brimfield 2011: what we brought home

by Grace Bonney

After two days of trudging around fields and fighting for great deals, Kate, Amy and I are finally back in Brooklyn and sorting through hundreds of photos from Brimfield. The show was fantastic this year, though the weather managed to be a major bummer again with the sort of wet cold that feels like even your bones are freezing. While we sort through the major trends and our favorites (leather, rattan, industrial lighting, menswear) for posts this week, I wanted to kick things off by sharing the pieces we chose to pull the trigger on and bring home. It’s always fun to wade through rows upon rows of antiques and then look in the back of the car and figure out what made the cut. The back of our mini van (we drove a seriously soccer Mom-tastic red minivan) was stocked with everything from inflatable stools from the 1970s and an antique baseball bat to a curved marble tabletop and giant glass demijohns. Photos of our team finds are below, but feel free to share links to yours in the comment section below! I’d love to see what everyone else who visited the show chose to bring home. Stay tuned for about a bazillion more Brimfield photos tomorrow and next week! xo, grace

Image above: Kate, me and Amy on the start of the first day with our Massachusetts must-have: Dunkin’ Donuts coffee. My favorite.

Image above: Kate bought an amazing set of inflatable plastic stools from the 70s. The interior is filled with a plastic floral diorama, but Kate’s going to try to disassemble them and re-fill them with something cooler, but still slightly kitschy.

Image above: My biggest splurge was this amazing vintage marble tabletop. I’m going to find an inexpensive metal base and use this as an outdoor bar on the porch.

Image above: I couldn’t resist these vintage salt shakers. The shape and texture was too fun. The tops are pretty much rusting off so I plan on using them as bedside (or sink-side) bud vases.

Image above: My other major splurges were these giant antique demijohns and a gorgeous bench from Jersey Ice Cream Co. The demijohns will hold tree branches inside and outside of our apartment and the bench is going to be the start of our new entryway/landing strip. It’s made from a vintage industrial base and a beautiful piece of salvaged wood.

Image above: This gorgeous metal powder tin hopped in my bag right before we left. Affordable, beautiful and perfect for holding jewelry.

CLICK HERE for the rest of our Brimfield haul after the jump!

Image above: Since our house is pretty much empty after selling everything before the move I bought a decent amount of home goods. This runner was a total steal and I plan on turning it into a DIY project for D*S. Stay tuned, it will be a totally different color soon…

Image above: my demijohns came from this set at Big Daddy Antiques. I would have taken them all home if I could.


Since I live on the west coast, I couldn’t purchase anything too massive at Brimfield, although I certainly wanted to. However, I couldn’t resist snatching up a few portable trinkets to bring home with me…and those crazy stools of course :) I love the typography and colors of old drug store packaging and beauty products, so I picked up an old medicine tin to hold my daily vitamins. I also followed Amy’s example and purchased some vintage cufflinks as a gift for my man.


This year was a small haul for me. After just doing my bedroom, I was more looking to be inspired than to bring home too much stuff. Nearly everything I brought back was a gift (except that key chain!). My favorite find were the cufflinks (below). You never know what will strike your fancy and this year, I got completely inspired by menswear. The striped cuff links came from the same dealer who sold me an amazing cameo last year. and in the car ride home, Kate and I came up with an awesome DIY project, that involves inexpensive cufflinks and I can’t wait to get started on that!  –Amy A.

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  • Wow! Amazing finds, ladies! I am hoping to visit Brimfield during their July show…can’t wait to see how you use your new goodies.

  • I’ve been on the hunt for cufflinks with a “W” monogram for my husband-to-be! Lucky you- it seems not to be a popular letter.

    Great finds all around :)

  • Just curious why no one ever mentions the prices for the items they get at Brimfield. Is there a specific reason? I’m always curious to know how the prices compare to antique stores, or estate sales.

    • alien

      i don’t know all the prices off hand, but i know a few here. but offhand, brimfield is one of the most expensive shows i’ve been to. really fantastic selection, but you pay for it.

      some of these things purchased were gifts for other people so i don’t want to put those out there, but i’m happy to share some of mine:

      -small demijohn ($100)*
      -large demijohn ($125)
      -powder box ($10)
      -salt shaker set ($40)
      -marble table top ($300)
      -rug ($125)

      *there were cheaper demijohns around the fair, but i preferred the clear ones (the green ones were cheaper) and these had gorgeous original hand-written labels on them.


