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