With so much going on over here, I decided we needed a more official way to share the details. So, without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to ‘Feature Friday’. Every Friday we will be highlighting a new brand, designer, or artist that we either represent in our showroom, are inspired by, or just want to brag about. With so much talent in the design community, I am constantly inspired by the work and talent of other individuals, and am excited to share these resources with you.
To kick things off, I figured I would go first. There are so many new faces out there, so I want to take this chance to introduce myself and the Vintage Refined brand. I recently sat down for an interview and had the opportunity to share my thoughts.
What are three words you would use to describe the Vintage Refined brand?
Authentic, Relevant, Versatile
What types of services do you specialize in?
We have expanded into a full-service custom furniture company. We specialize in lacquer, wood refinishing and upholstery. We also can design and build pieces from scratch, like headboards and ottomans. I love when clients come to us with a new challenge and am always amazed at what our talented team can create.
Do you work with other designers?
Yes! We love working with designers as they share a creative eye and vision for these sometimes ugly looking pieces. We also offer a trade discount.
How did you decide to open a showroom?
After eight years of being exclusively online, I am thrilled that we have expanded our business and now have a showroom. I always told myself I wouldn't open a retail space, but the business got to a point of growth where it was inevitable to add a brick & mortar location. However, I took my time and was extremely selective when making this decision. I toured a lot of spaces over the past couple of years, but nothing jumped out at me. When I walked through this space, I knew it was meant to be, and just focused on making it a reality.
Tell us more about the showroom and choosing this location...
Located in the heart of Fulton Market, overlooking the picturesque Gin Alley, the location really encompasses everything great about Chicago. It's the perfect combination of grittiness & glam. Just 10 years ago, you wouldn't want to venture down to this area, but now it's the hottest neighborhood in Chicago.
We are open to the public and offer a curated selection of home decor items. We have collaborated with other local artisans, so our showroom not only carries our furniture, but also textiles, artwork and home decor from other local artisans. We really wanted to create a space where customers can discover new products, get inspired and leave with a sense of supporting the community.
What inspired you to get started with furniture refinishing in the first place? How did you get started?
I actually have a degree in Finance. After seven years in Corporate America, I knew it wasn't my long-term path. Around that same time, my husband and I bought a fixer-upper vacation home in Wisconsin. Working on this home made me realize how much I loved interior design and getting creative with home projects. When it came time to furnish this house, I knew we couldn't afford to buy all new furniture, so it was the perfect opportunity for me to try my hand at refinishing second-hand pieces. After hand painting a dresser in our garage, I realized there was so much more I could do with it, and just kept going from there.
How did you grow from painting furniture in your garage to where you are now?
I tried to take things slow and grow organically, but there were definitely some milestone moments that really pushed the business forward. There have been so many influential people who have supported me, pushed me and kept the wheels turning. My one piece of advice is to surround yourself with positive people, believe in yourself, and never underestimate the power of teamwork.
What are your favorite current trends in interior design?
I'm all about the Grandmillennial movement right now. I'm a traditionalist at heart, and appreciate the value of quality made pieces, timeless styles and iconic brands. I also am a big believer in mixing items from different periods and different styles. My rule for decorating - don't overthink it, and do what makes you happy.
I would imagine repurposing vintage furniture is so much more exciting and rewarding than buying new. What are your thoughts?
I think we're finally starting to see the pendulum shift back to vintage pieces. For so long, people wanted their homes to look like a furniture store showroom, but they are now appreciating the value of quality, vintage pieces and creating their own unique style.
The pandemic has also impacted peoples' mindsets. The long lead times in the furniture industry have made people start 'shopping in their homes' rather than buying new. Also, we are now spending more time in our homes, so people are putting more emphasis on creating a comfortable space where they really enjoy spending time.
What do you enjoy most about working in the interior design industry?
I know it sounds cheesy and cliche, but I absolutely love the people and connections I've made. Nothing leaves me more energized than coming out of a meeting where I met someone new and we could bounce ideas off each other and connect on a creative level. There are so many talented individuals in the design community who inspire me every day.
Where can we find you on social media? What types of content are you creating?
Right now Instagram is so great for illustrative content. I'm not the best at staying up to date on the latest social media trends, but I try to share the latest hype on IG and Pinterest;