Home Around the House Our Obsession With the Hunt, the Thrill of the Chase…

Our Obsession With the Hunt, the Thrill of the Chase…



It’s an early Saturday morning, the text alert sounds on my phone. The sun shining off the ocean through the window pokes me in the eye.  Fumbling for the phone, I already know who it is.  My sister, her text simply reads:  “table on alley behind St. Charles, trash pickup a couple blocks away, need it for house?”  No, I think, I don’t need it but I sure do want it.  And so begins the hunt, the thrill of the chase.  It is time to turn that discarded table into a part of the furnishings in my collected- over- time themed beach home.

Driving through Ocean City in the spring, a yard sale can be found around every corner. Cars are parked for blocks around, and droves of people happily sort through tables, racks, and overstuffed cardboard boxes hoping to find a small treasure or often times more importantly a deal, a steal. The advertised estate sale, you should forget about being the first inside. Shoppers must arrive at the crack of dawn, hours before the sale is to begin. The anticipation lingers in the warm misty salt air while waiting in line to be admitted.  Most ads list the common tag line “no early birds.”  What does this mean? Doesn’t the early bird get the worm?

America is obsessed with the hunt. Old school yard sales and estate sales are dictated by the season.  Technology has expanded the ability to treasure hunt all year long.  Sites such as Craigslist, locally created online Facebook yard sale pages, and Wallenpop allow shoppers to seek out a deal no matter the weather or the location.  When browsing online there is no one directly in front of you gently caressing that one of a kind painting, deciding how it would look above the bed in the guest suite.  Yet if you log on too late after the seller posts, and see that there has been multiple requests to purchase that same sense of anticipation builds.  Your stomach can sink quickly. I really wanted that…  Technology allows us the ability to search multiple online sites and the chase continues.

I love a piece that tells has a story to tell. There are many local treasures in my home, some purchased locally, some salvaged from past renovations and remodels, many purchased online.  From the now delicate wooden door knocker whittled in the shape of an old sea captain, hanging proudly on the front door of Mrs. Hoover’s house, to the oddly shaped monkey pod and driftwood coffee table, which my daughter claims she will hide when friends stop over, each one holds a special place in my heart.  There is the “Sea Harvest” painting I scored from the owner of the grand house which once stood on Corinthian, the fabulous rattan chandelier from the now gone house on Battersea, the rustic wine crates, from the cottage on Pinnacle, and the retro sitting room furniture sitting in our back cottage I found online.  In the framed newspaper article dated May 13, 1933 discovered behind the walls during the renovation of our Gardens Parkway house, Commodore Edgar Hires touts the great boating season the Ocean City Yacht Club would be enjoying that summer season. I obsessed over the pair of Lucite lamps now flanking our new buffet.  After lusting over these beauties through the window of the house slated to be torn down on West 16th Street, I hoped they would be there during the second day of the sale. At 50% off they are now mine.  All of these cast offs collected from around the island have become my treasures.


Part of well-crafted beach house design lies in creating the collected look. It is no secret that I love a weathered old beach home full of history. This collected look can be created, even in a newly constructed home. Pairing yard sale or second hand pieces with expensive, or even mid- range priced furnishings lends itself to this aged beach house feel.  Some of my treasures will remain in my home no matter my address, some stay with the home when we sell, many are in some sort of a chaotic rotation I have created, and some are repurposed in others’ homes.  Collected pieces need not be used for their original or designated purpose.  The vintage sideboard can serve as a cabinet under the flat screen television, or be placed in a hall to hold towels and toiletries for our weekend guests.  Butcher block mounted on top of that mid-century modern dresser will now allow it to serve as a unique kitchen island.  Repurpose, reuse and recycle, to achieve the collected look.  In doing so, you are creating something unique, that no one else will have on display in their home.  So paint that dresser coral, recover that found chair in a bold ikat pattern, hot glue those oyster shells to the mirror you grabbed from the alley last weekend.

The 6×20 storage room behind the first floor unit of my home, plays just the part. It houses framed prints, special serving pieces, distinct end tables, and that perfect lamp with the funky shade. Each is simply waiting for their turn, or possibly their new home. My husband continually asks me to compare a need to a want. Several weeks back when mentioning to him that instead of watching the game I would need him to accompany me to the mainland to pick up my newest find. He impressed this notion upon me.  Do you really need this? Nope, but I sure do want it.  Maybe I should have a yard sale?

Do you have a great locally found treasure? Tell me about it: maureen@ocnjdaily.com.