Despite pre-fab furniture emporiums like IKEA, which looms large both on Brooklyn’s waterfront in Red Hook and in most of our living rooms, the market for antique and vintage home accessories is alive and kicking in the borough. Two new vintage furniture stores have recently opened, both of which are focused on upcycling second-hand pieces.
“I think there is a growing market for refurbished furniture,” says Amanda Peppard, the co-founder of Suite Pieces, a second-hand store that specializes in creatively restored home furnishings with one location in Huntington Station, Long Island, and a second outpost now open in Greenpoint. Peppard and her business partner Corina Gomez, who sells her own refurbished furniture through her company Millie & Corina at the Brooklyn Flea, update old accent pieces with brightly colored paint, wax techniques and metallic accents, and offer do-it-yourself classes on upcycling your own found objects at their new spot on Huron Street.
Peppard teaches five different classes on techniques like chalkboard painting, waxing, metallic foil application and pearl plastering, which range from $95 to $200 including supplies. In Weak to Chic ($180), one of their most popular classes, you bring in your own piece of furniture and walk out with it refurbished.
In Williamsburg, Joshua Felix’s new business, Flipping Vintage specializes in mid-century and American Victorian pieces in a showroom that feels like a gallery. His larger pieces all hover around the $1000 mark, making them more expensive than many contemporary furniture stores, but not by much when you consider the quality, condition and the fact that they stand out in a sea of pre-fab options.
“Sometimes when you shop at West Elm, you don’t think about originality or even the cost of delivery,” Felix says. “Here, I can help you with both. I use commercial fabric, which looks vintage but is new and strong for every setting such as a bar, a home and a cushion for your dogs. Each piece in my store is different, and I am here to meet all needs.”
Felix says that in the two weeks he’s been open he has already sold two pieces, both of which, like mostly everything in the showroom, were hand-picked and professionally upgraded by local craftspeople. Felix, who comes from an interior design background, doesn’t come across as a salesman–he’s more like a friend with really great design advice. He’s filled the space with artwork by local artists like Mark Gibian who did the large metal sculptures at North Fifth Pier in Williamsburg and at Grand Army Plaza.
“New Yorkers don’t want a catalogue home,” Felix says. “I want to give people designer stuff for a reasonable price.”
Suite Pieces, 162 Huron St., Greenpoint, 347-987-3586
Flipping Vintage, 224 Roebling St., 718-388-7030