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For those who believe Saturday mornings are meant for yard sales, not sleeping in…who re-sort their recyling for “upcycling” possibilities…who have a special place in their heart for old houses…and see rust marks as a sign of beauty, not deterioration…you’ll love our editors’ “What We’re Reading” design book picks for August.

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Found, Free & Flea – Creating Collections From Vintage Treasures: In 2004, Tereasa Surratt’s husband convinced her that they should buy an abandoned 1920s summer camp property in Wisconsin called Wandawega Lake Resort. After exploring the grounds and discovering hidden treasures dating back at least 90 years, Tereasa said yes, igniting the inspiration behind her picture-filled book Found, Free & Flea. Since its creation in 1926, Wandawega has served as a summer camp, brothel, speakeasy, Catholic Church retreat and a casual vacation spot until its final use in the 1970s. The property’s many uses over the years instantly become evident with each antique treasure Tereasa pulls out of the attic, basement, kitchens and decrepit cottages. After recovering more than 150 items, Tereasa is determined to turn each one of these once-prized possessions into stunning collections and displays that will later decorate this restored lakeside retreat. From bedroom linens and potato sacks to distressed oars and beer bottles, Tereasa gives each piece a brand new take on life and a similar flea-market companion. For those new to thrifting and navigating flea markets, Tereasa’s DIY projects, display suggestions and “treasure” hunting tips are sure to leave you with time-worn finds that will instantly add charm, interest and visual history to your home. And if the abundance of tips isn’t enough to reel you in, the stunning photography should seal the deal. Tereasa shares some serious antique eye candy. Let’s just say that immediately after reading Found, Free & Flea, I hopped on Wandawega.com to check the rates and reservations of the tents and cottages for my next vacay. —KAYLA KITTS, Assistant Editor

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Salvage Secrets – Transforming Reclaimed Materials Into Design Concepts: Ever since I found out the exterior siding on my parents’ house was once boxcar bottoms, I’ve known that reclaimed materials have the power to transform a home from ordinary to extraordinary. But if you’re new to actually using salvaged items, like I am, that’s where reclaimed material evangelist, designer and blogger Joanne Palmisano comes in. Her new book, Salvage Secrets, is the ultimate guide to getting started. Palmisano breaks down materials by type, with chapters on wood, glass, metal, ceramic and lighting, detailing the different uses for each one as well as practical tips, like how to sand old wood to reveal the character underneath. She also features real homes outfitted with reclaimed materials, from light fixtures fashioned out of recycled wine bottles to a vintage washstand turned into a modern bathroom vanity. When you finish the book, you’ll be armed and ready to search for your own trash-into-treasure find. —LIZ GRAY, Senior Editor

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The Vintage House – A Guide to Successful Renovations and Additions: My ultimate dream home is a turn-of-the-century cottage or Colonial Revival farmhouse in need of a little TLC. Owning and preserving my own piece of history appeals to my patriotic American individualism – but after renting a very old home that lacks modern accoutrements like three-prong electrical outlets, an oven hood and a garage, I wonder if I’m up for the challenge of renovating a historical fixer upper. Mark Alan Hewitt and Gordon Bock’s new book, The Vintage House, gives me hope that I can one day conserve history while enjoying the modern life. The book is full of tips on choosing authentic materials, blending in historically accurate additions and meshing sustainable building practices with an existing home – not to mention beautiful photos of America’s masterful restorations. Even if you aren’t looking for a historical renovation guide, this book is a must-read for anyone interested in the different architectural periods of America. From Greek Revival to mail order bungalows, The Vintage House has the 411 on them all. —KARLI SANDERS, Assistant Editor

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Rediscovered Treasures – A New Life for Old Objects: Chock-full of creative ideas for turning discarded vintage items into cottage-chic accessories, Rediscovered Treasures will encourage you to take a second look at the forgotten items stored in your basement or attic. Authors Ellen Dyrop and Hanna Kristinsdottir share over 100 easy do-it-yourself decor ideas sure to turn trash into treasure. Among my favorites are the stenciled silver and stoneware platters, cutlery hooks and tea cup cupcakes. So cute! —CAMILLE SMITH, Editor

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Antiques, Book Reviews

12 Responses

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