We asked some Brimfield experts–a dealer, a stylist, a designer, a shop owner, even a chef–for their best insider field-survival tips. Brimfield Dates for 2016: May 10 – 15, July 12 – 17, September 6 – 11 The Dealer: Susan Bates 25+-year Brimfield exhibitor I love Quaker Acres. It’s very eclectic, from rustic to high-end. I’ve […]
We asked some Brimfield experts–a dealer, a stylist, a designer, a shop owner, even a chef–for their best insider field-survival tips.
Brimfield Dates for 2016: May 10 – 15, July 12 – 17, September 6 – 11
The Dealer: Susan Bates
25+-year Brimfield exhibitor
I love Quaker Acres. It’s very eclectic, from rustic to high-end. I’ve tried a lot of fields; it takes time to find your place. Some fields empty out later in the week and there’s no one around you. Everyone stays at Quaker Acres.
New England Motel for midcentury furniture; Hertan’s for Eastern European linens; Quaker Acres for garden accents.
Make a list ahead of time, with measurements. Try to stick to your list—Brimfield is vast, and there are many distractions!
Make sure the field you want to go to is open on the day you’re there. Show openings are staggered, and some shows are open only for a day.
The Stylist: Kelly McGuill
Principal, Kelly McGuill Home, Walpole, Mass.
Often the same dealers come back to the same spots each year. Main Street has some of the best dealers, from vintage furnishings to antique African art. It lures you in and gives your heart those pangs of excitement.
J&J for architectural garden elements and sports memorabilia.
Take each field one at a time. There are so many diamonds in the rough; one field might seem as though it has nothing of interest, and then all of a sudden you come across an amazing booth with fabulous finds.
May is the best time to find that perfect something; it’s rife with amazing new pieces. Be kind to the dealers and they’ll reward you.
The Award-Winning Interior Designer: Jill Goldberg
Owner, Hudson Interior Designs, Boston, Mass.
Quaker Acres for shabby-chic; Central Park for Maine camp–style vintage.
I go only on opening day, when a majority of “pay” fields aren’t open. For those of us who go every year and to every show, we know who has what, and what we’re looking for.
I do know that the shabby-chic stuff tends to be at Quaker Acres, but, honestly, I find that in the free fields it really is a good mix.
The Antiques and Home Decor Shop Owner: Michelle Carter
Ingather at bowerbird, Peterborough, N.H.
I’ve seen whole antique airplanes and some amazing repurposed auto parts. Lindsey [my daughter and business partner] and I bought big chunks of broken kiln glass last year—gorgeous aqua pieces. They hammered it into pieces and sold it by the pound.
New England Motel for vintage French textiles; The Meadows for industrial.
Paying to park in the large fields behind Shelton’s is worth the $10; it’s the most accessible for bringing things back to the car.
Bring cash—it’s better to haggle with. Always haggle—vendors expect it.
The Celebrity Chef: Steve `Nookie’ Postal
Chef/Owner, Commonwealth, Cambridge, Mass.
Brimfield is an awesome place. You spend money on this stuff, but it holds its value.
Mahogany Ridge, Quaker Acres, and The Meadows for vintage kitchen and decorating items.
I usually come looking for something specific: wooden boxes, bar items, or something food-related.
The nicer the tent, the less likely the deal. But in September [the last show of the year] you can get some really good deals.
PROFILE OF A BUYER
The Celebrity Chef: Steve `Nookie’ Postal
A chef knows his tools. And Steve “Nookie” Postal comes to Brimfield fully equipped, sporting a backpack and toting a cart on wheels. His Cambridge, Massachusetts, restaurant, Commonwealth, opened in November 2013, and he outfitted the rooms with Brimfield finds and family heirlooms, including his great-grandmother’s enamel stove from the 1900s. “Everything is reclaimed, repurposed,” he says. “We’re right in Kendall Square, the heart of biotech, super-modern. Lots of metal, glass, cold—I wanted to get away from all that.”
Today he’s looking for a nice vintage ice bin. Or anything printed with the word Cambridge or Commonwealth. As we troll through the fields, his banter strikes the perfect tone, a born bargainer. “I like negotiating,” he says. “It’s my favorite.” At Shelton’s Field, he finds a cluster of Patriots glasses: $3 each. “The customers will love them,” he grins. “Would you do 10 for $20?” And the dealer does. He recalls a Cambridge soda box that he passed on one year: “The guy wouldn’t go lower than $15; I wouldn’t go higher than $10. I still regret it.” The lesson here: If you love it, buy it or lose it.
He scores some Smurf merchandise for his three kids (ages 7, 4, and 1) and is about to head back to Boston to gear up for the evening meal when he spots a green metal box the size of a sink, on legs, in The Meadows. It came from the Bulova watch factory in Connecticut, says exhibitor Amy Shebell-Lapointe (Booths #83, 84). The box, complete with a scary-looking motor, was once used to dry sawdust. “I clearly don’t need a sawdust box,” Nookie says, but he’s intrigued. She’s asking $125; he offers $80. “How about $90?” she says. It’s a deal. Nookie mentions that he’ll probably use it as a beer cooler. That’s what Amy was thinking of, too. “Killer,” she says. Her parting words: “I’m glad you love it like I did.”