Urban Cottage Style Blog

Roundup: Vintage Vessels

Roundup: Vintage Vessels

I'm hoping today's roundup of vintage vessels shows two things: First, that vintage doesn't have to mean granny, and secondly, that vintage pitchers, vases, and the like can be used in our homes regularly, not hidden away in cupboards or kept wrapped and packed in boxes for -- well, for when, exactly? 

It's a rainy summer day here in Boulder and with several rainy days ahead, just browsing the roundup of pretty pictures lifts my spirits! I hope you enjoy them, too.

vintage hall pitcher - large

vintage mcCoy green pitcher

vintage Hall coffee pot

McCoy small matte green vase

vintage McCoy bird plumage vase

Vintage McCoy and Hall, top to bottom: 1. This large, wide-mouthed Hall pitcher holds a generous collection of garden hydrangeas. // 2. You may recognize this McCoy two-handled green glaze vase from a previous post, "Spring Table Three Ways." // 3. Along with item 1, this coffee pot with flower bud lid is part of a larger Hall collection. I love the simple contours and creamy color of this particular pattern. // 4. One of a pair, this small, matte-green McCoy vase is perfect for small floral arrangements. // 5. Have you noticed my affinity for green McCoy? Birds and berries adorn this gifted McCoy vase.

heisey glass greek key dish

vintage Block crystal decanter

handblown vintage blue vase

antique three-handled glass vase

Vintage glassware, top to bottom: 6. Sold in the shop, the vintage Greek key glass dish made by Heisey Glass is used for candy or bar cart accoutrements.  // 7. A flea market find for only a few dollars, this crystal Block decanter became a holiday gift. I found its stopper on eBay for a perfect fit.  // 8. Another flea market find from Lafayette, Colorado, the artist signed this vintage handblown blue glass vase. // 9. An unusual, three-handled glass vase holds special memories. It was discovered many years ago at an antiques store in Suttons Bay, Michigan, a favorite annual family vacation spot.

antique iron urn

vintage floral-rimmed porcelain pitcher

Royal Copenhagen vintage ginger jar

antique Paris Porcelain pedestal dish

More unusual vintage vessels: 10. I love rusty old iron pieces! An antique English iron urn, purchased many years ago at the Ann Arbor Antiques Market, was featured in our Summer 2016 photo shoot. Photo by Emily Sacco Photography. // 11. Cool blue interiors, white cabinets, and this vintage floral-rimmed pitcher show that vintage isn't stodgy.  Photo by Emily Sacco Photography. // 12. This large vintage Royal Copenhagen ginger jar adds instant class to a modern mix. // 13. The heft, gilding, and handpainted artistry of Paris Porcelain are unmatched. You'll find this antique French footed dish in the shop.

What vintage vessels do you use for floral arrangements or tabletop settings? Do they hold special memories? Please share in the Comments, below. 

Also note that Urban Cottage Style pillows shown in images 6, 8, and 11 can be found in the shop on urbancottagestyle.com.

All styling and photography by Heather of Urban Cottage Style, unless otherwise noted.

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"Midwest Meets California" Remodel

I returned recently from visiting my sister and brother-in-law in their "new" home nestled in a country-like setting of winding roads and pine-scented air in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains about an hour southwest of Lake Tahoe. The wooded lots and rolling hills felt like I was "up north" in our native Michigan. The location also felt quite a bit like the mountain location they'd left behind in North Carolina.

But the house! Oh, the house. Other than its open plan, it was nothing like their previous home, which was a new, custom-built mountain home they'd expected to settle into for their retirement. But life, as it has a way of doing, changed. Grandbabies happened. And the grandbabies were in northern California, not North Carolina.

My sister isn't one to shy away from tough choices. With her vision, creativity, and immensely supportive husband, she saw the potential of this sorely neglected, three-bed/two-bath, 1980's ranch. With a big investment of money, labor and time, she knew she could make a light and lovely home. It has a good layout, an open plan, and large windows offering great light. With the contractor inspection revealing active termites, possible structural damage, and the need for a complete roof tearoff, they paused. Briefly. And then forged ahead.

If any of you think I'm being critical in describing my sister's home, let me just say this -- her home reminds me exactly of my own builder-grade ranch I bought near Boulder more than five years ago. Down on its luck and filthy, it hadn't seen a fresh coat of paint since it was built in 1981. Nothing of interest architecturally, stinky carpets throughout, and kitchen and baths begging for a sledgehammer. (Read about my reno in a previous post.) 

