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Thriftfabulous in Florida
Living like a thrifter
Out and About with Mom
After 25 years, Ambie closed her stores in Nantucket and Florida, and became a professional thrifter. With her keen business sense and trained eye, she scouts out the thrift shops for upscale furniture, designer clothing, and rare antiques to resell for profit. Ambie believes that thrifting is a win, win situation. You save money, give back, and have fun all at the same time!
Even Ambie's stylish and savvy Mother joins in on the hunt. Watch the Palm Beach Thrifters as they thrift and quick flip their finds to eclectic clientele and interior designers across the country.
Ambie's colorful boyfriend with an opinionated personality and out-there-style. He migrated to Florida from Baltimore to work in the citrus groves and become a professional thrifter. He rolls up his Hermes shirtsleeves to get down and dirty in the thrifts. With his eye of an epicurean and his collector’s knowledge, he excavates treasures from the muddled and messy thrift shops. Using his thrift expertise (and big eyeglasses), he inspects artwork, pottery, and Italian glass. He strategically navigates through garbage bags and donation bins in search of the huge score! Using his thrift radar, he zooms in on Danish teak and Mid Century modern furniture knowing that these pieces bring in a huge profit.
Also known for his competitiveness, he camps out at thrift shops to be first in line on opening day. With a never-give-up attitude and hard-core determination, Tommy rocks the thrifts and brings home the goods!
Always a party girl, her famous line is "It's 5 o'clock somewhere!" Once a country clubber, she now bird-dogs the thrifts for Ambie and Tommy, zeroing in on the hidden treasures. She's kicking up her heels, cocktail in hand, traveling, thrifting and surfing Match.com. She always reminds us that great style has no age.
Shelley is Ambie's sister and is a social butterfly and interior designer who loves to decorate on a dime. Always put together, she peruses the thrifts in her Jackie-O sunglasses and designer loafers. As a design-savvy shopper, with a trained eye, she magically transforms home interiors into thrift show houses!
Juliet is Shelley's daughter (Ambie's niece) and is a Young Palm Beach fashionista who lives for Thrift Couture. Forever on the lookout for a designer find, she digs in the thrifts for chic clothing to resell and finance her lifestyle. As a fashion forward Millennial, she turns second-hand trash into thrift couture, by hemming, altering, embellishing and redesigning thrift shop clothing. By studying the most current fashion trends, she has a flair for creating breathtaking makeovers for friends and clients for pennies on the dollar.
Sailor is Ambie's loyal bird dog thrifter. Sometimes she plops him down in a cart and off they go, scouring the racks for vintage goodies. He loves thrift shopping almost as much as he loves treat time. He brings lots of smiles to everyone he meets!
Hans Wegner. Have you heard of him? He's a mid-century modern furniture designer that crafted wonderfully simple and artistic pieces that can add understated chicness to a room. We found this awesome Hans Wegner style folding chair at the thrifts last week!
An important part of knowing what to look for is staying up to date on decor blogs, shelter and fashion magazines and training your design eye. I spotted similar folding chairs in these amazingly decorated spaces below:
Casa Vogue, photograph by Fran Parente)
Think about it...with a little patience and a scouter's eye, you can find pieces similar to your favorite interiors! Look what we found at the thrifts below...
I've been to a lot of thrift stores in my life and there are some things that cannot be ignored (even if you don't have the slightest desire to buy. Here is a list of 10 things you're likely to come across in Florida thrift stores. Is there anything I'm forgetting? :)
Thrift finds!! L: This Thonet-style ottoman would bring a perfect natural touch to any room. It's so sculptural. R: These chairs would be amazing around a dining table (the upholstery is in surprisingly good shape for being a lighter color). I see them around a big rustic, live edge table.
Some ways to style your chairs below. PS: if you're feeling bold you can always give them a new coat of paint.
The simplicity of the Thonet chairs in this dining room are given a new coat of paint, which really helps them settle into the this colorful space. Side note: I love the collection of Tom Dixon lights hovering above the marble table.
Simplicity at it's best. The sleek black chairs compliment the grainy wood table perfectly.
This one embraces color in a big way. The design on the back of the chair is unique and I'm loving the brightly colored paint paired with the more traditional round pedestal table. Take a look at the pendant light...think about thrifting a big basket, spray painting it and stringing your light through it!
Black with natural caning. I love how modern that looks!
The Kentucky Derby is just around the corner! One of the most recognizable fashion statements of the event is the iconic big hat. If you don't have your hat, here's one you can make for pennies (and still win big). These hats are made with newspaper, a can of spray paint, masking tape, a glue gun, and thrift shop flowers! P.S. I'm originally from Kentucky, so I take Derby Day very seriously. ;)
My sister and I with the finished product!