  • I live in the Boston area and was planning to shoot out to Brimfield this weekend, but since there’s rain in the forecast, I thought I might wait for the July show. But after seeing this post and all your fun finds, I don’t know if I can wait that long!! Love those salt shakers and the bench :).

  • lovely finds..I love the metal powder tin and the cufflinks!! thanks for sharing..have a lovely day..do check out a chair redux on my blog when you have a moment..xx meenal

  • Oooo, Jealous…. My first job out of college required me to go to Brimfield, wake at dawn & be ready to run around the fields collecting antique fabric all day. I didn’t realize I would miss it until I saw your pictures. My new summer vow is to not let another year go by without going to Brimfield! Great finds ladies!

  • I love going to Brimfield but have never paid to go into the special sections. Do you get your finds in those or just the open stalls?

    • miriam

      oh those sections are worth the extra $5, believe me. we got most of our awesome things inside heart of the mart ($5) and last year we got great pieces at mays ($5). the extra money really is small potatoes compared the great sellers in those fields. j&j is worth the extra money, too. i really feel most of the best sellers are in those fields ;)


  • Brimfield causes anticipation onset insomnia. Saturday can’t come soon enough. Thanks for the making the waiting a little easier

  • I think I’ve been anticipating May Brimfield since the last one in September! Love seeing your finds. It is getting me all geared up to trudge through the rain this weekend and see those sellers who stuck it out until Sunday (not as big of a selection, but GREAT deals on the last day!!)

  • You guys look like a goofy good time – love the smiles and the friendly “lets go get ’em” vibe oozing from this photo.

  • I’m a Brimfield fan from way back, and typically try to get to atleast two of the shows. This time doesn’t look like it’s happening, but hopefully in July it’ll be a go!

    Someone mentioned something about the fields you have to pay to get into. Usually, if you are still there after 5:00, or are there on a Saturday or Sunday, you don’t have to pay. Mind, I said usually, so don’t quote me on that or go there expecting it to be so ;) Of course, at that point, most of those fields have been pretty well shopped… ;)

  • I now realize I saw Kate walk past me on the main road with one of those stools–totally did a double-take at the time.

  • ugh. i have such a love hate relationship with brimfield. prices are so darn high, but the head spinning selection is by far the best around. besides, there is nothing like good old new england antiques and vintage. nice finds girls!

  • Awesome finds, guys! I can’t believe those prices though! Way too expensive for the kind of budget I live on, but I’m still planning on going in July when I’m back in Mass. for the summer. It’s always fun just to browse. I got my bottle like that (didn’t even know they had a name!) at a place called Granny’s Attic in Temecula, CA for only $25. If you’re ever out in the Inland Empire I suggest you check it out! Also, check out the Hollis, NH flea. It’s pretty amazing and I’m still kicking myself for not picking up more stuff there when I was out there last summer.

  • I have those same salt shakers in pink!!! I love them and couldn’t figure out what to do with them since my tops are rusted too – I love your idea of using them as bud vases!!! Thanks for sharing!

  • Seems very similar to Round Top here in Central Texas. Now I’m “itching” to go but have to wait until the end of September!

  • so cool finds!!! i adore those inflatable plastic stools from the 70s, i have never seen something like that before!…and the vintage salt shakers are very “in”, all the shops are full with very bright color furnitures and clothes…at least here in Spain. Thanks for sharing, i love this post, you should repeat!!!

  • Sandy – Uncool for liking these? More like MEGA cool:) I’m debating just leaving them or only updating them a tiny bit because the grass inside is kind of deteriorating in a gross way. But I love the way they look now I must admit.

    Sarah – Haha!! You caught me; I was running to grab the stool and load it into our minivan on our way out on the first day.

    Peaches – It doesn’t surprise me that you love these! We’re two peas when to kitcshy items aren’t we?

  • What amazing finds! I bet you cannot wait to get them home and put them in the place you’ve imagined them in. I always do that when I’m at the Alameda flea market.

    Thanks for sharing the treasures you found! Safe travels home.

  • I found a faux marble top at a yard sale years ago, and placed it on top of a black iron sewing machine stand. It’s on my porch and I’ve always enjoyed it.

  • Dear Grace,

    Love the vases – LOVE – the milk vases. But please please please for the love of G-d, design and all that is holy – don’t do sticks in a vase. That’s got to be my absolute most hated interior designer thing. I know, it’s interior designery, it lends an accent and doesn’t have to be changed out like flowers and all that – but you’re so much better than that.

