As we’re trying to do most of the work ourselves, we have to be smart about the resources we use. In addition to the large collection of beautiful 70s pieces that my husband has been collecting for years, we’ve been searching hard to find unusual or beautiful pieces.
I hit the ground running in Brussels this week to check out the most obvious locations. First stop is Les Petits Rien main shop on Rue Américaine. I *love* this shop! I’ve found so many treasures; some awesome fabrics, handy kitchen items and fancy notepaper there since I arrived in Brussels five years ago. Another shop on the same lines is l’Armée du Salut (Salvation Army for you anglophones!) second hand shop near Place Sainte Catherine in town. It’s a little out of my way, so I don’t go there too often, but I’ve found some great pieces there. Their furniture is sometimes wonderful and sooooo cheap!
In the line of second hand shops, one of the biggest enterprises in Belgium is Troc International. You can find some major pieces of furniture here, and good quality household appliances to boot. They have branches everywhere in Belgium and the quality of the stock really varies from store to store. Check out these beautiful pieces I found last Saturday after a rainy trek to Troc in Etterbeek.
Beeeautiful 1950s pieces
Awesome apple crates for €12 a pieces
This set of drawers is really special.
The last place to look for specific pieces was Rue Blaes and Rue Haute in Brussels. These streets lead off from Place du Jeu de Balle in the Marolles neighbourhood and are lined door to door with antique shops. You have to be careful though, if you are antique hunting for the first time – some of these shops stock “fintage” pieces. Fake vintage. It looks old school but it’s been remade using crappy contemporary materials and not the quality materials of older pieces. The streets are definitely worth browsing though, along with the market.
Once I did some ground work in Brussels, I went home to start sifting through online resources. The two main places I’m checking regularly are 2ememain and recently discovered Kapaza. Facebook also has some great second hand groups for people living in Brussels. There is a lot of new stuff going for very cheap because expats only stay for a few years in this constantly changing city, and when they leave they typically do a quick sale to get rid of major pieces of furniture.
We’re also looking for warehouse style shops selling end-of-stock products. We’ve seen some beautiful handmade tiles going for next to nothing because there are only a few left. We’ll be snapping them up!
So, I’m on a constant browse of second hand Belgium! It’s fun, but a little bewildering at times, raising questions such as “Why would they photograph that bath with no lights on in the room?!” and “Is it madness to arrange my entire bathroom around the most beautiful tap I’ve ever seen?!” (I tried to find the link to show you all but alas the most beautiful tap has been sold.) I’ve also taken to carrying a tape measure in my pocket at all times, weighing me down somewhat.
How creepy are these Pinocchio dolls I found in Troc. Buy all six of them for an extra creepy effect!
What are your second hand search tips in Belgium? They’re most welcome and we’ll be on the hunt for another few months yet!