Posted in Recylce, Repurpose, Vintage decor, vintage upcycle

Vintage Coolers: A Goldmine of Upcycle Uses

Vintage Ice Coolers seem to be showing up everywhere these days…and they are the perfect addition to your vintage collections especially this time of year. Many of the most popular ones are branded with soda trademarks and have fantastic color and retro graphics. Even when they are a bit shabby and well loved they have many uses and are can add a touch of fond nostalgia to your décor, evoking happy memories of spring picnics, summer ballgames and fall mountain getaways. Of course you can still use many of them for their intended purpose because many are found with their drain stoppers and lining intact!

I recently came across two different ones on our Restore Field Trips and have really been enjoying using them on my screened porch. Here this red, white and blue cooler works perfectly as an easy and colorful table that can then be opened to hold drinks for a spring or summer party:

I’ve been using this chrome one for retro-stylish and utilitarian storage:

Some fantastically creative pinners on Pinterest have turned them into displays for a garden or as stand-alone planters –just open the existing stoppers for drainage:

Photo via Pinterest/ Flickr

This one is holding beautiful succulents and check out the cute wagon planter too- so fun:

Photo via Pinterst/ Susan Bauer/ Two Women and a Hoe

You can also turn vintage coolers into ceiling lights, cabin bedside side tables, and a makeshift air conditioner…check out this pinboard I’ve pulled together for more unique DIY Vintage Ice Cooler Ideas and then hit the Restore to hunt for your very own vintage ice cooler!

Posted in Recycle, Thrifting, Vintage 50s

Swank up your Style with Vintage Bar and Glassware

There are so many mod vintage bar treasures to be found at the Metrolina Habitat ReStores!

Check out my guest blog post here on the many different types of  mod bar collectibles and fun cocktail party gear that can be unearthed at your nearest ReStore.

Happy hunting and Cheers~



Posted in Recycle, Repurpose, reupholster, Upcycle, Vintage 50s

My furniture guru teaches me to look and see vintage furniture in a NEW way…

Oh, I have been hanging out with the very creative and talented Dennis Calderon of Revived Furniture Gallery for the last several months and wow—the things I’ve learned! You may remember the fabulous Danish Mod chair blog post from last month where we upfitted a great ReStore find with new cushions. Well, now we’re taking the next step and redoing an entire chair–which at first seemed almost unsaveable! But Dennis showed me the way, and taught me some valuable vintage furniture upholstery lessons in the process!

It’s all revealed in my most recent post as a guest blogger for the Metrolina ReStores Blog!




Posted in carpet, Recycle, Vintage 50s

These are a few of my favorite (vintage cleaning) things…

novelty cleaning prods

When I recently did the February ReStore ReNew Event on Midcentury 101 at the Gaston Habitat ReStore I had a extremely popular section on care, cleaning and maintenance of midcentury items.

So, I am taking the good advice of my ReStore blogsister, Jennifer Burnham and recapping my very favorite top three items to revive, clean and care for midcentury and vintage goodies. This is just really good info to pass along to fellow vintage lovers for several reasons because not only is it important to be able to keep your 40, 50 or 60+ year old items maintained, but it’s also very helpful to be able to quickly identify what can be cleaned off an item vs. a permanent flaw that you’ll have to live with when shopping in resale and vintage stores.

(….read the rest of the article  written as a guest post for the Metrolina ReStores Blog.)


Happy Cleaning!

Posted in Recycle, reupholster

Creative Rule-Breaking Breathes New Life into Danish Mod Chair

(This was a originally a guest post on the Metrolina Habitat Restore Blogsite)

Having a the name of a great reupholster is a must when hunting for midcentury furniture deals. Due to the age of these midcentury pieces the chance that 40, 50 or 60 year old fabric, cushions and upholstery will still be in good shape  when you happen upon them are very slim! It pays to have someone that understands midcentury style and can help you see beyond the current fabric and even possibly the current outer structure of a piece to be able to give it a functional and enjoyable second (or third, or fourth) life for you. Even something as simple as new cushions can turn an mediocre piece of furniture into a fabulous favorite overnight! This is typically easy, fast and less expensive, because after all–it’s just cushions! But oh what a difference it can make….

