Design Lifestyle

A Guide to Treasure Hunting at the Alameda Point Antiques Faire

September 2, 2015

Image Via: Julia Goodwin Design

On the first Sunday of every month my heart soars a little higher, despite getting up at an early hour (often while regretting staying out late the evening before) and making the drive with an empty car (gotta make room for the treasures). The Alameda Point Antiques Faire is one of those places where the possibilities are endless and the treasures are just waiting to be found!

While I love to bring treasures home from the flea market, I am often hunting for items for my clients at the same time. After years of treasure hunting, here is my guide to the beloved market in Alameda, California.

The basics:

  • The Alameda Point Antiques Faire is the largest in Northern California
  • 800+ booths with vintage and antique home decorations, clothing, furniture, jewelry, art, pottery, books & collectibles.
  • Parking is free, shuttles are available
  • Bring cash, check, and cards – you don’t want to miss out because you can’t pay as requested by the vendor
  • Location: 2900 Navy Way (at Main Street)
    Alameda, CA 94501
  • There is a fee to enter, which ranges from $5-$15 per person depending on the time of day. Children under 15 years of age enter free with an adult.
  • No pets allowed (sorry, Rufus)
  • Don’t worry about lack of good eats, the food trucks are fantastic – offering something for everyone.

FullSizeRender-2Image Via: Julia Goodwin Design

Plan ahead:

  • Bring a tape measure with you (It’s a must-have item in any designer’s purse)
  • Pictures of the spaces or areas where I’m in need of something special as well as measurements for the ideal pieces
  • I also keep a copy of each floor plan on my phone for reference
  • The earlier you arrive the fewer people there are. This makes walking between aisles as well as glancing to see whether an aisle will be worth your while easier (and time is of the essence).

Clothing (yes I’m including this):

  • I can’t say this enough, it can be boiling hot and then freezing cold. I plan for all weather types since I typically stay multiple hours. Layers are your friends (oh, and so is sunscreen and a hat)!
  • Comfortable shoes. This is not the time for heels or even killer flats that are meant to be worn when sitting down. You don’t want shoes slowing you down when you are in search of that one-of-a-kind item.

Starting:

  • Some say head to the back and work your way forward.  Honestly, I go 3/4 of the way in and work my way forward. There really is no hard rule here. I typically move pretty quickly my first round (yes, first round) then go back at a slower pace to revisit vendors.

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Images Via: Julia Goodwin Design

The Treasure:

  • Some months I’m looking for vintage chairs or cabinets, and other times it’s oversized vintage posters and textiles.
  • Keep an open mind! Think outside of the box. I can’t wait to share what I plan to use this Hungarian bread bowl for — stay tuned!
  • I often purchase items that I then tweak; sometimes they require reupholstering, and other times they just need a little love.

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Image Via: Julia Goodwin Design

There is a treasure for everyone (my sisters were pretty excited this day), you just have to look. Hello, Debbie and childhood dance routines!

Negotiating: 

  • Not only is it allowed, it is expected. That said, if the vendor says it is their final price, then it is.
  • Visit again. Is the item still there an hour or two later? The vendor might be willing to budge on the price later in the day when traffic has increased.
  • Cash is your friend!

Don’t Forget:

  • Keep track of the location (booth number and aisle letter) where an item is that you are lusting after. The same goes for if you have purchased something since often the vendor will hold the items until you return at the end of your visit.
  • Grab a business card. There are wonderful artists at the flea market! I often give them a call at another point in time to create something for me or for a client.

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Image Via: Julia Goodwin’s Home Tour

On one particular trip, I had my heart set on a professor-style, brown leather chair for this nook. Lightweight and in great condition — a feat it was — I got lucky in the third hour of the hunt. The cost: $25.00, I was in love, you guys. With a little bit of oil on the wood frame, it shined up beautifully and will be a piece I hope to keep for a long time.

– Remember these tips and enjoy your manicured trip to The Alameda Point Antiques Faire!

 

 

 

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