A few years ago my mom and I were driving in a very sketchy part of town in Jackson, Mississippi. Among some really scary gas stations and corner stores was a huge metal fence hung with framed posters of Tupac Shakur (the dead rapper) and other cheap wares. As my mother tried to get out of the area without being raped, robbed and left for dead, I spotted some framed botanicals on the fence. I forced her to stop and purchase the obviously "hot" merchandise, and she bargained with the seller to get them for $10 each. She only had $100 dollar bills in her wallet and I thought we were going to be killed, but we got out of the ghetto with our botanicals! They are hanging in my sister's bedroom and they are gorgeous.
The point is never to judge a location or situation; treasures can be found anywhere. I consider myself to be an expert on Ebay, Craigslist, and yard sales. The key is to know that you can change anything. Pieces with good lines can be painted. Desk tops can be put on new bases. Upholstered chairs can be recovered. Metal tables can be refinished or polished. Don't be put off by a possibility because it is dirty, old, or neglected. Love can turn anything around.
For example, I found this desk on Ebay. I recognized right away that this "tesselated" stone was a beautiful find. Tesselated simply means mosaic or tiled surface. This gorgeous pink looks like travertine to me. Kelly Wearstler (the famous designer) is doing entire houses of tesselated stone now and it is going to be a super hot trend. Tesselated tables and consoles on 1stDibs sell for upwards of $9000! This piece was listed for $275 on Ebay. Unfortunately, the base looks like something a casket would sit on. So I discovered that the top simply sits on the base and I decided that I would put the top on a lucite console. How gorgeous would that be?
Well, I lost out on this piece in the final seconds of bidding and I was very upset. But I am so happy that I saw the potential - and I have since discovered other treasures on Ebay. It is much more fun to discover a beautiful, one of a kind piece and nurse it back to health than to buy a cheaply made factory item that you see in ten other houses on the block.
And the stories you will have! My sister could be sleeping under a Tupac Shakur poster - but we thought those didn't go with her color scheme...;)