In which a door closes and a new chapter begins...

Dearest Treasure Trovers,

The time has come for me to officially bid adieu to this little nook on the 'net, as I have launched into the rock 'em sock 'em world of residential real estate.    

Over the last year of school and training, I have really missed my weekends of hunting for Trove goodies, and more than that, I've missed interacting with YOU kind, friendly, vintage-lovin' folk.    When I started this blog in 2009, I had a single goal in mind:  make enough every month to pay my orthodontic bill.    What I wasn't expecting was to meet so many truly lovely gals & fellows who share my love of the quirky bits and bobs that add that finishing je-ne-sais-quoi to a wardrobe or home.    Many Trovers evolved from clients into cherished friends and I've been privileged to attend many of your picnics, children's birthdays, engagement bashes, weddings, and more.

The braces have been off for a while now, and my toothy grin now beams out from a new business card:

I've been spending the last month or so setting myself up at a spiffy boutique real estate agency, with an incredible agency director, and have been learning the ropes.    I am thrilled to announce that my first home sale is very close to closing, and that my first purchasing client is a Trover!    Once it is all finalized, and with her permission, I'll share a few of the fun details of how we found her and her family a stunning 3 bedroom 1925 home near the waterfront in Lachine.

I also have my very first listing client, and, surprise, she is also a Trover!    Her 727 square foot condo in Verdun is a real gem, hidden away behind an unassuming second storey red brick facade.   It has 2 bedrooms, and was fully renovated in 2008, so the kitchen (heated floors!) and bathroom (separate shower and tub!) are top notch.  There is a large patio just off the kitchen - with ample space for a bistro set, a barbecue, and container garderning.   The condo is on Claude between de l'Eglise and Galt, a quiet little street, 6 blocks from de l'Eglise metro and the rapidly evolving Promenade Wellington.   The condo fees and energy costs are low, and you can be downtown in less than half a hour.     Listed at $204,500, the monthly mortgage payment on this condo would be $1027, based on a 5 year fixed rate of 3.79%, and with a 5% down payment.  This is cheaper than renting a 2 bedroom apartment is many parts of the city, and is perfect for the first time home buyer.

Feel free to visit the detailed listing, and I've also put together a nifty floor plan to give potential buyers a good sense of the space.  You simply go to the 'Picture Plus' tab, and then click on any of the orange 'camera' icons to see a photo of the room from that spot.  Screen shot of the floor plan is below.

Whew!   As you can see, the next phase of my life has leapt off the starting blocks and is galloping full speed ahead.   I'm sure there'll be many speedbumps along the way, but I am loving every minute of it so far, and can't wait to head into the agency every morning.

Please don't be strangers!  Feel free to contact me, I'm always happy to go for coffee and treats.  I would be glad to respond to any of your questions about real estate.   Even if you're nowhere near being ready to purchase or sell, I can gab your ear off about the difference between undivided and divided condos, where the best areas to buy are, and what the market is like in the areas you're interested in.

Ladies and gents, it has been a pleasure and a privilege, and I want to thank you all for making my time as Lady Jane of the Treasure Trove so fulfilling and nourishing.   I wish you all the best, and hope to bump into you while out and about very soon.   If you happen to walk or drive by a house while I'm whacking my 'for sale' sign into the ground in front of it (note to self:  obtain a heavy mallet),  please feel free to stop for a chat!

With warmest regards, while feeling a little maudlin', but mostly hopeful and happy...

Mary Jane Caro
Residential Real Estate Broker
Signature Immobilière


Sharing one of my favourite Treasure Hunting spots: Thursdays at St. George's

I'm always on the lookout for sweet deals on vintage home decor items, costume jewelry, and older books.   Happily, one of my favourite weekly treasure hunting spots for all of these things is just a ten minute stroll from my office.   If you happen to be downtown on a Thursday at lunch, the Boutique in the basement of St. George's Anglican is a delight.

The shop is open on Thursdays from 11am-2pm, and the entrance is a discreet side door on Stanley (corner Ave. des Canadiens, a block south of Rene-Levesque).  There's usually a red sandwich board on the sidewalk outside when the shop is open.   When you walk in, head downstairs and turn left.   There's a small room before the main space, and this is worth stopping in.  It's chock full of fun fabrics, curtains, table cloths, the occasional lampshade, and other house linens.   I've picked up gorgeous Irish linen tea towels there for $2 a piece, and they make me grin every time I see them hanging from our stove.

