Tuesday, April 9, 2013

What Goes Around, Comes Around,

Finding different uses for your salvaged pieces.

sal-vage(v.) 2. to retrieve or preserve (something) from potential loss or adverse circumstances

When I travel to flea markets, garage sales, or estate sales, I’m always opening my mind to infinite possibilities for my potential purchases. We tend to forget that items we come across, whether it be at an Antique store, a flea market, or in our pile of “throw aways” can be salvaged and resurrected  into something new and purposeful!
This blog entry is to help open your eyes and let the creative juices flow with ideas and tips for salvaged home decor!
I have a big ole’ soft spot for salvaged goods! Abandoned baskets, crates, old windows, doors, bed frames, and more; have so much to offer than just discarding them into a dumpster! Even the tattered and torn need love, too!
Your first step is to accept that whatever piece you’re eyeing has possibility! (Acceptance is the first step to anything, really, so it even fits with finding your rustic treasure) There are many times my friends and I pass on certain items and experience “Buyer's Remorse”, not because we purchased it, but because, we simply didn’t!
Your second step is to actually buy the piece. Now, ladies and gentlemen, we all know how to haggle; it’s an art form. So, if there’s something you REALLY love and want, don’t be ashamed to ask the proprietor if he/she can do better on the price or offer a price you would be comfortable in paying! The worst case scenario would be for them saying no, but 9 out of 10 times, if you show great interest in the piece and a smile, they’ll definitely work with you!
Once you have your little rustic treasure at your home, now the third step (and probably the most fun!) is to figure out what to do with it, where to put it, what to add to it, and the list goes on and on. Don’t get nervous! It’s going to be OK, for I am here to help you!
Below, I have posted photos of pieces, that normally would be forgotten and wind up perishing, that have inspired me to do more, get creative, and let loose! We’ll call these photos:

Tess Home Inspiration Boards

The Ladder

Here,  an antique ladder: handmade and dating back to the 1800’s. It’s a sturdy, original, simple, and  perfect piece to display your favorite linens, magazines, or vintage newspapers. (I chose burlap coffee bean bags to show texture and color scheme) This would look amazing in really, any room of your home. (Maybe your bathroom to display hand towels? Your living room to display throw blankets or reading material? Even your kitchen for those cookbooks that get hidden and your dish towels for easy access!)  

The Architectural Pieces.

Many of you probably don’t have twin headboards laying around in your home, BUT if you did or you came across a sweet one for an even sweeter price...use it! I hoard architectural pieces because of their vintage detail! Not only do I sell these antique finds, at my shop, but I transform them into functional, yet fabulous, coat racks! If you’re a handywoman, like myself, or if you’re not, minimal tool usage is needed! These are great for your entry way to hang your coats, keys, and scarves or in your bedroom for accessories or vintage clothing you want to display! (I even like the idea of placing this on your kitchen wall to hang your aprons and cooking utensils.)

Vintage Crates, Carriers, & Containers.


I love antique crates! They are so useful and complete that cottage style. You really can use them for any type of storage and you can find them at decent prices! I like them for holding magazines and displaying linens (pictured above)! Antique crates look amazing hung up on a wall for storage and decorating! All you need is a drill, a leveler, and a stud finder and voila! Instant shelving! Here, I’m showcasing towels (ideal for your guest bath or your outdoor shower area for your beach home), and the simplicity of this idea is what I love the most!

At the end of the day, it’s not what you have, but what you do with what you have, that matters. You can find inspiration everywhere, if you look hard enough (re: Passion & Purpose Blog) and you may not even have to look hard, at all! When it comes to furnishing and decorating your home, you can’t forget to have fun and enjoy yourself!

