I bet you’d never guess that before I opened my business 7 years ago I was waiting tables.

If you’re curious about my journey and how I went from waiting tables to an established small business owner then keep reading because I am gonna take you way back to where it all began.

oh crap, that crazy dream I had actually worked.

It’s been over 7 years since I got the keys to my first-ever brick and mortar shop. 7 years! The journey has been truely one of the most transformative things I have ever done in my life. It’s pretty freakin awesome to look at something that I created and be like oh crap, that crazy dream I had actually worked. Jaw drop moment.

Boho Bungalow 2012
Boho Bungalow way back in the beginning when we sold vintage furniture and went by the name, Vintage By Design

Jeff and I were living in Costa Rica when we correctly prophesied that if we didn’t get back to California and buy a house quickly we would be priced out of the market.

So I guess the story really begins in 2010. My husband Jeff and I were living in Costa Rica when we correctly prophesied that if we didn’t get back to California and buy a house quickly we would be priced out of the market. So we packed up our dog and all of our most precious belongings and headed back to California. I had been living out of the state and country since I had moved to Hawaii 14 years earlier when I was 17 years old. Though California has always felt like home, it had been a minute since I was an official resident.

Before Boho Bungalow
Our first year in business when we sold vintage furniture

I did what I had to do until I could do what I wanted to do.

We purchased a 1990’s ranch house on 7 acres of land in the nowhere town of Cazadero in Sonoma County. It was all very lovely, save for the fact that we were kinda in the middle of nowhere, and there was very few employment opportunities. I really wanted a job in architectural 3D drafting. I applied to every architectural company in the area but the timing was terrible, and me resumé wasn’t that exciting. So I followed Oprah’s words of wisdom and I did what I had to do until I could do what I wanted to do. I got a job waiting tables at a restaurant, it payed the bills. After almost 2 years of that, I was starting to feel desperate to make a change.

Before Boho Bungalow
More before photos from our vintage furniture days

I had become pretty skilled at buying furniture on the cheap and fixing it up.

I ended up giving notice with absolutely no plan and no safety net. I kinda had a vague idea about wanting to flip furniture. We had just moved into a big house and with virtually no budget for furnishings, I had become pretty skilled at buying furniture on the cheap and fixing it up. I really enjoyed it and I wanted to see if I could turn my furniture side hustle into my full-time income source. I didn’t have a super clear vision of what that would look like, but I was determined to make a go of it.

Looking back there was probably a little bit of kismet or fate at play because I didn’t go around looking for store fronts. I was just driving through Occidental one day when I saw a for-rent sign. I signed a lease and bam, I had a storefront. Now the story is far from over because the store that I opened 7 years ago is dramatically different than the Boho Bungalow you know today.

Before Boho Bungalow
Back when we were Vintage By Design and had like 5 things in the store, lol

Everything about the shop has changed, even our name.

Everything about the shop has changed, even our name. We opened as, Vintage By Design, because I sold vintage furniture, so yeah that made sense. Now people naturally assume that since I completely changed my name and my inventory that selling vintage furniture was probably a bust, and they wouldn’t be completely wrong, but I have to say depending on the yard stick you’re using, in some ways it was wildly successful. Not to get too far into the ends and outs of retail, but essentially one of the ways to measure the health of a retail business is by how many times a year they turn their inventory. The standard turn rates is about 4 turns per year. The more turns the more successful the store is. Currently we do between 4 to 5 turns per year, which is healthy. But you guys my vintage furniture store did 10 to 12 turns a year which is bonkers. But you know why it wasn’t a sustainable business even at that turn rate, it’s because I was super limited in the amount of inventory that I was able to source. I was combing through craigslist adds, showing up at every flea markets and estate sales and I could never amass enough inventory to reach my goals. Another kicker was just how labor intensive moving that amount furniture is. It was just me and my little black pick-up. I would travel all over the Bay Area wheeling and dealing for vintage coffee tables and teak rockers, it wasn’t the worst and it felt truly amazing that I was able to carve out a demand for this business I created, but after a few years the hours upon hours of driving and the volume of stuff that I was moving just got to be too much. So I made some major changes to the inventory I offered and that’s essentially how we became the Boho Bungalow. It’s not the store I set out to create, but I believe it was always meant to be this way, and I couldn’t be more in love with the end result.

Hey! It’s me Faith, just working at my shop

7 years later, with 6 employees, 2 brick and mortars, over 7,000 Instagram followers and an online shop I feel like I am an established business owner

Now this is just some quick snippets that doesn’t begin to tell of all the failures, life lessons and learning that happened between here and there. But now, 7 years later, with 6 employees, 2 brick and mortars, over 7,000 Instagram followers and an online shop I feel like I am an established business owner and gosh darn it I am proud of that! I have so many plans to grow and so many goals that I am striving for, but I am terrible at taking a step back and saying look at this phenomenal progress, you did this!

Even more to the point is that there’s nothing that uniquely qualified me for this position. There are dozens of more reason why this shouldn’t have worked. And yet somehow, I was just scrappy enough to pull this one off.

What about you? Are you scared that you’re not qualified to be the person you dream of being? I wasn’t about to use that as an excuse for going after what I wanted and you shouldn’t either.

Invaluable life lessons from 3 of the industries top designers

I’ve had a pretty amazing August, in which I flew across the country to meet some of the industries top designers. These design Mavens all have dynamic careers in which they employ a variety of their talents. I can’t wait to share with you what I learned, so read along as I unveil valuable insight garnered from these talented designers/authors/bloggers and TV personalities.

Justin Blakeney and Faith Parker at Las Vegas Market
Justin Blakeney and Faith Parker at Las Vegas Market

Justina Blakeney author of The New Bohemians, is one of my all-time design idols. She not only authors one of the best blogs out there, The Jungalow, she also has her own custom lines of wallpapers and rugs and she just launched an entire line of furniture and home decor items called Selamat. I could go on… but I wont because all the sudden I feel incredibly lazy and unaccomplished.  (insert weeping emoji here)

While attending the Las Vegas Market earlier this month I got a chance to see Justina Blakeney host a panel of design experts. Mainly they discussed design trends, but that wasn’t the big take away for me. I found the fact that of the six design panelists, only one of them went to design school. Which answers a very important question, just how do you become a  famous blogger or designer?  The general consensus from the experts panel was….Umm basically you just put yourself out there and give it everything you’ve got. There is no formal university degrees in blogging (is there? I am pretty certain there isn’t… but I could be wrong) there may be universities that offer degrees in interior design but some of the top designer and Instagram influencers didn’t get to where they are via those routes. They got there by hustling hard and getting better everyday (of course a large dose of natural talent never hurt either, just saying)

Photo Credit stylebyEmilyHenderson.com
Faith Parker with Emily Henderson

If you don’t know who Emily Henderson is, then you shouldn’t even be reading this blog right now. Obviously you have no interest in design or you would know this extremely popular author, designer, and HGTV Design Star winner and host of Secrets of a Stylist.

So if you know Emily, then you know she came prepared, she had notes, slides and volumes of content. Here’s what I gleamed from her presentation on blogging, at HGTV’s Bloggers Block Party.

My Girl EM HEN believes that getting started is the biggest step. She stressed the importance of putting yourself out there. In the beginning aspiring blogger like myself, should focus on producing content. It might not be gold, or even good, but it’s a starting point and it will give you something to build upon. The idea is that you will naturally improve as you continue on your path, which makes it crucial to be consistently publishing content.

She continued to say how important it is to find your authentic voice. “Universal and unique” were words she used to urge us blossoming bloggers to find a balance between appealing to everybody and not appealing to anybody. She stressed not to be “too weird, but rather compelling”.

She continued to advise us to own what we know, and be transparent about what we don’t know. Basically she was saying don’t be a phony, everybody hates a phony. There’s nothing wrong with taking on tasks that are out of your comfort zone, but be careful not to over sell yourself, know what your limitations are and be as forthcoming about your experience as you are about your inexperience.

Retro Living room designed by Meg Caswell Photo from HGTV.com
Meg Caswell with Faith Parker

Meg Caswell

If you follow my Instagram account than you already know just how desperately I wanted to win the NyNow design challenge which would include breakfast with the Meg Caswell. Thanks to everyone who voted,  I was selected as one of the 25 finalist.

So what does Meg have to teach us?

Her story is inspiring because she has truly combined hard work and intention to get where she is today. She believes in the law of attraction and actually credits the secret for helping her to achieve her career as a HGTV design star and television host.

Looking back on my decision to don bright yellow clogs, I am feeling that perhaps they were prophetic and symbolic of the Yellow Brick Road. As Dorothy and her friends find the attributes they were lacking, my bright yellow clogs lead me to find just the advise I was seeking. To summarize, Justina and her design panel showed me that, what’s more important than a fancy-pants design degree, is talent, drive and an initiative, Em Hen was the kick in the buns to get started with a healthy reminder to always be authentic, while Meg taught me to work really hard, but also not to forget to trust the Universe, and remember to ask it for what you want.

 

To paint or not To paint

I purchased this gorgeous dining set on craigslist for a song and while functionally it was a fit for my space, stylistically it wasn’t working.  The idea of painted furniture amongst the design community seems to be a polarizing topic.  After fighting the urge to paint the credenza for years, I finally surrendered to my desires and out came the paint brush. I suppose I broke a few unspoken rules regarding the custodial responsibilities of antique ownership but I couldn’t be happier with the results. Secretly it delights the rebel within.

Details: I made my own chalk paint by mixing plaster of paris, water and Benjamin Moore’s paint color Geranium. I then used Olde Masters crystal clear paste wax to seal and protect the finish.

Magical Tidying Tips

Probably because I bought the book, my social media news feed has been blowing up with posts about the “Life Changing Magic of of Tidying up” , have you noticed how often you’re marketed products that you have already purchased? It’s like “hey dumb-ass I already bought that, so you can save your money and try to sell me something new”, am I right?

Anyways, after reading on Apartment Therapy how life changing and miraculous  these tidying tips were, I downloaded a copy of the book and got to work. Because, let’s be honest, I am in a hopeless pursuit to be, thinner, richer,  and tidier.

The premises of the book is that you basically throw away everything that doesn’t “spark joy”. So basically after completing the first step of her 5 step series I am probably going to be walking around in the same two outfits that I have left. I feel like “spark joy” is a pretty high standard to live up to. How many socks do you own that actually spark joy? I am far from a hoarder and make frequent donation runs to the thrift store, but with this new criterion for evaluating whether  an item stays in my life or leaves it forever, I was rampant with the disposal process.

You get the sense very quickly that the author has a major case of OCD. At one point in the book she references her nightly routine which entails completely emptying her hand bag, and then placing her hand bag into its very own appointed bag, if that’s not OCD folks, I mean come on, she’s got a purse for her purse!

Regardless of her mental state, the general take away from the book is this; don’t hold onto a bunch of crap that you don’t use, treat your belongings with respect, find a place for everything and put things back where they belong.

Now if she could just help me evict the homeless tweaker that apparentlylives in my car, that would be real progress.

Two Years of Awesome!

Two years have rocketed by since Vintage By Design first opened. Like a proud mama, I glean so much joy reminiscing over photos from the past. I’ve put together a collection of some of my favorite moments. Enjoy

I love how this little vignette came together.
Rosewood and leather ’nuff said.
Classic mid-century Credenza. These never seem to stay in the shop for long.
These mid-century wood frames chairs were Bee-You-Te-Full.
Good Ol’ Moby-This pretty little Brass whale didn’t spend too much time at the shop before it was scooped up and taken to it’s new home.

Before and After

Few things excite me more than a really great furniture rehab. Similar to alchemy, the thought of taking an essentially worthless item and giving it value, life and beauty is such an a thrilling concept. So here are a few B&A’s that I have been working on. The side table below just needed a little Boho Chalk Paint and some love to make it amazing!

Before chalk paint
After chalk paint

With just a 1/2 yard of fabric, this mid-century-modern foot stool has been transformed into something I am eager  to rest my toes on.

Before footstool
Footstool covered with a new Guatemalan

This mid-century office chair was lacking in style. With just over a yard of fabric, some spray paint and a staple gun. Voila, fun and fabulous!

Before photo of mid century office chair
After photo of mid century office chair

I hope you find some inspiration in these transformations! Don’t forget to stop by and see me at Vintage By Design in Occidental.We love visitors! Thanks for reading,

Faith P

DIY Persain Princess summertime daybed

So you want to spend the summer like a Persian Princess sipping rose in the shade of an airy outdoor daybed? Cool, that sounds like a great plan. But before you bust out the ice bucket you may have to make this super easy DIY outdoor daybed, like I just did!

I actually wanted something like this amazing little cocoon (pictured below)….but at $8,000 it would cost more than my trusty pick-up, so I decided to make one.

First, I scavenged around the house and found everything I needed to put this little project together, and let me tell ya, I have been living the Persian Princess dream ever since.

I started with this simple iron day bed that I found in my guest room. If you aren’t lucky enough to have one already, I recommend looking for one on Craigslist, I see similar ones quite often selling for $50-$100.

Then, in the garage I found two 10′  lengths of 3/4″ plastic pvc pipes. Amongst my fabric collection I found 4 abandoned 72″ white Ikea curtain sheers.

I found a perfect spot on the deck and set up the day bed.

I removed the ugly brass decorative finales revealing these 1″ holes.

Then I shoved the PVC pipes directly into the holes.

For the curtain sheers I folded them in half and sewed a single line of stitch about 2 inches from the fold line which created a channel. I inserted the front piece of PVC through the original curtain channel, and the back piece of PVC through the new channel that I just created. I did this for all 4 curtain sheers.

Then I wedged the ends of the PVC into the holes on the opposite side of the iron day bed. Creating an arch.

Voila! A shady retreat for some hardcore lounging. Now that’s how you “bring the indoors out”.

Complete the look with this outdoor rug by Mad Mats, made from 100% recycled plastic, available in 3 sizes, now at Vintage By Design

A $0 makeover

Before
After

My entryway has been sorely neglected as you can see in the “before” picture above.  Once you get settled into a home it’s easy to stop seeing things for what they are. One would think that since I own a vintage furniture shop and am admittedly obsessed with interior design and styling, that my house would be beautifully furnished, one would be wrong. Not to say that it’s all horrible, but there are some areas of my home that are just a little more desperate than others. I think the thing that holds me back from making little changes is that I really want to make big changes i.e new flooring, windows, paint and so on. So rather then bothering to make the place as good as it can be, I end up settling  for blah. So today’s post is an example of how little changes can be effective and fabulous even if you still have ugly beige walls and hideously gross carpeting. The reason that I am evening sharing this mini-makeover is not because I think it’s totally awesome and a perfect representation of my style, but rather because, I didn’t spend a single dollar or even leave the house. I simply worked with what was available, and while the improvements were subtle, they were improvements non the less. So here is a quick summery of my styling goals: A. Bring in a consistent color pallet. According to fung Shui, my entry way falls into the career and life path section of the bagua. This bagua belongs to the water element meaning I should incorporate things that represent water. For example, round objects, undulating shapes, colors blue and black and mirrors, are all important for insuring that I can continue to succeed doing the the work that I love. B. Add  texture. I was able to incorporate texture by introducing the sheepskin and the basket C. Bring in some pattern. Admittedly I would like to bring in more pattern, perhaps by replacing the throw rug, but here we see pattern in the armadillo, and the framed print. D. Greenery. I have a rather large plant family, it was pretty easy to relocated a few to the entry way to infuse it with some life. E. Shapes. When styling a space it always helps to showcase a variety of shapes. In this little vignette, you’ll notice that the rectangle shapes of the books and the mirrored tray contrast nicely with the round shape of the vase and planter. In addition to round and square we have the the little black and white armadillo to add a sculptural shape and introduce much needed pattern. F. Introduce personalized items. It makes me happy to see the the  the arrow that we brought back from our trip to the Amazon river in Brazil has found a home. The armadillo was a gift from a dear friend who purchased it for me in Nicaruagua after we spotted a baby armadillo while we were hiking on a volcano in the middle of a lake.

Close up
Close up

 

My kitchen

Her she is folks, the ugly ’90’s kitchen. Yes, there is no denying this kitchen is bad, and I do live here and cook here all the time (poor me). This shot was taken 4 years ago, right before we moved in. I would love to follow this picture with a shot of a gorgeous kitchen, like the billion I have in my pinterest file and say “tada, check out my brand-spanking-new fabulous kitchen”. But the truth is it is even uglier then this before shot. It has more clutter and looks more used and lived in. Sad I know, but I am working on it folks. My pile of floor, counter and back splash samples is growing, changes are coming……

The kitchen below represents the look and style that I am aiming to achieve. Copious amounts of white, open shelving, brass accents and even herringbone pattern flooring making it just right.

Here is another shot of a beautifully designed and perfectly styled kitchen that will some day be mine!

Welcome to my Blog

My name is Faith and I am a self proclaimed furniture junky who habitually  scours Craigslist ads like a fiendish crackhead. Luckily I have a small vintage furniture shop so I have an outlet to transform my obsession into a profession.

I love me some home style and interior design blogs. It’s my intention to create a fun place that is a collection of inspiring projects, design and styling tips, DIY ideas, and chronicles of my home projects and transformations.

My husband and I purchased a large ranch house in rural Sonoma County, California area about 4 years ago. The house sits on 7 acres of gentle rolling hills, oak and redwood patches and ancient pear and apple orchards. In a word its perfect. The house was built in 1990 so, while the floor plan is great, the dated finishes leave a lot to be desired.

After purchasing the house and replacing the roof for an additional $42,000 our budget for cosmetic fixes was pretty much nil. So I have done my best with finding things here and there, making the best of a small budget. With the recent real estate rebound we have some equity and a small budget to start tackling some of the projects that I have been dying to get started on.

So follow along as we style, design, paint, and shop. It’s bound be fun!