Decorating & Design

June 29, 2009

Adding Soul With Vintage Finds

I thrive on having a project to tackle, and even though it’s what I do for a living, I still get pumped about transforming a piece of furniture or a room.

These days I’ve been hitting the jackpot with some of my thrift/Craigslist/curbside scores, so I’ve got lots of projects to complete. But it has me wondering — why do I do this? What is the purpose of all this dumpster-diving, and why do I feel the need to collect all this junk? Well, for me, the answer comes easily: these pieces add soul.

Take a look at this home, designed by Windsor Smith for example. Tons of soul!

Vintage inspiration

This room simply wouldn’t work if everything in it came brand new from a showroom. Sure, the sofa and ottoman may be new (although they each have a historic form) but look at those inlaid chairs! What about the quirky chandelier (in a living room no less!) and that collection of pottery on top of the vintage armoire? This is why I hunt junk.

vintage inspiration

When used carefully, flea market finds add history and layers to a room. They are the antithesis of that new car smell, and give a home a relaxed, personal vibe that is inviting and oh-so-much-more-interesting.

Now, onto those projects! This week I picked up two Chippendale-style chairs from Craigslist for $50 each and a classic spool-style bed in a perfectly untouched, raw-wood state of unfinish (also Craigslist for $100). The bed, I know will be left as is, and used in a client’s guest bedroom against a wall in Farrow & Ball’s Pale Powder. The chairs are for another client and I haven’t decided whether or not to paint them and cover the seat in linen, or leave them natural and cover the seat in something punchy. Any thoughts?

Michael's Vintage finds

But my best scores last week were five vintage Thonet wooden chairs painted Pepto-Bismol pink. They were spied on my way home from the magazine, poking out of a heap of garbage bags. You know I had to grab those! Turns out the same ones are published in Domino: The Book of Decorating! I’m not exactly sure where these will end up, but you know they’re going to take a room from ho-hum to hallelujah!

Michael's Vintage finds

So please, my little bloglettes, don’t turn your nose up at vintage finds (even those in the garbage) because when you give them a new home — your home — they will reward you with stylish soul.

vintage inspiration

For more hunting tips, check out our Top 10 Flea Market Finds.

Photo credits:
Windsor Smith
Windsor Smith
Michael Penney
Windsor Smith