Until Then,
Tess Xo

{If you’ve enjoyed this post, or any other posts on he Tess Home blog, email us your thoughts at! Also make sure to follow us on Facebook (Tess Home- Cottage Furniture & Vintage Finds and on Instagram (tess_home) for more shabby chic, cottage style ideas for your home!)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Passion & Purpose

Sometimes, it's tough to push ourselves to get up and do things we really don't want to do, but we do it, because that's what life is all about. We make up all sorts of excuses as to why we can't (or won't) complete a task, move forward, get our hands messy, or start something that has inspired us. But when we do finally push ourselves, we somehow fall into our purpose; our passion. Something we've never thought we'd be good at, something we never thought we'd love.

By looking beyond the "keep on trucking" way of life, which may be distracting (to say the least), actually live your life! Look at me, for example, I started my business as a women's clothing store and randomly discovered that my true purpose, true passion was to find amazing vintage pieces of furniture, tattered and torn, dusty and dirty, and bring them to life. Something I never, in a million years, thought to be apart of my journey, but here I am.

{From Blazers to Brushes}

Another vital ingredient to finding your purpose and passion is surrounding yourself with the people and things that inspire us the most in this world. Whether it be a painting, a photograph, a song, or a book. Visiting the places that make us feel good is also another starting point. It may very well be a coffee shop, a restuarant, a museum, or even a little corner store; where you have a great relationship with the cashier: like Tess Home, perhaps? Hehe.

{A new found love for display work}

By talking to people, being engaged, being interested, and asking questions, it's the perfect way for seeking your inspiration to work on your passion. Conversing with someone may be a difficult task, but you learn, you embrace, you understand, and you easily become seemingly interested in the story that lies behind the person. Everyone has a story and everyone does indeed have a purpose.
{ Keeping in contact is a way to gain a great relationship, with anyone}

Also remember:

What may start out as a job, may easily turn into an adventure that may lead to that one piece of that puzzle that has been missing: your passion. And that will give you your purpose!

There is a plan for you, all you need to do is take a deep breath and grab a compass, and you'll be on the right track.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Funky "Tess Home" Decor.

We all have things that we love and things we love to do! But when it comes to Home Decor, we may tend to be shy when incorporating color, texture, and design! You don't have to be afraid to show a little more "you" in your home and this blog, I hope, will give you some creative insight and ease your mind with branching out in your decor! I feel my home exudes the word "whimsical"; it's an eclectic mix of color, texture, and mixing prints and patterns; it brings forth warmth, relaxation, and personality without being overwhelming and chaotic. 

This post will give you easy how-to's in giving your living space a little more character by using materials you can find in your home and backyard! (Yes, I said backyard) Home Decor that's inexpensive, easy, and self created? What more could you want? So, grab a cup of tea and read on as ideas spark in your head for your very own Whimsical Home Decor Habitat! 

Easy Apron Kitchen Window Treatments:

I love vintage fabrics and linens; they not only look divine, but they have a bit of history woven into them. 

Mosaic "Vintage China" Countertop:

This little corner cabinet was built into my kitchen to house the dishwasher. Wanting to do something really special on the top, I called on an acquaintance, local artist, Jackie Chesley (based in Asbury Park, NJ). She did an amazing job on the mosaic work here with vintage china!! I could look at it ALL day!!
Here, I have fashioned vintage aprons into valances and used inexpensive store bought tiers with them. (Make sure to iron the aprons with plenty of starch.) I used tension rods (which you can find at any store-cheapest ones I've found are at KMart for around $3) to hang them. Easy-Peasey! Lastly, just open the ends of the waistband and slide the rod right on through! Tie the apron strings into bows and VOILA!! Now remember, go a little out of your comfort zone, try and get fabric with different patterns but somewhat in the same color scheme. You can do it, I have faith in you! 

Captivating Beaded Custom Lampshades:

Are you always looking for the "perfect" lampshade? Something with a little more personality than the average mundane white pleated staple? I know I have. Well, with some vintage fabric, beads, ribbon or whatever your  little creative heart desires, you have the working materials to create your own lampshade, just like I have! I have to admit, I have a bit of a lighting fetish =) I humbly admit this, especially, when it comes to vintage lighting! Being an up-cycling/recycling girl, I love to buy "collections" (i.e. fabrics, beads, buttons, and ribbon) of mind says, "They want to be made into something!". If you're part of this up-cycling tribe, you know what I'm talking about! Hehe. So, without further ado, here are some of by "beaded brain lampshade creations"! 

