of a china addict - I found a wonderful portmerrion coffee set on trade me a couole of years ago called magic city. It was a bit more than $30 but I love it and have it on my sideboard. Also love the pictures - they are a great find!

  4. China is an excellent thing to buy at auction or secondhand online. When I remarried, I wanted to sell my old set, very classic off-white bone china with (real) silver trim that had cost a fortune to assemble piece by piece over a decade. I learned that (1) nobody wants metal trim because it can't go in the microwave and it's best not to put in the dishwasher (2) nobody wants an entire set of china because younger people don't entertain formally and (3) it's nearly worthless. The highest offer I got was $100 for 16 place settings and serving pieces.
    Your paintings are beautiful. It's so much nicer to have real paintings on canvas than poster prints of something famous. The canvas adds texture, while prints/posters are flat.

  5. I love that you appreciate these finds. It's fun to think of the history behind items like these. I recently moved house and decided to part with some paintings that were special and sentimental but that do not fit in my home. I comforted myself with the hope that someone else will enjoy them one day! Reading your post certainly gives me hope for that!

  6. Those paintings are just perfect for the look you want in your home. They will look so cool on an accent wall. Well done!

  7. What great finds! Lovely china, and in the Fiona pattern, too. Very lucky find. It's a pretty pattern. The paintings are very nice, too. They will be perfect with your new to you table and china. I'm curious about the age of you table. It is very nice wood, and the legs are so interestingly made. I like that style.

  8. That should have been..."the age of your table." Oops.

  9. Fiona, you have totally inspired me to give auctions a go!! I don't even know where to start looking, as the only auctions I know of are eBay ;). I am going to start investigating!

  10. Congratulations to you and Mum! What wonderful finds! I really enjoyed this blog and all the pictures - especially your red bougainvillea! Lovely!

  11. I have not gone to auctions, but they sound like a lot of fun. How special to have china named after you! You definitely needed to get that. A Merry Christmas to you Fiona! xo Deborah

  12. Love your Fiona china! Wishing you a wonderful holiday enjoy happy tea time with your beautiful dishes. Merry Christmas!


Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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