All photos from St. George's website.
When you walk into the main space, the amount of 'stuff' can be a daunting.    I generally start on the left and browse the room in a clockwise direction.   First, there's the display counter filled with pretty costume jewelry and tiny tchotchkes for the home.   I once found a leather valet box filled with vintage cuff-links there for $5!    Behind the counter, mounted to pegboard, are an assortment of frames and framed artworks.   From needlepoint to watercolour, postcard sized to "hang over a fireplace" huge, the prices range greatly here, but there are steals to be found.   The jewelry counter faces the kitchenware section, which contains all manner of mugs, glassware, vintage tins, and the last time I was there I was THISCLOSE to snapping up a full 8 piece set of 1950s robin's egg blue cookware for only $30, but someone got to it THREE FEET before I did.  (The screaming caps are totally appropriate here!)

I bought one of these vintage clay crocks to hold utensils.
The next section is menwear.  I don't spend a lot of time here, but I do still like to drop in to look at the kooky ties, and to admire the fabric and workmanship of some of the vintage blazers and sportcoats.  I once scored the Perfectly Worn Brown Leather Satchel here for $5, dragging it out from under a pile of cheap backpacks when I caught a glimpse of a brass buckle.

Next up:  the women's section!   There's a rack of belts,  a small table filled with lacy slips, folded printed scarves, and other oddities.   There's a wall of shelving filled with carefully folded sweaters, as well as tote bags and purses.   I always find beautiful vintage evening clutches here, but since I don't need/have space for them, I have yet to pick one up.   The rest of the women's section is comprised of a rack of jeans (I generally steer clear), a round rack of blouses and skirts (I spend time here as the average per item price is $5), two tall display racks with dresses, suits, and some rather extraordinary vintage items.   I once spent several minutes debating a matched lightweight wool three piece consisting of a pencil skirt, collarless blazer, and MATCHING swing coat.   I left it behind, as it needed alteration, and would have ended up in the back of my closet.   Most of all I needed to reign in on my urge to Rescue All the Beautiful Things.   There is a selection of shoes, a rack of nightgowns and robes (most quite Sears-y, but with the occasional gorgeous wisp of display-worthy antique lace) and a large rolling rack just groaning with coats.

In the middle of the room are more home decor items, vintage paper ephemera (many lovely cards at $0.25 a piece!), and the table surface where the helpful volunteers will help you tally and wrap up.  Tip:  if you have several pieces, you can always try to bargain.  It's not always successful, it is a charity shop after all, but hey, a budget is a budget!

My last stop is the well-stocked book section, organized by category, and most priced between $1 and $5.   I've found lovely coffee table books here to give as housewarming presents, at a fraction of the retail price.  I love opening the older books and finding vintage bookplates.

So there you go!  Weekly treasure-hunting, right downtown!  Perhaps I'll see you there sometime?


Mary Jane

P.S.:  Last week's $10 find - brass bookends!  (They were attached to rather sad wood bits, which I wrestled off with scissors as soon as I got them back to the office.)


Swingin' Johnny is cleaning house...

...and OH BOY does he have some beautiful things for sale!   He's just getting started, but I've been told that he'll be updating regularly, well worth adding to your daily click calendar.

I'm having a serious hankering for this starburst wall sculpture, though can't think of any space in our apartment that it wouldn't immediately dominate.


Happy hunting!  Another Man's Treasure In Montreal


Clambering back on after having fallen off the face of the earth...

Dear Treasure Trovers,

Let me begin by apologizing for my lengthy absence:  I am terribly sorry for dropping off the face of the earth!

The return to school last September at first reduced and then totally eliminated time I'd allocated to estate sales & tending to the Trove.   After the semester ended, I was hoping to find energy over the winter holidays to revitalize this space - I'd even created new categories and planned a few forays.  Alas, before I could do more than recover from turkey coma and holiday madness, school was back in session!  