Beautiful Branches:

So, ok, yes I am the nut who's blocking the road with my truck to pick up a giant branch off of the road! Guilty as charged! But you don't have to be AS dedicated as I am when searching and salvaging materials from Mother Nature! It's as easy as walking out of your back door and seeing what you have that you've always over looked or raked away. Of course I incorporate nature in my decor as should you, if you haven't already. It's a great balance of man-made materials with Mother Nature's gifts! These beauties featured in the photos are called "Contorta" or "Harry Lauder's Walking Stick", I grow these in my back yard and they're perfect for bordering doorways or 
simply placing a couple into an elongated vase! 

The Beaded Brian Window Treatment:

Revisiting the bead "thing" I scored huge on a vintage bead lot at an auction a few years ago; hence the: "Beady Brain" title I have dubbed myself. Ha! This window treatment I strung beads on very fine wire (another easy and inexpensive find at any retailer), then attached the strands onto tension rod (remember those from the lampshade?) and then to hide all the tied wire at the top I wrapped a vintage scarf around it! On either side of the window I had shutters made to accent the colorful beaded window! I "lovey" the look of this little staircase window =) So inviting and when the natural light hits it perfectly, an array of colors dance around my living room and gives off such warmth.

I hope this blog has inspired you to get a little brave the next time you decide to spice up your home decor! Use these innovative, yet basic ideas to make your own creations! Think outside of the box. Not a fan of beading? Try buttons, wine corks, mini fabric bows...anything that has a little "you" in it. 

Until next time, have a whimsical day...


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What's in a Name?

I realize this is a bit belated, but I decided to give you all, my readers, a glimpse into who is Tess, how TessHome was born, and a snippet of my life; within this blog. I hope you enjoy it :)

          It all started back in the “olden days”; the 1990’s to be exact, haha. I had stumbled into the Bucks County area and instantly fell in love with it. On my frequent trips to Lambertville, NJ and New Hope, PA (literally a bridge separates the two towns/states), I discovered clothing that quenched my thirst for the exact style I was looking for, and loved; feminine, romantic, whimsical, and vintage. Once I was home again, I couldn’t find the same style of clothing anywhere near what I had purchased in Lambertville and New Hope.
          It was then, that, I decided to open a clothing store that would carry the clothing that I had come to love, on my road trips! Keep in mind, I had 4 little boys at home, at that time; but the search began! The search for the perfect space, for a shop that “spoke” to me. It wasn’t too long before I came upon a 100+ year old building with exposed brick walls and wooden floors. DONE! It had to be mine, and soon, it was! In January of 1999, the work began: fitting up the shop with furniture displays, painting the walls, picking a name….

          In thinking of a name for my shop, I was sure that I would know what to name it when the time was right, a gut feeling, in a sense. One day, I was off to the library (I didn’t use a computer then, and let’s face it, the library is a wonderful place to be!) and after much searching, I found a name…TESS! (For the not so timid woman) It was short, it was easy to remember, it was easy to say. Tess is the name of a woman with a little bit of all of us, in her. She’s hardworking, passionate, whimsical, friendly, beautiful, intelligent, yet simple and warm, It was perfect!

          So, off to New York City, I went; to do some serious Fashion District shopping.

          After a year of working, displaying, and clothes buying in my “not so good” location, I had the opportunity to re-locate to downtown Manasquan, NJ; to a store that was 4 times the size of my original shop! Within 1 weeks’ time, we fit up the new shop, moved and settled in, and opened 1 year to the day of TessHome’s 1st birthday! After 5 years on Main St. in Manasquan, with business and personal twists and turns along the way, I realized that women’s clothing wasn’t my passion. The hunt for these vintage treasures was all with a story, and begging to be spruced up and re-painted was a knack I never knew I had, and the enjoyment I got out of it was so fulfilling! Slowly, I bowed out of the women’s fashion world, and took to a new stage, cottage furniture and 
vintage finds.

