Recently, Sara Duckett of Sadie Olive graciously agreed to an interview. Unfortunately, my reaction wasn’t nearly as gracious. It was more like “EEEEK!!!!!!! Tom! Tom! TOOOOM! She said YES!!!!” Why? Sara is an incredibly talented woman who created a multi-faceted business in the face of heartache and loss. Her style embraces vintage qualities and doesn’t try to cover up bumps and bruises or recreate them out of a 75 cent Ikea bookcase (though if I found a bookcase at Ikea for 75 cents, I would grab it and run for my bottle of Mod Podge). Let’s face it, with all the moving and obstacles many of us face, it is nearly impossible to find time to paint your living room walls, let alone refinish furniture.
When browsing through Sara’s incredible photos of her home, I can’t help but feel a sense of serenity and well, home. To me, home should be distinctively me and a place of calm (even if it is just a glimpse of a serene paint color beyond the mess). Apparently, I’m not the only one who feels this way. Her home has been featured in several publications to include “the March 2008 issue of Romantic Homes Magazine, the Fall 2008 issue of Budget Decorating (A Woman’s Day Special Publication), the Fall 2008 issue of Dovetales (A Boston magazine), and the January 2011 issue of Cottages and Bungalows.” Even if your style isn’t as romantic as Sara’s, the idea of using what you have without a lot of alterations is refreshing and inspiring.
Here are some gorgeous examples of Sara’s style as seen in the Our House section of her blog:
The blog is perhaps the smallest part of Sadie Olive. Sara also operates a vintage decor shop on Etsy: antiquity by sadieolive (the source of several of my fabulous finds on my Feeling Green post), an original print shop on Etsy: Warm Whispers, an online boutique: Sadie Olive Boutique as well as design and photography services. Phew! I’m exhausted thinking about it, but Sara manages it all beautifully and even takes the time to answer a few questions for a fan. What a gal! I enjoyed reading her answers and browsing through her beautiful shops, I know you’ll love her too!
Q: So many of my readers move constantly and rarely have the energy to reinvent every home, especially when it is rather temporary, how would you suggest someone incorporate vintage accessories into a vanilla, builder’s grade room? What are some of your tips for choosing quality vintage?
Select a few great pieces that are multi-functional. Items that can act as storage or display are perfect for reinventing themselves. Take for instance a lovely tarnished silver compote, and change out what you display in it as your mood changes.
Don’t always assume that vintage items are rare, and you should snatch them up in any condition. Many popular vintage accessories will pop up in multiple shops, so take your time in choosing your accessories. You should expect some imperfections with vintage décor, but make sure the condition of the item is something you can live with. Frequent shops who you know have a reputation for selling quality goods.
Q. I really admire your ability to choose pieces and use them in your space with little to no modification. In a blogosphere of painting, distressing, Mod-Podge and the power of the before and after, do you have suggestions on using what you have or using an heirloom piece without paint or permanently modifying the piece?
You know I’ve never been crafty enough to refinish anything on my own, let alone paint it. I actually prefer most of my items to be distressed. It makes a space so much more comfortable when people aren’t afraid to actually use an item without fear of damaging a perfect finish.
Q. If you could only have five(ish) accessories in the main living room of your home, what would they be and how would you use them?
Vintage Fabric Pillows – I love old grain sacks, and French ticking fabrics, and they make amazing pillows. I love to swap out the pillows on my sofa to give my room an instant face lift.
Vintage Alarm Clocks – I have a small collection of old alarm clocks, and I love move them around them room and change how I display them. Collections always look best in small, well edited groupings.
Ottomans – I have a few footstools and ottomans I like to move in and out of my space. I change where I put them, and sometimes pile old books or a tray on top.
Old Books – I love using books in my décor. I group several together with complimentary colors, and tie them up in a bundle to elevate some of my displays. Or stack sever al groups on my fire place mantel.
Lace – I have some antique lace bits that I love to dangle out of baskets, hang from half open drawers, and group in a bowl. It adds just the right amount of girly to an old basket.
Q. Your ongoing “i heart” posts are a great example of finding fabulous sellers. When you visit a new city or even searching for new sellers online, do you have any tips on how to finding reliably great shops or is it a matter of trial and error?
I suppose it’s trial error. I use Etsy to find most of my featured items on Mondays. I do read feedback to make sure I won’t have any issues before I buy an item. I also find quite a few through friends, and their recommendations.
Q. From reading the biography portion of Sadie Olive I know your business began as a way to start a period of positive healing for you. Has it continued to provide positive inspiration? What aspect of your business continues to be most beneficial for you?
It has. It’s been a wonderful distraction from our struggle with infertility and desire to be parents. The desire is still there of course, but having a creative outlet to distract me from the constant thought of babies is very therapeutic. We are very close to adopting a baby, and realizing that dream, and if it weren’t for my business, I’m sure I’d be going crazy by now over the wait.
I enjoy being able to wear several hats, so that when I get tired of one thing, I am free to let it fall to the wayside while I focus on the others. For awhile I was running my online shop, designing websites, and doing photography, and it was a bit overwhelming, so I had to let the photography portion go. Now when I pick up a camera, it’s because I want to, and feel inspired.
Q. Are there any words of advice or resources you would recommend to other women seeking to pursue what they truly love and enjoy?
Just go for it! I would never be where I am today if I didn’t decide to just pick myself up and give it a try.
Q. Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. Do you have any last words of advice or comments for women constantly on the move?
Thanks for having me! Embrace the changes. I moved all the time when I was younger, and I think it shaped me into the person I am today. Even now, I get bored being in one space for to long. I have to rearrange the furniture and trade rooms just to get that sense of a fresh start that moving gives to you.
If you see something that inspires you, Sara just announced a free postcard promotion with a $30 minimum purchase at her Etsy store, Antiquity. Perfect timing for me! I hope to use all these tips to find amazing new shops and great vintage items when I move to Spain (yes, I’m beginning to feel better about the whole move thing). Thank you, Sara!