Why Buy Vintage?

I’ve been thinking a lot about my “why” lately…

Each piece I restyle is vintage to begin with. Sometimes it’s scary vintage in need of a complete overhaul and sometimes it’s jump-up-and-down-awesome vintage that needs very little work in order to look its best again.

Whether you choose to buy restyled vintage pieces or pure vintage pieces, the advantages are overwhelming.

So, here are my top 5 answers to the question, “Why buy vintage?”…

1. It allows you to express your individuality

I don’t know about you, but I like to surround myself with things that are different, because I’m different.

When buying vintage, you’re not forced to choose from the same small selection as everyone else. You’re given the opportunity to search out the perfect piece for YOU.

If going the restyled route, an endless number of options become available. You then have the power to create what you want instead of settling.

Set aside the fact that shopping for the perfect vintage piece (or creating one) becomes an experience, rather than a chore, once you find it, take it home, and set it up, you’ll be beaming with pride knowing that very few people in the world (if any) have the same thing you do.

2. It brings history into your home

I don’t know how many times I’ve been cleaning up an old lamp and found a piece of tattered newspaper tucked up inside and taken pleasure in reading the date and the stories printed at that moment time.

It always reminds me that this isn’t just some lamp. At one time, it was someone’s lamp. Cheesy as it may be, I can’t help but think about all of the conversations it was privy to.

3. It allows you to surround yourself with quality

It doesn’t feel good to look around and feel like you’re living in a catalog. It doesn’t feel good to know that your furniture becomes junk after one scratch, dent, broken handle or hinge because it was constructed poorly from sub-par materials that can’t stand the test of time.

It does feel good to look around and know that each piece has been hand selected by you for it’s quirks & it’s quality. It does feel good to build a collection. It does feel good to know that while that scratch in your teak sideboard ads a bit of character, it can be refinished to look brand new over and over again.

4. It feels good to invest in your furnishings

A dime a dozen doesn’t cut it. When you’re spending your hard earned dollars furnishing your home, you should feel good about investing in pieces that are valuable for their rarity, uniqueness or quality and will be for years to come.

As a whole, we produce so much waste buying cheap consumer goods, then tossing them and replacing them every few years when they reach their short lifespan. It doesn’t make sense.

Aim to buy it once, buy it right and reserve the right to resell it down the line if you grow tired of it, knowing that it’s quality will make it an investment for someone else.

5. It makes you feel all warm & fuzzy

Reaffirming your personal style? Check! Eco-friendly? Check! Supporting vintage dealers, indie biz owners & charities? Check! Knowing that you’re the only person who owns it? Check! Buying quality made pieces that are built to last? Check! Warm fuzzies all round? Check!

Not to say that new is bad. It’s not. There are a lot of quality products being made well and being made responsibly every day.

The trick is to spot the good new pieces and blend them with the vintage pieces to create a dynamic, layered look!

Why do you buy vintage & restyled vintage?

Endless Inspiration…

With so many talented creatives producing such amazing work on a daily basis, I sometimes become overwhelmed with inspiration… Overwhelmed in a good way that is, considering the alternative.

And, with only so many hours in the day and the vastness of the web, it’s fantabulous to have websites that gather the best of the best and bring it all together in one pretty place.

Here are my top 5 go-to hubs for instant inspiration…

1. Pinterest

Pinterest is my first stop for inspiration as well as a reward for a hard days work. Because they have so many users, adding delightful pins all day long, Pinterest is bursting at the seams with goodness. Request an invitation and get pinning! You can organize your own pins onto different boards, making them easy to reference, repin others pins onto one of your boards, or simply “like” others pins (my fave option).

2. Nestfully

From the creators behind We Love Indie, Flairful & Wedfully came Nestfully. Curated from the Artesssen network of blogs, it brings the lastest home & lifestyle posts together in one lovely place. Click through to read entire articles and log in to “favorite” the posts that tickle your fancy.

3. Dwelling Gawker

A daily roundup of the best of the blogosphere. Dwelling Gawker hunts down the most inspiring posts relating to all things home & design and makes them easy to “heart”. If you have a great post to share, don’t just wait for it to be found, submit your post for review by their team! Feeling like you’d like to explore another subject matter? Check out Food Gawker, Wedding Gawker and Craft Gawker!

4. Fab

Fab is the new kid on the block. If you haven’t already signed up to be notified about their daily design sales, you really must! In fact, use this link to help me earn Fab credit. Once you’re a member you can click over to their inspiration page, adjust the thumbnails to suit your visual preferences, then go ahead and get inspired!