          I decided to regroup and recollect, so I took a space in a Co-Op temporarily and it went well. Though the space was small, I had my own window, and placed my shop’s logo upon it. Still, I was looking (and waiting) for the next great spot to open up, and it did, 4 years later; down the street from the Co-Op and where I currently reside, and where TessHome found a…home! Not just a space, a place where I could finally nest! I’m in the heart of a bustling, cute town; paved with great restaurants and shops.

          Here I am, LOVING my new shop, the amazing customers (new and old), and my friends. I am so fortunate to be working along side an awesome group of women and I feel so blessed :) The journey was and is: fun, exciting, creative, and fulfilling for all of us!

          So in the end, there is no “Tess”, but there IS a TessHome.

Thank you all for being apart of my journey :) Xoxo


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Dear Mother Nature,

We Thank You!

We accept that leaving an object out in the elements brings new beauty to it. So, go ahead Mommy N.- rain, snow, blow, and beat up our stuff- we love what you do, and we are going to bring some examples of your great work into our cottages. Using rustic wood elements in a new way will bring on the warmth, add charm, and remind that there is great stuff happening right outside our back doors.

We offer a few ideas from our shop and hope you find inspiration here to add some TessHome style to your casual chic, beach, or cottage décor.

Re-purposed Crusty Old Spindle Art Hanger

Here we used a saw tooth hanger for the back, screwed in two cup hooks to the spindle, slipped a few clips on to the hooks, and clipped on a photo.

 A grouping of photos clipped to our Spindle Hangers

Rusty Old Bedspring Art Hanger

Who would have thought that there would be a good use for an old spring like this one? We would, we would! Hold the spring to the wall in you selected position, and hammer in an electrical wire staple to hold it in place. Think postcards, family photos, mail…etc.

Twiggy Door or Window Cornice

(Hi, Pam!)

This idea was harvested from the bare branches of Harry Lauders Walking Stick Tree. A bunch of cuttings are slipped into metal u-shaped hooks that are typically used for window curtain tie-backs.

Apple Crate Wall Storage

Super simple! Screw in the appropriate wall hangers-use mollies in sheet rock if you intend to fill the apple crate with heavy items, slip the crate over the screws, and there you are! Think about utilizing any old wood box, empty drawers, or tool box for your wall storage. Attach saw tooth hangers to the back of an item that has a solid back.

Found Object Coat Rack

Driving with one eye on the curb of the road can be very rewarding! Sometimes an interesting wood piece of unknown origins is lying in wait. Grab it, clean it up a bit, add some old coat hooks, and add the appropriate hangers to the back.

A pair of Coat Racks With Glass Pulls Used For Hooks

These might have started as old dresser drawer fronts, but the paint colors and the patina added by Mother Nature made them priceless to us. With old glass pulls screwed in to the front, and hangers added to the back, we have re-purposed them as racks to hang the coats, beach towels or maybe even the grill tools.

If you are somewhere around the vicinity of  the Jersey Shore we hope you pop in and say Hi to us, here at TessHome. There are plenty more inspiring ideas on site here at our shop. You can also visit our Etsy store to see more re-purposed items!

Now head outside to your yard or garage, and scrounge around for some interesting stuff, and add some tantalizing textures to your cozy home!


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Whimsical Decorating Ideas

Our customers not only appreciate the items in our store, they usually let us know how much they love the way everything here is displayed. Pam Thomas, the owner of our Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey based home décor business has an instinctive touch with her stylings, but we think that with a few pointers from her, your home could feel a bit of the TessHome touch.

The stock here in the shop is constantly rotated- just when we get a display pulled together, wouldn’t you know it, some one comes along and buys something! Happily for you, each visit to our shop offers a new visual experience. We gain a lot of experience rotating our accessories and re-assembling them differently.

