willowbrook farm

historic yellow springs

The Thrill of the Hunt

My absolute, absolute, absolute… favorite part of what I am doing right now is the treasure hunting. It is something that I have relished in for the last twenty years or so. I grew up under the tutelage of my dad, an all time treasure hunter and fixer upper. It was from him that I learned how to wallpaper and paint a room, collect something that might be needed for a future project, stack wood, mow the grass etc. Most of it I loved, aside from the many embarrassing teenage moments that occurred on road trips, aka vacations. I vividly remember not wanting to get out of our Jeep Wagoner that was not only packed with the seven of us, but a collection of items that had been found on our travels. Maybe an antique wooden chair that had been found along the road, an oxen yoke that had been purchased from a farmer or a Moose head scored at a closed down lakeside hotel in Canada. Sometimes all of the above, plus more finds stuffed into whatever crevice of the car that was not inhabited by a gaggle of children. Out of necessity, he often would have to strap the items to the top of the car or in front of the car. I actually think he delighted in shaking things up, taking in the reactions that staring at such sites elicited as we pulled into a rest stop, moose head strapped to the front and several chairs strapped to the top. I, on the other hand felt like we looked like the Clampets and refused to get out of the car for the fear of some cute teenage boy gazing from where I ungracefully made my exit. Let’s face it, how did one possibly get out of a car like that without either spilling from it like a spring had been released or clumsily climbing over all of the obstacles in your way? Of course, no one wore a seatbelt in those days.

In my mind, it is perfectly understandable why I gravitated as far away from old stuff as I could upon furnishing my first abodes out on my own. After getting married, our first apartment and condo, both being fairly new structures, had modern sleek, albeit hand me down furnishings. Slowly, unfortunately or unfortunately, whatever way you look at it, I found that the apple does not fall far from the tree, and it was I who was gathering items that had been cast aside to make into something new. I think it began, first out of necessity for furnishing more rooms when we moved into our first home as children number three, four and five were added to the family along with the larger amounts of stuff that seem to accompany those additional children, that needed storage. The hobby grew from there and by the time we moved into our current old home, it had hit a chord and there was no turning back. It practically oozed from every fiber of my being and thus I could not help but to refrain from tossing anything that could be turned into something new. The habit continues and these picking trips which once happened only locally, eventually grew to larger areas, further from home. 

My goodies that I found quickly outgrew the back of my Suburban which necessitated me to pick up my dad’s open trailer. Soon that no longer worked for how do you haul a beautiful 8 to 10 foot hutch home in an open trailer without the threat of it falling over with no supporting walls or strap down the multitude of architectural finds?

U-Haul was then called on but after so many incidences with the unreliability of that form of hauling, I bit the bullet and purchased my own trailer at the end of this past year. 

Now we have no excuse to not take home whatever we might find on the road when pulling this baby. Maggie captured this image of me while taking an inaugural trip with the new trailer this week. “Oh my goodness… oh my goodness… oh my goodness,” said she as she gazed upon the massive pile of old wood.

As most of you know, we purchase new items to order from vendors when we go to the International Home and Gift show in Atlanta once a year. We order new to compliment the old treasures that we find and I love selecting the new products that I think will both meld well in design for the treasures that we have found and that fit in with our aesthetic. I love that aspect of our business but I love even more the search for beauties that give a room an elevated sense of character. Items that warm up a space or cause a statement of “wow! where did that come from?”. Just as I love finding out about a person’s story, I love finding out about the story of an object that is no longer being used for its intended place or purpose.

  I am often asked two questions so I thought I would address them here. The first is, “How do you find your places to pick?” Some places I frequent a few times a year. Places that I learned about from others in this business or have read about, who I have formed deep relationships with and very much look forward to each and every visit. Other places are ones that have been found while driving that we just pull over at, similar to what my dad did. He never quite knew what he would find if he stopped at a crumbling old barn with a vehicle out front and a “FOR SALE” sign in the window. Some are homes that we get calls on that need to be emptied out due to a move or a death. Some places are large antique fairs like Brimfield in Massachusetts and Renningers in Pennsylvania and some are places that we just find while googling what is near us while on the road. Round Top in Texas is on my bucket list and so is a leisurely brocante fair in France. I envision that as being more of a “taking in the magnificent sites of Europe and languishing in their culture while perusing stalls of linens, china and silver” trip. One can always dream! 

The second question that I often get is, “How do you choose what to buy?” This is a simple one. I buy what I like and what I would put in my home. I do not go with trends or what is popular at the moment. I go with my gut and with what I can buy an item for that makes sense to resell it to you at the most affordable price possible. I sort through items rather quickly and probably miss a few hidden treasures doing it this way but I like to cover as much ground as possible. I also buy items that can be repurposed into something else instead of ending up in the trash. All I can say, is that I feel it. I know that sounds a bit strange but that is the best explanation. 

I love old china, so you know that you can always find that at our barn.

Old trunks, artwork and architectural salvage as well are always on the docket.

Beautiful one-of-a-kinds for furnishings…

and more than a few unexpected pieces that we have a special design plan for up our sleeves. We like to clean and spruce up most of the pieces that we find so that you can bring them into your home without a second thought, although they will still show signs of imperfection for that is what we love about them. We also have some that are “as-is” in this upcoming sale so you can do with them what you dream up.

We will be revealing our newly renovated horse stall area at the spring sale where you will find a collection of doors and shutters. Cannot wait to show you that area! 

Join us at our Spring Barn Sale in April where we will be fully restocked with all the above goodies and much much more!

The apple does not fall far from the tree… and in my second half of a century… maybe that is a good thing!



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  1. Kiki ade says:

    Thx for sharing always enjoy your reads look forward to April .

    • Meg Veno says:

      You are quite welcome Kiki! Thanks for reading and yes, look forward to seeing you in April!
      Best~ Meg

  2. Helen roberts says:

    sooo true! I wish u could have met my mom, sounds just like ur dad! Our stationwagon was always packed to the gills. I just had to hope some large piece would not fall on me.! Anyway, at the time , it was not where I wanted to be or do. , but wow what I learned…wouldn’t trade for anything!xoxo, H

    • Meg Veno says:

      I totally get that feeling Helen! Did not want to be there for sure but so very thankful that I was! How much did we learn at their tutelage and how lucky are we? xoxo