Designing Saratoga

Can eBay be your new home design friend? I think so....


         I often search magazines for that one room or item that jumps out at me. You know the room that says, "I wish my living room looked like that!" or "I have to have that coat rack!" I get many of my ideas from the everyday catalogs I get in the mail; they are free after all and cost me nothing to look at.
          It is rare to go through an entire catalog and find nothing that interests me or gets my creative juices flowing. So when I recently bought a new home I was filled with excitement just thinking about each and every room and the endless possibilities that lie ahead. As I added up the ideas in my head so did the dollar signs. They both quickly grew beyond my reach but I wasn't about to give up. I went back to my trusty scrap book of magazine pages that I've ripped out over the years and started to look at the details.

       What I mean by details are all the items NOT for sale in these photos, the props and miscellaneous things tucked here and there. The items on the shelves, night stands and coffee tables that no one really pays attention to, they just seem to belong in the room.


pbbig coffee.jpg

 This is a perfect example from a Pottery Barn catalog. Look at all the items NOT for sale


So I decided to search for those less expensive items or ones similar to create the overall vintage look I was hoping for. This look by most major brands is and can be quite expensive when purchasing their replica items.
       So where did that leave me? eBay. This was when I truly discovered the beauty, convenience and my new found love for eBay. Many of you are probably thinking, 'what took you so long' and to some extent I agree but for someone that doesn't have anything to sell, I guess it was just an untapped resource until now. I never thought to look for random items that were pictured in my favorite catalogs and magazines on the internet. But since I recently had the opportunity to start fresh in a new home I began to search and search often. Nine times out of ten I landed on eBay. So I opened an account and began my journey.
         I was skeptical at first on the whole idea of bidding on items. I didn't want to spend my days going back and forth on a dollar here or ten dollars there. Then there was the deep rooted question that we all ask ourselves, "would I be able to walk away from the item I so quickly fell in love with without over spending?" I was about to find out. The first few items I lost I was crushed however the good news about eBay is that if you don't win that 1930s Remington Portable typewriter there is always another just waiting for you to try and win. I quickly learned this and felt more at ease as I shopped.
          When I received my first item in the mail, I knew I was on the right track. As I pulled out the old newspaper my items were packed in, the musty smell of old books came wafting towards me and I was in heaven. For $8.00 (plus shipping) I received 6 books that were over 100 years old! They were going to look perfect on the shelf. I can assure you I'd never get those old books for that price at one of the more popular furniture stores. Throughout the next months I searched catalogs and then right to eBay with tremendous success. The Metal Bingo Cage with 104 Wood Balls is a major conversation piece and I am pretty sure I won't find one in my friends' home.


bingo cage.JPG

 The 1/2 pint antique milk bottle that now holds sea shells from my summer trip to Maine is by my standards, a one of a kind piece. One of my favorite purchases so far is my Remington Typewriter (I did win one after all). It looks beautiful on an old sewing machine stand and still works!




Need more ideas? I found this picture of a living room (in another segment I will show you how I recreated this room on a budget as well) and loved the idea of the picture hanging in the middle from what appears to be a knob and ribbon.

114-0509-living-room-mdn.jpgSo I began looking for my own version of a knob and I found a set of Glass Door Knobs with Lock Plates for only $9.95.  I took the set with me to my local Home Depot and asked a gentleman there to help me fasten the glass doorknob to the plate so it would be flush against my wall. After numerous attempts at finding just the right size screw and nut I was half way to my completed project. I picked a picture I already had; it was a watercolor I bought off a street vendor in Paris for 10 Euros. I bought the ribbon and tied it on the back. I chose the ribbon color based on some of the accent colors from the room and within a day I had completed a simple and very inexpensive project, if you don't count the trip to Paris!



framed picutre.JPGSo when I go shopping and find myself staring in the window of a shop or I'm flipping through a magazine and become transfixed on a certain room, I'm really making mental notes of items to search for. Searching is free and keeps my ideas as well as my home looking fresh!

Shop eBay, it works. Look at it as antique shopping right from your very own, well decorated home.

Until next time, happy decorating!

No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL:


| Leave a comment

Seldom I write comments, because I realize its better to be muted than write stupid, but now I wanted to congratulate you. Some write, that any bridge is beautiful, and I write that such entries are needed more, perhaps many others will open your face. Thanks, if I invite myself to do it very subtly.

Resources like the one you mentioned here will be very useful to me! I will post a link to this page on my blog. I am sure my visitors will find that very useful.

Leave a comment

Main Menu


Leave a Comment


Kimberlee Billok
From humble beginnings redecorating my childhood bedroom every few months much to my mother’s chagrin, to years of life as a military spouse making short-term stops our own, to finding myself in Saratoga Springs in a 90-year-old home in need of lots of TLC, I have always enjoyed honing my home decorating and design skills in pursuit of making a house a home for the most important people in my world, my husband Mike and our three children. In pursuit of this goal/obsession I have put my undergraduate studio art studies to work, as well as the unofficial HGTV degree I’ve earned under the tutelage of Vern Yip, Genevieve Gorder, Candace Olson, and the other pros who make us all feel as if we can create as they do. I’ve had the good fortune to have numerous colleagues, friends and family who have trusted me enough to allow me to design their spaces as well, and even redecorated the office of my children’s elementary school principal, which although intimidating, was quite a good time (think a juxtaposition of animal prints and sharpened pencils…luckily she loved it!).

Outside of the decorating/design realm I inhabit in my free time, I am fortunate to spend my days teaching 3 and 4 year old preschoolers here in Saratoga, who can’t help but inspire me to be creative on a regular basis. So since every part of life is an adventure, please join me on this one…combining form and function, design and real life, making each room feel beautiful, comfortable, classic, and personal. All wrapped up in a structure that has been in existence before the invention of spray paint (it’s true—I looked it up!). Here goes!!