Score! There Is Now a Guide to Finding, Restoring and Using Your Secondhand Treasures
An array of well-priced finds.
After downsizing from a 4000 square foot Victorian home in the suburbs to an apartment in Manhattan, I just sold all my stuff. The estate sale was epic. But, like Eddie Ross, I am a die-hard collector. I barely cracked open his first book, Modern Mix, written together with Jaithan Kochar, and I was swept away with the thrill of the hunt. It was all I could do to keep myself on the sofa reading the book and not in the car heading to the nearest thrift store.
Whether you have long combed through flea market stalls (and their cardboard treasure chests), or are just beginning to decorate your first place, Modern Mix has something to offer. The book is packed with inspirational photos on ways to use your finds.
This lovely buffet is pulled together by the green and lavender color palette.
Eddie’s decorating taste is maximalist and there is no doubt that he celebrates a joyous lifestyle. His creativity really shines in the book’s entertaining section. I love his tabletop ideas. Linens, glassware, serving pieces and dishes are his favorite collectibles and it shows. He offers many unique ideas on how to attractively mix and match an assorted collection to set up a fantastic buffet or dining table. Additionally, and especially if you are not a seasoned entertainer, his menu suggestions on simple ways to combine store-bought foods with homemade treats will make you a party thrower pro in no time.
An artfully styled bookcase is the perfect backdrop for a beautifully set table, where Eddie mixes and matches his finds.
Not only does Modern Mix offer innovative ways to display and use secondhand bargains, it teaches you how to get and restore the good stuff. In the “Discover” chapter, Eddie briefly summarizes the makers, marks and characteristics of a variety of collecting categories. For example, you will learn the different features of popular glassware. Bohemian, Depression, Opaline, Milk and Murano glass are all covered. I discovered that the roly poly glasses with sterling silver bands that I inherited from my husband’s parents were designed by a woman named Dorothy Thorpe. She is an Eddie Ross favorite and I now hope I beat him to the punch to nab more of her shiny work. In addition to glass, collecting tips for metals, textiles, ceramics, and natural goods are covered.
Eddie hard at work washing some newfound linen.
I learned the most from the section in Modern Mix on restoring your finds. Hello Efferdent. It seems obvious to me now, but before reading Modern Mix, I never considered trying it to remove stains from china. Eddie has many other tricks to spruce up your worn (and inexpensive) treasures. I plan an online visit to Amazon to make certain I have his tried and true polishes in the house.
The copper and brass Moscow Mule cups and pitcher seen on the vintage bar cart were carefully restored.
Equally valuable is Eddie’s advice on what you should leave to the pros and, even more useful, he names his preferred vendors. For example, as an avid cook, I have long eyed second hand copper cookware, but I have never bought any (yet!). Why? The affordable pans are typically pitted and therefore, not food safe. I had no idea who reapplied the tin to old copper pots. Now I know who to call on, and you will know too if you buy the book. It is filled with similar advice for your restoration rolodex.
Modern Mix makes a fine addition to your coffee table, but take notes. It is even more handy as a collector’s reference volume. If you remember all the tips it offers, you will be sure to snag a true gem the next time you head out for buried treasure.
Modern Mix by Eddie Ross with Jaithan Kochar
Photographs by Bryan E. McCay from Modern Mix by Eddie Ross and Jaithan Kochar, reprinted by permission of Gibbs Smith