Jun 17, 2012 / 8:00 am
There is nothing sexier than a room that has character, diversity and personalized attributes that truly showcase both the owner’s spirit and the architectural bones of the home itself. Whether you are on a budget or not, flea market, vintage and second hand décor is all the rage this summer!
Creating brilliant rooms cannot be done with matchy-matchy room-in-a-bag decorating. In fashion, and in home design, we love to attempt to forecast future trends, while referencing the past for tried and true styles. There’s no better way to bring in that vintage chicness than refurbishing a second hand piece of furniture or accessory in your room (plus you’ll save a ton of money, and have fun in the process). Anyone can go into a pawn shop, secondhand store, flea market or even a garage sale – but it takes a trained eye and some expert advise to bring home valuable pieces you can actually turn into something fabulous – worthy of a second life!
When Cher and I are traveling around the globe shooting our TV program, “Let’s Shop” one of our absolute favorite things to do is visit second hand stores or local markets to discover indigenous treasures to bring home. One trick we’ve learnt is that impulse buying, in this case, is necessary. You don’t often make it back to the same store twice, and if you do, someone has already snagged the one-of piece – so buy with your heart and your gut. If you fall in love with something, but aren’t quite sure if it will work, buy it and figure it out later.
We encourage our client’s homes to be filled with treasured items with memories and stories attached to them. Refurbished and recycled items already have history, they already have your personal attention to adapt them into your own home’s style, and they already have a life of their own! The joy is truly all in the hunt – so get on your best deal-scouring, style hunting shoes and let’s go vintage shopping!
My number one ‘hot’ vintage item is the one-of chair. Perhaps it needs a new paint job (thoroughly sand first, then try glamming up the chair with hot pink, forest green or even random bright splashes of color) or maybe it could be half dipped in chrome (just the back rest or just the legs for a real artistic vibe). Think of where this chair could go – is there a lonely corner in your home that doesn’t necessarily need to be a functional seating area, but could use a piece of art? Does your dining table look completely predictable with matching chairs and a matching table? We often mismatch our chairs in the dining room, or even add a one-of bench.
Don’t rule out re-upholstering an antique chair in a modern fabric (like an unconventional damask made out of flora fauna or a zigzag stripe) or even in gorgeous vintage designer scarves or belts. We recently found a very cool wooden chaise at a thrift store that we decoupaged (collage of paper pasted onto the chair with a simple glue formula) with healthy recipes and inspirational quotes from fitness magazines for a client’s home gym – amazing and all for under $50! We’ve even used an over-stuffed, ripping at the seams, big comfy burnt orange leather armchair (found at an Upper East Side New York estate sale) in a bachelor’s home office on top of a super modern cowhide and beside a very contemporary metal desk. It has mystique – it looks like it has been through hundreds of deep intellectual conversations, cigar in hand, whisky decanter alongside. Fabulous and quirky!
Next item on my vintage ‘must-have list’ is stunning table lamp bases. These are always a good score because the shade usually looks terrible so the shop owner will let it go for cheap. It’s easy to put on a new shade and even a new finial (the small ornament that holds the shade onto the harp of the lamp) and give the vintage lamp a modern makeover. We love overly ornate peacock bases, oversized metal art deco bases or organic crystal and driftwood bases.
Always be on the hunt for odd accessories, truly kin to their decade, which will look spectacular in traditional spaces or wonderfully juxtaposed in ultramodern rooms. We love the look of a vintage symbol-holding toy monkey (circa Phantom of the Opera Victorian era) on top of a stack of coffee table books in the living room or a gilded baroque hand mirror laid upon a sleek powder room counter. These pieces are allowed to look ‘out-of-place’ because they are so unique and one-of-a-kind. Scour for old leather bound books and hunt for vintage signs, giant letters and posters, which are real conversation starters in any décor.
Now that you’re vintage shopping pros, some last minute tips… Don’t be discouraged if you don’t fall in love with anything the first time you go out vintage shopping. It takes practice and patience to unearth the true finds. Dig deep! Remember, shop with your heart, don’t be afraid of refurbishing any piece with a little TLC, and try to think of new, unintentional ways to enjoy the item. In fact, don’t even think about what it was made for; think about what it could be instead.
Sam Shakura is the co-owner and creative force behind the fashion-forward interior and lifestyle firm, Rock House of Design Inc. Internationally renowned designer, national radio host, blogger, stylist, and fashion & jewelry designer, Sam Shakura is a fabulous living expert.
Read more Real Estate News
- Centrepoint home on a large lot sells quickly
- Roncesvalles home gets more than a dozen offers
- Islington buyer knocks $19,000 off ‘diamond in the rough’
- Humber River home snags three quick offers
- Renvations boost Corso Italia home’s value
- Re-listing and cosmetic changes sell a Hillcrest home
- Developer leaps at Bedford Park home with $151,000 premium
- Sales, prices, listings down. What’s up with Toronto’s high-end homes?
- Home of the Week: 'Slow' home is light on its feet
- Home of the Week: Example of ‘slow’ architecture is light on its feet
- How a real-estate pro fights a bidding war
- Video: See how this Bedford Park home sold for over $1-million in four days