Thrift the Look

Vintage Lake House

You guys, I’ve been blogging a long time and it has been literal ages since I’ve had THIS MUCH FUN on a blog post. Sarah, one of our admins from the Creative Vintage Darling’s Facebook group and blogger extraordinaire at Sadie’s Season Goods, challenged us to ‘thrift the look.’ In this blog tour we want to show you how a magazine worthy look can be achieved with items from the Thrift Shop! As Sarah says, it’s “thriftcheivable!” 

Our inspiration comes from Country Living Magazine and their Maine Coastal Look renovation feature. Sarah asked us to choose one of the following photos and then recreate their vibe with ‘junk’ from the thrifts. I chose to work from the image on the right and I’ll include my thrift shop costs where I can.

Now, I don’t have any wood paneling in our home, shiplap or otherwise, and I generally don’t share projects that are staged. Most of what I share here is our real stuff at home but for this thrifty scavenger hunt, I was willing to bend how I  blog. Not enough to install shiplap however 😉 Instead, I decided to set up the scene in our bedroom on top of our dresser. We have a vintagey blue wall in there that I felt would be a nice backdrop for a lake house scene. It worked out so well!

Lamp: The lamp in the inspiration photo is a lighter wood tone and let me tell you I searched and searched for a lamp for this post. I didn’t have one that suited in size but I did find the shade ($2.50) . It was a hideous dusty pink, complete with actual dust. I ripped it apart and re-papered it with this thrifted vintage wall paper ($.50) and I’m so in love. I didn’t end up actually finding a lamp base so I faked it with a candlestick. Sometimes it takes time to find the exact right thing and sometimes the exact right thing has to be cobbled together but at some point, there WILL be a wooden lamp base the right size at the thrift store. 
– I’m sure I’ll find the perfect one tomorrow! 

I paired the lamp with thrifted vintage books ($1.50 ea) a green vase ($.50) and a brass trinket dish ($1.50) I already owned the jewelry (worn at my sister’s wedding this summer) and the parrot bud vase is available in my shop. I thought he was a little piratey and belonged right at home with the ship!

One of the elements that made the original photo so successful was shape repetition. In the inspiration shot you can see there are circles everywhere and that’s not by accident. To achieve a similar result I focused on finding items with a circular shape. The brass bird wall hanging and clock in this image suit the bill. I found the clock at a garage sale (it’s also in my shop) and the birds at the Salvation Army ($3.99)

More circles and nautical fun with this wooden ships wheel which was by far the most expensive item I purchased. It was $14.99 which is outrageous and if I hadn’t been doing this challenge I wouldn’t have given it a second look. It was larger than I wanted but I’m glad I snagged it in the end because I didn’t ever find a smaller one. I added the water colour artwork to the center and the rope twine to finish it off.

More circle repetition with the little plastic copper toned mirror ($1) and this clock housing also fitted with nautical water colour artwork. You might remember this item from a previous Christmas home tour! All I did was add the sail boat and it was ready to go with this theme.  Let’s take one more look at that inspiration photo.

I loved the Maine tea towel that was in the original shot and I have several linen towels I’ve thrifted previously but none of them were right. One was lemons, another purple and the rest were horizontal images. That’s okay, this grain sack, which I already had hanging in our bedroom was a great stand in. It was a tactile textile and portrait oriented. 

Overall I’m really happy with my re-created lake house look. The scale of some of my items is different but the main elements are there. Repeated circles? Check. Lamp? Sort of check. Vase and greenery? Check. Sailboats? Check. Interested in flipping thrift shop finds? Read more here.

You might argue that you don’t have the ability to just whip up some custom artwork but there are other ways to get the images you want for cheap. Thrift a kids’ book and pull some images out. Go online and find some stock images to print or just give it a whirl yourself. You might be surprised what you can do with a pencil and some paper!

If you take anything from this post it’s that a fantastic magazine inspired look CAN be bought for very little at a thrift shop. Here are a few tips to help you on your quest.

✨ Take that photo with you. Either pull it out of the magazine or snap an image with your phone. Refer to it every time you’re at the thrift.

✨  Look at how the items are grouped together

✨  Look for recurring shapes or colour themes.

✨  Be flexible! You might need to wait a while to find that perfect thing or you might need to give something a lick of paint. It’s never going to be an exact match (which would be boring anyway!) but you can get that look!

The other bloggers have their own take on the Thrifted Vintage Lake House theme and you’ll get loads of ideas on how to pull it all together for your home too.

Now please go see how the rest of the team, thrifted the look.

Thrift the look - Vintage Lake House - Creative Vintage Darlings | Sadie Seasongoods | Virginia Sweet Pea | Postcards from the Ridge

  Thrift the look - Vintage Lake House - Creative Vintage Darlings

Itsy Bits and Pieces | Audrey Would | Lora B. Create & Ponder | Vinyet Etc.




  1. Ackkkkk! Yours is absolutely fabulous- and I love your discussion about the recurring shapes, that’s so smart and SO spot on! Seriously, awesome job…and I thought it was a real lamp! Never would have known if you hadn’t told us. 🙂

  2. I was dying to see how the ship’s wheel came into play…I still chuckle when I think about your day-of-discovery comment 😉 What a great idea to up its ante with the ship image and the rope. Brilliant! And that lamp! Who would ever know the base was meant for a candle? I think my favourite though is the shade. What a great makeover and whoa, that pink ‘stuff’ sure did have to go! I love the tips you shared too, Heather. They’re really great. Love your lake house look!

  3. I love how you Thrifted the Look, so much! My faves, your mad watercolour skills (NUTS) and that banner – the fact that a Canadian goose is proudly flying by… LOVE that! I also love your check list, so smart!

  4. You totally fooled me that you weren’t using a real lamp with the gorgeous shade that you created! Your entire vignette is so pretty and would look perfect in a lake house.

  5. I’m drooling over your feedsack! I love how you DIYed your items to work with the theme. And you had that ship vintage wallpaper…?! Never could have found all that ship stuff around here:( That wheel is awesome…even for the price.

    • I found that wallpaper months and months ago and picked it up because I honestly loved it. I thought to myself “I have no idea what the heck I’m going to do with this but it’s too awesome to leave behind.” Things somehow have a way of coming together 🙂

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