Case in point: I recently I found this fantastic Danish Modern chair a local ReStore. I actually gasped out loud when I saw it; Danish Mod, in my experience seems a little more scarce and elusive to find. The chair had a white sheet-type Velcro-attached slipcover on the existing original cushions:


This white slipcover had been placed over the original and very stained orange tweedy fabric. See how I strategically placed this pillow to hide some of the staining:

Maybe THE most important piece of info here is that the bones of this chair were fantastic. The slats on the back of the chair and the strapping underneath the seat were in not only in tact but in strong shape:

The wood was clearly marked ‘TEAK’ on the underside with a model number-and although it had tons o’ cobwebs and dust balls all over it, it cleaned up beautifully with a little Howards Feed and Wax:

So then I took the cushions to my new favorite upholsterer, Dennis Caldron at Revived Furniture Gallery in Denver, NC.  Even though Dennis will reupholster all types of furniture, his personal love and his furniture  gallery is full of fab midcentury modern furniture. He suggested that we reinforce the basically good cushions with Dacron- they weren’t crumbling or falling apart so they were reusable. He also suggested several fabrics that I truly liked from the large inventory that he has onsite at his gallery. These were the final three to which I narrowed it down out of the dozen or so that he sent me:

…..but then he showed me one in his gallery in Denver that I just LOVED on sight and knew would work well in the room.

And here’s the fun rule-break story of this re-do:

When I chose this fabric out of Dennis’ inventory I really was drawn to it upon first glance; what I didn’t realize at the time was that I was actually looking at the back or dare I say ‘wrong” side of the fabric. The opposing- or “right” side of this fabric is much lighter and more baby blueish. To me the ‘wrong’  side of this fabric was just so much more interesting! In this pic below you can see both sides of this fabric; above the zipper is the ‘wrong’ side and below the zipper is the ‘right’ side:

So who can’t  tell the right side of the fabric from the wrong, right? (Me, evidently!)  But then Dennis told me he had used the back side of this particular fabric before on another project and that it had turned out beautifully. Well that just confirmed my choice, and I went with it! Right side, wrong side…what does it really matter anyways as long as it works for you and your space? And boy do I extra-love someone who is willing to break rules with me….

So here’s the final result:

Wowza, right? It’s so perfect with  the colors in the shade of the fiberglass lamp, compliments the wall color and was just the right choice all the way around. Sometimes wrong can be oh-so-right!  Here’s a little progression:

What a huge difference freshly reupholstered cushions can make. And since I now have Dennis on permanent speed dial, we’ve got some other great creative projects in the works that I cannot wait to show you down the line.

Okay so tell me: what rules have you broken in your home decorating? I’d just love to hear…

Posted in Recycle, Thrifting, Uncategorized, Vintage 50s

ModBettie’s Rules of Thrifting and The Universe: Patience is a Virtue (Arrggggh!)

When you make a decision that you are going to re-do your house in midcentury and vintage furniture in the way that I have chosen to do- at first it all sounds really great: the hunting around, chasing stuff down, finding and getting deals-what FUN!

You start to feel that things are shaping up and there are some really great areas in your house of which you are proud …maybe you even put them on Instagram and you think it would be fun to blog and share your finds. It’s all rolling along nicely and then–something happens.

Your parents or your in-laws call, and they want to come over and see ‘all the fun things’ you’ve done to the house. Or, maybe its the holidays- pick any one of them, it doesn’t matter, and everyone wants you to host.

Or, your boss or your spouse’s boss or the First Lady calls and wants to come over for drinks or tea—eeesh! These events can be all-of -sudden enough to send any of us (read: me) into a bit of an override. Why? Because the house, although “shaping up nicely” isn’t ready or  “done” –whatever the heck that means.

Furnishing your house with vintage treasures does provide a very specific challenge: if you are on a budget and seeking them out one hunt at a time it is naturally going to be a big waiting game.

Now this can be a huge part of the fun if you adore the thrill of the hunt as I do, and makes the finding of a long sough-after item that much sweeter, believe me! But the opposing side of this is that these midcentury items are scarce so unfortunately you cannot conjure the perfect item at the perfect price out of the air for your house at any given moment when someone is coming over to scout it all out!

You have to WAIT until it arrives and plops itself in your way and beckons you to purchase it. You have to WAIT to find that perfect vintage sofa, couch or table-because these vintage items are just not readily available, and frankly that is a big  part of what makes them oh-so-deliciously appealing! So having patience with your hunt becomes truly important, and to me, quite honestly, is a reoccurring lesson in itself, and a probably a good metaphor for life.

You have to learn to ACCEPT your house as it is at any given time in it’s evolvement –even when the Queen of England has decided to come over, it’s your turn to host book club, or whatever else it may be that is sending you into a personal meltdown. Because, after all it is about the journey, and vintage seekers are always going to have a great journey and a fab story at the end to tell…

Patience may be a virtue, but acceptance is truly divine: both in house decorating and life!

How do you deal with thrifting as you decorate your home? Is it ever truly done?