Thrift Shopping Salvation Army for a Brooklyn Bedroom

July 20th, 2011
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salvation army nyc

Hello and happy Wednesday, vintage lovers!!!

A few days ago I queued you into the fact that I had officially taken on my FIRST Sammy Davis Vintage “shopping” client, my extremely talented friend Sabrina Newman behind the web site A New Mode.

Not only is Sabrina extremely talented, but all that talent has made her extremely BUSY! So busy, in fact, that she’s been living in her new Greenpoint, Brooklyn apartment for more than a month without having fully furnished and decorated her room yet!

Last weekend, Sabrina and I spent an entire day walking & training around the city in search of the perfect mirror and set of dresser drawers for her larger-than-average-for-NYC bedroom. [You’ll see pictures of her “before” bedroom after the jump.]

The beauty of working with a friend as a client is that I can provide her an honest opinion on how and with what to furnish her room with. Despite last summer’s bed bug epidemic in New York City, Sabrina agreed to shop Manhattan’s MASSIVE Salvation Army clothing & furniture store for her bedroom’s key piece. We were under tight deadline, too, because Sabrina admitted that she had neglected to “make decisions” about what to purchase for her room.

And that, vintage lovers, is what I do BEST! I love helping to inspire confidence in any.single.way.possible to help my friends old and new to make the best decisions for them. So, with a budget in our wallets and a mission in our minds, Sabrina and I successfully purchased the PERFECT dresser for her room at a jaw-dropping price.

I think you vintage lovers are going to LOVE it, so keep reading after the jump for how we shopped and what we bought!

Vintage lovers, I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say that buying beautiful pieces of furniture from a thrift store just feels better than buying it new.

I had a ton of fun investigating the options at the S&A and weighing the pros and cons of each. In the end, we decided on a dresser with some serious DIY potential. While not everyone wants to invest in a piece that needs a bit of elbow grease, I believe that it is in personalizing our possessions that they truly become special to us … and not just material things.

After my appearance on the Nate Berkus show last January, I was inspired to begin encouraging the people in my life to shop second hand for their furniture [and to decorate with vintage finds, too!] I can honestly say that I’m still learning the art of thrifting for home, so please feel free to be in touch with your advice, accomplishments and all-around-AWESOMENESS!

I’ve been getting a lot of emails lately and I love them ALL! Please don’t hesitate to reach out via email, Facebook, Twitter & YouTube!

xx, SD


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I’m not sure the exact history of this building, but it appears to be an old firehouse by the massive truck-height curved doors and red brick structure.

I did a quick Google search to confirm, however there were no results regarding the history of this building.I did find a great Donation Value Guide, however, that can help to predict your spending when hitting up an S&A for your thrifty investments.

Check out this Salvation Army in Hell’s Kitchen, New York City on 46th Street between 10th & 11th Avenues.


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Sabrina, above, relaxing on a strangely romantic floral loveseat!


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The size of at least 2 basketball courts [or perhaps a better comparison, an Olympic size pool] the Hell’s Kitchen Salvation Army is definitely the destination to go for thrifty New Yorkers.

The selection of home furniture ranges from general tables & chairs to couches, loveseats and leather chairs. Then there are the classic pieces and then there are the vintage throwbacks just screaming for a new paint job, knobs and a happy, modern home.

1 / This mirror had SUCH potential, but the frame was cracked and Sabrina was coveting an oval mirror for her room. So we passed!

2 / Sabrina & I couldn’t stop loving & lusting over this table & chairs. It was in near perfect condition and of high-quality and high attention to detail. I’m not a fan of those run-of-the-mill wooden round tables with matching wooden chairs, and this is a kitchen table that’s more stylish than standard.

We passed on it though, because it’s $250 worth wasn’t in our price point at the moment. When we returned to Salvation Army later that day, it was SOLD! Not a surprise.

3 / Call me crazy, but if I were to take home this oh-so-70s-set-of-drawers, I’m not sure if I would even want to paint it. Can’t knock the color blocking!

4 / If I were in need of a new nightstand, this white one with a cut-out HEART would have been SO MINE!

5 / I imagine this cabinet in my future LARGE bedroom [as I currently live in the quarters of a 8 feet by 15 feet bedroom] showing my most prized vintage possessions on display.



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This classic, light wood set of six drawers was a classic option that was only sale for less than $60.

DEAL, I know!

However, upon further inspection I found the wood to be flimsy. This was not an “investment” piece to begin with, although the knob, etching and scallop bottom details speak differently upon first glance.

I’m not a furniture expert, but like shopping for high-quality clothes in a thrift store you want to focus on materials first. Opening the drawers and seeing that the wood was thin enough to easily punch a hole threw told me that this set of drawers was the equivalency to a polyester dress, versus a silk one.

And so, we continued to search for the dresser that was the equivalent of a silk dress ….

