ABERDEEN — For Billy Brasfield, the items and artifacts packed seemingly into every inch of the former B and B Furniture building in his native Aberdeen form a narrative of his life.
Each lamp shade, old painting and eclectic piece of home decor tells a different piece of Brasfield’s amazing story. Now the cherished memorabilia and vintage pieces sit waiting for the public to peruse and purchase.
Brasfield, 59, known as Billy B., established himself as one of the most highly sought after makeup artists in the country throughout a career that spanned 37 years. Many of Brasfield’s treasures are available to buy in a living estate sale that ends Monday.
“There are stories to everything in that building and I know every single piece that is in there,” Brasfield said.
Brasfield, who now lives in Tupelo, left the South after finishing his academic career and moved to New York where he worked behind the cosmetic counter at Macy’s. There, he learned how to perfect his technique before catching the eye of a woman who directed him to work with a modeling agency. After leaving his job at Macy’s, Brasfield began to flourish in a professional, creative environment and would end up working with A-list celebrities, including Britney Spears.
While Brasfield was working as a successful makeup artist, he was simultaneously collecting items to furnish his two homes and two apartments. He amassed a giant collection of vintage items that range from clothing to home decor and found himself overwhelmed with his collection but had no time to slow down and deal with the piles of artifacts.
After years of fame and hard work, Brasfield was ready to downsize and give his massive collection a new home.
“It just doesn’t make sense for me to hold on to it and it took me forever emotionally to get to a place where I’m ready to let it go,” Brasfield said. “It’s emotional for me to get rid of it but it is also liberating. It is such great stuff and I am excited for new people to give it a new story.”
He called Jeanette Beard — owner of Beard’s Furniture and Antiques — who has coordinated estate sales in the past and asked her to help him with his own sale.
“I came and it was overwhelming,” Beard said. “It was stacked to the ceiling, practically, and I did not know if I could handle it all. I told him he had to do some clean up and then I accepted the job.”
Although Brasfield spent most of his career in makeup, his love for beauty extends beyond the strokes of his makeup brush. The quirky artist has a strong passion for interior design.
“If I had not accidentally become so successful as a makeup artist, I definitely would have worked in design like home decor and renovation. I had that passion that ended up leading to a six-hour mini series that I had on HGTV called Hometown Renovation that took place in my hometown,” Brasfield said.
Brasfield’s show aired in 2011. After collecting items for his two homes, two apartments and the homes he redesigned for the show, he ended up with enough to fill 10 full-sized tractor-trailers.
With thousands of pieces, this estate sale is the largest Beard has taken on in her career.
It includes collector items from Brasfield’s mid-century apartment in Manhattan, eclectic Aberdeen home, beach-themed apartment in Destin and 1920s themed arts and crafts bungalow in California. It showcases everything from an eccentric collection of home decor, vintage clothes from Hollywood movie sets, old furniture to an extensive collection of antique lamps that satisfies Brasfield’s “lamp fetish.”
“I just can’t say no to a lamp so I ended up with 100 of lamps and only a fraction for my personal use,” Brasfield said.
All items range in price from $2 to $5,000 and are representative of various styles.
“There are just so many unique things here. Everything is so unique, he has very good taste,” Beard said. “There is French, Boho, country-French, Mediterranean. There are so many things for so many styles here.”
The four-day sale began Friday. It continues from 1-4 p.m. today and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday. Beard will conduct a Facebook Live from the Beard’s Furniture and Antiques Facebook page on Tuesday to sell the remaining items in the store.