Since the key to giving your home a fresh look is to be open to change and keeping things fluid, we would like to encourage you to try to re arrange the accessories on one piece of furniture in your home. Be aware that this will lead to an avalanche of re-arrangement-so try to be brave.

Ok here we go-take everything off the top of your dresser- don’t leave the lamp, the business card, the post-its or the hand lotion- strip it down to it’s naked self, give it a good polish and wipe down the mirror. (You might even yank it away from the wall and give the back of the dresser and the floor a vacuum- the not-so-fun-part of our experiment.)

Start with a new lamp. Here Pam starts with a sparkly cut glass bowl lamp.

Now we add a textile. Open your drawers and dig a little- we’re sure there’s a scarf hiding in there somewhere. Pam selected a neutral color…but there is obviously room for a dab of color here.

Is there a bit of sculpture on a corner table or bookcase that needs to be brought in to the light a bit? Using a small sculptural bird vase gives us the added option of reinforcing our color story with a fresh bud…or three. Notice the way it is placed-just to the outside of the lamp, anchoring the scarf.

Adding some books in a stack centered on the mirror gives a touch of texture, and a height variety.

A small colored glass dish is always useful, gives us a bit more color reinforcement and… finito, finished, walk away designers- it’ done.

A few details- a cohesive color story is essential. Even the books were chosen carefully to complement the pink in the flowers and dish.

Follow the rule of grouping by numbers-try to select an odd number of objects. There is a group of five items (not counting the individual books)

There is a variety of textures, but a unity of mood in this case. All the items are feminine in feel, and are a bit dressy.

A variety of heights is also essential. Try to create a pleasing skyline.

Notice the negative space…don’t spread the items across the dresser. Instead group them on one third of the dresser, and leave the rest bare. It gives you room to work, and a more interesting arrangement.

That’s the way we do a dresser here at TessHome. It won’t stay that way very long…some one is sure to come along and want to take an item home, but we’ll deal. We love our stuff, and we love to play with it!


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Tess Home is back...and so is Summer!

After a slight Spring hiatus, Tess Home is back and we bring Summer with us!

Still going strong with our vingtagey-chic and eclectic home furnishings, we are finding ourselves adoring the industrialism and feminity with every piece we re-touch and create. From vintage hardware organizers and desks, to delicate and detailed vanities and cupboards, Tess Home loves the masculine and feminine fusion among each and every find!

We are more than estatic and antsy with anticipation to share a few of our new peices with you, our readers and followers, so that you may get the feel of our ever-growing inventory and styled hard work that we are so proud of and pleased to show.

"Industrial and Salvaged Finds"

The photo featured above, is the perfect example of industrial/salvaged and feminine pieces contrasting beautifully. Note the perfectly-conditioned hardware organizer be-twixt the spindles and plinth blocks; perfect for creating photograph hangers and decorative wall art. We absolutely love the pumpkin rust color of the organizer, which really pops surrounded by all of the white!
                                                       "Rustic and Primative"

This two-piece gray cupboard is the perfect piece for any "Shabby-Chic" home. It has such a tamed rustic feel to it and it compliments the perfect Summer Shore home!

Tess Home would also love to introduce two gorgeous pieces that are staples for any home looking for that classic touch; whether it be to incorporate a timeless piece in a modern room or to add another ideal piece to an already growing vintage inspired atmosphere, this furniture is perfect for both!

"Pretty in Pink"

This pink dresser with matching mirror is simply amazing! It will bring softness & simplistic beauty to any bed room that needs that little "girly-ness" without being too strong of a color! (One of my favorite pieces!)

"The Cabinet of All Cabinet's"

This fabulous find, which was built during the turn of the century, has a total of 24 drawers. With it's steller re-touched work and original handles, this cabinet is as perfect as the perfect beach day!

We hope that you've loved all of our featured pieces just as much as we do, if not more! Keep visiting Tess Home's blog for more whimsical home furnishings! Until then...