some weekend antiquing.

This past Saturday I helped my sister with her Christmas baking.  That is, if your definition of helping includes watching her do most of the work while test tasting all of the cookies.

Although I will say, for those of you who have followed me for years, I am still responsible for all of the ball rolling.

But she has cut way back on the amount of baking she does at Christmas, which left her Sunday completely free.  So I suggested we check out some of the antique shops in Stillwater, MN.

It has been a while since I’ve visited antique shops around Christmas.  I used to go all the time in order to add to my non-collection of vintage ornaments and tree toppers.

While I was away in Mexico, Mr. Q accidentally broke one of the toppers in my toolbox (the one on the far right), so I decided that was a good excuse to look for a replacement.

So on Sunday afternoon Debbie and I headed out for a little lunch and shopping.  We visited a few different places, but eventually ended up at Staples Mill Antiques.

I hadn’t been inside this place in ages.  In fact, I’m betting it has been at least a decade if not more.  The thing is, I no longer really enjoy the traditional antique shop with piles and piles of dusty things crammed onto shelves or locked inside glass cases, with small areas for each vendor where you can barely squeeze yourself inside without knocking over an old easy bake oven or some carnival glass.

But I was willing to give it a shot to see if I could find a replacement topper for my toolbox.

Spoiler alert, I did not find one.  But I did find out that Staples Mill has a pair of refreshing new vendors, Jeff and Mike.

I literally walked into their space and said out loud to my sister “now this is more like it!”

You can see everything, it’s displayed in such a way as to give you a feel for how the items could look in your home, you can walk around without knocking stuff over, and it’s well lit by a couple of stunning chandeliers.

But mostly what I was admiring was the expertly curated selection of fabulous items, like this painted set of green lockers.

The price on this was $275, by the way, which I thought was very reasonable.

This black cabinet was awesome as well.  I love the row of black and white penguins on top, perfect for a unique Christmas display.

And just check out this chippy beauty that was filled with vintage silver.

I love the contrast between the formal silver with the rustic chippy painted cabinet, and isn’t that wreath pretty?

Isn’t this sled/coffee table awesome?

This collection of bottle brush trees in old door knobs that totally filled a pine cupboard really caught my eye.

There’s definitely something to be said about strength in numbers, right?

I have a couple of these myself, but not a big collection like this.  But I’m definitely inspired for next year.  I’m adding ‘old door knobs’ to my garage sale shopping list.  I see them all the time, and I already have half a dozen or so in my stash.  I just need about 25 to 30 more!

As I was wandering around snapping photos with my phone, a voice floated down from the staircase above saying “are you going to give us some free publicity?”  Yep, I was caught red-handed.  But either Jeff or Mike (dang if I don’t remember which one he said he was) just happened to be there.  So I admitted that I was going to share the photos on my blog, and he was happy to hear it.  Sometimes you run into shop owners who don’t want people to share photos of their space, and I’ve never really understood that mentality.  I mean, really?  Who doesn’t love a little free publicity?

Anyway, these guys definitely have a flair for both display and for finding uniquely fantastic items like these golden horses.

I also thought their prices were quite reasonable (and for a cheapskate like me, that is saying something).  In addition, they are willing negotiate, so I was able get about 30% off the price on the tag for the rusty metal reindeer that I purchased and brought home for my garden.

FYI, I had a heck of a time trying to get a decent photo of a mostly see-thru metal deer.  I promise, he looks better in person.

I’m definitely going to make a point to go back more often to check out their stuff.  In fact, I may even go back for this guy …

Wouldn’t he be perfect in the garden?

If you want to see some photos of their space set up for Christmas before it was mostly picked over, check out this post on Facebook.

If you’re local, be sure to check out their space at Staples Mill Antiques.  If you aren’t local, I hope you still got an idea or two from today’s post.

Do you have any fabulous antique spots near you?  Leave a comment and let me know.

19 thoughts on “some weekend antiquing.

  1. Wow that was a fun one! Fabulous booth. I loved so many of their things but esp that sleigh coffee table! Better get back and get that boy for your garden. The antique shops around here require too much digging through old records, readers digest books, figurines, etc. not that I’m knocking that but I like primitives and wood items. Those are harder to find. Thanks for sharing.


  2. Loved this post! I was in Stillwater the Friday after Thanksgiving and went to the Sawmill.
    I loved their space! It was so refreshing and beautiful. There are some fun vintage shops in Alexandria.


  3. Thanks for sharing your visit to this shop, as I also have not been there for a long time. I love that rusty reindeer! This space is staged beautifully and makes me think I should make a trip over to Stillwater. Proof that advertising works!


  4. One of my favorites was La Garage in North St Paul. It was always beautifully arranged and almost always priced really well. I miss that place and have not found another one like it. I love the vibe that you found with Mike and Jeff. I have always thought things that are well presented sell better!


    1. I always went to La Garage on Black Friday to scoop up the vintage Christmas ornaments. Quite a lot of my ‘non’-collection came from them and I miss that place too.


  5. OH MY WORD I NEED TO GET DOWN THERE ASAP!!! I always think that I need to shop more in Stillwater-and I always find something at staples but now I definitely need to go!! Loved every thing in their booth!


  6. Wow, that place is awesome!
    I am impressed that you braved Stillwater on a weekend during the holidays. I like the town but lord the one road in and then the parking always make me change my mind.
    That place may make me plan an early arrival to check them out. Those lockers are s fab!


    1. Well, I don’t know if it was because it was later in the day on Sunday (we were there from around 3:30 to 4:45) or what, but there was plenty of street parking on the north end of town and we were literally parked just outside the front door to Staples Mill. Totally rock star parking!


  7. I love that antique store! How refreshing to not be surrounded by layers and layers of old stuff covered in dust and smelling like mildew. I wish we had an antique store around here like that. That’s how I designed my shop when my daughter and I were open several years ago. I requested no over-crowding in my dealer’s spaces. Our customers loved to go shopping there without hitting anything. And to be able to have space for strollers and walkers opened the store to a larger audience who normally could not venture inside other places. I wish I was still open. Maybe some day.


  8. Wish I lived closer! I love how this shop is set up. I just came home yesterday with a vehicle loaded with treasures from helping clean out my sister-in-law’s home. One of the things was a box of about a dozen old glass doorknobs. Didn’t have a plan on what I was going to do with them, but I sure do now! I have lots of bottle brush trees used as decorations, but now they will look even better having a doorknob base! Thanks for sharing!


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