So visiting my sister's new home is deja vu for me. By the time I arrived, they had already replaced the roof, demolished a funky sunroom addition, removed all carpeting, demolished a high pony wall that created a tight and weird hallway in the front entry, gutted and remodeled both bathrooms, and freshly painted the bedrooms. 

My visit was spent wine-tasting, vintage hunting, hiking, and brainstorming interior and exterior design options with my sister. I get to enjoy the process of renovating all over again, this time offering ideas and sources while avoiding the labor, anxiety, and financial pains of it all! 

So here's our collaborative collection of design inspiration. Maybe some of this will inspire you, too.


Stefani Stein kitchen designPhoto by Tessa Neustadt

LA designer Stefanie Stein's calm kitchen colors provide inspiration for possible color choices in the kitchen, which will be gutted. The mushroom, light blue, and cream colors work well with existing furnishings and vintage rugs in living and dining room areas.

Laurel Bern Interiors kitchen inspiration

More color and design inspiration, this time creamy white and light sage in this DeVOL Kitchen designed by Laurel Bern Interiors.

Devol Kitchen design inspiration

Devol kitchen pantry door inspiration

devol pantry doors

More cabinetry inspiration from DeVol Kitchens!

An existing long, shallow closet in the hallway off the dining room will be converted to a pantry. I'm suggesting replacing existing bifold doors with tall, narrow pantry doors that wouldn't take up a lot of hall space when open and would coordinate with new kitchen cabinets and redesigned, built-in storage cabinets in the dining area.

I love these cutouts on the pantry doors, although they may prove to be too "cottagey" in the overall final design selections.

Dining Area

Ethan Allen By the Sea Dining Set

This image of inspired, casual dining is from Ethan Allen. My sister has already nailed it with an antique oak pedestal table and seafoam-blue wicker dining chairs that I hauled 1,153 miles from my home near Boulder. Imagine this look in reverse -- warm brown oak pedestal table with painted wicker chairs. 

Some sisters trade clothes; my sister and I trade furniture. Once upon a time, the table and chairs sat in my sister's charming lakeside cottage in Michigan. When she moved to her beautiful mountain home in North Carolina, the round table no longer worked and I bought the table and all chairs. Now, in her California ranch, it feels like they were meant to be here. Beautiful!

Living Area

The large windows in the living room lighten and brighten the vintage Tree of Life Persian rug that has warmed the floors of several past homes. Here with the California sun pouring in from the room's large windows, the rug's mushroom-colored background with small hits of vibrant blue and soft corals looks brighter and fresher. It coordinates really well with the blue wicker chairs in the adjacent, open-plan dining area.

Ethan Allen Shelton Sofa

My sister surprised me with news that she'd already ordered a new sofa -- the Shelton by Ethan Allen. This is a sofa I might have ordered for myself if I weren't currently reupholstering a vintage rolled-arm sofa. (Yes, this happens a lot with me and my sister. You might think we share the same brain.) This sofa has classic tufting and tuxedo arms with a slight flair. It will push the room in the direction of casual glam, and may require some other updates in lamps and fabric on vintage wicker to tie it all together. Another option: MGBW's Fiona.

Larkin chair by Mitchell Gold Bob Williams

I don't know about you, but I'd love to settle myself into this midsize club chair, the Larkin by MGBW. It's got a French Modern flair that holds up to the sofa choice. And it comes in warm ecru or beautiful blue to match other colors in the home's open plan.

There was some talk of using a recliner. If so, I hope they'll check out some suggested styles in this Laurel Bern Interiors blog post.

Master Bedroom

 guest room using vintage drapery panels
Photo by Lily Glass for sfgirlbybay

Months ago, I fell in love with this wonderfully textured, vintage-styled guest room makeover by @sfgirlbybay. And then my sister called to talk about ideas for using vintage fabrics for her new master bedroom window treatments. 

Even without seeing this sfgirlbybay image, by the time I arrived my sister had created this inviting master bedroom look with existing furniture from her previous homes -- an iron bed, vintage nightstands, and an old-world, wool rug.

