Thursday, April 19, 2012

Crazy for Crates

Does anything beat the patina of old wood?  Tables & chairs, beams, shutters, breadboards & kitchen utensils….I will take them all…these are constantly on my Want List!  Lately, my obsession has become vintage wooden crates.  I bought a trio of beautiful vintage brewery crates dated 1934 in Old Town Orange with Raquel on a shopping trip a year ago and since then these crates have taken turns gracing everyone’s booth at one time or another, including my own, to display my day’s purchases~


Last year in Beaune I bought three gorgeous raisin (grape) crates as well as a trio of vintage apple crates, all aged to perfection.  Sorry I have no photos of those to show you here, but they get used weekly at the Sunday Rancho Santa Fe market as well.

A month or so ago, I ran into our best local garden store for a quick Saturday purchase, and guess what they had; nicely weathered vintage crates filled with herbs, for…gulp…$100….style addicts note the grey wood and greige paint cobination to perfection….


On my next trip to the same store, I discovered more crates, though these were empty.  Not a great deal at $40 unless they were perfect….and so after looking at each of the 100+ crates, I decided on three that I liked.  I wanted to use them in the garden, so they all have smoothly worn handle grips and no damage, and of course, the South Bay Farmers Coop stamp on the side~


I have used these three crates for the last month in the garden, transporting supplies and tools and seedlings….very handy, not to mention addictive.  I brought one of them to the Sunday market, where Raquel instantly recognized them from a large chain store the year before.  Off she went to investigate, and found the exact same crates absolutely stuffed with bedding flowers….for $20! Wow! I bought six more!!!


But the story doesn’t end there….Raquel managed to get the guy at the store to tell her where they got the crates.  SCORE! We went yesterday and found several pallets full….at $10 each~


It was the same as at the garden store though, after looking at hundreds of crates, we found only a few that we wanted~


Talk about patina…..I love these crates.  I have pinned them on my Pinterest Boards for several arrangements….they are great singly or in quantity, even in distressed quality~


The supplier sells them exclusively to the chain store, filled with herbs or flowers.  We were told we could not resell them (I will keep mine and others will be featured at the new market Raquel is managing and I am styling).  I couldn’t resist this one filled with thyme; it became my tenth and final crate and will be used at the Laguna Beach Earth Day celebration this weekend~


Raquel wanted this one filled with flowers; wish we would have taken it at $25….and now that I look at these photos, I wish I would have taken more….more more more…oh no, am I becoming a crate hoarder!?


These were ready to go. Surely for Mother’s Day?


Cute transport~


Leaving the supplier, we also saw the source, down the road….a now defunct South Bay San Diego coop.  I had imagined LA or San Francisco, but no, it’s closer to home.


There are pallets full still left to fill with plants and move….I’m wondering, can I take a few more??


I love the crates stacked up; here are some of the ones I chose~


Saturday we will use them in Laguna as I am styling the “eco lounge” for the Earth Day event.  I am thinking of using them for side tables and for traffic control.  Twenty matching crates, of which seven are potted.  Geometry plus patina…I love them~


Plus the three Philadelphia 1934 crates makes 23.  I love to see objects nested inside…here a small urn I planted with a sprout mix, which will go for the Saturday event~


Eventually I will use all of these crates in my new potting shed which I am planning.  The crates will pack one wall and hold my collection of bird nests and other vignettes….I have brought my Grandmother’s doves back in from the garden and cleaned them up for a new location in the potting shed~


I am wondering if any of you share a love of vintage crates…..if you want to know the names of where to buy, please email me or comment.  I have some great things planned for our Earth Day lounge which I will start to show you tomorrow….


  1. SCORE is right! These crates are beautiful! I think I like old wood because it has a story!
    One of these would make the most wonderful giveaway!!!!

  2. I love them and they look fantastic as a grouping.
    I just found your blog and am enjoying your posts. As your new follower, I also look forward to your visit and comments

  3. Absolutely perfect!
    Such a beautiful way to recycle!!

  4. I wish I was closer - I would really enjoy having a couple of those fantastic crates. Great find!!

  5. I. LOVE. THEM.
    My first thought when you said $10 was I hope she bought them all!
    What great gifts as well, filled with treats or linens or herbs. Oh my heart is racing.
    I'm off to email you so next time I'm in San Diego I can fill my trunk :)

  6. Andrea you have been having so much fun!! These crates are wonderful, a super find, perfect patina and look so beautiful fulled with flowers or plants!I love your adventures in San Diego and it makes me truly miss Southern California!

    I hope you come visit; a $100 Giveaway from Soft Surroundings on my site if you would like to enter!!

    Art by Karena

  7. A great find Andrea. Your booth will be a knock-out for sure! Enjoy and good luck this weekend.

  8. Andrea, very clever uses for these beauties....I have always loved old crates, and here in Niagara they are plentiful as our fruit farmers and grape growers use them for their harvests. I have quite a few as well and use them in my garden and potting is not difficult to become a hoarder...I can relate!!! N.xo

  9. Very nice, indeed. I have a couple from old bulb vendors we used to order from when I worked in a nursery. I am too far living in northern CA to get these; will have to take another look around here!

  10. Andrea,
    Nice post about the crates. I am sending a note through your blog because I have not heard from you about my basket that I ordered from you on Feb.16,2012 on your French Basketeer retail site. Maybe you could follow up with a email mail and let me know what is going on.
    Thank you for your quick response.

    1. Hi Theresa- your Bandol basket is ready to leave Morocco and should be here in the next week; I will email you now....

  11. Andrea what a lovely post! And so in sinc with my doings..just this week as I was going
    Through our storage room, i rediscivered old gas crates, 20 of them, most from
    America, imprinted with beautiful images of "laurel" and "pegasus" and shell.
    I presume petrol was sold in tins that was packed in these crates.
    Laurel has a green laurel of leaves on it, Pegasus a flying horse, and Shell a huge shell.
    If we were closer we could have swapped some!
    Have a lovely weekend.
    Colette xx

  12. Hi Andrea,
    Love the crates! Can't believe I don't own a single crate ....I must be missing out.
    If I had some I would put industrial wheels on them and line them with burlap!
    The Moss Chair is fabulous!
    Have fun,

  13. Hi Andrea! I love all things old and wooden! I would love to know the source for your crates! Thank you for this post! Love your blog and great success with the Laguna Green Earth Day event!

  14. I would love to know what chain carried these ..they would make a wonderful mothers day gift..enjoy your have amazing taste thanks

  15. Andrea, I just came across your blog as I was looking for crate design ideas. I discovered about 20 vintage produce crates in my mother-in-law's garage this Summer. Rather than toss them out, i decided to keep them as the printed paper labels on the side are very cool. I love your design ideas and plan to put some herbs in some of mine that don't have labels.

    1. HOLD On to those Crates!!! They are more and more valuable and you will regret if you ever sell them!!!

    2. Dear Tony, just seeing this now....HOLD ON TO those will want them!

  16. This is very educational content and written well for a change. It's nice to see that some people still understand how to write a quality post.!

  17. Crazy for Crates i agree with this keep it up