Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Becke's Incredible Utilitarian Vintage Modern Home and Expertly Curated Indie Business

I've shared Becke's antique mall selling tips on the blog before. She's smart and witty with an impecable eye for design and an admirable, streamlined style. This time I'm sharing peeks around her Apartment Therapy approved home.

Occupants: Becke & Lee, Pierre (Our Frenchie) + Badooda, Porkadilla and Turnip (Our cat brood)
Professions: Digital Marketing Manager & Vintage Home Decor Shop Owner
Location: Near Toronto, Canada
Space Type: 185 + Year old Clapboard House
Years Occupied: 6

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 
We are a young couple who migrated from city life to country living and couldn't be happier. Lee is a digital marketing manager and still works in the city during the week and I sell vintage and antique home decor and oddities. Living out in rural Ontario is ideal for finding all sorts of fabulous things, there are lots of elderly people here, you know, downsizing!

Define your Style:
I love a well-edited, clean, minimal look with some oddball finds thrown in for good humour [sic]. After living in this house for a few years, I have developed a new love for a primitive/pioneer sense of simplicity. It now almost seems like some sort of unintentional modernism with it's practicality and sparse nature.

Favorite Thrifted Find:
Oh, I have so many! I absolutely cannot choose one favourite [sic] but my most recent thrill is an antique Louis Vuitton train case. I'm not normally an LV kinda gal but it's an absolute beauty!

Biggest Challenge:
Restoring a very old house that is almost entirely made of wood - the siding, the windows, doors, porches, etc. Wood wood wood! It's very high maintenance, especially with Canadian winters, and it has to be repainted and/or touched up a little too often for my liking. My next house will be entirely covered in heavy gauge steel and I'm not even joking!

I need some of those sculptural houseplants! Those are next on my to-get list upon my return!

Visitor's Reactions:
Apparently most of our guests think we're 'living the dream' when they see our property and gardens, etc and then I tell them how much work it involves and it becomes more of a nightmare. 

Don't mess with perfection

Biggest Embarrassment:
Well, I would have to say that the house next door is the biggest embarrassment at the moment. It is very close to our house and is very old as well. It recently foreclosed, is covered in weeds, it's painted three different colours [sic] outside and it's half finished. To add insult to injury, some guy hung himself in there a few years ago. So yea, it's now just gone from embarrassment to downright terrifying. (Luckily it just sold though and will be torn down asap, woohoo!)

Dream office. Would work to my heart's content here. Gives me some custom-desk making ideas...

Proudest DIY:
Well, this entire house is one big DIY and I am very proud of our efforts. The hardest work was restoring all the old wood windows and reviving the gardens and property here. The woman who lived here before us let the house get really bad, like Grey Gardens bad, so it took us about 3 years to get all the weeds, etc under control.

Best Money-Saving Move:
Restoring our wood windows and using a local handyman instead of a contractor for various jobs shaved thousands off of projects over the years. 

Top Three Thrifting Tips:
1) Don't buy things for yourself just because they're cheap! Choose your finds carefully instead of impulse buying. Eventually you'll hone your true style this way.
2) Don't dress too nice or you may not get the cheapest price (this is especially true at yard sales)...
3) Only thrift with friends who like different styles than you or things could get nasty!

A Final Bonus, I just love the way your operate your businesses. Top three business tips?
(I only have one!)
Figure out what works and run with it. For example, don't get set on having a brick and mortar shop just so you can say you have a shop when you will lose money doing so. If pop-up shops work for you, flea markets or small online sales then run with it. It's all about profit not ego!

Becke curates and sells her beautiful vintage wares over at The Union General. Love her style and wisdom! Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful home with us, your business and thrifting tips are one-point!
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