35 fabulous ways to outfit your home and spruce your garden without blowing your budget.
Photography by Nat Rea
1 Fine Linen
Matouk Factory Store
If there’s a teeny-weeny defect, we’re positive you won’t be able to ﬁnd it in the heady outlay of ﬁne quality sheets, blanket covers, duvets, towels and shower curtains. Merchandise is generally discounted at 45 percent to 75 percent below retail. In other words, a set of dreamy queen sheets, with cases, that might be listed at $500 in an upscale shop can be yours for around $150 to $250. 925 Airport Road, Fall River, Mass., 508-997-3444, matouk.com.
2 Major Appliances
Whirlpool refrigerators sporting icemakers sell for anywhere from $899 to more than $1,000, but not at Bucky’s. Recently, they were offering a mint-condition Whirlpool fridge with ice maker for $250. A Whirlpool thirty-inch gas range was just $129. Sometimes delivery is included, but the real savings are had when you pick up. They stock reconditioned and scratch-and-dent (like anybody will notice) appliances as well as used and new models. 1269 Broad Street, Central Falls, 724-3366.
3 Tabletop Accessories
Wickford Gourmet Factory Outlet
Why pay top dollar for table linens by the likes of Primitive Artisans and Now Designs? This outlet stocks colorful napkins that might run eight dollars each somewhere fancier for $1.50 to three dollars per, along with countless cotton and linen placemats for two dollars to $3.50. Wine glasses run $2.50 to ﬁve dollars a piece, and these are the genteel sort, not the type that feel like you’re hoisting a stone. Salad bowls, mugs, dishware of all kinds (check out the lidded condiment holders—diminutive spoons included!—for less than four dollars), even cooking equipment is discounted. 656 Ten Rod Road, North Kingstown, 294-8430.
Onne van der Wal Gallery
There’s always a generous cache of variously sized handsome nautical and marine-related photographs by this nationally known artist set aside at 50 percent off. That’s a take-note drop given that framed and signed nautical prints start at about $195 for an eight-by-twelve and sail (no pun intended) into the thousands. For additional buying opportunities watch, as collectors do, for the regular store and online sales. 1 Bannister’s Wharf, Unit 2, Newport, 849-5556, vanderwal.com.
5 Decorative Lamps
Their studio showroom (call ahead for hours) displays some marked-down items. But legions of fans tune in regularly to view their online clearance pages, which feature anywhere from thirty to forty discounted lamps no longer being offered to national retailers. These aren’t seconds; each is impeccably crafted, functional and artful, with details like hand-cast stems and hand-painted shades in colors that sing. Sign up for email notices of future sales and events and you’ll be privy to even more sweet deals. 79 Joyce Street, Warren, 245-7676, altamiralighting.com.
6 Upscale Antique and Twentieth-century Pieces
Antiques & Interiors
Don’t think you’re escaping without an investment. But compared to what you’d have to cough up in Manhattan for these goods, this shop is a gem. Amid the costlier alabaster lamps, the swanky reconditioned furnishings, mirrors and garden accoutrements, you may also spy a decorative Italian Tole sconce for $175. Sure, the marble-topped kitchen table started out at $2,600, but it’s marked down 25 percent and it has— be still our hearts—porcelain feet! 65 Ashburton Street, Providence, 272-4441, antiquesandinteriors.biz.
Adler’s Design Center and Hardware
Giddy. That’s how we feel about having so many choices. Adler’s discounts their pa-pers all year, but March and October are sale months. Domestic papers normally marked down 25 percent are cut an additional 10 percent; European papers (including those English country-house types that are in vogue) normally 15 percent off go down another 5 percent for a grand markdown of 20 percent! 173 Wickenden Street, Providence, 421-5157, adlersri.com.
8 Nautical Accessories
Marine Consignment of Wickford
You don’t have to have set foot anywhere near the water to appreciate the tsunami of unique hardware, rope, charts, barware, lighting, instruments and more. Classic brass lanterns for about $175 a pair or two ﬁsh prints (framed!) for four dollars each? Who knows what your hunt—and we mean hunt— will reveal. 7725 Post Road, North Kingstown, 295-9709, marineconsignment.com.
9 Custom Metal Work
The Metal Works Corporation
Imagination always trumps money: A streamlined four-foot-long coffee table, with a wood veneer top and fourteen-inch-tall, simple metal legs, costs almost $700 at a certain local design store. If we commission a similar base from Metal Works, we’ll save about $400. They’ll even throw in a free prime and paint ﬁnish should we want to ratchet it up. When we get home, we’ll plunk a slab of recycled wood on top and count the dough in our pockets. 3940 Main Road, Tiverton, 624-4400.
