Posted by: deadmousediaries | August 6, 2012

News from the Path Valley Hotel, Episode #8 – Second-Hand Savvy and Chic

  Money is flowing out of the Path Valley Hotel faster than dead goldfish down the toilet but that won’t prevent me from adding perks and panache in unexpected ways. If  shopping is a competitive sport, I’m a contender. I know all about bargain bins, coupons, and the bent-and-dent hot spots; that’s jump-rope warm-ups. I’m talking about stepping into the ring with the big dogs and coming out with the goods, knuckles bloody.

It turns out that all that embarrassing negotiating and bargain-hunting my mother did while I watched as a kid has not only rubbed off, it has paid off.  Some might call my decorating style cheap; I prefer to think of it as second-hand savvy and chic. I’d invite you to come watch me work but you would need to stand back. Get in my way and somebody’s comin’ up missing an ear.

Want to build an extensive library of all the best movies ? Follow me, kids.  You can buy them 3 for a dollar. So what if the format is VHS? I bought VCRs for three rooms for $6. Total. (And you’ll thank me for that on a rainy day because we don’t have cable.)

Prefer a good read to a movie interpretation by someone else who mangles all the best writing? The Hotel loaner library includes New York Times best-sellers, Caldecott and Newberry Medal winners, Oprah pics, and my Cather, Bradbury, Picoult and Kingsolver favorites. The new age shelf includes Tolle, Deepak, Louise Hay and SARK to do a little name dropping. Savvy shoppers like me know how to cherry-pick a bulging grocery bag of those for just $5. We might have only one bathroom but we have enough reading material to stock ten or twelve.

Got music? The PVH does. Lots of it. From Vivaldi and Zeppelin to Manheim Steamroller and Sinatra, you can change the mood here the minute you change your mind.  Our music collection continues to grow at $1 per CD. Watch it spin in any room on the name-brand stereo systems we picked up for $7 to $15.

My tree house makes me especially happy because I’ve punched it up with some  purple details and those pieces have been just too much fun collecting. First there was my padded purple chair with mahogany arms and matching footstool (now affectionately known as the $30 whore chair).  Then I found my first purple lamp for $6.97.  Along the way I started my art glass collection: three vases just begging for hydreangeas or a famiy-sized grape Nehi float, each $3 or less.

Deco Lamp, $6.97; Reclining Loveseat, $160; Lavendar Candle, 25 cents, Hummingbird coasters, $1

I’d love to give you the full second-hand chic tour but chances are, if it’s artsy, kitschy, or otherwise retina-burning and amazing, it was a “find” in one of my shopping sweet spots. If you want to learn more about Hotel decorating with a few thin dimes and no design in mind, stay tuned. Our secrets will all be revealed!



  1. Your place has class all it’s own. Don’t allow anyone to tell you any different! And I am sure you have an amazing employee training program to ensure those great finds are well cared for. As well as the guests.

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