Reviving Retro: One Chair at a Time
Have you ever been garage sale shopping or scouring the “Free” section of UsedEverywhere and spotted a piece of retro furniture as old as your parents that you’d love to buy but you just can’t get past that first impression? The fabric is ripped or the once shiny chrome legs are now covered in rust and dirt. You feel guilty for leaving it behind but have no idea how to bring it back to life. Well, thank goodness for people like Amanda who can see past that chair or lamp’s unkempt appearance and takes these treasures home to restore them to their original funky glory!
I had the pleasure of meeting Amanda while searching for retro furniture on UsedVictoria in order to furnish the Rifflandia music festival tent UsedVic sponsored this past weekend. I was tasked with furnishing their rather large cinema tent and decided to style it up with retro/MOD items using vibrant colors like neon yellow, lime green, colbalt blue and fiery red. As my colours were specific, I knew it would be difficult to find items that were retro AND the right colors.
Fortunately, Amanda was selling a few items on UsedVictoria that were perfect for this project so I contacted her and went to her place to pick up the items. She told me that she’s been buying and refurbishing retro furniture as a hobby for a while now and showed me some of the other projects she was working on.
I was absolutely floored at what she’d found and how she’d tranformed these retro items to their original glory. She even offered to keep her eyes open for me once I explained what I was doing and continued to find amazing pieces for my project. I just love how she is saving these beautiful pieces from the landfill and giving them new life again so I thought I’d introduce you to her:
How did you get started seeking out retro furniture? What is it about retro-style furniture that appeals to you?
I’ve been collecting retro glass since I was a teenager which evolved into retro furniture and accessories when I moved out on my own. I love the vibrant colours like oranges, reds and yellows. I think that’s why I started collecting. I love the furniture because of the fluid lines and it’s simply built to last. I started selling instead of just collecting when I was out of work for awhile and it just keeps growing, so hopefully soon it will be my only job.
Where do you normally find these funky items?
Most of my retro items are found at garage sales, but I also sometimes find them at second-hand stores, on the side of the road or even UsedVictoria occasionally. I mostly recover chairs and stools but I also sell accessories, as well— like lamps and coffee tables. I often find items in different places and match them together. For instance, I find a lamp one place and a perfect lampshade in a different spot or chairs at different places and recover them to make sets. I love saving items from the dumpster and giving them new life.
How did you learn how to spruce up your fabulous finds?
I am self-taught in re-upholstering but I have a BA in Fashion design and I also sewed at an upholstery shop for a short time.
What is your best or favorite find and why?
It’s hard to single out one thing as my favorite find. I have several but my favourites are what I keep. I think they would have to be my turquoise studded diner chairs. They’re just so darn beautiful!
And finally, if anyone was looking to purchase one of your fabulous revival retro items, where could they find you?
I sell my retro items on UsedVictoria under the seller retrostyle and at the retail store EasyLivin in Mid-century Style in Victoria. I also occasionally sell at the Victoria Flea market. You can always email me to check what dates I will be doing the market as I only do it a few times a year.
Thanks Amanda! We look forward to seeing what your next great retro find is!!