Vintage for a Cause: Map Dresser from The Vintage House

Step inside The Vintage House, and you’ll feel inspired. The whole idea of the store came from inspiration.

Step inside The Vintage House, and you’ll feel inspired. The whole idea of the store came from inspiration.

Owner Julie Keyser opened the store in April 2014 without even knowing how to paint. She was in finance and collections for 10 years, and she always loved shopping for home décor.

“I’ve always loved shopping at all of these types of markets. When this space opened up, I thought, ‘I could do this. This would be wonderful.’ Plus, I decorate a lot in my house, and my husband is like, ‘You really need to find an outlet because you gotta stop decorating the house. There’s nothing else to decorate.’ ”

She took the hint and opened the business. She gets a lot of help from her mother, Debbie Watson. But when she first started out, Keyser had to purchase sanders and paintbrushes and learn how to use them to create.

Now that she has the process down pat, she really enjoys doing it. Keyser loves that she can give an old piece of furniture new life. When customers bring in pieces that have been in their family, she loves the reactions she gets when she redoes them.

“There’s a lot of times that customers will come in and say, ‘Hey, I have this dresser of my grandmother’s. Can you paint it for me?’ And we go over designs, and we make it happen. There’s nothing better than taking a beautiful piece of furniture that is sitting in a basement and refurbishing it so that it can be used again.”

Not only do Keyser and three other artists—Adrianne Swihart, Char Ritter, Kristin Forbes—work on pieces that customers bring into the store, they also work on their own projects to sell. Another artist, Fred from Gallery 72, also does custom work for customers. He specializes in refinishing of larger items, such as kitchen tables.

Keyser said that they get most of their furniture from a gentleman who goes to garage sales, estate sales and auctions. Some customers bring in old pieces, as well.

She specifically likes working with older pieces because she feels that they are made much better than furniture is now.

The store also carries a jewelry line. From opening day, Tabas Jewelry Designs have been for sale in the shop. It is owned by a local artist who makes every piece by hand and also does custom pieces with vintage jewelry. Popular demands of Tabas Jewelry Designs are custom-made dog tags and designer bottles.


Map Dresser

This wood dresser came from either an estate sale or an auction. Julie Keyser got her inspiration from another custom-order project in the store. She did some light sanding, followed by some paint and distressing. Char Ritter did the decoupage on the map. Overall, the piece took about 14 days to finish. The dresser features four deep drawers, three with maps. All are tongue-and-groove style, and each is numbered inside because not all of the drawers are the same size. Each drawer also has a new liner, and the sides of the drawer are painted and stenciled. The dresser stands 49 inches high, 32 inches wide and 18 inches deep.

All proceeds from the winning bids go to Habitat for Humanity and ReStore.

The Vintage House: 5561 Fulton Dr. NW, Jackson Twp.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, 1 to 8 p.m. Thursday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to
3 p.m. Saturday