4 Vintage, Beachy Finds and How to Decorate with Them
We combed our favorite seaside shops and scored four vintage gems—here’s how we gave them each a fun, fresh twist.
Produced by Lindsey Ellis Beatty, Liz Strong with additional reporting by Rachael Burrow, and Madeleine Frank
1 of 12Photo: Courtesy of Circa Who
Circa Who West Palm Beach, Florida 561-655-5224 or circawho.com
This treasure trove in the city's antiques district is a bamboo and rattan gold mine, and a frequent haunt of well-known tastemakers such as Mary McDonald of Million Dollar Decorators and Coastal Living columnist Meg Braff. Here, you're just as likely to score a McGuire headboard or vintage Brown Jordan patio set as you are a peculiar assortment of parrot napkin rings or an army of elephant ashtrays.
2 of 12Photo: Courtesy of Circa Who
Vintage Rattan Bamboo Pagoda Bench
Open-fretwork corner brackets and scrolled armrests make this mid-20th-century bench a dynamite discovery. (Strong design detailing increases the value of most antiques.) Though the cushion that it came with was worn out and needed to be replaced, the rattan is sturdy and in good condition, suggesting top-notch craftsmanship.
3 of 12Photo: Brian Woodcock
The Fresh Twist
Well-made pieces like this one can stand up to kids, dogs, and the like, so use them to elevate mudrooms or other high-traffic entryways. The design details here deliver plenty of punch, so keep the other elements in the room simple: The new cushion, for example, harmonizes well with the rug and a door painted the same sunny hue.
Get the look: The interiors are painted Open Air and Lemon Twist by Sherwin-Williams. The cushion fabric is Taxicab on Tint from China Seas Aga Fabric, available to the trade at quadrillefabrics.com. The Ming Yellow rug is from Rugs USA.
4 of 12Photo: Kate Thornton
Fritz Porter Design Collective Charleston, South Carolina 843-207-4804 or fritzporter.com
"If you shopped here once a week, it would look different every time," says owner Sarah Hamlin Hastings of the 6,500-square-foot collective she opened in an old cigar factory. Hastings shakes up the classic antiques mall model by mixing and recasting vendors' wares into stylish vignettes.
5 of 12Photo: Shiloh Strong
1870s Porcelain Ginger Jar
Originally used to export ginger and other spices from Asia, jars like this one are swell beach house scores for their classic blue-and-white designs, not to mention their historical cred. (They date as far back as 221 BC.) We snapped this one up for a few hundred dollars, but prices can soar into the thousands for an undamaged jar.
6 of 12Photo: Shiloh Strong
The Fresh Twist
Even 19th-century porcelain can dress down for the beach. Pair it with organic elements such as raffia wallpaper and greenery, and then mix in modern ceramics with free-form patterns in tonal shades.
With just 200 square feet of shoppable space, this tiny SoCal outpost has inspired a cult-like following and a series of pop-up shops, including one in Montauk this summer. Owners Matt Albiani and Ron Brand took cues from boat cabin design to fit as many soulful seascapes, nautical objets d'art, and Americana-inspired wares into the petite space as they could. "The shop has become an installation unto itself," says Albiani.
8 of 12Photo: Shiloh Strong
1963 Maritime Seascape
The layered greens and creamy, peach-tinted sky—not to mention the lively harbor town backdrop—give this ship painting the kind of buoyant energy that has all kinds of focal point potential. (Midcentury nauticals tend to bring a nice balance of tones on the lighter end of the color scale.) Plus, the blonde frame is original and in great condition, which is rare, notes Albiani.
9 of 12Photo: Shiloh Strong
The Fresh Twist
Give the ship painting top billing in a gallery wall by surrounding it with smaller, more mellow pieces, like abstract prints and sketches and muted photographs. Choose frame materials that unify the collection, and mix in some three-dimensional pieces—such as this ship's bell (found on eBay) and anchor bottle opener—to reinforce the nautical vibe.
Behind the glass double doors of this former Masonic temple is a mix of yesteryear gems that range in style from midcentury modern to industrial (with plenty in between). Look for American farm tables, Danish modern chests, French rope furniture, and Lloyd Loom wicker chairs. Hint: Aim for Thursdays, when the owners are fresh off weekly buying trips.
11 of 12Photo: Brian Woodcock
Midcentury Bamboo Étagère
Étagères are shelving superstars in beach houses. Their backless design gives them a lighter, airier profile than their weightier bookcase cousins. What makes this one stand out is its distinctive curvilinear arc, which is an unusual design even for étagères of that era.
12 of 12Photo: Brian Woodcock
The Fresh Twist
A mod graphic wallpaper like this lotus pattern energizes open shelving. Stack the shelves with vintage books in shades that complement the wallpaper, and then dot the display with shapely ceramics, including a few in a contrasting shade. Think textural contrast, too: A thick shag rug is a soft foil for organic bamboo.