Years ago, I went antiquing for nothing in particular. It wasn't the first time. Truth be told, it was one of thousands of times that I've drove out to our local antique vendors, hoping to strike gold.
I almost never do. I've walked past more junky trinkets and overpriced 80's memorabilia than I care to think about. But the labor of thrifting was not in vain. Throughout those many afternoons spent walking the aisles, browsing through the “junk shops”, my eyes became trained for the hunt.
I can now easily spot an original painting.
Hand-made champagne flutes.
It looks some years but I now have absolute laser focus when I'm thrifting. Sometimes I have in mind what I'm looking for: doorknobs, terra cotta, tablecloths, or chairs. Other times, I'm simply browsing quickly through the aisles, hoping to find that one-in-a-million treasure. On the day that I went shopping for nothing in particular mentioned above, I did strike gold.
It came in the form of two concrete pots – decorated with concrete grape clusters, geometric patterns, and chippy white paint. They were gorgeous. And $35 each. I brought them home, did a little digging, and found the exact set listed on 1st dibs (an online antique retailer) for over $700.
Mama. What a find!
Layering a home in our particular Euro-cottage style takes time. It takes dedication and many failed trips to thrift stores to find the pieces that actually make the home what we want it to be. I've learned that it's much better to patient and wait for the right piece than it is to fill my home with knock-off junk that will end up in the landfill in a few years time.
That's not always easy. Sometimes it takes years.
As is the case with this tile. SHOULD WE TALK ABOUT THIS DELFT TILE?
I'm sure many of you Euro-cottage junkies are familiar with Delft tile. It not, the internet is full of it's origin stories and history. This tile comes with a lot of history.
When we renovated our cottage kitchen years ago, I knew I wanted Delft tile for behind the stove. Unfortunately, Etsy only had vendors selling 2 or 4 tiles at a time and that made it very difficult to match. I would need at least a few dozen to cover my stove area and on the entire internet, I turned up no collections that amounted to that square footage.
I tried a few other tiles and neatly lined them up behind the stove to see how they felt to live with. I hated all of them.
I *almost* compromised by hiring sometime to make me new tiles that looked very similar. But they were new and had no patina. No history. No life. It was also almost $600 to cover this area and that about made me choke on my coffee. And you know how much I hate to waste coffee.
So whatever. I just waited. I just waited knowing that, eventually, if I kept looking, maybe (just maybe!) I would find something.
And then that something walked into my life on a completely random trip to a small antiquing town a few hours away from home. On my Mom's last minute suggestion, Stuart and I hit up this town's antique stores on our way to an anniversary dinner in Seattle. We only had a few hours to spare but that's never stopped me.
The first shop, y'all. THE FIRST STOP. Leaned up against a bathroom counter, faced away from the aisle, was a 4 x 2.5 foot mounted collage of 1800's Delft tile. For $275.
Thing is, I never even thought about mounted tile. The back is plywood, it has a long wooden lip for hanging easily on the wall (haven't actually done that yet), so no tiling skills are actually required to enjoy it. We had contemplated what a mess trying to tile behind the stove would be and how it would involve taking down wallpaper, sanding the walls, and other horrific things. So just in case this post finds you pondering the same thing, a mounted tile display may be a great option for you as well.
Bonus is you can take it with you if you ever move. No way I'm leaving Delft tile behind, man.
No way I'm ever moving either. But just sayin'.
Anyway, that's all. That's all I wanted to share. Even though these are Dutch tile, there's something very Italian about the feel of them in this kitchen (especially when I have my red and white checkered tablecloth on display on the kitchen table).
I'm always amazing at how a small piece can change the way a room feels. It's somehow cozier. More friendly.
It's taken me years (six to be exact) to get this kitchen to the point it's at today. I still wouldn't say it's completely there yet, but we're well on our way. Pieces like this Delft tile certainly help.
Just thought you'd enjoy seeing my new find! I hope it inspires you to keep enjoying your kitchen as well.