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…. introducing, the SILK DRESS!

Gagh, I love my metaphors ;-) While the lighting isn’t ideal in this picture, a quick glance at this shot visibly displays the high quality of this painted-white-wood.

I would venture to say this dresser with matching mirror is made of REAL oak, versus the one above that looks like it’s oak mixed with man made materials.

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You definitely can’t punch a hole through these drawers, and the detail along the top, bottom and side of the bureau itself is to die for. I don’t know how to describe it with the proper terminology, but the “pull handles” give this such a lux feel.

A quick consultation with Sabrina determined that we would replace the bronze pull handles with a still-to-be-determined-color. But most importantly, we would pain the entire dresser a mint green — which is one of Sabrina’s favorite colors.

The mint green will really modernize the dresser for a 26-year-old’s bedroom. The top of the dresser will either still oak colored, or we’ll paint that white for contrast. I’d also like to take some sandpaper to the drawers for added vintage distressed effects.

I’m guessing this dresser/mirror combo isn’t older than 30 years old …. but perhaps I’m wrong? What do you vintage lovers think?

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Testing to see if its mirror works! CHECK!



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And to the tune of [drum roll, please!] $149.99! With tax and delivery costs to Brooklyn, the grand total was closer to $220.



Nassau Avenue Station G train

1 / Sabrina lives in a neighborhood called Greenpoint, off the “G” train in Brooklyn. She moved here more than a month ago to seek reprieve from the “Manhattan” life she formerly led. She tells me confidently that she’s never been happier with her living situation — YAY SABRINA!

2 /… AW, SABRINA! lol! Her door mirror is now positioned on a wicker hamper, part of the frame is missing and it’s sadly tilting on its side. Thankfully we can toss this darling as soon as the dresser/mirror appear!

3 / Her bed is positioned against a great wall that we’re envisioning should be painted violet, another one of Sabrina’s favorite colors. It could create a cool effect if just that one wall is painted. I’m also envisioning a stripe of vintage-inspired floral wall paper on the other three walls. The stripe would be in the middle of the white walls, and the floral would include accents of violet to pull everything together.

4 / The corner by her double windows is where we’ll most likely put a vanity from Target. We haven’t pulled the trigger to buy it yet, but I’m encouraging Sabrina to purchase the off white one!

5 / This dark wood console will be moved to Sabrina’s living room. I’d like to add some shelves here, and find something to put below. Maybe we’ll just move her hamper there in the meantime, but I definitely see this space being utilizing for something creative and fun, especially if there’s no need to use this area for extra storage space.

6 / I really like Sabrina’s already-present white touches, like this fabric lamp and white nightstand. I just think that white is so modern for the NYC lady.

7 / And finally … her CLOSET! I’ve spent some time organizing Sabrina’s closet with her in the past, but now that she’s made a big move we MUST clearly define what she hasn’t worn for 6 months and then split that pile into two for donation.

This is my rule of thumb for those who are always “hesitant” to let go of their clothing they haven’t worn in ages. I understand that there may be a need for that random top sometime in the future, however it is healthier for our harmonious style balance to have LESS so that we can be more easily inspired to created MORE. No one can be inspired in moments of frustration sifting through an overflowing closet.

So, to encourage Sabrina to create style peace in her wardrobe, we’re going to look at each.and.every.single.piece and make two piles: The pile of clothing she hasn’t worn for the past 6 months / year, and the pieces she always wears. Then we will identify in the “never worn pile” the pieces she thinks have the most potential to wear. And the rest? DONATE!


Round 2 of decorating & furnishing Sabrina’s apartment launches this Saturday. We’ll be hitting up the Home Depot on 59th street for paint, and venturing to local flea markets to look for other knick knacks we’re envisioning in her bedroom and living quarters.

I’ll update you next week on the final results!

Thrift Store Shopping Like a Pro

Part 1: Thrift Store Shopping- Research
Part 2: Thrift Store Shopping- Preparation
Part 3: Coming Soon
Part 4: Coming Soon
Part 5: Coming Soon

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  1. Christine says:

    Looking forward to watching all this unfold! What a project! The dresser looks like a great find for all the quality reasons you mentioned. Age is tough from the photos. Almost looks like it could be quite old, but, have had the top replaced or refinished to give it a more modern look? Are the drawers dovetailed? and what is the wood used for the drawers? Sometimes that can help…

    I love that Sallies in Manhattan delivers to Brooklyn, priceless! Things have changed since I lived there 1984 – 1988. No Sallies in Hell’s Kitchen when I lived at the Sloane House YMCA on W 34th, and, NONE of the funky places in Williamsburg when I lived in Greenpoint! (although there were a couple of cool, smaller vintage stores along the south side…)

  2. […] example, my friend Sabrina saved hundreds when she bought a dresser thrift store shopping used furniture at theĀ Salvation Army with me last […]

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