The key to discovering treasures at Scott Antique Market is to use your imagination. At least, that seems to be the lesson as we explore the mammoth Atlanta market with Eddie Ross, who’s served as decorating editor for Better Homes & Gardens and Martha Stewart Living and recently published his first book, the bestselling Modern Mix. Ross points out that sherry glasses can be used to prop up place cards, a sugar bowl can hold toothbrushes in the bathroom, yellowed silk can be tie-dyed to look like shibori, and your utensils and dishes don’t have to match. Heck, monogrammed pieces don’t even have to feature your initials. “Adding the little bits and pieces that you find at places like Scott’s will make the things you’ve inherited feel like your own,” he says.
Ross leads thrifting excursions like this one around the country, but Scott’s is one of his favorite hunting grounds—particularly the south building, which he says offers the best variety of old and new, fine and fun. Pointing to a solid wing chair with dated upholstery, Ross notes that vendors also sell the fabric, hardware, and other accessories you’ll need to update your finds. “The thing I love about Scott’s is that it’s a one-stop shop. You can buy your lamp, your shade, your chair, your fabric, even your barbecue,” he says, nodding toward the long cafeteria lines for Scott’s famous Southern staples.
What we learned about how to shop at Scott’s
Ross always visits John Silverman, whose sterling flatware is especially cheap because it’s destined for the melting pot. To illustrate Ross’s point, Silverman reached into his pile and snapped a fork in two—eliciting a gasp from Ross, who realized it was a rare pattern he collects for a friend.
Fix it fast
Hard-to-find experts are on hand to make repairs. Paul Baron grinds chips from the rims of goblets while you shop, or you can drop off porcelain, paintings, and crystal for more extensive repairs. Mike Messner reweaves caned chair seats.
Mix vintage tabletop items like transferware or Depression glass with modern dishes to give your settings more personality. But be wary of trendy collectibles that have become overpriced, such as Victorian majolica.
Don’t obsess over a stained fabric or dated paint color, which can easily be changed, says Ross. “Look past the finish to the shape.” (He suggests using Zinsser primer before repainting old furniture, especially if it has metallic trim.)
Simply ask, “What’s your best price?” Don’t insult vendors with a ridiculously low offer, but do expect a discount from online auction prices. “It’s not all about finding things for $1,” Ross says. “It’s about passing something down that will last.”
The outdoor vendors are known for more rustic pieces and upcycled salvage, says Ross. Although he spotted some clever midcentury accessories among the tents, he warned that some items are too “Archie Bunker.”
Scott Antique Market is held at the Atlanta Expo Center on the second weekend of every month. Thursdays were formerly reserved for design professionals but are now open to the public. For information on Ross’s flea market trips, register at eddieross.com.
This article originally appeared in our Spring 2016 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.