I wish I could say that the Trove will be ripping and roaring again soon, but that will most assuredly not be the case.  I'll be studying like a Mad Thing for the next few months, as I'm aiming to write my licensing exam at the end of May.   This means that I won't have time for my beloved hunt for Things Vintage and/or Interesting and/or Beautiful to share on this space.  

I'll still be posting the occasional find, but you'll notice the content changing, while still being focused on the idea of  'HOME'.    So much of what I'm studying is the dry & dusty details of real estate brokerage (property law, contracts drafting, mortgage options, oh my), and though I'm loving the learning, it would make for juiceless Trove fodder.   To counter-balance this,  I'll be sharing resources on home organization, fun DIY projects (nothing too fancy - I'll be the first to admit I can barely swing a hammer!), decorating, inspiring spaces, and local treasure spots! 

Cheers to all & have a grand rest of the weekend,

Mary Jane


Best to you

The Trove has gone quiet, and I feel badly about that, and miss you guys! I hope you'll be pleased to know that all the energy I've devoted to Residential Real Estate Brokerage studies instead has had tremendous results: straight A's, baby yeah! One more semester to go and then I try for my license in the spring.

I've some Trove ideas simmering over the holidays and hope to kick certain plans into gear in the New Year. I'll likely be in touch with many of you for inspiration!

In the meantime, I wish you all a wonderful holiday season filled with hot beverages, decadent food, and bear hugs from your best loved!




Dear Trovers,

Quizzes and midterms and cramming, oh my! It's been a hectic week, with another one coming up. I'm pleased with my progress in the course so far, but am sad that the Trove has been neglected as my foraging hours have morphed into study sessions.

I've got my sights set on some promising treasure sources this weekend, and hope to share the loot with you soon.



Set dressing with Craigslist and Kijiji: The Royal Tenenbaums



B - Persian Carpet: $400 (sadly, this has been sold, I phoned the fellow today)

C - Small antique side table:  $50


Two years already!

Two years ago we took our first steps as a married couple - I can`t believe how time has flown by!

Introducing a local treasure-seeker who does the hunting for you!

Dear Trovers,

I stumbled over a Montreal resource that made me want to toss my hands up in the air and yell, "Well finally!"    Jennifer, of Montreal Digs, spelunks her way into the oft murky labyrinth of the city's Craigslist and Kijiji offerings and presents a daily selection of vintage and antique gems, along with her take on the asking price.  

Her taste is eclectic, so whether your scene is sleek MCM, romantic cottage, or Malibu Barbie, she won't lead you wrong!

I know I'm hooked - I've had to direct spritzes of mental cold water at the "Oh!  Gimmeeee!" reactions that some of her posts have elicited.

Go forth, enjoy, and perhaps find a steal or appeal for a deal with one of her sources.


Mary Jane

Work & School, Classic & Feminine, Capsule Wardobe Fall Winter 2012-2013

I'm having a lot of fun using Pinterest (sorry Polyvore!) to plan out my mix & match capsule wardrobe for the impending fall season!

I'm taking evening courses for the next eight months, and when I head out of the apartment in the morning, I need to be ready for a time spent on a bus, dashing for the metro, a day at the office, meeting with clients, a brisk walk to school, about an hour of reading, and then anywhere from two to five hours of class time.   My goal is to be comfortable & professional and most of all, ready to leave my place no more than an hour after waking.   There's no time wasted hemming and hawing in front of my closet - I'd much rather grab some extra sleep.

I have several of these pieces already, but will be slowly accumulating others (oh, the dreaded shoe shopping) and will certainly shares tales of retail triumph as they come!

I'm pretty darn pleased with one recent score at the Gap:  a caramel mid-thigh a-line skirt in supple leather.   Initially priced at $199.99, it dropped to $39.00 recently and I was thrilled that one of the three left at the Eaton Center was my size!   I'm not a 'leather mini' kinda gal, but the classic colour, slightly slouchy fit, and the fact that I can wear it with dark tights, all bring it into a comfort zone.


An exciting development & a September Sale: 50% off your second item!

Dear Trovers,

The last few weeks have been jam-packed and it's shaping up to be even busier!  I was recently accepted into a Residential Real Estate Brokerage program and will be studying this for the next eight months. 

I'll also continue to update the Treasure Trove,  however I imagine that as the world of contracts drafting, real estate law, and architecture & construction opens up to me,  there'll be times when school will be firmly ensconced atop my list of priorities.

