Best-dressed thrifty nest


I knew that I raised a fashionista. GirlWonder has an amazing sense of personal style. Better yet, she sources much of it from thrift stores. Cute boots. Designer duds. She has the ability to dress like she is already an established lawyer instead of an intern. There is an art to looking like a million bucks on a dime, and she always hits the mark with change to spare.  

I am proud to note, however, that she is also a homemaker. She actually works a job, is a first-year law student and is planning a wedding. Our girl is busy. That said, she also understands instinctively the appeal of surrounding yourself with comfort and style — no matter the size of your space.  

On that note, she currently lives in an apartment the size of a placemat. Very 1970s beige box. It’s affordable, clean and well maintained and perfect as a first apartment. She has furnished it in such a way that it looks like a magazine feature, if I do say so myself. 

I am just beaming that the sum total of the expenses is just peanuts compared to full retail. Our girl is not too good for Goodwill. Ditto online marketplaces, auctions and hand-me-downs.  


Speaking of hand-me-downs, trying to wedge family pieces into the hands of a Gen Z can be challenging. I have currently convinced GirlWonder that she needs an endless array of mirrors, quirky paintings, a marble-topped side table, at least three dressers the size of midsize sedans and an early 1900s china service for 48. 

She can be ready in the event she invites her entire law class over for brunch!  

BoyWonder’s Beautiful Girlfriend is equally skilled. That girl took a simple townhouse apartment and turned it into a place of beauty and wonder. I tend to expect early 20-something’s in their first apartment to have bean bag chairs, milk crate side tables, maybe a futon if they were feeling really fancy. 

She has cognac leather, mid-century modern wood pieces, collected art and books and gorgeous accent pieces. The sounds of Sinatra waft through the space from a bona fide vintage record player. It is somehow both fresh and modern and classic. That girl can find a deal on vintage items online like a detective solving a case. 


I asked her to help me find an antique door for one of our bathrooms. She sent me the link to the perfect door within five minutes.

Online thrift shopping is a game-changer. GirlWonder went on a quest for the perfect desk. It had to be dark wood, leather top, claw feet. She found it within two weeks on a used furniture marketplace online. We drove an hour, grabbed dinner and had that desk home. 

She now happily pops her very modern laptop on this very classic desk and spreads out her law books and gets to work. I’m not saying she couldn’t have studied equally as hard at the kitchen table, but the ambiance was simply not there.  


GirlWonder touched my heart when she thanked me for allowing her to take ownership of her bedroom at home and decorate — and redecorate — as many times as she liked when she was growing up. From an early age, she went through phases of peace signs, neon colors, soccer balls, and later, french blue and damask. 

Each incarnation was undertaken with creativity, a can of paint and a budget. She was 12, haunting Craigslist for pieces she could remake.  I would like to say she comes by that honestly. 

We have said since the beginning that our home — not-so-gently used and vintage in its own right — is furnished in “early-auction.” Later I have added “Style by Salvation Army Thrift Stores” and “Homegoods by Goodwill.” 

I would say she redecorated her room in our 115-year-old house at least a half dozen times growing up. Now she has her first apartment and a great eye for thrifty and tasteful, inspired decor. I have zero regrets for the turquoise or bright green walls that got us here. 

When it comes to making your home your own, I firmly believe that healthy birds fly — and if lucky, they create a comfortably feathered nest.  


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