Why is it so hard to find high quality vintage furniture?

My family would 100% agree, that I search the internet for high quality vintage furniture from the minute I wake up, to the minute I go to bed.  As soon as I wake up I grab my beloved iPad and check out Craigslist, and then I check my email to see who’s responded to my inquiries.  You wouldn’t believe the number of emails I send out on a daily basis, checking to see if stuff is still available.  I’d say that about 80% of the people I send emails to don’t even respond, and another 15% just can’t be talked down to a reasonable figure.  It’s crazy the high value that people put on their Really ugly old stuff.  Stuff that’s screaming for an update.

So my obsessiveness translates into high quality, reasonably priced, original pieces.  I have to work at it 24/7 or I’ll completely run out of stock!

So next time you’re in your grandma’s dusty attic, make sure you keep your eyes peeled for me!

I’ve finally gone and done it!

You've Gone Too FarI’ve finally gone and done it. I’m turning my passion into a business. After spending 25+ years in the business world, and refinishing my personal items on the weekends, I’m finally branching out and doing it on a regular basis. I started out slow. A piece here and a piece there. Mostly for friends and family. But now I’m doing it for you too. I just can’t stop myself. All these great vintage pieces of furniture out there are calling my name. “Take me home and make me beautiful……c’mon Kristen you know you want to.” Why yes, yes I do.

Here’s a couple of examples, of things I’ve refinished for myself, that I actually still own.  Some other pieces that I’ve done, including an entertainment center, and a dresser that I literally found on the side of the road (and stenciled lizards on for my stepsons), didn’t make it to NC when we moved here 10 years ago.  On the left is a maple dresser that belonged to my mom as a child.  It had at least 5 layers of paint on it and some horrible wood knobs.  After stripping and polyurethaning it, it’s now a treasured family heirloom.  On the right is a pine corner china cabinet that was passed to me from my sister after she had no more use for it.  It started out with a shabby chic, distressed look, then it was painted the same color as my wall (prior to the blue), so that it would have a built-in vibe.  But after we our walls went blue I gave it another update with a glossy white, and black hinges.

Maple dresser Corner china cabinet


Resale value for vintage furniture

Draper apartment on Mad Men

How to become an American Picker

american pickers

We all love Mike and Frank. The show on History Channel, American Pickers is a wholesome family hit that makes finding antiques and “rusty gold” seem both easy and exciting.

Having a film crew follow you around and a pocket full of cash makes it a lot easier to get people to open their door, so a great place to start is in your own area by keeping an eye on Craigslist, Facebook, Buy/Sell/Trade lists, FreeCycle, yard sales and any other bulletin boards that have stuff listed that people want to get rid of. One place to make sure you keep an eye on is “the side of the road”.

Letting friends and family can also help since they are additional scouts for you.

The rule of thumb is to be able to buy something for $X and sell it for at least $2X, $3X is even better. If you need to put some work into it, you should aim at $5X to account for your time and materials.

So that means when you see a killer piece at a yard sale for $100 you need to think, can I flip it for $200? Can I rejuvenate it and sell it for $500?

You’ll make mistakes when you’re first starting out, but eventually it will fall into a rhythm and it will seem easy to spot the right pieces.

What to look for at a yard sale

yardsale photo via moon angel on Flickr.com

I’m one of those annoying people that do a ‘drive by’ when yard saling. I’m sure it drives sellers crazy to have people slow down and drive by without getting out to look around, but really, this is where staging really helps. If you don’t have the good stuff on prominent display, you won’t get anyone to stop and look around. And for someone like me, who’s looking for vintage, beat up pieces of furniture, if I don’t see it during the drive by, then I’m probably not stopping.

I always keep my eyes open for solid wood, not too large, pieces. Something that I can easily throw into the back of my mini van. Another thing I look for is a piece that can have multi purposes. Take a sideboard for example. A sideboard/buffet can be used in a dining room, obviously. But I’ve also used them as a table in a foyer, a changing table, and drop a piece of butcher block or granite on top and voila, you have a fantastic kitchen island. Pieces like that I snatch up in a heartbeat!

When planning out your yard sale-ing, don’t steer clear of the less expensive neighborhoods. I’ve found that those are the neighborhoods that have more well used pieces. And a lot of times those pieces are solid wood and have been in the family for a generations. It’s the newer, more expensive neighborhoods that have stuff that’s pristine, and pricey! Neither of which are good for my purposes.

Welcome to Fresh Vintage NC

Was life better 50 years ago?

waikiki surf boards vintage

I can’t say that life was better 50 years ago, but it was different. Can you imagine these women stuffing those surfboards into their trashcans? It wasn’t long ago that products were made to last. They were made to be used, repaired and used some more. This was a time before Wal-Mart, Target and Dollar Stores.

I am a lover of taking something with great bones, and creating something amazing. Once I start a new project I can’t wait to see the finished product. If only my house was big enough to hold everything I create…..I really love them all that much! But alas, it’s not. So let me add the elbow grease, and instead of adding more ‘throw-away’ furniture to your house, from Ikea and Target, pick something that you’ll have (and LOVE!) for years to come. Every piece I bring back to life has a history….and now you have an opportunity to become part of that history!

I search high and low for my pieces. And as soon as I see a piece I know what it can become. Something gorgeous!