How to Shop Vintage with Jillian Harris
September 17, 2013
How ToInterior DesignHome
Ever wondered how to incorporate that fantastic vintage fan into your decor without making your home feel like your grandmother's basement? There really is a fine line that musn't be crossed! And luckily for us, we have the incredible Jillian Harris here today sharing all her deep, dark designer secrets. The girl is amazing. Everything she touches turns to pure gold. And with the launch of her new shop Charlie Ford Vintage, she has now delved hard into the world of vintage finds and is here today to tell the tale.

SMP: Congrats on the launch of Charlie Ford Vintage! What made you decide to branch out into the realm of vintage goods?

JH: Tori [my cousin] and I grew up surrounded by antiques and we’ve been dreaming about sharing our passion with the world since we were little girls. So I really feel like it was just meant to be. I’ve always been really passionate about things that have already had a life, that have their own story. Every time we would go shopping for antiques I would think to myself… I HAVE to find these gems a good home! And from there, Charlie Ford Vintage was born!
SMP: Do you handpick all of the Charlie Ford’s items yourself?

JH: I do handpick most of the items on Charlie Ford, though I wish I could choose them all! My antiquing trips are the best part of the entire process!!! My cousin Tori and partner Alyssa are also curators, so we do all the handpicking between the three of us and make sure all the items are full of life and history and perfect for Charlie Ford!
SMP: What are you typically looking for while on the hunt for new goods?

JH: I look for what is hot and trendy at the moment but the vintage version, which happens to be always a 1000 times more beautiful and interesting. Think a New York tackle box to hold your jewels, old nautical glass fishing floats, a 100 year old brass telescope from Paris, a vintage 1920’s Louis Vuitton suitcase, or vintage Dior leather gloves.
SMP: While vintage shopping, how do you weed out the good, the bad and the ugly?

JH: It can actually get quite hard when you are in digging through dim lit, jam-packed antique stores. I always think of how the items could be showcased so I picture how it would look in my home. You get pretty good at it when you spend years rummaging around dusty old corners!
SMP: Do you have any secrets for incorporating vintage elements into your décor without making your home feel like your grandmothers’ basement?

JH: YES! always mix it up with contemporary pieces. I love crisp whites for furniture and walls, which always offers a wonderful contrast to the details and beautiful wear of an antique piece. Our goal is to do what our mothers did to us, redefine what people think when they see vintage or antique. I love displaying a vintage gem underneath a big glass cloche all on its on my dining table, or having sprinkling vintage pieces of art amongst more modern prints, original paintings and hung artifacts. Or using a simple stack of old suitcases anbd trunks in place of a typical bedside table. Vintage, like anything else, needs to be used in moderation for it to be truly appreciated. On our Charlie Ford Vintage blog, we teach our customers and readers how to do this the right way!
SMP: Serious question: you feature so many incredible pieces - how are you possibly able to give them away? I’d be tempted to hoard each and every one!

JH: Serious answer: I AM tempted to hang on to every single item we find for Charlie Ford but they don’t all fit in my house! It is SO hard, just ask Justin [my boyfriend]! Too many times I bring them home and I squeal just like they’re puppies “CAN I KEEP IT!?!? CAN I!?”
SMP: The biggest mistake people make when incorporating vintage into their home?
JH: Some people think “antique” or “vintage” is a theme. And this theme is usually dark and heavy and associated with colors like tan and brown. I love incorporating vintage decor as accent pieces amongst fresh and crisp contemporary spaces. And again, it’s all about balance. It’s not so much a theme as it is peppering your home with history, soul & personality.
SMP: What’s your number one tip when designing a room?
JH: Start with white and have FUN doing it!!! And one major DON’T: NEVER furnish a room with decor from only one furniture store...where’s the fun in that??

SMP: And lastly, one item that every style savvy homeowner should have?
JH: Antique books! I love using them as accessories. Use them to add colour and scale to a coffee table, to style a bookcase, stacked on a side table, or displayed creatively in your home's nooks and crannies.