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!

 

20140403_182058000_iOS

 

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.)

20140220_220134000_iOS20140305_143208000_iOS

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?

Posted in Gifts, Mod Charlotte, Recycle, Repurpose, Vintage 50s

Swanky Vintage Gift Giving-Part 2: Getting Creative and Giving Vintage!

In part one of our vintage gifting series we told you the 3 secrets to making vintage gift giving more personal. But during the holidays we are often required to give gifts to people that we don’t know as well– this can sometimes make gift shopping stressful for many people. How do you give something that’s creative and unique while being both recycled and affordable? Giving vintage is your answer! And I am here to show you how to give vintage to everyone on your list this year. Giving vintage does require a little creativity on the part of the giver and so thinking ahead is key- but here are some of my very quick vintage gift ideas to help you check those items off your gift list.

Teacher’ Gift: Ceramic Apple or Jam Jar; copy of a vintage book or elementary reader (a’la Dick and Jane):

Hostess Gift: Vintage candy dish, vintage serving utensil or tray, vintage teacup & saucer, vintage thermos or insulated bottle (Some these may not be appropriate for actual use today, fyi, but still make a very creative gift!):

Travelsmith: vintage maps, vintage travel posters & brochures, vintage luggage:

Coffee or Tea Lover: vintage mugs, coffee cups and kitchen canisters:

Cook/ Chef /Baker: Vintage bakeware, vintage kitchen utensils, vintage cookbooks, vintage apron:

Fashionista: vintage bag, brooch, scarf, fashion mag, fashion poster, compact, sweater pin:

Cocktail/Party Lovers: vintage barware, trays, bar accessories:

Audiofile: vintage vinyl, vintage turntable or console, vintage speakers

and/or

Hipster: vintage ties, vintage watch, framed vintage album cover or retro ad from vintage magazine:

And, don’t forget the kids! What about a vintage board game, vintage toy or favorite vintage book from your own childhood to pass down the old-style family gaming/ bedtime story tradition? And teach them how to play it so you can win at something against them for a change-if you’re lucky:

So many of these items can be found for so much less than you’d ever pay for a current item at full retail, so I love the idea of adding in little extras to make the gift more fun and thematic. You can always personalize the gift by adding your favorite tea or coffee to the mugs or canisters, cookie or soup mix to any baking items or insulated jars, a coffee shop gift card to any vintage book and of course a bottle of liquor, wine or festive champagne to round out your barware gift if you are inclined to spend a little more!

So give MORE than just an average run-of-the-mill store bought ‘ole new gift this year…give a little piece of history by giving vintage! You’ll likely save money in the process, give a truly unique and memorable gift and have a great time shopping too–antique stores and vintage markets and are so much more fun for shopping outings and usually less crowded than the mall. So, have a fab fun shopping season giving vintage to everyone you know and share the ideas and pics if you are so inclined…I’d love to see!