My friend Melissa has been buying vintage and antique decor and furniture and selling it at various venues here in Waco for the last fifteen years.
I’ve never seen any display she put together that I didn’t absolutely love or any piece she was selling that I didn’t want. So when she said I could come over and see her new house, a 1940’s cottage that she and her husband are leasing until hopefully the owner lets them buy it, I knew I was in for something special.
I was not disappointed. In fact, wiping the drool from my chin slowed me down some as I was taking pictures.
Let’s start with the front porch. With a bench, some gorgeous pillows, a chandelier, a couple of signs and some plants, it’s a little jewel all by itself.
Once inside, a few facts become obvious.
1. Melissa loves neutrals. She said she tried to do color in her house once and didn’t like it. White, off-white, ecru, ivory, cream…those are her “colors.” Here and there she has a little blue, but neutrals clearly dominate.
These vintage pillows on her love seat and the barely-blue crackled paint of her coffee table are a few of the exceptions to her neutral palette.
2. She likes old stuff. If it’s chippy, rusty, has character or a story behind it, Melissa is all over it. Other than her IKEA sofa, love seats, and chairs, almost nothing in her house is new. Having grown up on Waco’s historic Austin Avenue, she also likes old homes. Her current cottage has enough age that it lends itself perfectly to her style.
Her dining table is fairly new and was purchased at an auction of furnishings from model homes in the Dallas area. The dining chairs are quite old, however. She bought all eight at a garage sale for $100. That price included the matching table which she later sold. The original fabric on the chairs was perfect for Melissa’s vintage style. Her collections are all neatly and cleverly displayed. Ironstone galore, ceramic animal figures, linens, old china, vintage clocks and books…
She has an exceptional eye and talent for display.
Although it’s a tiny detail and could almost go unnoticed behind the glass doors of her huge china cabinet, this very old baby doll with its crackled finish nestled inside some ironstone immediately caught my eye.
3. She is clearly not a minimalist. There isn’t a spot in her house that her talented hand has not touched. She has a lot, loves it all, and displays it all.
So I just had to ask. What does her burly, former football coach husband have to say about the white slipcovered sofas, all the collections, and the decidedly feminine style of his shabby chic-loving decorator of a wife? Has he not ever asked for a big leather Michelin Man-style recliner?
“My husband has taken it like a champ,” says Melissa. “As long as he has a bed to sleep on, a place to sit, a television, and a remote, he’s ok.”
Melissa is taking a break from garage sales, estate sales, auctions, and all the out-of-the-way honey holes she frequents to find her treasures to sell. At least for now.
“It’s like a bug,” she says. When it bites you, it’s hard to get away from it.”
I just hope if she ever decides to sell off anything she has in her house now, she calls me first because I’ve got my eye on a few things.