House Tour: Is that a pig in Ryann’s Mid Century home?
Ryann is a lover of kitsch, with a sharp sense of wit … and yes, a pig called Norma Jean. Her Instagram grid is not only full of her fabulous retro home but also captions that will make you laugh out loud, and let’s face it, who doesn’t love seeing a cute pig popping up now and again? She is an impulsive, compulsive vintage collector … definitely our kind of girl!
How long have you been collecting vintage?
I started getting heavily into vintage in my senior year of high school- almost 25 years ago :( lol. I was obsessed with the movie Reality Bites and wanted my style to emulate Janeane Garofalo's style. She dressed in mod dresses and carried a vintage metal lunchbox as a purse. I immediately started collecting lunchboxes. I had about 20 by the time I had moved on. As an adult, I had them displayed on a shelf in my kitchen, and when I started my business, I sold off most of them. The only one I still have now is a Peanuts lunchbox- but I mourn the loss of my Beegee's Saturday Night Fever one. I didn't sell it but lost it in a basement flood.
Where does your love of vintage come from?
It definitely comes from my mom - my parents liked to go antiquing when I was growing up, my mom collected vintage baby shoes and we had a few printers trays that they likes to look for little bits and pieces to fill them. At around 12 years old I had started collecting vintage ladies hats. Shopping for vintage bored me until I had something specific to collect.
How would you describe your own vintage style?
My vintage style … hmm ... I love Mid Century and the weirder the better! I've loved kitsch since before I knew it had a name. I love to have fun with my home décor. I love to make people laugh.
Do you have any specific criteria for your home décor based on style/era/colour … or is it a gut reaction?
There's not a specific era that I like best, I just like what I like. When I audibly gasp when I find an item, I know I love it.
Do you have a favourite piece in your home?
It would be really hard for me to choose just one, but a few of my favorites are a Bradley doll that I purchased at the first estate sale I'd ever been to. I have a hardcore obsession with crazy lamps - they're all my favorite! Another fave of mine is my pink Pupi donkey. Pupi is the Italian version of the American Dream Pets. I also just drove an hour and a half for a needlework of a naked woman in the ocean which I have yet to put up anywhere as of yet.
What is your favourite era / maker?
I love the 60s and 70s. I don't have a favourite maker per se, but I love the art of Peter Max, Picasso, Margaret Keane, and Maxfield Parish.
Where do you source your items / furniture from?
I'm very lucky to live in Gardner MA which is known as the Chair City and was the furniture capital back in the 50s and 60s. Heywood Wakefield furniture was manufactured here and I find it quite often. There is a flea market just 10 minutes from my house where I do most of my sourcing in the summer and in the winter I spend most of my weekends at estate sales. Massachusetts is also the home of the world renown Brimfield Flea Market which happens 3 times a year and is only an hour away from my house.
Please do tell us a little about Norma Jean ...
My mother purchased Norma Jean for me as a gift, stating that she was a teacup pig which she is obviously not! I love her dearly, but living with a pig is difficult - she has ripped up floors, rugs, chairs, furniture, pillows, books and just about anything she can get a hold of if she's bored. She doesn't really get along with anyone in the house except for me, so we are thick as thieves.
I love how honest you are about your quandaries when it comes to deciding on the décor and design in your home, dare I ask if you have any concrete plans for your home in the future?
I do! I've recently purchased some wallpaper for a table in my kitchen (waiting for a brave day to get that done!). I've also just acquired these giant cardboard single line drawings of jazz musicians from an estate sale that I'm planning to put up behind my TV. They were used in the lobby of a local community theater that I acquired from an estate sale.
You have an Etsy shop selling vintage items, so when you are continuously sourcing items, is it difficult to choose what to keep in your own home and what to sell in your shop?
I'm actually in the process of closing my Etsy shop and switching to Shopify, but I do have a booth in a brick and mortar shop in Worcester, MA called Crompton Collective where I sell. It's tricky - some of the things I've bought to sell I end up keeping for myself. Decorating my home is my passion and when I redo or set up a new gallery wall I usually go shop my storage space for the goods.
What, if anything, has been your best or favourite find?
Probably my favorite find ever was the tension pole record rack I have in my dining room. I found it when I was just starting out, and to be honest I wasn't 100% sure what it was just that it was brass and a tension pole and I thought it was cool. I paid $10 for it and was thrilled to discover it was worth more than $150. At one point I did try to sell it but then ended up keeping it. That happens a lot!
Have you ever regretted selling something?
A brass poodle. Sometimes when I have an item for sale online, it sits on my shelf so that I can have some time with it before we part. He sat there for so long that I forgot that he was for sale and then someone bought him- it was a sad, sad day.
Photo credits: All photos kindly provided by Ryan