Old Stuff.

Here we go. In this aspect of design, this is where I differ from most people who call themselves designers.

I’d much rather find something old, not necessarily an antique but something vintage that has a story & some character than to go online to Hickory Chair or visit a local furniture store for something new.

Also, keep in mind that Lisa Birnbach herself says that old stuff is automatically more Prep than new stuff.

Here’s why: New stuff just is what it is. There may be invented character in the form of distressing, etc. but there’s nothing to it. This is not to say that nothing new should be used, if that were the case I’d have nothing. Found, vintage, OLD stuff is COOL! Anyway… another reason is budget. Generally speaking, something older, unless it’s considered an antique could be considerably less expensive & be of better quality than something new.

My example:

9 months into college, myself & two friends decided that we wanted to move off-campus & I needed just one more piece of furniture for my bedroom in this house: a night stand. I looked EVERYWHERE & either I didn’t like anything or they were out of my budget which was all of zero dollars & 38 cents. Anyway, I decided to stop in our local Goodwill store, just in case there was some kind of hidden treasure in there. I walk in & once I got passed that initial smell that lingers in every Goodwill store, I made it to the housewares/furniture section. There sat the most amazing, vintage night stand from the 60s. I had to have it. $20? $50? I didn’t care. I looked at the price… $8. Eight dollars. EIGHT. After further inspection, I realized that this was something that I could have never found new & if I found it, I would have never been able to afford it. The drawers were joined with dove-tail & the only tragic part was the finish. It was “pickled” with this hideous green-grey color & the oak grain showed through. I painted it black & cleaned up the hardware & instantly it was perfect.

Now that I moved back home & my room, as you know, isn’t for black furniture, although it could have worked, I’ve sanded it & threw some white glaze over it & now it’s distressed & grey-ish. The vintage hardware still looks great on is & here it is:

What sits atop? A lamp from Target, my vintage Dennis the Menace doll, circa May 4, 1988 – my date of birth, yes, my first toy, ever! Books, a candle & some coasters. Next week, it’ll look totally different, it’s just how it goes.

Another item that I have that’s old is my Eames chair. Since studying furniture in school I’ve been OBSESSED with Charles & Ray Eames. Geniuses. Everything they ever designed is absolute perfection. So, I’ve been searching for this chair for years now. I even have it tattooed on my leg…

Finally, I’m out with my parents one day & we stop at a store called “Shinola” Downtown Greenville & here I am, leisurely walking around & I spot it. In the distance, sitting out side, full of rain water, an original, vintage Eames Molded Plastic Chair. My knees actually felt weak. It’s brown & imperfect so it’s perfect. Best part: it’s original, from the 50s & it’s tagged with an inventory number from a health care facility. Age, story & price. Oh yeah & it was only $35. Thirty-five dollars for a chair worth well over $300. Mission accomplished.

That’s all for now. Thanks again for reading my rambling. We’ll talk soon!

Don’t forget, tweet me @JamieBertolini!


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