When you hear the word “vintage” what comes to mind?

It is a very broad stroke of the brush when using it to describe pieces that have some history. Honestly, that is about as good a definition – for me – as any. Pieces with a story.

Some age. Patina.

Been through a home or ten.

I am not alone, but certainly not in the majority when it comes to designing with vintage pieces in mind. I find myself drawn more and more to things that are original, unique and tell a story that involves time.

The challenge?

Making something old feel new.

Relevant and modern.


Context matters.

This small but mighty glass vase is one of my favorites. For many folks, mid century colored glass is not their thing.

I totally get that.

Respect that.

But when you place this less than desirable – for some – piece in a modern environment, the context changes and the vase takes on a very different vibe. The contemporary art elevates it even more.

Context always impacts design.

Most everything you see here -even Pup – has some wear and tear that comes with age…in other words,


Vintage is also tough to ascribe any one particular era or design style to.

Thus the beauty of the mix.

Mixing styles, in my opinion, does not confuse the eye, but rather – entertains it. Collections from varying eras – folk art bench,  mid century table and Le Corbusier chairs, dainty crystal and porcelain, old tarnished silver, ALL residing on a vintage rug – they play well together. Mostly due to tones in the room. A white backdrop always lends itself to more flexibility in design.The wood pieces and camel velvet club chairs also blend a bit more and help unify the room.

This room is quite simple, but varied in style and form.

It works because each piece stands solidly on its own, while not competing with one another.

– great life lesson for me-

Old French iron urns topping a table made out of very old pine fit, their patina complimentary. Flanked by what I call Granny chairs, so pretty and feminine in their original clothing, while masculine mid century chairs feel like just the right opposite for the Grannies.

The vintage Stilnovo Chandelier – in my opinion – makes this room extra special. Its stature is compelling and rounds out this space well.

Truth be told, I am a sucker for great lighting.

How bout that yellow settee’.

Sometimes the original fabric in its new environment does not work. This piece needed some some fresh new clothes.

Yellow velvet.

This was a risk I was happy to take.

Most risks pay off if you are willing to think outside the box.

Admittedly, there are times when new furniture makes the most sense. We have had the above couches from Crate and Barrel for years. They are neutral enough to work in multiple places. Flanking them are a few random odd and seemingly “these do not belong together” pieces.

Saarinen tulip table with a very old game table sitting happily underneath hand made chandeliers from the 60’s…why do they “work”?

Honestly not sure they do but:


Not like I love people.

But love like “I love this piece and I am really thinking it will be perfect…here”

Love in a way that does not fit a particular design narrative and somehow makes me happy.

I am a rebel at heart.

Design gives me a great outlet to rebel…hmmm never thought about design in that context…!

Final thought –

I am often asked where to find good original pieces for the home. Local antique shops and flea markets often are my go to for vintage design. I also do quite a bit of perusing on line. For some, trying to incorporate these unique pieces into their homes seems a bit overwhelming. A good resource for help in this area is Havenly, an ONLINE INTERIOR DESIGN service. Always helpful to seek out other perspectives…gets the creative juices flowing…!

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