Don't be surprised if you spot HGTV host Cari Cucksey roaming through the antiques shops of Hampden or stopping at a random yard or estate sale this weekend when she's in town for the Maryland Home and Garden Show.
Cucksey, star of the HGTV show "Cash & Cari," will share some of her trade secrets during the show that runs through Sunday, Oct. 20, at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium.
The event will offer attendees the opportunity to learn about subjects as diverse as sand sculptures and wine tasting. There will also be food exhibits along with the latest trends in home decor and garden beautification.
But Cucksey, who draws from a lifetime of experience, is expected to be the main draw. On her TV show, she goes into homeowners' basements and attics to find treasures that can be sold for cash.
"I have been collecting since I was a kid," she said. "I grew up in a 1908 Sears Roebuck home. My mother had it decorated with treasures she found. I spent a lot of time with [my] grandfather. He was a picker. He shopped alongside the road. I've been around it since birth."
The Michigan native, who recently finished shooting the third season of her HGTV show, has turned her love of collecting into a career.
She owns RePurpose Estate Services, which organizes estate sales, and operates the RePurpose Shop, a store filled with vintage finds, both in Michigan.
"More and more people are dollar-conscious," she said. "It is OK to become a picker and to pick through garbage."
But you don't want to bring home the "bad" garbage — only the good stuff — which is why Cucksey is so successful. She's able to spot diamonds in the rough.
"You have to be an inspector and use common sense," she said. "You have to be very, very careful. It goes back to doing homework."
She recommends keeping a list of items that you're looking for and focusing on those things as you browse the sales. Arrive early to get the best deals, Cucksey said, adding that buyers can start shopping in advance by signing up for mailing lists so they're notified of upcoming sales.
"Most companies will post photos and information online of key items in their sales," she said. Cucksey recommends estatesalesearch.com, an online service that she has partnered with as a consultant.
Cucksey said being prepared allows buyers to move quickly once they spot something they like. "You have to act quickly at an estate sale. If you spy something you can't live without, grab it quickly. Otherwise, it will be gone."
Although estate and antiques sales tend to be less frequent as the weather turns colder, Cucksey says that it is a year-round activity that can yield impressive results at home or even for gift-giving.
"When giving antiques as a gift, it should come with a story," she said. "I call it 'antique karma.' The story is what sells the piece. We want to have a conversation that accompanies the item."
Talking with the sellers about the items also establishes a rapport that can ease what may be a tough situation. Cucksey points out that estate sales often are held because of the loss of a family member or other misfortune.
"Be courteous and sensitive to the situation," she said. "Try to withhold any comments about the decor and furnishings. As my mother always says, 'If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it at all.' "
Of course, the TV host will have plenty to say to visitors to the home show this weekend, where she will host seminars on all three days. Cucksey said she is looking forward to sharing her passion for repurposing and perhaps doing some shopping for her newest obsession — Eastlake furniture, which she said is making a comeback. It's all part of the movement she loves so much.
"The repurposing trend isn't going anywhere," she said. "The industry is fabulous. I'm not really sure what is coming next, but people will always need to put things together. Repurposing is here to stay."
If you go
Maryland Home & Garden Show at the Timonium Fairgrounds. Hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20. Adults $9; seniors age 62 and older, $7; children ages 6-12, $3. More than 300 vendors will be on hand. Highlights include:
•HGTV's Cari Cucksey will offer seminars on Saturday at noon, 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.; and Sunday at noon.
•Ocean City's "Sandman," Randy Hofman, will offer sculpting sessions.
•Award-winning pumpkin sculptor Gabe Vinas will carve art from the gourds.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun