Vintage Home Boutique
Articles tagged as buying tips (view all)
Seeing a glass of wine sitting on a vintage table recently brought to mind thoughts of what those two different “vintages” have in common.
Like fine wines, quality vintage furniture is distinctive and has a unique appeal to an individual’s senses. While it challenges the sameness of today’s mass produced consumer goods, like a versatile wine, vintage furniture can be as unpretentious and as comfortable with take-out pizza as it is in a formal dining room. How else are vintage furniture and wine alike? Read on to find out.
Harmony and Balance
A wine is described as ‘elegant’ when it reaches a perfect harmony or balance of flavors and ingredients; in other words, when all things come together. The same sense of balance can describe vintage mid-century modern furniture. Often referred to as functional pieces of art, mid-century modern designs removed the complexities and weight prevalent in previous furniture.
Simple clean lines complemented by long lasting, quality construction equals timeless pieces that are as readily transported from decade to decade as they are from room to room. By incorporating vintage pieces into your home you could unconsciously be adding harmony and balance to the lives of generations of future furniture guardians.
The deep colour of wine is a sign of its character and age. Similarly, the colours in vintage furniture show the unique character of each piece while offering hints of its age. The patina that develops in various woods—and especially teak—gives each piece its own distinct look and a richness of colour that simply doesn’t exist in “younger” furniture.
Vintage furniture and wine are both experiencing a surge of popularity. The growing number of local wineries attests to Canadians’ increasing interest in wine, as does our wine consumption which has grown to around triple that of the global average.
The vintage furniture trend may not be as obvious to detect. Vintage furniture’s multi-functionality and simple design allow it to blend seamlessly into homes across the country. But the trend is growing. As our living spaces shrink, the demand for quality furniture that is more streamlined and multi-functional is rising. Vintage furniture not only finds itself at home in today’s smaller spaces, but it is equally comfortable within most budgets. Vintage furniture can cost much less than contemporary furniture of similar quality.
It is worth noting however, like a limited quality Bordeaux, limited availability will eventually be reflected in its cost. If you want a unique piece, the time for shopping is now.
For the sake of our environment and for reasons of economy, more and more attention is being paid to where products are purchased and produced, from home décor to food and wine. We can no longer ignore the environmental impact that unnecessary global sourcing and its related transportation related consequences have on our world. Supporting our fellow citizens and businesses is important, for us and for our children’s’ children.
Buying at local vintage furniture shops like Vintage Home Boutique means you are saving quality used furniture from landfill sites. This circumvents the entire sourcing, manufacturing, transportation, and landfill cycle of today’s mass produced, disposable furniture.
And shopping local is fun! It gives you the freedom to return frequently to your favourite stores to compare products and to wait for just the right piece. Shopping locally for wine can be equally rewarding, giving you the chance to visit the actual vineyard where the grapes were grown and meet the people whose expertise went into each bottle.
Making ‘Simple’ a Statement
Trying to find ‘simple’ can be hard these days. The ‘wood’ used to manufacture most contemporary furniture is closer to compressed sawdust than the natural substance that has kept trees standing for centuries. Most of today’s consumer beverages are full of ingredients no one can pronounce. This is not the case with vintage wood furniture or traditionally crafted wine.
Wine and vintage furniture are both the result of crafting that sees minimal manipulations in production. With fewer adjustments and additions, products remain closer to nature. Our senses can appreciate a product’s natural personality and life when we get closer its source.
Telling a Story
Just as each bottle of wine is a reflection of the terroir where the grapes were grown, each piece of vintage furniture tells a story of its origins, from an artisan’s workshop to a home where it was cared for and passed on to future generations.
The next time you are gathered making memories with friends or family as swirling legs of wine cascade down your glass, consider another set of legs: the ones supporting your table. What history do they hold? How long will your table be the bedrock of family tales, encouraging extended family feasts and the stories that emerge from them? If history is any indicator, when the legs are holding up a piece of vintage furniture, your family has a solid foundation to build on.
This post was written by our guest blogger and friend of VHB, Brenda Coonan. You can find out more about Brenda and her company at http://bit.ly/1mD8Rqd We hope that Brenda will be a regular contributor here at VHB.
Style is such a personal thing. But I’ll let you in on a secret that fits in with almost every type of décor: quality vintage furniture. Whether you go strictly secondhand or mix in pieces with your otherwise modern decor, vintage furniture can provide that extra splash your home really needs. The best part? There won’t be any other room with the exact same set up: Vintage furniture is generally so unique and one of a kind, that you will likely be the only one on the block with that item. If you are selling a home, it is something that will make your Toronto home stand out even more in this hot real estate market and that may result in a higher selling price or a quicker sale. If you are still hesitant about vintage furniture, check out our post Why buy vintage furniture?
