4-19-13 Poca woman’s thrifty finds make trendy furnishings

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POCA, W.Va. (AP) — Jennifer Rader’s Putnam County apartment reflects her personality _ cheerful and bright.

It looks as though she spent hours and lots of money achieving the perfect blend of shabby and chic, with a crisp color scheme that incorporates neutrals and black with pops of red.

The first part of that is right – Rader has put time and care into her apartment, located above a business on Main Street here.

As for the second part _ spending lots of money? No way.

Rader, who works as an office manager for a doctor’s office in Teays Valley, minds her pennies at home, too. Just about every single purchase for her three-bedroom apartment was a bargain find.

“Practically everything I’ve got is from estate sales, yard sales and flea markets,” she said.

Rader has a knack for putting it all together, the secret being her strong but clean color scheme.

The dining room table has a distressed painted finish; the table is off-white and the chairs are red. It looks as though it matches the library table placed against an adjacent wall.

The two were separate acquisitions. The dining set was a bartered find _ she traded it for babysitting. The library table was purchased at an estate sale.

“Even the legs look alike,” Rader noted.

Each room is anchored by a few signature pieces, and Rader is willing to pay more for those. The living room sofa, loveseat and chair were purchased new; a red checked chair came from a primitives shop in Milton. It is an older chair that has been recovered.

One of her most favorite pieces of furniture is a red armoire that holds her television.

It was $250 at a yard sale, but Rader knew it was a quality piece that had cost much more new.

“It was meant to be,” she said of its color. She knew it would be a focal point in her living room, so it was worth the price.

Her oversized coffee table was a thrifty purchase, as were side tables.

Rader shops estate and yard sales _ a lot, especially this time of year _ but every purchase is a thoughtful one.

“I see it and I know if I can use it,” she said. “I’m going for that shabby-chic cottage look.”

Most pieces haven’t required refinishing or painting, again, because she seeks items in her colors. But a $50 buffet, purchased at a St. Albans yard sale, was painted green and Rader and her mom stripped it back to its original wood.

She loves red, but her use of it isn’t overwhelming.

“What I try to do is bring a little piece of red in whenever I can,” she said. A set of red Longaberger bowls lines an angled white shelf in her dining room _ they were a trade for dog sitting a friend.

A vintage white china cabinet holds red dishware.

Neutral furniture gets a pop of red with quilts and pillows, most purchased new but at discount retailers such as Stein Mart, TJ Maxx and Marshall’s.

Rader has a good eye and credits her mom with helping that along. But she says anyone can furnish a home with thrifty finds. The key is to have an idea of what you need and a cohesive design scheme, even if it is just to focus on color.

“My mom taught me to buy tastefully,” she said.

Rader scours the newspapers for estate sales, her first choice for scavenging because they usually offer houses full of items. Yard sales and flea markets are next. Recently, Rader has discovered Facebook yard sales _ folks who sell their items through Facebook by “advertising” them with photos.

Rader’s SUV is usually big enough to haul what she purchases, and after having trekked things to her second-story apartment, she jokes, “I will never move.”

Rader has a soft spot for a couple of items that aren’t furniture. She loves cookbooks and points to her $6 purchase for a dozen Southern Living annual cookbooks as one of her better finds. She also looks for Atlas Glass products, mostly drinking glasses, because they are colorful and sturdy.

In the last year Rader has lost a lot of weight and recently discovered exercise equipment is readily available on the used market. She already has a stationary bike and a mini trampoline.

Interestingly, she’s not much for talking sellers down on their price.

“I have a hard time doing that in person,” she said. If the price is fair, she pays it.

Which leads to her biggest tip.

“Don’t be wishy-washy. The biggest mistake people make is deciding to wait (on a purchase) and then they miss out,” she said. “If it works, why wait?”

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