Q&A: Vintage 101 (and a Giveaway!)

In follow up to last week’s newsletter, When Vintage Decor Meets Modern Renovation, we sat down with Natalie Rettinger, owner of Media, PA-based vintage furniture boutique Reconsidered Home, for a primer on antique furnishings and how to incorporate them into your home.

Q: How did you get started in selling vintage furnishings and antiques?

NR: I found my first chair in a thrift shop a few years ago. It was a tufted, armless chair with a dusty mustard yellow fabric. I bought the chair for $15, took it home, and immediately took it apart to see how it got its shape. I learned a lot from that chair and still have it, mostly to remind me to leave reupholstering to the professionals!

Q: What are the advantages of decorating a home with vintage finds?

NR: Vintage furniture, in combination with your existing pieces, allows you to be truly unique and actually helps you to find your style. No one else will have what you have. Of course, the other obvious reason to choose vintage is for its affordability. We have customers that often look to trade in their pieces in order to explore other shapes or styles.

Q: Tell us about some of the unique pieces that have passed through your boutique.

NR: We recently sold a set of Danish floating shelves with hidden hardware; that was my favorite. I also love lighting and have acquired some very cool lamps, like a 3-ft. tall driftwood lamp with a huge fiberglass lampshade. That lamp deserves its own room.

Q: What impact has the weak economy had on your industry?

NR: At Reconsidered Home, we focus mainly on mid-century modern and Danish designs. These areas have trended positively over the last decade, and the economy has helped drive current interest in furnishings from the ’50s and ’60s. Also, there are quite a few television shows, including Mad Men, Cash and Cari, that have driven interest in the styles of that era.

Q: Are there any home styles for which antique pieces would not be a good match? Please explain.

NR: No, vintage can work with any home style, shape, size, location. If you are afraid of looking too “eclectic”, keep it simple. Also, you can make salvaged furniture look brand new by calling a local upholsterer or refinisher. These magicians are my best friends.

Q: What tips do you have for people who are new to vintage shopping and decorating?

NR: Don’t try for perfection. I think many of us have bought a something that we loved, but once we got it home, it just didn’t look right in the spot we picked out for it. I like those moments because they tend to spur our creative problem-solving skills. In the end, your home looks better because of that “mistake.”

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.