Eddie Ross, the talented decorator, HGTV guest designer and former style editor of “Martha Stewart Living,” came through town on December 6. He visited the Alameda Point Antiques and Collectibles Faire and toured the event with about 30 individuals from around the Bay Area and other parts of the West.
Later, he and partner Jaitan Kochar (both pictured above, from left) talked with Alameda residents and other guests at Daisy’s boutique on Park Street.
How was the day’s antiques fair? “It’s a big, great mix of mid-century and Victorian furniture and other items. We saw lots of glass, silverware and everything,” said Ross. “There’s great variety, and you can do your one-stop shopping there.”
Shoppers and wanna-be decorators shouldn’t be afraid to mix things up a bit, Ross says. “You don’t have to use a lemon fork for just lemons. You could use it to go with a tomato salad.”
And when buying gifts, places like the antiques fair — and local estate sales — are perfect, explains Ross. “You can pick up a few sugar tongs, for instance, and then share them as a hostess gift by pairing them with some sugar cubes.”
The trick is to do a little bit of work before you go out to shop, he shares. Take some paint samples or cloth swatches along when you are trying to match furnishings or table decorations with other colors in a room. Likewise, have a photo or sample of the china or silverware patterns you’re trying to add to or complement.
“When you go to a flea market, you really what to know what to look for,” Ross said. “Take measurements of the areas you want to fill or the wall space you want to decorate. This is key.”
Doing this kind of “homework” means you will walk out of such events having successfully found what you wanted, the designer shares.
He also suggests that shoppers keep their expectations low. “A flea market will not solve your life’s issues. In other words, a few items won’t do it all for you. But it’s fun. Go browsing, be consistent and enjoy it.”
Taking an experimental approach is also helpful at times. “You might think you have to have a wooden chair, when a non-wooden chair could work just fine,” he explains. Blending antiques and new items is also fine. “You can mix it up. I love an eclectic mix,” Ross said.
And give yourself the freedom to mix items from different price points — like a used sofa for under $100 and a nice slipcover for $200. (Ross admits he shops for bargains at the Salvation Army where he lives, in Port Chester, N.Y.)
Likewise, when decorating and setting a table or other area of your home, remember, it’s OK to go back to basics. “It doesn’t have to be expensive to be beautiful,” Ross said.
Daisy’s owner Barbara Mooney said she was glad to host the afternoon event for Ross. “I love the blog and read him in the magazine. He’s got quite a history.”