The Junk Parlor

Are you ready? Today I’m sharing my impromptu visit to Simply Iowa, in Fairfax, Iowa.

I recently shared about my visit to my friend Jacey’’s shop, A Beautiful Purpose. I made a detour before heading to my youngest football game in the area. While visiting Jacey, she said I should also visit our friend Barb, Simply Iowa, while I was in the area. 

Now, you may not know Barb, but let’s just say if you have seen her at a show then you know. You know that she has an extreme talent for displays. Just like my friend Jacey has talent, yet they both have their own particular flair. 

Barb and myself infront of her home

I meet Barb for the first time when I set up at a Junk Jubilee show in Des Moines, years ago. Barb’s spot was at least a double wide, covered in layered old rugs, straw, old worn, well loved pieces hanging everywhere and tucked in everywhere. It was such eye candy and like nothing I had ever seen. What can sometimes appear as all willy-nilly, has actually been lovingly put into place. Barb definitely has her own unique, curated look.

I think I chatted with her on that first visit to her booth. She was so nice to talk. Over the years, we may not have talked too much, but I always sneak in her booth when she is at a show that I am shopping. 

A fun display for a brush with coat hooks

I can remember one time at What Cheer Flea Market, Barb and I were both digging through the dollar bins. I can’t remember what it was right now, but I grabbed some pieces from a set and Barb did too!. Eventually we both figured out that the other had a match to what we purchased, but I don’t remember us saying anything about it. Mind you my memory Is absolutely terrible! Later that day, I was shopping Barb’s booth when she handed me the pieces to complete my set. I was amazed at how gesture, a testament to how incredibly kind Barb is. 

plate stack with a glass dome

Simply Iowa Antique Shop

I knew that Barb had a brick and mortar, but it was quite the drive from Centerville, so I had never been. I had heard a lot about her place because I have a couple dealers that would come to my house in Centerville, fill up a trailer full, then head to Barb’s to do the same. Despite all of these wonderful stories of the “rabbit hole,” AKA Barb’s shop in Fairfax, Iowa, I had never actually been. 

When I got to the “rabbit hole,” I didn’t see Barb or anyone. I went ahead and went in the shop. Boy oh boy is it an experience!! It’s hard to put into words, but I’ll try! Barb has arranged her furniture and displays to make a tight crevice for you to snake around in the shop. It’s dark, moody and quite the experience! Everywhere you look there is vintage and antique goodness layered with creativity. 

As I went through the shop I took pictures of a few things I was interested in, yet couldn’t find a price tag for. Barb has a lot of the pieces priced, but of course I picked the ones that weren’t. Barb is such an inspiration, for example she had a full size cabinet/pie hutch HANGING on the wall. It is such an experience to visit her shop. I eventually saw everything in the shop and started to venture around the property. 

This particular weekend Barb was having a special sale with other vendors set up on her property with her. Inventory was displayed outside, under tents, and then she had another more open air building that she appeared to always have inventory displayed in. While I was shopping the yard, I found Barb! She was sitting, chit chatting with her customers. 

I shared with Barb the pictures I had on my phone of pieces I was interested in, so that she could give me prices. Her prices are very reasonable and I grabbed almost everything that I was interested in. Since Barb had customers, I volunteered to dismantle her vignettes and get things loaded by myself. I’m so glad that I did that! Turns out a little table that she had sitting on a buffet that I fell in love with, when I was taking it down I squatted all the way to the floor to turn and look and find a paper hole punch needlework piece that I have started to collect. I couldn’t even tell you what the piece said or what kind of condition it was in, but the price was right so I grabbed that too. Honestly there were other things that I could have grabbed but my truck was full from the day and I decided to call it quits. 

close-up of the paper punch motto
I had to ask my Instagram followers help on this one! Even in the light, I could not figure out what my new paper punch motto said!

I will be back and you need to visit! I know Barb tries to have regular hours, however you are always supposed to call ahead first. Not only does she sell at a shop on her property, set up at shows around the midwest, she also coordinates estate sales. 

PS. My pictures do not do her justice, as I was taking them more for myself and not to showcase to the world! Be sure to follow Barb at Simply Iowa on Facebook, Instagram, and her website

What Is It Wednesday?

Every Wednesday at 6 am CST I post something on my Facebook page for What is it Wednesday? Sometimes I know the answer and sometimes I don’t! This piece is from Barbs shop. Comment below if you know what it is! Guesses are encouraged!

See What Else I Picked Up

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Hi, I’m Brooke. Welcome to The Junk Parlor.

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