Know Your Vintage Furniture:
If you’re in the market for vintage pieces, a little research can go a long way. Searching the net is the easiest way to get to know designers, styles and materials to look for. If you come across a vintage piece and want to know more, look it up! www.collectorsweekly.com or www.theantiquesalmanac.com is a great online resource filled with tons of design history and a comprehensive designer research section, complete with images and designer histories. The key to finding great vintage furniture is to determine what styles and time periods speak to you, and then doing your best to learn what you can about them. Perusing a site like www.danish-furniture.com for images and inspiration can be more than just indulging in some design eye candy; it can also be a fun way to discover the eras that you’re drawn to so you can shop accordingly. "The Find" by Stan Williams is another great resource complete with insider tips from some of the top designers. Also know your local market. Mid-century is very hot right now. In some parts of the country (Montreal & Vancouver) you can't find it at all. That demand greatly elevates prices. So be realistic about the demand in your neck of the woods. For those in Toronto and Ottawa, take heart, supply is tight but reasonable.
Where to buy vintage furniture:
If you’re not in Toronto or you don’t have a great local furniture store like ours (www.vintagehomeboutique.ca)! The Internet can be your best friend. Here are some rules of thumb we use when buying for our home:
VHB Rule #1: Know your measurements! Most sellers should be more than happy to answer any questions you have about size and quality, so if you aren’t sure, ask! We have been asked so many interesting sizing questions over the years. We are thrilled to answer them because we realize our customer’s time is valuable. Plus we want every customer to have an amazing experience and get an item they will love for years.
VHB Rule #2 Patina is definitely not a bad thing. It’s called character. It’s a result of using all-natural products and quality hardwoods. Over time, solid wood products will naturally develop a sheen which is characteristic of the aging process. This mellowing of the surface is acquired by solid wood products through age, use, dusting, and polishing. It is a good reflection of the age of the item and really cannot be reproduced or enhanced. There is great debate over whether items should be refinished or not. We think that beauty is in the eye of the beholder so it is up to you and what you prefer.
VHB Rule #3 Ask questions. Most vintage stores should be able to advise you on what has been done to the piece. Just like a home, the item may have been modified over time, so be sure to ask. You may just find out a really cool story behind the vintage furniture if you do.
VHB Rule #4: Don’t be afraid to refinish. We have found some of the best pieces require a bit of work. Size, quality and lines are more important to us. If you don’t have the time, space or just don’t feel confident doing it? We would love to help you with our eco-friendly refinishing service.
Tips and Tricks for buying vintage furniture
Hunting for quality pieces can be a whole lot easier if you know what to look for. We’ve put together a little cheat sheet with some quick and dirty tips for your vintage shopping pleasure.
- Wood and build quality. There is the obvious details which indicate if a piece is from a bygone era:
- Dove tail joints on drawers:
- Solid woods: teak, walnut and mahogany are sought after right now. But oak and pine in primitive furniture is also quite striking.
- Doors, drawers done entirely in solid hard wood.
- MDF was not manufactured widely until 1966 and while particle board was in use at the turn of the century, it did not get wide spread use in furniture until the 60's.
- Style: Is it Art Deco? Is it mid-century modern? What about primitive, traditional, French provincial? Having a general idea of what you like, will assist you in your search. Also don't be afraid to mix styles!
- Is there a mark from a manufacturer or designer? Better quality furniture will often have a manufacturers mark. This is a great place to start your research. You can find out what they were famous for and styles. You can also find out if they took any shortcuts. In addition there may be a mark from the designer. This is usually something to search out. Designer pieces will always have value. Either with collectors or due to their esthetic value.
- That said, don’t be afraid to mix styles and woods. If you take a look at some of our in store vignettes or images such as these in www.arcadianhome.com or www.lonny.com you can see that blending woods and/ or styles can enhance the overall esthetic of the room
- mixing wood styles and tones can add depth and character while enhancing the overall beauty and sophistication of your decor.
- Finally, if you really love something, buy it. The best thing about vintage is that it’s typically one of a kind; if you adore it, do not let it get away. Trust us, you’ll regret it if you do. Someone else will grab it and it can be years before you encounter another one in the condition and size you are looking for.