How would you describe your design aesthetic?
My designs, both interior and furniture, have modern function with vintage soul. I like to take a piece of vintage furniture, or a style idea, and re-image how it’s used or perceived. Whether that means upholstering a vintage wingback chair in a bold patterned fabric or using a pair of antique lobster crates as a coffee table in an otherwise modern living room.
My aesthetic is based on the idea that using vintage pieces doesn’t have to mean committing to an entire style. They can be incorporated into your home on in a way that reflects your taste while being refined and beautiful. I believe that folks need to mix both vintage and modern pieces in a way that works for how they live. A common example is finding a functional way to use inherited piece of furniture. Vintage soul-meets-modern functionality is what I really strive for.
What inspires you on a daily basis?
Color, fabric and fashion are a few of my main inspirations. I come up with most of my design ideas driving, probably because it’s one of the few times in the day that I am not multitasking. I do adore fabric; I will create a design for an entire dining set based on a roll of fabric I couldn’t live without. I’m inspired by details; furniture with curved legs, carvings, interesting shapes and styles. Another thing that drives my creativity is really cool salvage pieces — old chippy doors, big barn fences, shipping crates that have original stickers. Anything obscure that I see, I always think of how to use it practically and that really sparks my creativity.
How did you get your start?
I have been finding and rehabbing furniture since I got out of college. I had no money and was furnishing my apartment with furniture from yard sales and Goodwill – but I wanted those finds to feel fresh and new so I started painting them. My love of re-purposing and re-imaging furniture came very naturally for me. I watched my parents turn an almost unlivable house into a wonderful home filled with furniture from antique stores and flea markets; that served as a huge inspiration. I remember going to the house one weekend in Falls Church after they bought it and they would have a bunch of friends peeling off wall paper and us kids would be roller skating on the main floor.
Two and half years ago I decided to get out of the corporate rat race and started re-imaging furniture. I found Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan and was shocked at the results. I began selling my furniture in Falls Church at a local shop and at Lucketts Spring Market. I needed a name for the business and we had an old ’76 Ford pick up we called Ira, we used to joke how he had so much “patina” – and so Stylish Patina was born. Eventually, I opened my first retail location in Frederick MD. I rented a huge old barn and transformed it into a vintage market 3 days each month. Stylish Patina has grown so much in the last two and half years, we now have a retail store and a monthly vintage warehouse sale in Falls Church as well a vintage rental service.
Do you remember your first great find from when you were first starting?
Yes, of course! It’s an old, wood, two-seater bench with a seat that flips up for storage. I got it twenty years ago at a thrift store in Tulsa, OK and paid $50 for it. I have carried it with me through probably four states and ten homes. And now it is up against my kitchen table, and I will have it forever.
What do you hope customers think of when they think of Stylish Patina?
My goal as a designer and shop owner is for my customers to experience a uniquely curated shop that offers furniture and accessories with modern functionality and vintage soul. I relish in the idea that my customers can find a piece of vintage furniture that now has modern functionality, bring it into their home and add a bit of character. That piece now has a story to tell. I want to offer something unique and interesting in the market.I also enjoy creating a retail environment that both men and women can enjoy. I intentionally carry home décor and gift lines that resonate with men. I love seeing a couple come into the shop and both the man the woman are engaged in the experience, versus the man finding the first chair to plop down in. I like to say that we also offer mantiques.
What makes Stylish Patina unique?
I think what makes Stylish Patina special is my vintage-meets-modern aesthetic and commitment to functional, beautiful vintage furnishings. At the Stylish Patina Shop in Falls Church you will find a blend of hand painted and re-imagined vintage furniture, unexpected home decor elements and gifts. We are the only shop in Northern Virginia and DC that carries Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan. I also design and open a warehouse space for monthly sales called the Rough Luxe Marketplace by Stylish Patina. I think that is a very unique offering and it is focused on showing folks how they can meld vintage and new furniture together in various styles since each month we have a new design theme. Another element that sets Stylish Patina apart is our Vintage Rental service; we work with the most stylish event planners, wedding planners and photographers in the DC area to create high end, unforgettable events.
Do your designs go beyond furniture?
Yes! I offer interior design services for clients looking to bring my aesthetic into their home. My favorite clients to work with are people that know what they want, they just need a little help getting there, they need options. They are working with a home renovation, they’ve demoed the house, the kitchen, bathroom, living room are all torn apart – they know architecturally what they want to do. Where they need guidance is with paint colors, fabrics, flooring, tile choices. I come in for an hour and walk about the home, talk about what they want. Then, send them options; present them with a selection of fabrics, paint colors, tile choices, etc. They run with it from there.
Fun facts about Kelly:
- Kelly has an old ’76 Ford Pick-Up truck named Ira. He gets credit for inspiring the name.
- She has four dogs.
- She met her husband at a dog park.
- She spent 15 years in the corporate world.
- Ira has a sister, an old delivery truck named Gerty.
- Kelly lives on Starbucks and Chipotle, for better or worse.