A Brimfield Love Story by Eat Sleep Vintage

Brimfield dealers all have their own personal stories of how they found their way to the epic show. Most started as buyers and eventually worked their way into selling. Some have been coming since childhood while others discovered it later in life. In this post, Maureen of Eat Sleep Vintage, is sharing the story of how she fell in love with antiques and how Brimfield found a place in her life. Enjoy!
- Kaitlin

Eat Sleep Vintage. This name personifies me and my love for antiques...I'm not sure how I fell in love with them. I didn't grow up with them in our home, but I remember being about 17, and happened to stop at a garage sale while out and about one day and I found an antique sideboard and it was cheap! Maybe $30...What?? The craftsmanship was beautiful with carvings in the tiger oak. The gentleman told me about the history of it and I had to have it. I got it home somehow and put in the basement, saving it for when I would be out on my own one day. From there my addiction started...scouring flea markets and garage sales, learning about antiques, the beauty of them, the history, and the stories they told. Making numerous friends with dealers and shop owners, and acquiring a ton of things, storing them away for "some day"...I remember my father yelling, when are you going to get rid of that junk, as the basement was now full. It amazed me what could be found out there for little to no money..such treasures! What is wrong with people, don't they realize what this is?? My heart raced just thinking about some of the things I was lucky to find.

Eventually, I did move out and furnished my apartment with all of my finds, and years later, I opened an antique shop! I loved that store and all the years of buying and displaying and telling people the stories of where they were found or what they were, and sharing my excitement for these things...Throughout all of those years, I had always heard of this place called Brimfield. I remember when I was young seeing Martha Stewart on TV at this gigantic Market, having no idea where it was, but my heart....just watching her. I had to go there! As I bought from dealers over the years, they would point to a rare piece and say, I'm saving that for Brimfield...What the heck is this place.......

Finally, in 2004, I said, that's it, wherever this is, I'm going! So I mapped it out and emptied my truck, and off I went. It's was a 3 1/2 hour drive, but well worth the trip. When I got there a day ahead of the show, I ventured out to see what everyone was talking about. I couldn't believe it! Everywhere you looked there were tents and fields and people and things and nonstop antiques, with things you have never seen before. Whatever you collect, it is there. I almost fainted, and thought, I am going to be broke!...and i was..but after a week, my car was loaded to the brim, with things tied to the roof..and had so much fun meeting all of these new people and hearing their stories...What an adventure..I went almost every year.
So fast forward to now...Last year, I decided, my big ideas, I should sell there! Why not? I only run a retail store and a wedding event planning business...I have time...I go there, I shop I love it...why not set up a booth? well...think of it as joining a carnival for a week, because that is exactly what it is takes months of preparing, thinking of how I want my booth to look, finding the right pieces, etc..making signs and tags, envisioning the feel I want when people walk in...renting a giant truck..loading up for 2 days and packing it to the brim..Then driving it up for 3 1/2 hours..Have you ever driven a large rental truck? When you get there, you check in and go scour the fields for a porter to unload you, they're all over the place but you ask for recommendations...and you shop around and you make new friends while you're out..and buy things! You spend money before you even begin...Then there is the set up..setting up your booth like a little store...creating vingnettes and pretty displays..hanging and tagging things, borrowing tools and ladders, getting everything in place in just a day or two... Meeting all of your fellow dealers around you, listening to their tales of the shows before. Most of them will sleep right in their booths or in their cars on the field for the week....O.k..why not? save a few dollars in hotel fees...sure...So I stayed in my truck the last show, thinking, lets try it?, it was now empty and like a little apartment! So I dragged in my blanket and pillow and set it up on the floor, brought in a lamp, with a 100 ft extension cord going out to find power..pulled down the back door part way and viola! So what that it's hot and there are bugs, so what....And you get up in the morning and walk down to the showers...lugging your bags and your clothes...and wait in line to try to freshen up and get ready for the day, venturing out early trying to find coffee and maybe a food truck with something to eat, then back before 6 a.m. as it's opening day!! They are piled up in front of our field in a hoard just waiting for 6 for the gates to open. And so it begins...the madness...the rush of the dealers running through your booths trying to find bargains and get deals..but you wait, there is a whole week ahead of you. And the day goes on and its all a blur, but you've met so many interesting people from all over the world and talked about their finds..and wished you were out there...and after 12 hours, we freshen things up and close our tents and get ready for tomorrow. The dealers on the field walk around and ask how you've done and who sold what and we tell our tales..there are drinks flowing and music playing and we are all exhausted, but we will do it all over again in the morning...I have so many stories from that week, so much fun and have made some great friends...Thanks to my tent mates, who would watch my booth while I ran for "coffee" and perhaps a giant 8 ft barn door that I saw right there!! that I had to buy while waiting in the starbucks line...and we'd scour the new fields on their opening days as others kept watch...Everyone does look out for one's a wonderful group of people, these dealers from all over. All with a love and appreciation for these beautiful things..and it's crazy and so fun and a ton of work, but I will do it all again in May and I can't wait! You see?? my heart! I eat it and sleep it and dream it and love it...and I'll take you along on my journey, but you really should try to come!! See you there!
- Maureen

You can find Eat Sleep Vintage at New England Motel. Use the app to find her exact location using GPS! Follow her on Instagram and Facebook to get sneak peeks at the beautiful items she finds.

