What’s old may not be new again, but it’s certainly chic. Vintage décor is a terrific way to revamp your space and bring some character into a home that’s lacking personal style. But for many, the idea of hunting for vintage treasures is more than a bit intimidating — “Where do I begin?” is a common concern, as is cost and identifying authenticity. This is where the knowledge of Grace George-Dash, manager of Cleveland’s Flower Child, comes in handy.
May 2010 issue
Add personal flair to your rooms with well-chosen antiques and collectibles.
“Start with something small, and always think about what appeals to you, rather than what something is worth,” she offers. “Go to garage sales and estate sales first. Begin with a bit of caution, and perhaps think about your garden or patio initially. If you start thinking along those lines, you’ll be hooked.”
As for authenticity, she suggests a simple approach.
“Speak with people who grew up with [the furnishings] that interest you. Learn some of the best designers and then look for the companies that are still in business, like Drexel [Heritage Furniture],” she says.
A bit of research is a good idea, too.
“I didn’t know about furniture when I first started, as I had focused on clothing and jewelry. One of the ways that I learned about vintage furniture was with a Kovels’ price guide. That became my reading material every night,” she says.
When you finally find a piece of furniture on your hunt, George-Dash suggests checking underneath the table or underneath the cushions — familiarizing yourself with a piece is your strategy for becoming a true collector.
And for those who are simply looking for a starting point, she notes that lamps are a surefire way to get hooked on vintage.
“There are some crazy, really cool lamps out there,” she says. “I’ve had friends who were so hooked they had one room totally filled with lamps. Find that one piece that you’re in love with, and then branch off from there.”
Flower Child stores — located on Cleveland’s west side and in downtown Columbus (989 N. High St., 614/297-8006) — are great places for beginners to find inspiration. The Cleveland store is home to a maze of rooms brimming with lamps, couches, loveseats, bureaus, throw pillows, wall art and bars that scream “cocktail hour.” If you’ve ever wanted a glitter-specked patent leather couch, you’re in luck. And for those hoping for a more subdued look, there’s plenty of art deco to go around.
As for the process of redecorating, the beauty of vintage furniture and décor, as George-Dash notes, is that you don’t have to do it on-trend. While there are certainly trends within the world of vintage — specific eras go in and out of style just as contemporary designs do — collecting and decorating with vintage is all about your own personal style.
“You have to go with what appeals to you,” George-Dash says.
And don’t be afraid to take chances.
“When you’re out there starting a vintage collection, or starting to re-do your home, think eclectic,” she says. “Don’t be afraid to mix different eras — it gives [your space] a really cool look. For me, more is best, and being eclectic gives your home a really warm feeling. So mix it up.”