Gardening on a Dime
Five great markdowns for the green thumb
Rhode Island Wild Plant Society
Become a member (thirty-seven dollars for individual; ﬁfty-three dollars family) and among the many rewards: early admission and ﬁrst pick at annual plant sales (featuring a plethora of native plants and shrubs like cinnamon ferns, asters and spice bush), and a 10 percent discount at more than twenty local nurseries and discounted garden-tour tickets so you can gather ideas for beds and borders. 42 North Road, Peace Dale, 789-7497, riwps.org.
It’s not unusual to pay more than twenty dollars for a David Austin rose. So Roseland’s regular cost categories of about $13.99, $16.99 and $19.99 translate into more buying opportunities. There are 300-plus varieties (in color-coded pots) including, of course, popular antique and English types. What’s more, on Labor Day the nursery holds its annual sale: two high-quality roses for the price of one. 247 Main Street, Acushnet, Mass., 800-777-2292, roselandroses.com.
12 Rehabbed Lawnmowers
In addition to lawnmower maintenance, Ernest Charest overhauls previously owned lawnmowers. Buy machines by companies like John Deere and Torro for as little as about $150 for a bagger or about $100 for a side blower beauty. That’s cost cutting! Choices are dependent on how many Charest is offering on any given week. And leave the plastic at home; Ernie’s tiny hands-on hub is cash only. 20 Ten Rod Road, North Kingstown, 294-4006.
Ocean State Job Lot
A classic twenty-three-inch terra cotta container at one of the better-known mail-order nurseries costs $899! At Job Lot, a fourteen-inch copy cat sells for less than ﬁfty dollars. Glazed or unglazed, patterned, round and square, you never know ’til spring breaks. Act quickly: The best go fast. And if you haven’t checked out Job Lot’s cost-effective seed selection (40 percent off Burpee brand), run, don’t walk. Various locations, osjl.com.
Earth Care Farm
At twenty dollars a cubic yard (sixty dollars for screened), this certiﬁed organic compost—which incorporates everything from zoo manure to wood ashes—is over-the-top rich. Hence, a little goes a long way. For additional savings, purchase more than ﬁfteen yards (arrange to share with neighbors) and borrow a friend’s truck (delivery costs extra) to haul the gold yourself. Call ahead. 364-9930, earthcarefarm.com.
Frugal ﬁnds abound at these three salvage yards.
15 Fireplace Mantles
Brooklyn Restoration Supply
Swapping out a dated ﬁreplace mantle for something unique? Instant charm. Proprietor Rudy Rzeznikiewicz has at least 150 antique mantles in all different styles. In a blue moon, he might let one go for $100, but usually they’re in the $200 to $300 range. Try getting a decorative mantle built for that! At twenty dollars a pair, we’re also loading up on the old louvered shutters (Home Depot’s forty-seven-by-ﬁfteen-inch pair sells for $80.40). Rudy also stockpiles windows, stained glass, and antique hardware and ﬂoorboards. 12 Gorman Road, Brooklyn, Conn., 860-774-6759.
16 Old Radiators
National Wrecking Company
Most recently, our favorite antique radiator here was a decorative silver model for about $100. But there are hundreds to choose from (steam and hot water), so staying on budget isn’t an issue. You can’t be timid; forage through the heaps of iron, wood and marble items to uncover the real prizes. Case in point: eighty-dollar-a-pair antique corbels we yanked from a box. New ones priced online—minus the endearing patina of age—cost $120. 130 Grotto Avenue, Pawtucket, 723-1545.
17 Architectural Salvage
New England Demolition & Salvage
A Beumont freestanding oval tub that’s a dead ringer for a nineteenth-century model costs $9,105 from a national company like Waterworks. Buy an original clawfoot tub (there are some 500) at this place, with prices starting at about $350, and you’ll have leftover funds for a cool faucet. Still, that’s just the beginning. Don’t leave without rummaging through the humongous but impressively tidy stacks of fabulous old windows, doors and newel posts. 73 Cove Street, New Bedford, Mass., 508-992-1099, nedsalvage.com.
The Hope Chest
Under new ownership, The Hope Chest has expanded. Stock now includes never-used furniture, like a $675 brown leather loveseat (similar sofas—okay, a tad bigger—are just south of $1,000 at Pottery Barn), along with plenty of antique and vintage wares. Prices across the board, whether it’s a dining room hutch, a quilt or an arts-and-crafts-like lamp, are affordable and less than you’d pay buying new, for sure. 2953 Hartford Avenue, Johnston, 949-2333, thehopechest.com.