    I hope I’m not too offensive with this. I just couldn’t let that go.

    That marble top is amazing – you should look for one of those old metal Singer sewing machine bases for it.

  • It’s sooo cool to see what your team purchased! Grace, I loved those demijohns from the first time I saw them on your Tweet. Miriam, I agree with Grace – the J&J field, which opens today (on Fridays during the shows), is worth the admission fee. I bought my first Brimfield purchase on that field over 10 years ago – a chunky, antique farm stool for $90. Alien, I have prices to share from the photos in my post (though probably awkward to go back and forth) which I’ll list here. But let me say that, I think the prices at Brimfield the past 2 years have really increased. It’s hard when you have to sit there and think, “hmm…I can buy this (item) at retail for the same price!” I think if you’re patient enough, their are some great prices to be found (my friend, Tracy, who I was shopping with, has the knack for this…finding the gem in all of the junk). Tracy is going back to pick up my purchases today (I was pulling 3 kids in a wagon behind me, and couldn’t double back to pick things up)- which were the train letters, and the concrete balls, and possibly one of the round industrial mirrors – if it’s still available! (see photos in my post)
    -large skulls ($165 each)
    -small skulls ($30each)
    -polished nickel spot light pendants ($900)
    -industrial round mirrors ($325 each)
    -japanese glass ball floats $10each (varied vendor-to-vendor)
    -industrial peace signs ($50 but willing to take $45)
    -vintage train letters ($125each)
    -fish (which was the size of my wagon) ($125)
    -beads ($5-a strand)
    Hope that helps your curiosity.


  • Isn’t it fun. Yesterday was such a beautiful day down here at Brimfield. Today, Friday looks so perfect. One more cup of tea and I’m headed back to my booth at New England Motel. May the sun shine all day!

  • I am heading out to Brimfield this morning, and after seeing this and I am even more excited. Maybe I should stop by an ATM again before I get there too.

    • amanda

      oh yes, yes yes. stop at an ATM. the ones there are spread out too far apart and always run out of cash mid-day.


  • Ahhh! One of my favorite posts of the year…awaiting to see what the Design*Sponge team brought back from Brimfield! I attended on Tuesday and am on a way tighter budget, but still scored some great, great things. Vintage silk scarves, stud earrings, a Pyrex butter dish, a vintage recipe card holder, and some vintage pins made their way into my bag. Just to let everyone know, Brimfield can be expensive, but if you have an idea of what you are looking for ahead of time (even a list is SO helpful!), it makes searching and bargaining way easier! I usually only attend the May show, but am planning on attending in July as well this year. Go Brimfield!

  • So jealous–I went to Brimfield last year and still do a jig when I think about the great things I bought. I agree–not cheap, but loads of fun and a badge of honor for any collector. Hope to see you in July!

  • love the salt & pepper shakers. you may be able to clean the tops with barkeepers friend. i just used it the other day on the chrome on my bicycle and it worked miraculously to take the rust off of some of the metal.

  • This post is wonderful… but I have a slightly random/unrelated question. What did you use to take the photographs of your findings? I’m guessing it’s an iPhone app… but I could be way off and it could be film :) Care to share?

  • omg. that BEE book! I would love to see the inside of it! And those inflatable stools are amazing! I would paint the legs, but leave the amazing kitchery inside ;)

  • A Massachusetts native, you had me at Dunkin Donuts. I must admit, I’ve never had a chance to go to Brimfield, but this beautiful post makes me think I need to plan a trip home from NYC and go with my mother. Great finds!

  • wow! i live in mass and i never knew this existed! i just google mapped it and it’s less than an hour away. i’ll def have to check out the next show in july. thanks for this.

    grace, what film camera did you guys use at the show?

  • Just found out I’ll be going to a wedding in northern CT in Sept. when Brimfield is in session! Do you have any kind of “newbie’s guide” so I can maximize my time & energy on site? Suggestions would be appreciated,thanks!

  • This is totally unrelated, but in the first picture, where is the straw bag with the leather handles from? Thanks!

  • I just love going to Antique & Flea markets too! Those Demijons will be perfect with nature’s branches, I always pick the forsythia & flowering tree blossoms before they bloom, so that I can enjoy an Early Spring indoors. In the summer I like to use flowers of course but also grasses or branches of green leaves look very summery in a bottle or vase. What i really can’t wait for is the cuff link DIY! I seem to be drawn to cuff links too!