With the growing popularity of the “Shabby Chic” brand, and shows like Antiques Roadshow, the vintage, or shabby, style of home décor is hot, hot, hot right now. Our personal styles are evolving to incorporate both genuine antiques and newer items with an intentionally distressed look into our collections. Items our mothers and grandmothers used for utilitarian purposes are now being fashionably reused in fun new ways.
If your style is … eclectic … we have you covered. Consider shopping shabby at one of these two unique shops in the Twin Ports.
ONCE AGAIN USED AND NEW
Twila Uotinen has found a distinctive way to advertise her business: driving around town with a vintage pickup truck emblazoned with her business name, Once Again Used and New. Her husband Bob lovingly built the 1952 Chevy, and applied what Twila calls a “faux-tina” (an oldlooking patina) to the paint to give it a vintage look.
Originally a painter focusing on both interiors and exteriors, Twila spent 20 years working in retail, and also owned a cleaning business. But she has found her life’s work running her own home décor shop. “I’m going to be doing this forever,” she says with a big smile.
Twila has operated Once and Again Used (minus the New) out of Missinne’s Greenhouse in South Range for many years. That business has blossomed, and she has now expanded to include Once and Again Used and New, which opened at 310 Belknap St. in February of 2015.
Featuring one-of-a-kind refurbished furniture, primitive home décor, candles, linens, jewelry,
and other various sundry, the shop has plenty of adorable nooks and crannies to explore. Twila and company revamp the entire store with the changing of each season, so the shopping is always new and fresh for the customer.
Twila enjoys purchasing things like old doors and window frames, and then repurposing them to be used as decorative items. She is brilliant at coming up with creative and crafty ideas, such as painting milk crates and stacking them together to form a country-style bookcase.
“I paint a lot of furniture that needs TLC,” she shares. “I’ve had pieces that were in such rough shape I’ve had to take them apart and put them back together again.”
Along with her two consignors, Cindy Telega and Mary Jo Manion, the team buys new and used pieces from flea markets, auctions, and rummage sales. Between the three of them, they paint, assemble, repurpose, and sell their items to a public hungry for their one-of-a-kind style.
“I had to start out making my own items when we first got married out of necessity; we couldn’t afford to buy new,” Twila says. “But now, as evidenced by shows like HGTV’s Fixer Upper, this is the style people love.”
Once and Again Used and New (as well as the shop in South Range) is open Wednesdays through Fridays from noon – 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 – 4.
Located in a large two-story house at 4407 East Superior St. in the Lakeside business district, Serendipity is filled with one-of-a-kind treasures. The shop is owned by Gayle Healy and her partner and mother Shirley Johnson. “We’ve been best friends since the day I was born, and I would not have taken on this venture without her,” Healy says.
When Serendipity first opened its doors, the intention was to be solely a vintage shop, but it quickly found its unique niche. “We began attending the gift, furniture, and apparel markets around the country where we’d purchase home decor, clothing, and seasonal products to mix in with the vintage pieces,” Healy says. “About 70 percent of what we sell now is new items, along with 30 percent vintage.” Serendipity offers unique gifts, cards, clothing, baby items, home decor, seasonal, and architectural items appealing to a wide-range of customers.
The shop also includes an outdoor garden shed, which is open spring, summer, and fall. The shed is delightfully displayed with unusual garden décor, as well as both old and new furniture.
Healy and her mother travel near and far to purchase the most unique and unusual finds to offer their customers. They attend local estate sales, flea markets, and they have found items in Paris, Italy, and all over the United States.
This October, Serendipity will be celebrating its 10th anniversary. “I’m foregoing a trip to Florence so I can be here,” Healy shares with a chuckle. They plan to offer special sales, champagne, and chocolate throughout the month to commemorate the occasion. Serendipity’s store hours are Tuesday – Friday from 10-5, and Saturdays 10-4.
Whether your style is vintage, eclectic, or plain old shabby, keep these local retailers in mind when decorating your home or searching for the perfect gift. It can be exhilarating to find the perfect piece to add to a special collection or complete a room. And, adding special touches that evoke happy memories of Mom and Grandma is always a solid investment.
For more information, Serendipity can be reached at (218) 525-3455, and Twila Uotinen, the owner of Once and Again Used and New, can be reached at (218) 393-3770. Both businesses are also on Facebook.
Written by By Andrea Busche for Duluth.com the Magazine.