Here's what you'll need:
Use ten sheets of newspaper laid out flat. Fan them out so you will see the points on your hat.
Place the newspaper on someone's head carefully and have them gently bring the ends of the paper down so you can make the headband with masking tape. I find if you tape it too high the hat will be shallow and won't stay on your head. I usually imagine where the brow would be and tape it there.
It's easiest if your friend can sit in a chair so you can walk around freely and tape the band. Try to tape the hat band snugly so the hat will fit better. Gently slip the hat off the head and carefully turn the points of the newspaper upward. I like to make it asymmetrical to give it interest, but you can mold the hat in any shape. Use a mirror and try the hat on so you can see how it looks as you're working on it. Make sure you turn it up high in the front around the face, because as you glue the flowers on it will become heavier and might start drooping down. I always work on the front first but sometimes you need to glue the flowers on the back of the hat band to distribute the weight properly. The heavier larger flowers are better closer to the head and the lighter flower sprays and greenery are best towards the outside of the hat. The flowers are the best part, so don't skimp!
Using a tarp, spray paint the hats with a light finish. It's fun to let some of the newspaper show through. Be careful not to saturate the hat with too much paint or it will lose it's form and get droopy. I like to hold the hat when spraying it so I can get some of the color underneath. I put most of the heavy color on the crown of the hat for the statement and then light color on the brim. Have fun with it!
It's good to let the hat dry upside down so the points stay in place as the paint dries. I place the hat in a plastic bucket or if you don't have a bucket just put it upside down on the tarp. After an hour of drying in the sun you can flip it over and let it dry completely on a paint can or something that keeps it off the tarp. While the paint dries clip the stems off of the silk flowers with florist or jewelry wire cutters. I usually leave an inch or so of the stem. Cut some of the greenery off so its easier to glue on the hat.
After the hat is completely dry, it's fun to choose the flowers you like and place them on the hat. I take a quick photo with my phone so I can refer back to it to for placement of the flowers. Its good to have a mirror handy ( I used a full length one and just sat in front of it as I glued the flowers on) You can try the hat on and look in the mirror so you can see where to glue them. As you add the flowers the hat might become heavier. If this happens, glue back the pieces of newspaper to each other so it frames your face and doesn't fall forward. You can even glue a piece back to the crown of the hat for an upward sweep on one side.
This would be a fun thing to do if you're hosting a Derby party, it's laid back, creative and sure to be a crowd-pleaser... whether your horse wins or not!
If you make a hat be sure to share it with us! Tag your photo on instagram with #palmbeachthriftersDerbyHat to share your beautiful creation. We'd love to see what you come up with!
Tommy and I took a road trip to Sarasota, Florida to find some treasures. We hit all our favorite spots and got to catch up with old friends! Do you have any favorite places in Sarasota to thrift? We'd love to hear!
1093 Central Ave.
Sarasota, FL 34236
The Vibe: Lofty warehouse filled to the brim with large and small items (from doors and architectural salvage, to vintage doorknobs and hardware). A feast for the eyes and photo-worthy! When we got there the staff were very friendly and were working on repurposing found materials into a table!
The Finds: Gigantic slab of wood from the Redwoods in California (imagine that as a dining table for an event!), a concrete pagoda, tons of letters from vintage signs, the biggest Perrier-Jouet bottle we've ever seen.
5150 N. Tamiami Trail
Sarasota, FL 34234
The Vibe: Bustling, brightly-lit, friendly staff and customers, good for clothes!
The Finds: His and Hers lamps, a watermelon pink vintage Samsonite bag, colorful blouses, Tommy found a curious wooden back massager? abacus? Anyone know what that is?
1426 Fruitville Road
The Vibe: Mostly furniture and home decor items, small clothes section
The Finds: Campaign style side table,vintage Mets jacket, matching seashell brass candle sconces
539 South Orange Ave.
Sarasota, FL 34236
The Vibe: Lots of great clothing finds, interesting inventory (always changing), friendly staff
The Finds: Crazy awesome wicker peacock chair, rattan table set (on wheels!), gorgeous India-inspired necklace, brass bohemian tea-set
1226 N. Tamiami Trail
Sarasota, FL 34236
The Vibe: Feels like you are in someone's well-curated home, each room has a different feel, packed with good stuff!
The Finds: Milo Baughman chrome and glass stools, cute pair of chairs, brass weight set, elephant for a garden patio
The Salvation Army
2280 17th Street
Sarasota, FL 34234
The Finds: Vintage furniture, guided frames and mirrors
Finished the day with iced coffee and sweet treats at Perq Coffee Bar! This is where I realized my gold thrift store heels had had enough! Nothing a little superglue can't fix.
Until next time, Sarasota! Thanks for all the thrifting fun.