My new headboard + interview with Jessica Pedraza

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About 6 years ago I was looking through estate sale listings on craigslist and noticed a stunning golden colored heart-shaped full-size tufted headboard and my jaw dropped. “She will be mine. Oh yes, she will be mine,” I thought automatically before canceling my first meeting at the office that morning so I could rush over. Long story short, I got it! It wasn’t cheap but it was worth it to me. Such a unique piece that once belonged to a teen girl in the 60’s who had lived in this house near Beverly Hills. It moved with me three times until I decided it was time for a new and larger bed. Side note: I could probably write a whole post on how getting a king sized bed changed my life, highly recommend it! Anyway, the headboard didn’t really fit anymore and around this same time I connected with Jessica Pedraza on instagram. She’s an LA-based design-obsessed woman that works at Roberto Pedraza Custom Furniture, you guessed it, her family’s business. When she told me she could make ~anything~ my mind completely soared, but we decided to start first with making a new headboard for my bed in my dream color. I’ve never been involved in making a custom piece of furniture so it was really fun just to get to go fabric shopping for what I knew would eventually be MY headboard. Yesterday, my headboard was delivered and left me in tears because not only is it everything I dreamed, getting to see the details and quality up close I know it will someday be someone else’s vintage dream.

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I loved working with Jessica and getting to know a bit about what inspires her. Feel free to reach out to her directly if you wanna be my headboard twin ❤

How did you get started in furniture design?

I really got started because of my dad. He needed help with paperwork and translating in his custom furniture business. I started visiting different custom furniture workrooms and furniture designers with him. I fell in love with  being able to help designers make their designs come to life.

What’s your favorite part of your job?
Seeing the finished piece completed and seeing how the client styles the piece in their home.
What are your favorite sources of inspiration?
Anything vintage especially from 40s-70s and Mexican Modernist designs from the 50s and 60s. I get a lot of my inspiration from vintage Mexican sterling jewelry.
Do you have a favorite designer? 
My favorite modern designer would be Kelly Wearstler and my favorite vintage designer is Charlotte Perriand , a french architect and furniture designer.

 

 

Next up for my bedroom: wallpaper!

xo

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Interview with Area 52 Vintage!

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I’ve been shopping at Area 52 Vintage for 5+ years and it’s by far my favorite antique mall booth of all time. It’s a serious time capsule with so much attention to detail. Imagine my absolute delight when the sisters who own Area 52 opened up a shop on Whurl as well last year. Everytime I post photos from my trips there I get lots of comments asking about it so I thought I’d give Melia, one of the co-owners, a chance to answer some questions about instagrams’ favorite antique mall shop!
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– How long have you had Area 52? What inspired you and your sister to open it?

Area 52 Vintage was born in the early 1990s. Not by that name then, but the first stage of it’s birth. Annette and I had this crazy idea that we could take our love for mid-century modern and sell it here and there. Both of us needed some extra money. We’d figured out where to easily get merchandise a couple of years earlier. At that time in So Cal you could load up a truck in one morning it was so prolific! Back in the early 90s there was no online vintage selling. Brick and mortar was it! eBay was born in 1995 and so was my first online account. I changed User ID names over the years but one of the main ones was Junk To Funk. I sold everything known to man while figuring out my brand.
We have been at The Orange Circle Antique Mall since 1995. Space 112 in the basement, back in the corner was the start! Took a brief break in 1999 when I moved to Temecula in Riverside County. We came back as Area 52 Vintage (that was our space number) and the current name is a spoof twist on the military’s Area 51 in Roswell. Always somewhat of a mystery as to what you’ll find in our space!!

 
– How do you curate your shop so perfectly?! It’s like a 1969 time capsule!

We lived it! I was born in 1958 and Annette in 1968. 100% native to So Cal!! We shared a bedroom in Santa Ana so our groovy love got going there. I had sssooooooooo much flower power, some psychedelic posters and a few mini skirts. My little sister could not get enough of them! Annette being so young, worshipped it all because her big sister had it. I know it inside and out because it was my life. I was raised on Rowan and Martins Laugh-In, Adam 12 and The Brady Bunch. By the way……I was Marcia and Annette was Cindy! No rules other than its gotta be shocking, bright and original vintage!

