Part I In a Series: When Vintage Decor Meets Modern Renovation – and a Giveaway!

If you follow our blog regularly, you may already know that we’re doing a long-awaited renovation of the master bedroom suite at our 1950s Sputnik-era split-level rancher in Flourtown. Happily, the construction phase is over, and we’re now on to the finishing touches and decorating stage. This is when we get to install all of the shiny and pretty bits. Shopping for just the right decor is, for me, one of the most fun parts of the project. Because I love old, quality crafted furniture, I really enjoy the process of combing the local antique and high-end consignment shops to find pieces that will not only fit the space properly, but also tell the right story about our home.

The thing is, most people think that buying vintage furniture is a frugal way to go. The truth is, it can actually get very expensive, and some people buy vintage as an investment in the same way they might buy blue-chip art. But even less expensive vintage is typically of much higher construction quality than a lot of new furniture on the market.

So I wanted a vintage dresser in the master bedroom to pick up the age of the house and the glow of the wood, and to generally warm up the room. I really wanted to tie the character of our older house into this otherwise all-new space. (This, by the way, is something we do in most of our projects: We refer back to the home we are working in, in some relevant and important way.) I found the right piece at Reconsidered Home, a vintage boutique in Media, PA, which specializes in mid-century modern furniture, vintage artwork and other unique items for the home. It is a nine-drawer teak dresser from the Stanley Furniture Company of North Carolina. We think it was built in the late 1950s and was in great shape but still needed a little fine tuning: some light sanding and a coat of tung oil did the trick. In the room, I also have a vintage photograph of Flume Falls, N.H., that I had framed a number of years ago at a very good local shop in a wide Stickley-style oak frame.

The bedroom walls are painted in a sort of peculiar shade of green I selected, with China White on the ceiling, both from Benjamin Moore Paints. Selecting these colors was a bit of a task: We wanted to complement the new bright chrome, porcelain, and tile in the bathroom, as well as to tie together a number of different wood species and colors in the room. The color had to be punchy without stealing the show. We ran the ceiling color down onto one feature wall, as well, to mimic what the tile wall color is doing in the bathroom. Let us know what you think of the results!

Giveaway Details
Have you incorporated vintage decor in your own home? Send us some snapshots and/or a description of your project! We’ll post all appropriate entries on our website, and select a random winner on 10/5/11 to receive a hardcover copy of The Vintage/Modern Home by Katherine Sorrell and a $25 gift certificate to Reconsidered Home.

Stay tuned … If you’re looking for tips on how to get started with antique and retro decorating, check in next week for a Q&A with Natalie Rettinger, founder of Reconsidered Home.