Truth be told, I'm feeling more than a little anxious before my first week.   I'm older than most of the other students, my schedule is going to be pretty packed, and most of all, this really is a brand new field of study for me.   Still, this is something I've been considering for several months, and the timing is right, so I'm going to take a deep breath and enjoy diving into a new challenge!

Wish me luck!

Mary Jane

PS -

I'm going to be converting a corner of the Trove into a study area, and the nook I've earmarked is currently filled with treasure. Time to make room! 

For the month of September:
Buy one treasure, get the second item at half price!


One mirror, five rooms, ten minutes

Dear Trovers,

This morning, this circular mirror and I spent ten minutes wandering the apartment (somewhat awkwardly - camera in one hand, mirror in the other), trying to find the best place to photograph it.  Rather than selecting the nicest photo, I've decided to share all five because in the end, this simply framed mirror proved surprisingly versatile.

Room 1:  Trove!  This room also functions as our dining room, and the mirror works well as a focal point next to a table.   I'd place a shelf under it, so that I could have fun with a changing display of tchotchkes, to be reflected and enjoyed twice as much.

Room 2:  Bedroom - the mirror looks very well over a bedside or vanity table.   It would be fun to add sconces on either side of it if used as a dresser top mirror.  

Room 3:  Bathroom - I leaned it on the towel bar for this photo, since there was no handy nail, but you get the idea :)    Our bathroom is pretty small, and I like the idea of using an oversized mirror to help open up the space.   If you position it accordingly, you can reflect a window or fun shower curtain.  We found our 'owl' curtain at Hogg Hardware last summer - believe it or not, Sohrab chose it and had to convince me that it would work in our home!

Room 4:  Living room - one of our treasured possessions is the large oil painting hanging over our mantel.   It was a wedding gift, and our first (and thus far, only) piece of fine art.   We were invited to a vernissage featuring the works of Montreal artist Christine Marlow, and once there were informed that we could pick one out for our home!  Sohrab and I each walked around the gallery separately, there were dozens of beautiful paintings, but in the end, this one called to both of us.   Before the painting found its home in ours,  I'd wanted to arrange a variety of mirrors in that space above the mantel, and this round one would have been an excellent part of that collection.

Room 5:  Kitchen - We've a laminated Miyuki Tanobe poster above our stove ($5 garage sale purchase - whoo!), and her vibrant Montreal scene never fails to make me grin.   Even so, the poster was nearly taken down this morning when I saw how well the mirror would look over our stove, reflecting the open shelves across the kitchen, and adding a soft round shape to an angular room.  Tanobe won!  And the mirror moves on to the Trove.

Found side table gets weekend facelift!

Sohrab and I spotted this little side table in a pile of things marked 'free' and thought it worth carting home.   Someone had painted it with a thick coat of very dark brownish red, and it was quite unpleasant to look at.   So last night, while the mister dove deep into the world of Diablo III, I resigned myself to a few hours of video game widowhood and set about giving this table a facelift.

Coarse sandpaper
Soft clean cloth

  1. Prepare a work area by taping garbage bags (cut open) to the floor,   I layered some newspaper over the bags in case of serious paint spillage.
  2. Use the screwdriver to remove any hardware, in this case it was the drawer pull, a cheap plastic thing.
  3. Using a coarse sandpaper (we had some stripping grade sandpaper left from our balcony makeover), go over the whole surface to give the paint something to adhere to.  You're not removing the paint, just roughing up the surface a bit.
  4. Use a soft clean damp cloth to wipe off the dust from sanding.  Wait for it to dry, or give it a wipe with a dry clean cloth.
  5. If you have primer, apply a coat and wait for it to dry according to instructions.  I didn't have any, but  didn''t mind an uneven painted finish in this case.
  6. Apply first coat of paint.  I like to start in the middle of the surface and work outwards, to prevent paint from dripping off the sides.   Paint in the same direction as the grain of the wood if possible.
  7. Wait as long as you can - ideally over night.  I only waited an hour.  Patience is not one of my virtues when it comes to projects that turn the Trove into a mess!
  8. Apply second coat of paint.  Wait til dry.
  9. Put in hardware - in this case, a simple but very heavy solid brass pull we'd scored the same morning.
  10. Find the perfect space for it!

