Vintage Barn Boutique in Ann Arbor

vintage sale and pepperWhat started out as an adventure one Saturday morning, has turned into a year long passion of found treasures.  Several months ago, I found myself unable to sleep.  I tossed and turned until finally, I headed down to the kitchen for a cup of hot tea.  Blaring in the darkness was my computer screen; bright, vivid and beckoning me to sit down and surf the web.  Almost immediately, I found an ad for a local auction scheduled for the following day.  I flipped through the photos of items that were going to be auctioned and I knew I had to be there.  Hence, the beginning of discovering my passion for beautiful vintage treasures.

I was fascinated with the stories told by the Auctioneer as to the history of that day’s Auctioned Estate.  The owner of the Estate had passed away the previous year and the remaining family members had decided to sell items that they either did not want or did not have room to store.  The family had owned the oldest Ford Dealership in the Chelsea Michigan area and many items were being auctioned that day.  Original magazine publications, Antique/Vintage toys, silver, furniture and clothes.  This was my first experience with an Auction and by the end of the day, I purchased several furniture pieces, silver, toy trains, collectable liqueur bottles and picture frames.

Garnier 2 Chambers

Garnier 2 Chambers

Hennessy Cognac La Dame de Richonne

Hennessy Cognac La Dame de Richonne

One item in particular that drew my attention was an antique Humidor.  The body of the furniture piece was in fairly good condition, with the exception of it being encased in dirt after years of attic storage.  I brought it home, cleaned it up and discovered the true beauty of the wood and the copper interior.  What an incredibly beautiful piece.


With this  being my first auction, I was very timid and low with my bids.  I wasn’t willing to go higher than $25 for anything.  Even with a predetermined mindset of how much I was willing to spend, I ended up purchasing a box of collectible Liqueurs for $25/box.  Imagine my surprise when I checked out and learned I had purchased 9 boxes at $25/box.  “Surprise….”

So, the number one thing I learned at my first Auction?  Know what you are bidding on before you bid.  Listen to the Auctioneer because they will state, “this bid is for 9 times the money”, and once you win the bid, you have to pay for it.   I was very fortunate with my costly mistake; inside these boxes were very unique bottles and most had a higher resale value than what I originally paid for it.  A few of the bottles were broken, but most were in excellent condition.  Call it beginner’s luck!  After several auctions under my belt, I now pay attention to each item and know the values before I bid.

I decided to open Vintage Barn Boutique when family and friends encouraged me to share my Vintage finds with others.  Many items are true antiques (100+ years old).  Many items are refurbished and up-cycled Vintage pieces (20 + years old).  My number one criteria for all of my Vintage products, is I do not sell anything that is plastic or manufactured with particle board.  Due to these one-of-a-kind pieces, I do not offer shipping.  Our store room is conveniently located in downtown Ann Arbor, across from the University of Michigan Stadium.  Our current hours are By Appointment and will try our best to accommodate your time schedule.  You can call me at (734) 788-7100 for your private showing today!

Thank you,

Cathy Melton

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