Clausen House ~ Nifty Thrifty

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I love this little thrift shop… which isn’t so little anymore. The Clausen House Thrift Shop recently took over the space next door –  adding their Annex space, which is quite awesome, and at the same time alleviating some of the complaints about their original space.

I checked them out recently on Yelp and was surprised to see they only got 3 stars.  In looking over some of the lower ratings, it seems most complaints were about the crowded chaotic clutter of the original space.  One visitor wrote “This place needs a new face lift.”  Well, it’s gotten it.

Their primary space is still a funky thrift with hit or miss finds.  But then again, that’s half the fun of thrifting… you have to hunt for the treasures. But the space is much more open, organized, and inviting.  I was kind of blown away when I walked in a few weeks ago. “Wow… you guys have really spruced things up a bit!”

Amidst the requisite old records, teacups, and funky furniture, there’s a smorgasbord of stuff to peruse.  Right now they’ve got their costume stuff out front so it might be fun to stop by if you’re still struggling to figure out what you’re going to be for Halloween.  (Tomorrow’s post will feature another hot spot for costuming supplies.)

Their prices are extremely reasonable (in my opinion), and the best part is that the proceeds support the Clausen House, which works in Oakland and the greater East Bay to support people with disabilities.

At CLAUSEN HOUSE, we build self-confidence, teach everyday living skills, and encourage an optimal level of independence in people with developmental disabilities. These vibrant men and women discover opportunities for inclusion in the community while pursuing education, employment, and volunteer work with increasing command over their own lives.

It’s a great cause, and the thrift store itself is even utilized as a training facility for many of the adults served by Clausen House.

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But my favorite thing is the new Annex (pictured above). I see the Annex as the upscale arm of this thrift enterprise.  It features primarily antique furniture and art, most of which is really quite lovely.  I purchased an antique Japanese print on silk, gorgeously framed in muted blues, grays, and silver.  I knew it would look perfect in my new kitchen, and the price was right.

I asked the employee about the expansion of their collection and he said the manager had started going to estate sales to acquire inventory, in addition to the regular stream of donations they receive (which are tax deductible by the way). They also accept consignments, splitting proceeds between consignee and the store.

I spotted this Ikki Matsumoto bird print immediately, because we have three of them in our home.  I wanted to round out our collection at four, but the price was a bit steep for me, but actually a very good value for one of his original signed prints.

Ikki is an internationally renowned artist. Born in Tokyo, he moved to the United States as a young adult to study art. He worked for many years as an illustrator and graphic designer in advertising, but eventually grew discontent. He and his wife moved to Sanibel Island, Florida to work on fine art and open their own gallery – this influence is seen in his many bird and fish prints. Other claims to fame include illustrating several editions of The Joy of Cooking, and painting an Easter egg for then First Lady Nancy Reagan – it’s now permanently stored in the Smithsonian Museum.

bird print, japanese bird prints, ikki

If you’re looking for a great place to buy reasonably priced art or antiques, I highly recommend the Annex. Or if you’re in the mode of purging rather than acquiring, consider taking your donations to Clausen Thrift. You’ll be supporting a great cause either way.

Clausen House Thrift & Annex
4834 Telegraph Avenue
Oakland, CA 94609

HOURS:   Mon-Fri 11am – 6pm, Sat/Sun 12pm – 5pm