We're both very happy with our little table - it replaces the larger bar cart we had there before, and doesn't compete with the low profile of our couch.   I'm thinking I might pick up some dark gold metallic paint to give it some accents on the legs, but am willing to live with it a while longer before changing it.


In which we try not to hurl on the way home from an estate sale...

Last Saturday: Sohrab and I were kerplonked after a hectic day of treasure-hunting, but we spotted an estate sale sign on the way home, and said, alright, last one.   We walked up the narrow stairs into an upper duplex filled with gorgeously framed oil paintings, African wood sculpture, far north soapstone carvings, fanciful antique lighting fixtures, and all sorts of other evidence that someone with great taste and funds to indulge such had inhabited and adorned this home.

We walked into a light-filled living room and our eyes fell on this stunning cabinet.   We looked at one another, silently acknowledged that we had fallen hard and fast for it...and then walked right past it, thinking that there was no way this was going to fit into our budget.   A cursory glance revealed a small brown paper tag with $1500 written on it, crossed out, and $700 written below that.  Worth it?  Oh indeed.  Within our budget?  Not a snowflake's chance in hell.

We spent a few more minutes exploring the home, enjoying the sense of it being a well-loved, tastefully decorated space.  Then we wandered back to gaze wistfully upon the cabinet's time-worn beauty once more.  The owner walked over to us and said, "I bought this 20 years ago, it's Tibetan, and at least 200 years old."   She opened the doors, and showed us the thick planks making up the back and shelving.  She ran her hand over one knot in the wood and said proudly, "Solid walnut."  Then she said quietly, "I'm moving, it won't fit into my new apartment, and if you want it, you can have it for $300."   We thanked her, and walked outside, walked one block, turned, walked back, and said, "We love it and we'll take it."

We headed to the bank, returned to the house, handed over the cash, exchanged contact info, and then tried not to lose our lunches all the way home.  We kept repeating variations on, "Did that just happen?  Is it really ours?  Do you feel nauseated too? I'm SO HAPPY!!!"

This past Friday:  The mover I'd booked on Monday TEXTED me to say he was running late and could he meet us at 8pm instead of the agreed upon 6pm.  It was 5pm. FIRED.  I went into angry panic mode.  Sohrab went into rescue mode, and (miracle!) found a crew of 3 movers who could do it on super short notice.  I dashed home in time to see the movers in front of the building, examining the bottom of the cabinet.  "Hey Peter,"  one said to the other, "check out the nails on this thing.  It must be older than Methuselah."

I ran upstairs and quickly moved furniture and breakables out of the way.   A few minutes later, it was in place in the Trove and I was incoherent with glee.

It is now filled with goodies, and waiting for Trovers to enjoy as much as I do!


Yoga in the Park (Sunshine! Health!) tomorrow

Hello ladies,

You are cordially invited to Yoga in the Park with Tara!   I've been to the first two, and am very much looking forward to another.

Who: in the company of lovely folk, all body types and levels of experience are welcome, beginners most certainly welcome
What:  75 mins of mindful breathing & challenging yoga poses, under Tara's knowledgeable & encouraging guidance, just bring a mat and some water
Where: Girouard Park in NDG, under the trees near the corner of Sherbroooke and Marcil (5-10 mins from Vendome metro by the 105 bus)
When: 10:30am this Sunday, June 17th
Why: good sunshine, good company, good health!
Cost:  $10

Feel free to contact me with any questions, or to confirm.

Cheers and happy weekend,

Mary Jane

*SOLD* Mid-century Czech teapot and serving platter: $20

*SOLD* Beautifully full-bellied mid-century teapot & oval serving platter, made in Czechoslovakia. The pattern is a delicate combination of gold swirls and deep pink barely sketched aster blooms. The teapot is in very good condition, however there is some crazing on the serving platter.
Price: $20


*SOLD* 1950s kindling storage fireplace box: $50

*SOLD* This gleaming storage box is meant to hold kindling or coal by your fireplace. It was made in England and has three different raised brass tavern scenes on the top and three sides. The interior, back, and bottom are wood. It measures 18" across, 12" tall, and 12" deep. Don't have a fireplace? This box would function well as dark storage for potatoes and onions in your kitchen, as small gardening tool storage on a balcony, or even as as a small storage unit for pet toys in just about any room in your home.
Price: $50


*SOLD* Antique primitive blacksmith or farrier's box: $30


*SOLD* Toe calks are pieces added to horseshoes to provide additional traction, which would have been very important given our icy cold winters.   This small divided primitive box once held 25 lbs of these toe calks, which were made by Franklin Steel Works in Hamilton, Ontario.

