Some of you may be familiar with the blog “A Flair for Vintage Decor,” written by the ever-talented Caroline West. We are constantly amazed at her ability for reinventing salvaged items and breathing new, modern life into their bones. Her funky and fresh style is evident in the pieces she crafts. When we heard Caroline had found a new home to set up shop, we knew we needed to feature her new digs. Located in the Westgate Shopping Center on Hwy 100, Flair Vintage Decor opened in late March and we are thrilled Caroline will be sharing more about herself, her style and her new store.
Please tell our readers how you got into this business?
Flair vintage decor was born in 2007 when I was still in my previous profession. For fun, I rented a small space at Gas Lamp Antiques here in Nashville. My space gave me the opportunity to explore middle Tennessee looking for great vintage pieces of furniture that I could freshen-up and give a new life. I love how you can transform discarded pieces into a style perfect for today! Today, I have been able to expand and I have a little boutique in the Westgate Center in Belle Meade.
The origins of Flair vintage décor date back to my childhood in Virginia. My mother and my grandmother both loved to find and re-use old pieces. They taught me that a quality piece could be reborn with a little refinishing or with new upholstery. When I moved into my first apartment after college, my mother gave me some bentwood chairs that she had found in a thrift store called Circa in Charlottesville. She had painted and re-upholstered the chairs and they were perfect. The chairs are just one example. The neat thing is that I still have most of the pieces from my mother!
Since 2007, I have been able to refine what I sell and have outsourced the painting and upholstery to local professionals. I also mix new items with the vintage finds such as pillows, lamps, chandeliers, mirrors and other small decor items.
What would you define as your signature style and is that reflected in your pieces you sell?
I have a very clean and fresh style that incorporates pops of color. Most of my vintage pieces are painted a clean semi-gloss white (no distressing), and I usually go with a solid upholstery for chairs/settees and such. Then, I add a pop of color through pillows, candles, lamps or other accessories. To add a natural touch of texture, I incorporate lots of seashell items and jute fabric upholstery. I love to combine different textures! I am also a huge proponent of mixing high and low so I challenge myself to try to find great pieces (both old and new) that are affordable and unique.
Tell us about your new store!
In early 2012, I made the big decision to move out of Gas Lamp Antiques in Berry Hill and open a store in the Westgate Center on Hwy 100 in Belle Meade. Gas Lamp allowed me to grow and refine my look before going out on my own. In my new store, I will be expanding on what I had carried in my space at Gas Lamp – which is a lot of vintage pieces professionally re-painted and upholstered- combined with small vintage finds and new items such as lamps, chandeliers, seashells, picture frames, pillows, mirrors and other colorful decor accessories.
Where and how do you find your pieces you restore?
All over the place! Each piece has a story. For example, last year, my husband and I joined my parents for their annual vacation to Hilton Head, SC. I love vintage faux bamboo furniture and I knew that this style is much more common in coastal communities, so I couldn’t resist exploring for some unique finds. My mother and I had a lot of fun scouring Hilton Head for some fabulous pieces. I will always remember the trip because I found a fabulous vintage campaign dresser that was just beautiful. Otherwise, I search high and low for items. Thrift stores, flea markets and estate sales can be good. Sometimes Craigslist. Luckily, my store sells more than just vintage furniture pieces as it is very time consuming to find really great pieces of furniture and have them restored. Finding them is part patience and part luck!
What are the spring and summer “must-haves” from your shop?
I am a big believer of buying what you love so I try to keep a good mix in the store! I always stock seashell items at great prices as I think a natural touch, such as seashells, to any room relaxes everything and never goes out of style. One item I sell a lot of are vintage dressers refinished in a semi-gloss white that new parents use as changing tables. Otherwise, I am really excited about our collection of mirrors, lamps and chandeliers this season…oh, and some great pillows at wonderful prices are on the way too!
(all pictures courtesy of Interior Canvas)
Thank you again, Caroline! We are looking forward to your store’s success!
Flair Vintage Decor
6017 Hwy 100 / Nashville, TN 37205