Want to learn a bit more about other dealers? Check out some of my previous profiles of Rustored Salvage, Anthony Rosa Modern, Juniper Hill, Knock on Wood Antiques, Heja Home, Walker Homestead, Juniper Vintage, and the good home!

The Brimfield Flea Finder app was developed specifically for the Brimfield Antique Shows. The app is free to download in The App Store. Visit for more about the app and for general show information.

Hopping on the Fixer Upper Bandwagon with DIY Faux Shiplap

If you have found your way to this blog post, chances are you have seen an episode or two of HGTV's Fixer Upper. Or all of them.

Sadly, we cut the cable cord a year ago so I'm a full season behind but it seems like Chip and Joanna are everywhere these days. And I've seen enough to know that I love Joanna's style. I love how she mixes old and new. I love how her rooms are simple and clean. I love how she values functionality and purpose in her designs. And yes, I'm going to say it: I love shiplap.
Generally I'm more inclined to resist trends than to embrace them. But I can't help it. I just love it. I love that it adds so much dimension and texture to a room without competing with other design elements. I love that it's a throwback to simpler times and changes how a room feels. 

So, when we decided to refresh our master bedroom I knew I wanted to add some shiplap to give it some farmhouse charm. I read a bunch of tutorials on doing faux shiplap and it seemed almost too good to be true. Ultimately, now that the project is behind us, I would agree that it is a fairly easy DIY project and the results exceeded my expectations.

Here's how the project came together for us:

I've read that you can have Home Depot rip the 1/4 inch finish plywood into six inch strips for you. Depending on your location they may charge you a small fee per cut but I have also heard people say their store did it for free. If you don't have a table saw it's definitely worth a few bucks to have them do it for you. We had the plywood leftover from another project and we do have a table saw, so we were able to do it ourselves. We cut the 8 foot sheets in half first so the pieces would be easier to work with. Then we ripped those into six inch wide pieces. So we ended up with a whole bunch of 4'x6" strips. 

Next I used a sanding sponge to clean up the edges a bit and applied two coats of primer. We were ready to nail them up! 

The full pieces went up so easy. I used a nickles as spacers and a nail gun to nail them to the wall. We nailed into studs wherever we could but sometimes that wasn't possible. Using adhesive would probably be a good idea but I chose not to. I'm pretty protective of our house and since this might be something that the next owners choose to take down, I didn't want to permanently damage the walls more than we needed to. If any of the boards do come loose I will apply some adhesive.

If you are going to do this to a rectangular wall you will have a much easier time than we did. Between the window, the door (it leads to an attic above our screen porch) and the slanted ceilings we had to custom cut almost every piece. My husband got pretty good at calculating the angles of the ceiling. The house is old so we had to keep checking and making adjustments. You know, the old saying: Check three times, go down to the basement and cut it, come back up, realize it's wrong, adjust the angle, go back down to the basement, come back up, decide it's good enough and nail it! Flawless system!

It really wasn't so bad and even before all the pieces were up I started filling the nail holes with paintable nail filler. I just used my finger to apply it to each hole and then put any excess into the next whole. Once all the nail filler was dry I used the sanding sponge to smooth it out and I was ready to paint. 

Pretty textiles, coffee and a paintbrush. My ideal naptime!

I love to paint. I'm not artistic. I can't paint a picture but I love transforming things with paint. It's soothing to me and I'm determined to find more opportunities to do it. For this wall I chose Behr Silver Lining. It's a pale gray that is three or four shades lighter than the other walls in the room which were painted several years ago with Behr Porpoise. It really brightened up the room without being obvious that it was a different shade. The room has windows on three sides of the house which does interesting things with light in there so it's almost impossible to tell that the walls are different shades.  

I did two coats of paint on the whole wall. It was difficult to paint between the boards because they were only a nickel-width apart but that wasn't a problem since the previous wall color and the new color were similar. Depending on what color you are covering, you may want to consider painting the wall(s) prior to putting up the shiplap but that was one less thing for me to do. As long as the two colors aren't completely different I wouldn't bother but use your own discretion.

Since the plywood was so thin (1/4") I had no issues butting it right up against the window/door trim and the baseboards. If we were doing real shiplap it may have required taking down all the trim so this was another reason we liked the idea of the faux version. 

I'm not sure how long it took to complete since we were only able to work on it in such small chunks of time. It was difficult to work on it during the day because toddlers, nail guns and paint don't really mix well and we couldn't work on it when they were asleep since the nail gun and mitre saw were too loud. So we squeezed in time in the evenings for a few weeks and I got some of the painting done during naptime (theirs, not mine!). 

Once it was all painted the real fun began: putting the furniture back in place, hanging the artwork and mirror, installing the new curtain rod. You can read more about the whole refresh here.

My husband was skeptical about "covering up a perfectly good wall with strips of wood" when I first came to him with the idea. I had to do a little convincing but in the end he was a believer and we were both really thrilled with the results. There will definitely be some more faux shiplap going up around here in the near future!

Thanks for following along and if you have any questions about your own faux shiplap project I would be happy to try and answer them!