7th House on the Left

A few weeks ago, the folks at Target called on the members of the Target Inner Circle to give back to their communities as part of Target’s FEED USA initiative. One of the things we’ve always admired about the Target brand is commitment to giving back to the community and those in need. Their new FEED USA line does just that. Each item in the FEED line has a number printed on it which represents the number of meals that Target will sponsor with the proceeds from that purchase. These meals will feed families all across America who are in need. So, if you buy this cool messenger bag, you’re giving a total of 24 meals. Pretty cool idea, right?

FEED USA for Target / 7th House on the Left / #targetinnercircle

While playing around with a few ideas of how Ash and I could give back in our local area, we got to talking about why we don’t physically give back to the community more often. I say “physically” because we do regularly support area charities financially (such as Rebuilding Together Richmond), and we donate things we don’t need/want anymore to places like Goodwill or Habitat for Humanity fairly often as well. Though, we rarely get involved by volunteering our time. But why? Most of the time, it comes down to one simple fact: we just don’t know where to start. By the time we get anything figured out, we don’t have enough time to actually do what we set out to do. Which got us thinking… with people having ultra-busy schedules these days, we wonder if people (including ourselves) would volunteer more and be able to carve out more time for volunteering if the information were easily accessible and already figured out for them.

DIY Volunteer Starter Envelopes / 7th House on the Left / #targetinnercircle

On top of getting ourselves organized for volunteering more regularly, we also wanted to try to inspire others to get involved as well. We ended up deciding to put together what we call “Starter Envelopes”. Inside each envelope is a short letter along with a sheet with all the information people in the Richmond area would need in order to start volunteering.

DIY Volunteer Starter Envelopes / 7th House on the Left / #targetinnercircle

We included information for four organizations in the Richmond area currently needing volunteers and donations. We designed it so it would be a single sheet – easy to hang on the fridge or stick in a family binder. We printed off 100 sheets and put them in brown envelopes with a label Ash designed for the outside.

DIY Volunteer Starter Envelopes / 7th House on the Left / #targetinnercircle

We gathered all of our assembled Starter Envelopes, stashed them in Ash’s Feed Market Bag, put Bentley on his leash and set our for a family walk around the neighborhood. Because it’s illegal to put non-mail material in mailboxes, we decided to place our envelopes on our neighbors’ front porches (Ashley carried along a roll of paper tape for houses with glass storm doors). We also went a step further and hung a Starter Sheet on a few community bulletin boards in the area (there’s one at our grocery store, the local auto repair place and our favorite BBQ joint).

Now that we’ve spread the word, it’s time to swing into action. This weekend, we’re going to be volunteering at the Central Virginia Food Bank (one of the places on the Starter Sheet) and donating 50 cans of beans (their website says they’re in urgent need of canned beans and meat). We’re really excited about volunteering and making it a monthly to-do around our house.

We’re not trying to “toot our own horn” or make ourselves feel better by posting about this. We just want to spread the inspiration that Target Inner Circle gave us to do something for the community in a way we haven’t done before. We really hope you’ll be inspired and give back along with your friends, family, pets, accountants, teachers, pool guys, mail people… yeah, you get the idea.

DIY Volunteer Starter Envelopes / 7th House on the Left / #targetinnercircleClick the image above to download your own Starter Sheets and envelope labels to hand out in your own community.  For you out-of-towners, we also included a fill-in-the-blank version. To make the labels, we suggest printing them on 8.5″ x 11″ full-sheet shipping labels (like these) and cutting them out individually. To find volunteer opportunities near you, here are some helpful online sources: Volunteer Match, United We Serve and Hands on Network.


Q: I live in Zuni, VA — a small town between Suffolk and Petersburg. I have enjoyed your blog for awhile now and wanted to ask you a question. I would love to visit flea markets in or near Richmond, but I don’t know where to go. Do you have any suggestions? … -Brenda

A: This question crosses our inbox every now and then, and when we got Brenda’s email yesterday, we thought it was about time to make a post about it. For some reason, it wasn’t really until we started blogging (and reading other blogs) that we got interested in visiting local thrift / antique stores. These days, it’s one of our favorite things to do when we have the time, and we’ve even bought some of our favorite things in the house from them. If we go out of town, we find ourselves searching for area thrift stores to check out while we’re at our destination (like this super awesome place I went to in LA). There are a lot of interesting thrift and antique stores here in the Richmond area, but here are the places we stop by most often…

Antique & Thrift Stores Around Richmond / 7th House on the Left

Cold Harbor Antique Mall: This is the antique mall we stop by most often. This is our go-to place for small accessories and random accent pieces (like antique cameras and wood crates). The store is divided up by “booths” and their vendors often have awesome sales. They keep their stock rotated really well so no matter how many times we stop by, we always see new things. I talked more about shopping there in this postClick here for directions.

Richmond Thrift & Antique Stores / 7th House on the Left

Governor’s Antiques: This place is huge. Seriously. Huge. They have everything imaginable–old gas pumps, stop lights, huge concrete yard ornaments, old doors, marble slabs, massive estate furniture… the list goes on and on. In the past, we’ve found their prices to be a little on the high side, but it’s still worth the trip just to see the massive amount of… stuff! Check out their website here.

