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...