With each Tales from the Flea Market episodes, I have focused on something - jewels, textiles and general finds. This episode its seriously time to head to the ends of the Alameda and start with Row Z. This required a lot of discipline and full support from my daughter Kathryn and her beau Will because I always get sidetracked. I can’t help myself – it’s as if finds leap from the rows into my line of sight. Not this time!
I put the blinders on and push ahead down the main aisle with Kathryn arm-pinching me if I even began to slightly veer off course – I have a bruise btw. I arrive at Row Z! Yeah. An accomplishment I feel proud of.
On this particular day, Will was looking for an accordion to add to his growing collection. I would bet we saw 20 accordions, and concertinas, and trumpets, and fiddles, a saxophone and a mini-Steinway upright. Oh and the most fabulous tuba with a case lined in magnificent crushed red velvet. It’s as if Alameda is where old musical instruments go to be adopted. I want to take them all home and I seriously contemplated creating a wall full of vintage, beautifully worn and loved musical instruments.
Will breaks off to play each of the accordions he finds and Kathryn and I roam the lesser known aisles. The outskirts are a great place to find the finds that spark childhood memories like peddle cars, a Schwin bike with a gold sparkle banana seat, collectibles you thought you’d never see again - think big glass amber-colored coffee table grapes and those items you wanted for one reason or another but never got - can you say Knit Magic!
Realizing I don’t really have a foraging theme for this Alameda visit, I decide to let the Flea speak and soon find myself focusing in on chairs and architectural elements.
On the corner of Row K, I see laid out before me a sea of cornices and columns and ornate ceiling moldings. I stand and I stare and I take a picture. Many pieces, such as these, come from Bay Area Victorians. What a statement and how perfect for adding an air of raw sophistication to a loft or commanding stateliness to a room in your home.
Continuing with the whole molding theme but not on purpose, I spot Paul and Elizabeth Foster’s Alameda offering – Antique Ceiling Tins on the corner of Row R. This couple in from, Ashland, Oregon, have textured and some highly decorated antique tin ceiling tiles, made into mantels, cornices, ceiling moldings, chalk boards, mirrors and even a cabinet buffet. Their prices are very reasonable and their approach clever and I’m figuring out where I can put a new slate chalkboard trimmed in red ceiling tiles. Shoot em an e-mail to if you would like to know more about their creations or check them out on Flickr.
Chalk & Magnet Boards
Buffet Hutch made with tiles
Small Tin Tiles
I love chairs and in fact every room of my home has too many. A blatant and obvious fetish. Alameda is a chair-filled paradise – all shapes, all sizes, all colors.
Then, out of nowhere on the edge of Row L , classic Parisian influences that makes my heart sing. Reupholstered chairs in burlaps, linens and grain sack. These pretty vintage chairs and sumptuous settee trimmed in sweet green velvet are delicately strong. I couldn't even begin to decide which one to add to my chair family. Love the printed french detail and that black and white piping is out of this world. Notice also in the background the two black and white Damask patterned chairs.
A few rows over I spot the oil cloth upholstered outdoor white iron two-seater with table. I’m on full tilt and later saw this delicacy leave for a new home.
A stop by the India Clay Oven food booth for a naan chicken wrap (Thank you Rita for introducing me) and I am just about finished. I’ve seen so much and in the words of Kathryn – “There really is something here for everyone.”
Stay Tuned – Tales from the Flea Market is headed to the Rose Bowl Flea Market in Pasadena. I’ve never been and am dragging along Kathryn and Will again and my Mom. All diverse tastes. May be interesting to see what each of us uncovers.
- Cindy Cooper
About the Flea Market - Alameda
The Alameda Point Antiques and Collectibles Faire or simply “Alameda” if you are in the know, offers a stunning array of vintage finds from jewels to furniture to collectibles and everything and I do mean everything in between.
I’ve been foraging Alameda for about eight years with stunning success and much happiness. I love everything about this monthly event - the wares, the people, the typically cold weather and the view of San Francisco Bay Bridge and skyline. This market is second only to the Rose Bowl Flea Market in Pasadena! Fabulous.
Vintage Indie is happy to welcome Cindy Cooper as our newest
Guest Contributor. She'll be joining us for "Tales From the Flea
Market" a new series sharing real life stories of trips to the flea
market. Cindy Cooper is also a vintage jewelry aficionado and would
love to help answer your vintage jewelry questions.