5. Instagram

If you’ve got an iPhone and you’re looking for inspiration on the go, you really need to download the Instagram app. Not only can you snap shots of your own world (and add fun, vintage filters to them), but you can also take a peek into the worlds of others by checking out what’s ranking high on the “popular” page. I use this app to snap shots of forsaken furniture in my travels so that I can blog about them later in my Thrifted Thoughts column.

Well, that’s my top five! Where to go for an instant inspiration fix?

Christie Antiques Show – Spring 2011

This past weekend we attended the Christie Spring Antiques Show. It was rainy, muddy and a little disappointing in the lamp department.

The show was good and I’m glad I wore my rubber booties. It was full of amazing furniture and vintage treasures, but I came home empty handed.

The lamps that I was expecting to see just weren’t there this year. There were however a some fabulous Sputnik ceiling fixtures that had me salivating…

The shape and style of these chairs were to-die-for but they weren’t in the best condition… Otherwise they’d be sitting in my dining room right now!

This painted glass door was remarkable. I wish I had a place for it because it’s definitely a one-of-a-kind find.

Each little triangle was hand painted. It’s so funny that this vintage find just happens to be so on-trend right now.

Both mine and my guys eyes lit up when we saw this turquoise Vespa… Our only argument would be who gets to drive and who has to ride on the back.

This turquoise dress form was so unique compared to the usual variety. It’s lovely on it’s own, but can you imagine it styled up and sitting pretty in your bedroom or dressing room (if you’re lucky enough to have one)?

Hmmm… I’m sensing a trend… A turquoise trend. We found this gem of an oven on our way home at Robert’s Gallery. His shop used to be located right around the corner from our old apartment and we loved poking our heads in and checking out his latest treasures. Now that he’s moved, it’s a little out of the way, but we always make a point of stopping by when we’re in the area.

So, that’s a wrap folks. I don’t even have any fab lamp photos to share with you. Wish me lamp luck for this weekends event… The Caledonia town-wide garage sale. It’s this little historic town about 45 minutes away from us and I’m betting that it’ll be full of fab lamps! I’ll keep you posted!

When To DIY & When To Buy

I like to DIY as much as the next girl, but our crafty culture seems to forget sometimes that not EVERYTHING is DIY-able by EVERYONE.

With the abundance of tutorials the web has to offer us, it sometimes seems like we can take on anything, but I beg the question…

When does quality come into play?

We each have different skill sets. We each have different strengths and weaknesses. If you value quality, sometimes the better option is to buy from someone who has already perfected their methods.

There is nothing worse than choosing to DIY instead of buying and ending up with something that looks cheap, poorly constructed and sloppy.

Know your limits when it comes to skills, resources and equipment. If you can’t produce something that looks beautifully handmade then pay someone who can. Otherwise your interior will suffer the consequences.

Sure, there are loads of easy DIY’s that just about anyone can master. Sure, anyone can learn to do anything they set their minds to if they put in the time, the effort and the practice required to be great. But, sometimes it’s easier and more feasible to buy from someone who has already put in the time, effort and practice.

Consider also what you really enjoy doing and what you don’t. I see no value in spending your time on a craft you don’t really love.

A great example of this, for me anyway, is upholstery. I thought I would love it. I thought I had the skills to be great at it. I didn’t and I don’t.

Sure, I can handle recovering the occasional chair seat and even a slipcover here and there, but reupholstering an entire chair or sofa… No way! I now know better and leave that job to the pro’s.

By re-evaluating your limitations and your preferences, how could you better support our crafty community through buying from someone whose already perfected their methods?

Haaave You Met… Ginger?

Named after Miss Rogers herself, Ginger was one of the pieces I scored at a movie prop warehouse sale, back in the Spring.

I wish I could tell you which movie she’s from, but I bought over 25 lamps from the seller and in the whirlwind of the moment, we couldn’t keep track of which piece was from which production.

I must say, she was rather unattractive before. From the ugly, square, wood base that sat below her round, metal one (which I promptly removed) to her colouring (dark brown with flecks of gold & orange), she left a lot to be desired. But, just look at her now! A Cinderella story if ever I’ve seen one.

Her mid-section was recoloured in bright, bold, persimmon, which pops against her wood top & golden bottom. Her texture was to-die-for and graciously accepted the new, splashy hue.

Her shade was in perfect condition, shape wise, but in dire need of an update. Now outfitted in a super-luxe, deep brown fabric, boasting flecks of metallic fibres throughout, she looks like a million bucks.

The road to riches was long and winding for Ginger, but maintaining her vintage character, while transforming her into a show stopping, one-of-a-kind statement piece, was well worth the time and effort!

Her presence in your living room would most certainly fetch you some serious style status among jealous onlookers.