Making Old New Again
Vintage & Rust, Monroe
I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not, but I have become a huge fan of old things. I love all things vintage and antique, whether I buy them to use or repurpose as is or repainted to give new life. Bonus, not only do they make my spaces look amazing, they also help reduce waste by keeping old items out of landfills.
Snohomish County is full of shops offering these kinds of things, including Vintage & Rust of Monroe. While I stumbled on the shop a bit too late (AKA after I’d already bought to many pieces at other shops and started repainting myself) to pick up a piece yet, I absolutely love owner Brittany’s style when it comes to painting pieces.
While some shops are known for using lots of colors, particularly non-traditional ones (don’t get me wrong, I love those too), Brittany uses more classic and elegant colors. There is a lot of whites, blacks, browns, and neutral shades of other colors. More importantly though, she lets a bit of the old shine through in nearly every piece she works on.
Most often it is the natural wood of the legs and bases, and other times it is the natural wood accents or hardware. I love old things because they are old and the stories that they could probably tell. Keeping a bit of them that way helps preserve those things, and Brittany does an amazing job of that.
She has inspired me to keep a bit of wood in all of the pieces I’m working on (the table I created at a Dahlia’s Vintage Marketplace class for the Feb. issue is a good example). That includes a planned attempt to remove some paint from an already repainted piece I picked up to try to get some of the wood back. I’ll have to let you know how that little project turns out, if I ever find the time to do it.
Working on my own projects doesn’t mean I’m not keeping an eye out for a piece from Vintage & Rust that I can’t say no to. The shop is one of many I get notifications for whenever they post on Instagram. You won’t find me getting beat to something I really want. Enough about what I think though, here is more about Brittany and her shop in her own words.
How did you get into picking/painting old furniture and why did you decide to open your own shop?
This all started on accident, actually. I have been into art and painting since I was about 6 years old. Through grade school and middle school, I entered paintings and drawings into the Evergreen State Fair every year. It was something I really enjoyed, and I was very good at!
Making a living with my passion for art and creating was just never really something I thought would happen for me. After high school I [worked various jobs] until I decided to be a stay at home mom as our family was growing. (We have 6 kiddos!)
In July of 2014, I got married [and] for our wedding, I decided to save money, [use] my creative spirit, and make all our wedding signs and décor. [Afterwards] I sold a lot of the signs and décor online and people started asking me to make them custom signs. Suddenly, I was able to use my passion for art!
In April of 2016, I decided to grow my little business and started selling my signs at ‘Junk in the ol Trunk’ in Monroe. As part of my booth [there], I needed display pieces, and that is how I started picking and painting furniture!
By October of 2015 I found myself sharing my passion with others hosting and teaching paint and sip classes and completely fell in love with it. [That] is what made me want to branch out and open my own shop.
Why is buying old furniture better than buying something new?
They don’t make [things] like they used to! I have found that older vintage furniture not only has more appealing details and character, but lasts MUCH longer. The quality is unmatched compared to today’s manufactured particle board furniture.
Even the high-end furniture that you pay top dollar for, only lasts a decade or two at most. Vintage furniture is made from real, solid wood, and that alone makes it superior to newer pieces you find today.
Where are your favorite places to pick old furniture?
My favorite places to find my pieces are estate sales, and occasionally I will find a great piece for the right price at traveling flea markets. I also have a small army of friends who are always keeping their eyes peeled for the perfect finds!
Do you repurpose things, and if so, what types of things do you like to create?
I do repurpose vintage items when I find something with great structure and details, but not always in the best condition. My favorite is turning old, broken dressers into book shelves or coffer bars. You can usually find fun repurposed creations at the shop!
(When you paint a piece, what kinds of things do you consider when picking colors and what to paint/not paint?
To paint or not to paint?! That is the golden question and let me tell you, it’s a hard one! When deciding whether I paint a piece or leave it in it’s natural state, I consider age and condition.
If I find a 1920s buffet in perfect condition, it is extremely hard to paint over that natural beauty. I will typically try to sell it in it’s natural state before painting over it.
When I do paint pieces, I like to leave as much of the original wood showing as possible. I usually paint the drawers and center and leave the top natural (if condition allows.) If the piece has beautiful detailed legs, I will usually leave them natural as well. It is a popular look and it leaves some of the character of the piece intact.
When choosing colors, I go with neutral colors that will go with all décor (whites, creams, grays and black), however, I will paint with bold colors when it is a custom request from a customer of course.
What paint is available in your shop, and why do you think it is a good choice for people looking to paint furniture too?
I use Country Chic Paint. I carry most of [their] colors here in the shop. Country Chic is a clay-based paint, and unlike chalk paint, it is a primer, paint and sealant all in one.
It is similar to chalk paint in the way it dries with a matte finish, but it is much smoother to apply, goes farther and is much more user friendly.
[Also], after drying, the clay-based paint does not chip or scratch like chalk paint will, [That] is because of the added sealant. I always add extra sealer to my pieces (wax or clear coat) because I am selling them and want to make sure they are extra durable, but it is not necessary if you choose to skip that step!
Be sure to follow along with Vintage & Rust on Facebook & Instagram to keep up on all of the new goodies and fun painting classes available.
Did you know that this article, as well as all of the others featured on our website are part of a monthly magazine. Our monthly magazine is available in both electronic and print form (yes, you read right, print!). As if that wasn’t awesome enough, each issue contains exclusive content that can’t be found on our website or social media accounts. So if you aren’t getting a copy each month you are missing out.
Single issues can be bought HERE and annual subscriptions, which include exclusive giveaways and discounts, can be signed up for HERE. Finally, a limited number of printed copies are available at The Chic Boatique, Artisans Mercantile, and Tried & True Boutique in Snohomish and Reclaimed Heart in Arlington, Vintage Company No. 7 in Bothell, Dahlia’s Vintage Marketplace on Camano Island, Rustic Redemption in Granite Falls, and Vintage & Rust in Monroe.