A Beloved Vintage Resale Shop Finds its New Home in Central Phoenix
Blending updated vintage and new home furnishings, Twigs and Twine strives to preserve and re-create the past.
By Linda J. Barkman | Photography by Chris Loomis
HISTORY: In 2011, Mark had a corporate job and Jill, a full-time wife and mom, was painting pieces of furniture at home to make extra income for the family. As interest in her work grew, Jill opted to lease a vendor space inside a vintage resale shop in the historic Melrose District, gradually adding found treasures to her own pieces. “Then things started snowballing,” reports Twigs and Twine store/sales manager Mackenzie Ehlers who runs Twigs and Twine with her husband and merchandise buyer Josh Ehlers. Jill kept expanding her space and eventually took over the entire shop, which became the original Twigs and Twine showroom in 2014. Merchandise consisted primarily of vintage pieces that were refinished in-house, lamps, small home decor items and assorted hand-built custom pieces that Jill and Mark were producing. Things were clicking along nicely when life threw a curveball or two. “During the pandemic we closed our doors for several months and operated on an appointment-only basis,” Mackenzie explains. “Then in June of 2021, an electrical fire destroyed our showroom and forced us to find a new location.” In October of 2021, they reopened in the 2,200 square-foot space they currently occupy. “We were like the little engine that could,” Mackenzie remarks with a wry smile.
THE NAME GAME: “Twigs” represents the wood pieces in the store and “Twine” represents the accessories, explains McKenzie, admitting that “it took forever to decide on a name that worked.”
CONCEPT: “We’re all about taking good-quality vintage pieces that may look dated and breathing new life into them so they can live another 50 or 60 years,” Mackenzie describes. “We look for solid wood pieces, dovetail drawers, clean lines and a midcentury vibe.”
PHILOSOPHY: “We like to think of what we do as saving the past,” remarks Josh. “I would say we pride ourselves in being able to offer unique, one-of-a-kind pieces that can spark a conversation and create a sense of mystery when placed in someone’s home.”
WHAT’S IN STORE: At any given time, the assortment of furnishings ranges from sofas and chairs to dining sets, side tables, coffee tables, desks, dressers, lamps and everything in between, with carefully chosen new pieces interspersed among vintage finds. “We have new merchandise arriving every weekday, so our offerings are ever-changing,” Josh notes. Occasionally included in the lineup of merchandise are custom pieces from Draftwood Design, the sister company the Roberts launched at another location in 2015.
MOST REQUESTED: It seems there can never be too many dressers, buffets or sideboards, and it’s an ongoing goal to have a selection of these items to choose from, the Ehlers report.
WHAT SETS THEM APART: Along with natural wood repainted furniture and items, they carry works by local artists and hand-selected new items, including accent chairs and other upholstered pieces that fit the midcentury motif. “We like to keep it period-correct,” Josh notes. Items showcased are always thoughtfully displayed, with plenty of browsing room.
AT YOUR SERVICE: Repainting, refinishing, pick-up and delivery are among services offered. “If someone brings in a dresser and wants it refinished, we’re happy to do that,” notes Josh. “We offer in-house colors—or people can choose a custom color.” They also keep lists of people’s requests and follow up to inform them when those items are available. “When customers have a specific need and realize we can make that happen, it’s very satisfying,” he adds.
THE EXTRA MILE: “Customer service is very important to us, as is the integrity of our pieces. We turn down items if the quality is not quite there and take great pride in making sure people are 100% happy when they get their purchase home,” Josh remarks.
THE CHERRY ON TOP: “When we reopened in this space, it was after four months of being closed,” Mackenzie recalls. “We wondered if people would remember us, but the community really got behind us. We’re so humbled by the support we’ve received.” Josh adds: “It’s the best feeling in the world when people come back again and again. Getting to play a role in furnishing people’s homes brings us joy. That’s the highest compliment we can get.”