Interior Designer Christina Valencia Shares Her Tips on Vintage Shopping in the Valley
We chat with Christina about her favorite vintage shops around town and how she finds her best treasures.
By Carly Scholl | Photography by Jenna Peffley
Phoenix Home & Garden: What are some of your favorite vintage/antique shops you found around Phoenix while looking for furnishings for your home?
Retro Ranch : This place is hands down one of our favorite vintage shops that we’ve ever stumbled upon! The owner has a meticulously curated home furnishings section that features tons of art, furniture and decor from different eras. We picked up two gorgeous cactus flower fabric paintings that serve as the centerpiece of our dining room art wall (pictured above). We also bought the 70’s swag hanging lamp that now resides above the daybed. She also has an extensive clothing section, including a killer earring collection, so it’s a little bit of everything for everyone.
Twigs and Twine : They have a great selection of midcentury dressers and decor, and it’s clear that the owners take a ton of pride in what’s featured within their shop. Rather than having a place overrun with knick knacks, in Twigs and Twine you can see that each piece has been thoughtfully selected and everything is in great condition. We found our bedroom dressers from Twigs and Twine, as well as an amazingly intricate and colorful hand-threaded wall hanging that’s in our queen bedroom.
White Dove Thrift Shoppe : This collection of thrift shops is a perfect place to stop in randomly if you have a few extra minutes in your day in the hopes of finding yourself
a gem. There are a few locations around town, and even though inventory moves quickly so you never know what you’re going to find, they seem to attract donations that are unique, well-made and in good shape, as we found a ton of art and wall hangings here. In general, it’s amazing how many random places, such as White Dove, Goodwill, and Boys and Girls Club Thrift Shop in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area, have incredible finds. I don’t know who’s donating to all of them, but please keep at it for the rest of us treasure hunters!
Antique Trove : We have an Antique Trove close to our Sacramento home where we shop often, so when we learned there was a sister store in Scottsdale we knew we needed to check it out. This is a huge market hall filled with vendors, so they have every style and price point imaginable. Even though some items are clearly estate-worthy and therefore were out of our price range, there are a ton of vendors with well-priced decor there as well so it’s a good place to hunt for smaller items such as vases, frames and glassware.
PHG: Is there a specific type of item you look for when you shop vintage?
CV: It completely depends on the project! Rather than bringing a specific style to whatever project we’re doing, we build out a concept for the home based on its original architecture and who’ll be living in the home, then lean into it. That said, in general, we like to find vintage goods that bring a lot of texture and layered materiality into the home.
PHG: Is there a certain era of vintage items you like to look for?
CV: For us, the one commonality to all of our finds is craftsmanship. Sixties and seventies era woodworking was unlike anything you can find reasonably priced today. And no matter the era, we always look for pieces that are built out of real materials, such as solid wood, and stay away from anything faux or veneer.
PHG: Which is more important to you when looking for a vintage piece: quality/functionality or aesthetic/authenticity?
CV: We’re not big fans of beauty for beauty’s sake…unless of course we’re scouring the Internet for inspiration. But for us, anything we put in a home needs to have a function or it stays on the shelf. A home is not a museum, it’s supposed to be loved and lived in…who cares how beautiful a chair is if it’s too rickety to sit in!
PHG: Do you have any tips for homeowners on how to achieve a balance of new and old home furnishings?
CV: If you enter a room and it looks like you’ve entered another era, then you’ve gone too far. We want our designs to feel fresh and modern with a nostalgic undertone, not to have people feel like they’ve stepped into a time capsule. A great way to approach this balance between old and new is to pick one or two key vintage pieces to anchor the room around, splurge on those and treat them as your “wow” statement pieces, then layer in newer furnishings around it.
PHG: Any insider tips on how to shop vintage?
CV: When we go shopping at big antique fairs with multiple vendors, the weird pieces that speak to YOU are the ones you can usually get the best deals on. Maybe it’s an old stool that you imagine with dipped painted legs or a chair that needs reupholstery. We love a vintage Eames chair just as much as the next designer, but the unique and off-brand pieces are a lot easier to bargain on.
Also, there are always a handful of beautifully curated booths right near the entrance. We tend to skip those booths, head to the back and work our way forward. It’s more fun to find an odd piece from a smaller vendor than to walk through a pop-up boutique store.
Lastly, if you can’t find the perfect vintage centerpiece for your room, go ahead and splurge on a well-made new piece, then style it with vintage goods like old art, vases, and books. They are fun to shop for, and you can find a lot without breaking the bank.