Our current challenge is finding just-the-right vintage fabric for window treatments. That will be a fun search. (If you peek into my shop, you'll see that vintage fabrics are kinda my thing.) Or maybe a new fabric with a vintage vibe, like Schumacher's Pyne Hollyhock, but more colorful. If you have any suggestions for us, please comment below.

Front Entry

The home's front door is heavily paneled, solid wood with a small window and window insert that looks like heavy, scrolled, black ironwork. But the insert is PLASTIC.

Rectory Red front door
Photo by Tessa Neustadt 

My sister plans to sand down the door's worn wood exterior and has already settled on painting it a rich, deep cranberry red. (Think Rectory Red by Farrow & Ball.) I've suggested cutting out the cheap-looking plastic window insert and adding something like this iron grillework to the exterior. (If it's good enough for Emily Henderson, it's certainly good enough for us.) Similar, real iron grilles can be found inexpensively on sites such as Signature Hardware

My sister's reno plans also include installing warm oak flooring and tall baseboards throughout the house to unify the entire space.

I know that everything will come together beautifully with her artist's eye for color and pattern, her embrace of the wonderful California light, and her way of accessorizing with character-filled vintage finds and family art as well as her own art. I don't expect the final results to be the "California cool" we see so much on Instagram. It will be a unique "Midwest meets California" vibe. It won't be edgy midmod or starkly white, but will be her unique, warm style of casual, colorful, and welcoming.

I can't wait to see her final results, and hope to get the chance to show them to you.

If you have other design solutions or sources we should explore, please let me know in the Comments, below. Thanks in advance!


Couldn't resist adding this image of Ryder, my sister's Maine Coon. As you can see, he's had no trouble settling into his new digs.

All styling and photography by Heather of Urban Cottage Style, unless otherwise noted.

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5 Summery Table Settings with Vintage Style

To help inspire your next summertime get-together, I've rounded up some of our favorite table settings that creatively mix new and vintage to help you create a memorable and distinctive summer soiree.

The days of matching service for 12 are over. Have fun mixing old with new to create a signature style and without breaking the bank on full-service china settings. 

So get inspired! And take advantage of our half-off summer sale going on right now for a limited time. (Summer sale ended Monday, July 10.)

vintage mix in bue

mix of patterns and texturesKeep it light, textural, and classic blue and white with vintage fluted salad plates from Danish maker Royal Copenhagen paired with new basketweave china from Wedgwood,. The whole scene is anchored with gorgeous flowers and a heavy cloth of French linen. 

midcentury vintage Rosenthal plate Bountiful

midcentury vintage Rosenthal Bountiful salad platePhoto Emily Sacco

Go sleek with vintage 1960s Rosenthal in a botanical wheat sheaf pattern set on a clean, modern white dinner plate. Accent it all with a stunning handpainted midcentury Rosenthal platter on a simple, flax-colored linen runner.

Tip: Mixing it up extends also to glassware, silver, serving dishes, and napkins. Mix in old or new, silver or gold or stainless, and amp up color, pattern, and texture with your napkin selections.

mix of French and English china

tablesetting with vintage French and English china

A mix of new, casual dotted and floral linens help take the formal edge off this beautifully gilded, curvy antique French dinner plate and vintage English floral china. Mix the new and fresh with the curvy and characterful for a light-hearted and still elegant table. Both plates are grounded with a sleek white contemporary charger.

midcentury blue pillows

vintage blue tabletop assortment

Take the party to the patio and set up casual drinks and desserts using yet another Danish pattern in Royal Copenhagen vintage plates and platter. More vintage bowls and floral plates enhance the varied, cool blue mix. Modern-day napkins add more pattern and texture.

Tip: Don't fuss over whether a vintage plate is actually sized for bread, salad, luncheon, or dessert. Who wrote those rules? If the size fits for its intended purpose, use it. This increases the versatility of your vintage pieces. And life's too short, anyway.

mix of red cabbage rose china with vintage geo tablecloth

Royal Staffordshire June place setting

This table setting of vintage English china ringed in blowsy cabbage roses welcomes your guests while making magic with the graphic tablecloth. The vintage tablecloth is a heavy cotton piece snagged at a tag sale and cleaned following instructions in "Caring for Vintage Fabrics."  

Have fun this summer!

You can see more of these table settings in past articles: "Summer Blues,"(Subtle) Red, White, and Blue Celebration," and "Spring Table Three Ways."

All styling and photography by Heather of Urban Cottage Style, unless otherwise noted.

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