With the holidays right around the corner, I’ve found myself in the bowels of my kitchen counting everything from butter knives to coffee cups and searching for obscure (for my family) pieces like pie servers and salad tongs. We’re a pretty low maintenance family when it comes to everyday meals and our silverware rarely matches. I’m totally okay with that. But… I recently bought my first home and was able to set up a really long eating area with two of my favorite matching tables that have been in storage forever. I know that I now have as close to a “forever” home as I’m going to get, and I want to have friends and family gather dinner-party style — so I’m hosting for the holidays. I’m pretty darn excited!
Nearly everything in my home is secondhand and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m a frequent buyer at yard sales and Goodwill, but I do have a weakness for estate sales. It’s not just the excitement of the bidding process, it’s really much more about the stories I imagine from the pieces for sale whether or not I bid, win them or take them home. Even the rather antiquated term “estate” gets my history-loving heart beating a bit faster.
Another aspect of the estate sale I love is the utility of it. It never feels like the process of liquidation is all about money. Perhaps I’ve romanticized it, but it feels more like a passing on of special things than an eBay sale. You get to see a snapshot of a life well spent, filled with shiny kitchenware or a collection of brass animals. This I love.
Now, the actual experience of the estate sale is another story. I hate waiting and spending an entire day to perhaps come away with a beautiful Indian headdress or a vintage doll collection. Now that I’m a mom, that’s simply not an option. I’ve tried other online options, but they don’t fit the bill as far as mimicking the experience of an actual estate sale. eBay doesn’t do it for me, and I can’t stand the over-marketing of the higher-end sites out there. I’m not on the site to find an object that will complete my boho living room — I’m there to find a special piece that tells a story and that I can weave into my own home and family story. I want to feel like an anthropologist, not a consumer in search of the perfect sheepskin rug.
That’s when I happily discovered EBTH, aka Everything But The House. It is my new happy place. It gets me and respects my need to be simply presented to in an educated, concise manner. I don’t have to block out huge photos of interiors or headlines that show me collections like “Hollywood Chic” or “Farmhouse Glam.” That’s what we do here. What I want (and need) is a quiet, clean warehouse to browse through, with my own private cubby where I can store my favorites and make bid and purchase choices at my leisure. Therefore, I’ve fallen hard for EBTH.
Below are some of my recent favorites that I’ve been eyeing for my home. These sales have closed, but I have some more favorites I am actually waiting to bid on in the slideshow on the full post page. This week we’re focusing on our tabletop obsessions, but we’re returning for the next three weeks to bring you our favorites in a couple of different categories because the selection of vintage furniture, decor, lighting, fashion and jewelry is amazing. We’re also giving away a $500 gift card! See details on that below and after the jump. –Caitlin
1. Schlaggenwald Modernist Style Orange and White Ceramic Dish Set / Winning Bid $71 | 2. Noritake China Luncheon Plates with Cups / Winning Bid $7 | 3. Bohemian Style Cut Glass Stemware / Winning Bid $38 | 4. Collection of Napkin Rings / Winning Bid $55 | Vintage Tea Collection / Winning Bid $30
Click through to see our current favorites and for your chance to win a $500 gift card to spend on EBTH. Seriously – $500 to spend in the land of vintage heaven!
Here’s another sampling of EBTH goods we followed to get a feel for the site and bidding process. Those horse napkin rings are so beautiful! We’ve included the winning bid so you can see how good the deals can get.
1. Tablecloth & Napkin Set / Winning Bid $25 | 2. Japanese Vases / Winning Bid $17 | 3. Silver Plated Horse Napkin Rings / Winning Bid $150 | 4. Floral & Lace Table Linens / Winning Bid $50 | 5. Silver Plated Serving Utensils / Winning Bid $38
Russell Wright Iroquois China Set / Winning Bid $160 | 2. Hand Embroidered Table Cloth / Winning Bid $36 | 3. Dansk Enamel-Coated Cookware Set / Winning Bid $87 | 4. Pair of Pottery Vases / Winning Bid $36 | 5. Wooden Mooncake Molds / Winning Bid $16
Using EBTH is such a pleasure compared to other online auction sites. As I mentioned up front, it’s clean and simple and the descriptions come from knowledgeable experts who know their specialties very, very well. It’s fun to even have to Google a certain antiquity term because they share the provenance and history of the items, too. It’s much more of an archivist catalogue experience than a “buy this now” experience. And I so respect that. Thank you, EBTH, for not making my brain hurt with too much color or information. And a big thank you for letting me see the pieces as they are and providing me with a historical perspective that educates me. I also love their minimalist Editor’s Pick section. It’s like the best-of each category, but with a heavy focus on décor and art pieces.
EBTH works like this — you bid on the items like you would on eBay and you receive email notifications if you win the auction or if you got outbid. You can search by what’s ending the soonest, by most popular, by city, or your own custom search term like “brass” or “pink” (in my case!). When pieces are listed with those keywords, you’ll be notified. Items can be shipped and you can calculate shipping costs before you bid. Larger pieces have hefty shipping fees that can often be more expensive than the item itself, but if you’re in love with a piece, it will most likely be less expensive, even with shipping charges, than the price you’d pay buying it from a reputable dealer in a larger market like NY or LA.
Our absolutely favorite thing about EBTH is every piece starts at $1. None of this crazy starting pricing like some high-end sites. It drives me mad when I see a wonderful vintage piece only to find out it is already overpriced and the shipping cost makes it overpriced by 300%.
Now to the fun-for-you part! We’re giving away a $500 gift card to EBTH. Here’s how you enter to win:
- Go to EBTH and have a look around. Starting in the Editor’s Picks section is always good if you’re short on time.
- Pick at least one favorite piece that you’d use your gift to buy.
- Share it in the comments below.
I’ll see you back here next week with some of our favorite art & décor pieces! We already have some covetable favorites picked out and the list is growing.