Are Vintage Fixtures Right For You?
Isn't that a gorgeous shade of green? You are looking at the most pristine 1930's bathroom set I have ever seen, in the perfect shade of vintage green. I found the set at ReStore a couple of weeks, ago, $95 for the tub, toilet and sink, complete. Mint. Yes. Mint.
I didn't buy them.
I know many of you will be shocked, especially given the mouthwatering combination of vintage, charming and cheap. But as much as I love the idea of these pieces, they just don't fit into what I'm doing at the moment. For me, by the way, this is the hardest part of thrifting: leaving something fantastic behind.
But when dragging various lost and found objects home, especially big ones like this, it's a good idea to have a handle on what will and won't work for you. If you are a person with innate style and unswerving taste, this is probably not an issue for you. But if you are like me, a person with broad likes and more enthusiasm than good sense, having spent some time figuring this stuff out is probably a good idea.
Here's some examples of what I'm talking about.
What's Your Style? There's as many styles of cottage as there are cottage-dwellers. Shabby, beachy, modern, retro, English, French... or some mixture. Not everyone knows for sure what their style is. I've been in love with all of these at one time or the other over the years. Right now I'm really in love with the clean lines of farmhouse and the natural influence and bright palette of Scandinavian.
Tolerance for "Character"? Though we all love to look at magazine photos of houses full of character and individual style, not everyone loves living with the realities of those choices. Are you willing to hand-tighten your vintage porcelain faucet knobs twice a week? Bathe in a very shallow, or chipped tub? Put up with perma-dirt ground into your old barn cabinet? There's no right answer, but know your limits.
How Handy Are You? Not only is there no guarantee that a vintage fixture will fit into your space, it may or may not use readily-available parts or pieces required to hook up or maintain it. You may have to be clever in solving this problems, and some experience in this area is helpful, or access to a clever (and patient) person who is handy if you're not.
Personal Preference or Resale? Is this your forever house? Are you living for your own utility? Or do you need to keep one eye on resale? Can you afford to install permanent fixtures that are extremely personal? Or do you need to confine your personalization to your paint and accessories?
What is Appropriate for the Home? I definitely don't recommend slavish adherence to this, but there are limits. My 1950's ranch is calling for a cleaner line than my 1930's English did, even though everything is still very cottage. But a claw-foot tub, though beautiful, isn't really appropriate to this home. Likewise, translucent acrylic room dividers weren't really appropriate for my last, older, home.
For me, the right answer for now is to make neutral, low-maintenance choices for permanent fixtures, and accessorize to personalize. But my next home, who knows?
What about you? How are you approaching these choices in your home today?