I have never been a person who adored vintage or antique. I think it is partly because as a child, I grew up receiving many hand-me-downs from friends & family. At one point, our annual “back to school shopping spree” was a trip to the neighborhood Goodwill Store. “Vintage” was a word that my Mom used when my step-Dad brought home pieces of furniture he found along the side of the road to use in our apartment. What it implied was that we could not afford new furniture or clothes. “Antique” was a nice term that my friend’s parents used when describing my family’s hodge-podge of decor. It inferred not matching, broken and at times just plain ugly. The hidden connotations of each of those words and how they were used to covertly describe my family stayed with me and I hated them. So I avoided anything and everything that even remotely reminded me of something used for a good portion of my life.
Let’s just say that “shabby chic” never entered my design vocabulary in the 1990s. I also gladly missed the boat on boho chic, salvaged, industrial, rustic and country. Each one of those design styles translated into:
Boho Chic = Homeless
Salvaged = Dumpster Diving
Industrial = Institutional
Rustic = Old
Country = Backwater
Do you see a pattern here? Honestly, I could write a book on how growing up in Greenville, OH changed me for the worse though my 20s. It was not until about a year ago that I fully embraced that vintage and antique have a deeper meaning than what I previously associated with them. For a better part of my life, I associated “new” with having money. However, as I entered my 30s, I began to see the beauty in the patina of silver. The grace in a crackle finished chest. The grandeur of inherited crystal. The shift was subtle but I am positive it was due to my own change in age. My 30s marked a transition into true adulthood and I felt a sense of pride in myself that I had not felt in my 20s. I enjoyed my age and all the markings that went with it. My laugh lines, crows feet and slight pudge on my belly all marked a life lived and enjoyed.
I think in turn that is why antique trophies caught my eye about that time too. Now all the rage in design magazines and blogs, they held a deeper connection to me. Aside from their sheer beauty, the idea of owning a piece of someone else’s life deeply moves me. Trophies are embedded with such deep meaning since they mark a high-water point in an individual’s life. They are the physical embodiment of success and triumph. Honestly, why wouldn’t I want to own something like that? Owning that physical embodiment of someone’s achievement is a reminder for me to strive just a bit harder. In turn, it also helps keep the original owner’s memory alive. I recently purchased a small trophy from a second-hand store in Oakland for $0.99. While it was not engraved, I like to imagine the backstory to the trophy and who won it. I like to think they treasured it as much as I do and it held a special place in their home until I received it.
I am looking to purchasing a few more trophies for the master bedroom project. I think they would be a perfect touch to a masculine bedroom. Until that is done, here are a few pictures to help us all remember the winners in life and design…..