The box is very well made, with finger joint corners, and it measures 7" across, 4" tall, and 10" deep.   It would make a nice place to temporarily store your mail til you dealt with it, or to house a couple of small house plants (perhaps succulents!)

Price: $30


*SOLD* White wicker blanket chest, toy chest, or coffee table: $30

*SOLD* White wicker storage chest, perfect as off-season blanket or linen storage,  as a toy chest, or as a casual coffee table - you can tuck away magazines, remote controls, extra cushions and other livingroom paraphernalia in a flash. If you have the space, this makes a spacious laundry hamper.   It would add a seaside cottage feel to your patio or balcony as well, providing storage for gardening tools and BBQ tongs! 
It measures 35" x 15" x 17" and is sturdy enough for kidlets to use as a bench.   It could definitely use a new coat of paint.
Price: $30


Treasure = Yoga in the Park for just $10

Hi everyone,

My dear friend Tara is a certified yoga instructor and she's offering a special outdoor class for just $10!

Who:  All levels and body-types welcome!  Beginners VERY welcome!  Please note that Tara is the only certified instructor of 'Yoga for Round Bodies' in Montreal.
What:   75 mins of yoga, in the wonderful outdoors!  All you need are comfy clothes, a mat, & some water.
Where:  Girouard Park in NDG  (near the corner of Sherbrooke and Marcil - 5 mins from Vendome metro by the 105 bus)
When:   This Sunday, June 10, at 10:30am-11:45am
Cost: $10

Please email with any questions - I've taken several classes with Tara and have always enjoyed the experience.


Mary Jane

*SOLD* 1940s or 50s silver plate serving tray: $40

*SOLD* Large vintage 1940s or 50s silver plate tray, unmarked, quite heavy, with a raised edge and elaborate handles.   I've lightly polished the rectangular surface of the tray, but not touched the border or handles, so you can see the difference between the two.   At 20" x 14", this would be a stunning center piece topped with blooms and pillar candles, and it would also work well as a drink tray for guests or a vanity tray in the bedroom, for your jewelry, cosmetics and prized tchotchkes.
Price: $40



*SOLD* Large ornate mirror: $100 (delivery included)

Do any of your rooms need a serious KAPOW? That's the sound that went off in my head when I spotted this beauty this weekend. It would be downright majestic over a mantel, or, if your living room lacks a mantel, then this heavy mirror would make a darned amazing focal point! Perhaps you could draw a fireplace onto an appropriate wall, and then place this above it. I also like the idea of using this large mirror to open up a small dining nook, landing, or entryway. It's made of pressed wood, and is painted a warm silver (it looks like silver painted over pale gold).
Measurements: 48" tall (look at it - it almost covers my fireplace!), 31" across, and 1 1/2" deep
Price: $100 (this mirror retailed for over $400)
Delivery on the island of Montreal included.

Inspiration: mix with more modern and mid-century pieces


*SOLD* One vintage lamp, three different looks! $30

*SOLD* This pretty vintage lamp stands almost 20" tall, has a sweet milk glass base adorned with pink daisies, and has three different lighting options!   Click once for top & base to light up, click again, and just the base lights up, click once again, and just the top lights up!
Price: $30


*SOLD* Solid maple kitchen island: $100

Gorgeous solid maple kitchen island! It measures 49" long, 25" deep and 36" tall - perfect for adding beautiful additional workspace, storage space, and seating space to your kitchen. It would be stellar in a craft room as well, the taller-than-table height makes a great crafting space. Reinforced under the top - this is a very sturdy item. It was in a well-loved and well-used home for 20 years, and it has some surface scratches.

Price: $100
Note that comparable pieces (size and material) retail for $350+, so this is a great budget-friendly way to get that island you've been dreaming of!