Cardi’s Clearance Center
Bargains? How’s 40,000 square feet of them? Troll and you’re apt to unearth a Broyhill sofa, usually selling for about $799, going for $298. Although this is the company’s largest clearance outlet, there’s also a smaller version at the Braintree store, and every Cardi’s maintains a clearance area, a gathering of limited edition furnishings marked down 10 percent to 30 percent. You’ll also ﬁnd accessories marked down 50 percent and area rugs 20 percent off in all stores, too. 999 Newport Avenue (Rte. 1A), South Attleboro, Mass., 508-915-5600.
20 Specialty Hardware
Although they are not a discount store, all stock and custom hardware in their 1,450-square-foot gallery is discounted: latches, hinges, knobs, handles, pulls—you get the picture. Brands like Baldwin, a mid-range hardware, are discounted 25 percent. Do the bath and the kitchen at the same time so you really notice the savings. Think of it this way: The savings on twelve dollars is three dollars; the savings on a $100 order is twenty-ﬁve dollars! 590 Main Road, Tiverton, 624-8800, build withtheh.com.
Here’s where area experts go to source head-turning wares at wallet-friendly prices.
21 Who: Nina Tegu, owner, Studio Hop, Providence
22 Who: Jim Estes, partner, Estes/Twombly Architects, Newport
23 Who: Beth Siqueland-Gresh, co-owner, Grasmere, Barrington
24 Who: Susan Symonds, owner, Susan Symonds Interior Design, Providence
Big Box Bargains
Why neglect the chain gang?
25 Table Lamps
27 Cook Top
28 Outdoor Furniture
The “attic sale” at Bert Gallery makes ﬁne art affordable. Brokered from private collections and the estates of artists, the ever-changing inventory is “offered for sale below the established retail value as requested by owners,” explains owner Cathy Bert. The latest batch from a collector of some forty years includes an endearing oil of roses signed R.F. Rosa in a period gold frame for $600. Normally, the same painting would fetch $800 to $900. Works on paper can sometimes sell for less than $100. 540 South Water Street, Providence, 751-2628, bertgallery.com.
The Color House
CH’s North Kingstown location has a bounty of “oops” cans of paint that for one reason or another got left behind. Benjamin Moore, Cabbott, California, name brands for interior and exterior, marked eight dollars per gallon, four dollars per quart. Yucky colors? Not at all. We noted many pretty neutrals: pearly gray, beige and misty green. With luck you’ll hit a week when there’s, say, a gallon of Impervo latex, regularly ﬁfty-two dollars, amidst the offerings. These bargain paints are displayed in the basement, so you’ll have to ask to see them. 8190 Post Road, North Kingstown, 294-6100.
Tableware and tile to last a lifetime and—how blessed are we?—it regularly goes on sale. Discover vases, mugs and bowls glazed (all nontoxic) in heart-warming colors like violet blue or jade. These are objects of beauty that also happen to be useful. Save a whopping 50 percent at their spring (May 2 and 3) and Columbus Day weekend “seconds” sales. Place an order—how about a spirit-lifting backsplash for the kitchen?—any time during January and you’ll save 25 percent. 3842 Main Road, Tiverton, 816-0010, roseberrywinn.com.
33 Building Supplies
DIY types can go right to the source for great deals on doors, windows, ﬂooring, molding and extras like vanities for the bath, stainless sinks and garden edging. Tote home ceramic tiles (we found some thirteen-inch-by-thirteen-inch pale salmon-colored ones marked ninety-nine cents apiece) or prehung solid pine bifold doors (ninety-nine dollars) and chop the cost of that next home improvement project. 94 Industrial Lane, West Warwick, 826-0100; 2 Conduit Street, Central Falls, 475-6900; 6 Mathewson Street, Jewett City, Conn., 860-376-4400; builders-surplus.com.
34 Fabric and Trims
Welcome to the motherlode: Waverly indoor/outdoor fabric (in charming stylized ﬂower patterns) for $9.99 per yard is reason alone to visit. And the vivid African print remnants ($6.99 each) are too good to be true. Upstairs, the Bargain Loft bulges with everything from denim to calico, much of it as low as $1.99 per yard. Oh wait, we bought some fanciful trim for forty-nine cents a yard. And buttons? How about a bag full for less than two dollars? 593 Mineral Spring Avenue, Pawtucket, 722-9500.
35 High-end Textiles
Known the world over, Scalamandre is what Jacqueline Kennedy used to redecorate the White House. At this shop, the gorgeous designer cloth—evocative of the luxurious lifestyle, sigh, we aspire to—is reduced to half of wholesale! We’re talking as low as ten dollars per yard (buy an entire bolt and get an additional 10 percent off) along with a score of pretty remnants. Choices come and go (cotton prints, damask, heavy silk), so for premium treasures, make frequent stops. 255 Bristol Ferry Road, Portsmouth, 293-0023, looloodesign.com.