Richmond Thrift & Antique Stores / 7th House on the Left

Class & Trash: This place is a new favorite of ours. The prices are very reasonable, and they have a great collection of fun, funky pieces. The few times we’ve visited the store, we’ve noticed they have a lot of pieces that could easily be transformed into furniture or fun decor elements with a little bit of elbow grease and some DIY know-how – like old doors that could be used as a headboards, barrels that could be side tables and carts that could be turned into coffee tables. Check out their website here.


Love of Jesus Thrift Store: There are two Love of Jesus locations (one on Nine Mile Road and another, larger store on Midlothian Turnpike). The Midlothian Turnpike location has a really good rotation of furniture – we’ve spied some really great mid-century buffets that we wish we had a space for. The Nine Mile Road location is a pretty good size, too, and is the one we go to most frequently between the two. Their prices are ridiculously good (like the frame for our laundry room chalkboard… for $1). They even have a corner of the store where you can buy whatever you can fit into your cart from a designated area for $10. Check out their website here.


Caravati’s – Technically Caravati’s isn’t an antique or thrift store (it’s actually “architectural salvage”), but they have a ton of great, old items.  They have a huge collection of doors, fireplace facades, mantles, columns, slabs of reclaimed wood and what I’m sure to be the largest amount of ornate door knobs I think I’ve ever seen. If you’re looking for larger architectural items with some character, this is the place to go. Check out their website here.


McLawhorn’s Red Barn Antiques – This place is pretty awesome because not only do they have interesting things (like a great collection of old books, which Greg loves), but the building itself has a lot of history. It used to be a very popular general store back in the very early 1900’s and the current owners love telling people about the history. They have a vintage coke cooler in the middle of the store, and they hand out free Cokes to customers.  We actually bought the green dresser in our utility room from here, and we brought you guys shopping with us in this postCheck out their website here.

If any of you Richmonder’s have a place for us to add to our list, let us know in the comments. We’d love to add a few new places to our normal stomping grounds. For those of you outside the Richmond area, please tell us your favorite area thrift stores in the comments. You just might help another reader find exactly what they’ve been looking for! Oh, and be sure to check back Friday for our winter brunch recap. We have lots of photos, details and recipes to share!

Love of Jesus Thrift photo found here. Carvati’s photo found here.


Once in a while, Ash and I like to take random drives around the back roads of the Richmond area. Virginia is filled with so many interesting historical landmarks, battlefields, museums, and parks that you’re bound to find something that piques your interest no matter what direction you end up heading. Even though Ashley and I have lived in this neck of the woods for most of our lives (well, all of hers; most of mine), we still haven’t seen all of the attractions our area has to offer. So, it’s a lot of fun to take a drive every now and then just to see what we come up with.

Recently, while on one of our drives, we stumbled upon McLawhorn’s Red Barn Antiques. It’s right in the middle of a fork in the road, and looks like it’s been there forever. As it turns out, it was once a very popular general store, Borkey’s Store, back in the early 1900’s. The history alone makes this an interesting stop.

The items sitting outside gave us a preview of what we would find in the store. Everything out here was from an era where furniture was made from solid wood. I don’t think you could find a single scrap of particle board anywhere near this place.

Oh–Did I mention the reason all the furniture is sitting outside is because the inside is so packed with awesome stuff from bygone eras that we wouldn’t have had a place to walk otherwise? Yeah. This place is going to take several trips to even scratch the surface.

There are three huge aisles, lined with tons of great items – so packed you could barely walk through them. The left side of the store is stocked with tons of kitchen-oriented antiques and records.

While this part of the shop also has some kitchen items, it’s home to my favorite section: books. You can see a few of them peeking out of the bottom-right corner here.

I’m a big fan of solid wood, dark-stained desks. The detail work is simple and clean, but it adds that extra touch that makes this desk look special.

You’d think this was just a cool conversation piece in the middle of the store. Nope. It’s a real, honest-to-goodness, working(!) drink fridge from which the antique shop staff hands out free Cokes to its customers.

Ash and I have a fascination with antique trunks, so these certainly caught our eyes. They were a little out of our price range for the day (coming in around $250 a piece), but I hope someone gives these a good home. They’re truly amazing in person.

We found this small chest of drawers sitting outside and Ashley immediately fell in love. She said it would be perfect for the foyer.

It was very solid and had a little wear and tear but that could be fixed. Coming in at $75, it was worth a try. So we packed it up in Ashley’s parent’s SUV and took it home.

I have to admit, I was a tad skeptical whether or not it would be a good fit for the foyer. I trust Ashley’s “style judgment” most of the time, but for some reason, I just couldn’t see it. I guess it’s a “guy thing”. When we got it in the house, I had a change of heart. We couldn’t have picked a more perfect piece for the foyer. Like how I say “we” now that it looks good? haha…

For now, we’re going to hold off on painting it. Even though the worn paint looks pretty cool, we’re not sure this shade of green is quite right for our house. In some lighting, it looks a little dull and heavy so it could use a little brightening up. I don’t know about Ash, but if we do decide to paint it down the road, I’d love to find a way to emulate the “worn” look.

As for what’s going to go on, in, and above… Ash said she envisions a large mirror (like this one she found on Pinterest) and maybe a lamp to bounce some light around. We plan on sprucing up the inside of the drawers as well with some graphic wallpaper turned drawer liner. Once that’s done, we’ll probably use it to store miscellaneous items like extra candles and maybe a drawer for Bentley’s leash and his sweater collection… he’ll think he’s spoiled – even more than he already is!

So that’s the rundown on our latest find for the house! Have you had any cool finds lately? Share them with us by leaving a comment…