Kate Beavis, a vintage/mid-century style expert gives us her advice when it comes to design.
Ever feel like modern furniture isn’t made to last anymore and that pandering to faddish homeware trends is just money down the drain? Vintage furniture and homeware can often be more costly than their modern counterparts, but shelling out once for a beautifully crafted piece will surely stand to you. After all, it has already stood the test of time.
One wise lady who certainly concurs is Kate Beavis, a vintage/mid-century style expert and author of Style Your Modern Vintage Home, a buying and styling guide from the 1920s-1990s, “The great thing about vintage is that if you look after it, it should hold its value.”
Over the past decade, Kate has successfully managed to turn her appreciation of the old into a new career. Her devotion to all things vintage started as a teenager when she would use her alteration skills to take 1960s dresses from maxi to mini, but it wasn’t until she met her husband 11 years ago that her love affair with vintage furniture really took flight, “His home was like walking back into the 1960s and it was love at first sight with him and his home!”
Finding herself with some extra free time whilst on maternity leave, Kate came up with the winning idea of transforming her hobby into hard cash by selling vintage homewares on eBay. What is it about classic pieces and styles that appeal to Kate? “Design wise, I love the sleek lines of mid century pieces,” she explained, adding that she loves the story attached to so many of the cherished items in her home that once belonged to family members. “All the furniture in my daughter's room came from my Great Aunt's home and we still sit on egg chairs that my husband’s grandma bought in 1968.”
Though the fact that vintage styles and sales have really taken off in recent years may be good news for business, Kate does find great pieces harder to come by when everyone’s collecting but she has some buying tips for novices, starting with focusing on the quality of the pieces, “So much of it can be badly restored, or in need of a lot of restoration so it is important to check it out well beforehand especially if you are buying online. Make sure you are getting a fair price too. Do your research to understand the true value.”
When she’s not digging for vintage treasure, you can find Kate at the helm of Magpie Wedding www.magpiewedding.com, running creative wedding fairs around the UK, or updating her wonderful website www.katebeavis.com where you can find her delightfully creative upcycling guides for projects like men’s tie cushions and tyre footstools. Kate described how she generates her upcycling ideas, “I often think of the end product that I want to create then work backwards. It is important to me to use things that are beyond repair… My advice is to go subtle and think Scandi - if the piece has sleek lines add a design that is also sleek. Get inspiration from Pinterest. And go slowly, a rush job or a badly painted piece will look worse than it did to start with!”
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