Leave It to This Antique-Savvy Instagram Sensation to Unearth Your Hidden Treasure
LILY BARFIELD NEVER dreamed she would become a Houston design entrepreneur with a social media following of 26K for her meticulous sourcing of antique furniture and art. Lily’s Vintage Finds just evolved naturally while doing something she loved. Barfield recently embarked on a shopping expedition through the South of France – her first international buying trip – and will debut her biggest Houston shopping event ever showcasing her European container of furniture this Sunday, July 30, at Hermann Park.
“I grew up going to estate sales and hunting through antique stores with my mom,” says Barfield, who grew up in New Orleans and moved to Houston after graduating from LSU. “I have always loved the history and quality of older pieces, so when I moved into my first home and began furnishing it, I was constantly searching for vintage and antique treasures in the same types of places: antique malls, consignment stores, estate sales, flea markets and beyond.”
Barfield (photo by Maricruz Marin)
Barfield and her husband, Thomas, carrying flea-market finds
Barfield and a vintage chandelier
She earned her art and design chops working with local artist Reagan Corbett and at Houston's Paloma & Co. Friends kept asking her to help them find similar pieces and deals, so she finally created an Instagram account with the intention of just selling a few finds to friends and family. “Very quickly I started to gain followers as I posted my thrift hauls, sourcing trips, and estate sale adventures. I had 5,000 followers within a few months of starting my account. It was wild!”
Barfield tells CityBook she was able to quit her job and pursue Lily’s Vintage Finds full-time in February 2022, just three months after creating the Instagram account. “I have been at it a little over a year and a half now and it still blows my mind how quickly this business took off.”
She procures special pieces from all over, and sells stunning furniture and accessories to her cult-like following who snatch them up in minutes of her weekly online drops and in-person sales. Throughout the business’ swift growth, her goal has remained the same: to bring timelessly beautiful pieces into the next generation in a way that feels fresh and approachable.
Barfield’s first big sourcing trip took place through the Mississippi Delta. “My mom and I rented a U-Haul and trekked through the most charming small towns in search of hidden gems and unique finds. From funky vintage glassware to French antiques, we found gorgeous pieces in the most unsuspecting small town stores,” says Barfield. She had to riffle through dingy flea markets to uncover super high quality vintage Italian glassware, sought-after mid-century lamps and stunning 19th-century furniture pieces. “Nothing quite compares to our most recent trip to France, though. It was like our own Superbowl!”
Barfield and her mother-teammate, Tracie Aguillard, prepared for weeks by doing tons of research, and the trip ultimately exceeded all their expectations. “The sheer abundance of beautiful antiques is unfathomable,” says Barfield. “Pieces I searched tirelessly for stateside seemed to be everywhere there!” During Barfield’s trek across the French countryside, she attended trade fairs and gleaned tips on the best flea markets, restaurants, and hotels by guide Charon Harris of Across the Pond Curated Travel. Barfield traveled through Beziers, Pezena, Lyon and Chartres, just to name a few.
In her leisure time, Barfield loves to go antiquing, naturally, but also enjoys reading and gardening. She and her husband Thomas regularly explore Houston’s food scene as well. “When I’m not shopping for LVF, I’m shopping for vintage and antique pieces for my own home,” says Barfield. She and her mother are already planning their next trip back to France in the fall. “Even though we spent close to three weeks there, I feel like I have barely scratched the surface.”
At this Sunday’s event, expect more than 40 antique furniture pieces, alongside carefully curated vintage glassware (her signature), small decor items, and more; plus, a showing from three contemporary artists. Find the shopping spree in Lott Hall at Hermann Park, 6201 Hermann Park Drive, from 1pm-5pm. Sip French 75s and shop LVF’s French finds – furniture, small home décor, barware and accessories. To follow Lily’s Vintage Finds and stay up on her sales on Instagram, visit Lily’s Vintage Finds.