Photo Gallery: Vintage Style
“I can’t help it: I’m a sucker for rust, peeling paint and an old, worn patina,” admits Fiona Richards, the Nelson, B.C. artist behind the inspiring Cafe Cartolina blog and owner of Cartolina Cards. Along with photos of rustic kitchens, eclectic dining rooms and living room accent pieces, Richards offers tips on how to decorate with vintage, found and industrial treasures.
“The utilitarian loveliness of this battered old wooden table island works magic in this casual kitchen setting — so many textures and surfaces,” raves Richards. “I would drag this rustic piece home any day and park it in my kitchen!”
“This is my idea of using industrial and found objects successfully in a room,” says Richards. “The combination of large metal pieces and small wooden accessories, set in a stark white room with old wood floors, is wonderful.”
“Found objects offer character, which is such a relief to all the matchy-matchy decorating styles available these days,” says Richards. “Look closely at this room: every element is from a different decade, using a different surface material — but it pulls together to create a cohesive and exciting space.”
“There are so many sources on the web these days,” notes Richards. “These pieces, from Les Nouveaux Brocanteurs, would all work individually in a room as focal pieces, but combined they create a showstopping display of curiosities.”
“The worn patina of the mirror brings an element of history to this grouping,” Richards explains. “If you don’t have space for large items, creating a still life or vignette of finds can bring a stylish reclaimed element to even the most conservative space.”
“Not all vintage or industrial pieces are rusty or rustic — there is a booming business in repurposing industrial furniture from the 1930s,” says Richards. “This wonderful piece is a great example of what happens when you strip a painted steel dresser down to its raw material and clear coat it for an almost mirrored finish.”
“The base of this table is an industrial, cast iron work table from the 1900s,” Richards says. “A brand new marble top has replaced the damaged steel top — what a beauty!”
“I love these iron tables,” exclaims Richards. “The bases are forged-iron industrial tripods from the 1900s, and the table tops are manhole covers. The overall impression is of two classic, traditional side tables.”
“Here’s a wonderful example of how practical industrial furniture can be,” Richards says. “This is a locker room coat rack from the 1930s. It’s indestructible — and perfect for the mudroom of a busy family home.”
“This is an original steel cabinet from the 1930s that retains its original paint and patina,” says Richards. “It could easily be mistaken for a painted wood cupboard from afar.”
Get more ideas on using vintage pieces in assistant style editor Michael Penney’s Affordable Style blog.