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– What are some of your favorite pieces you’ve ever found for Area 52?

Holy smokes I would not know where to start on some of my favorite pieces I’ve found over the last 25 years. The biggest and by far the most lucrative is a gargantuan poster collection Annette and I purchased in 2004. It was over 120,000 vintage posters from the late 1960s to 1978. Think Farrah Fawcett Red Bathing Suit (10,000 total) in original covers with tags or Alice Cooper velvet flocked black light (2,000 total). Seriously killer find. Jaw dropping in magnitude and scope. Only crazy groovy people would have tackled it. I could talk to you for an hour just on that one haul! Credit goes to Annette for finding it and talking me into it. She is great at finding merch!
Honestly I could go on and on about groovy finds and places they were found. I have a photographic memory and most of prime pieces I can tell you where they were when I found them. My favorite pillows are an identical ROUND trio……..about 16”, late 1960s, all shag carpet, ….one gold, one marigold and one avocado green. I still want to hug them every time i see them! Found at an Estate Sale in Sun City, perched on a retro bed for $2.00 each!! Way crazy!! 10 years ago I was in a RivCo thrift store and out walks a worker with a big box. Before she put it down I saw it was loaded with Franciscan Starburst dishes. Snagged the box for 5 bucks!

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– What are your thoughts on the demand for vintage in 2018? Have you seen a steady incline in sales or has it been up and down over the years? I think about this a lot since I think vintage-lovers are lifetime customers but at the same time vintage always feels trendy. 
The thing that is way cool about vintage is that we are mostly selling memories. Things hold memories for people. The thing that has helped me most over the years has been always to remain nimble. Don’t get stuck anywhere. I moved from mostly mid-century into groovy psychedelic about 10 years into it. Part of it was just fine tuning my brand but the biggest part is understanding trends change as populations grow older. Generally the older people get, the more purchasing power they have. They want to buy THEIR memories. Things they had or their parents had. And Hollywood has helped. Think Mad Men! I was not raised in the 1980s with Rainbow Brite, Hello Kitty or Cabbage Patch. But 35 year olds were. The changing trends are just memory trends. The current political climate has also brought a resurgence of interest of the hippie era. It has brought about some awesome current art, weaving in many of the ideas and images from the 1960s. I love the merging of the now and then.

Make sure to follow @area52vintage on Whurl & Instagram
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End of the year road trip!

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This year we decided pretty soon after returning from our Honeymoon in Oahu that we wanted to go on a road trip between Christmas and New Years since Aaron was off of work. We played around with a few different routes but ultimately decided on St George, Utah to Flagstaff, AZ to Kingman, AZ with National Parks and fun stops in between. I used the Roadtrippers app to map everything out and it helped so much! It shows you how much time between each stop, helps you search for stops in between destinations and even estimates your total gas spend. Personally, I feel like 5+ hours a day driving is too excessive for a trip where you want to have fun but also not be drained, so we kept our driving days at about 4 hours of driving or a bit less. Also, keep in mind things always take longer than expected on road trips!

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Our first stop was Peggy Sue’s Diner and dang what a dream. The inside was just as good as the exterior and the food was diner perfection. Highly recommend sitting at the counter and admiring all of the details, pies and food coming out. Will definitely be returning!

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Next stop was the Seven Magic Mountains. I’ve been wanting to stop here since I started seeing it pop up on Instagram last year. Two things I didn’t expect: how big it was and how many people were there! Seriously, major props to those of you who got a picture with no one in the background (or have the patience and skill to edit everyone out). It really was breathtaking, especially as we approached it from a few miles away and all I could see was giant neon rocks against the desert landscape. Worth the stop if it’s on your route definitely. Bonus points if you match your dress to the rocks!

After that we made a quick stop in Vegas to see my instagram friend Tammy who manages the Buffalo Exchange out there. I’ve been following her for awhile and she is ALWAYS finding the best vintage kitsch out there so I knew I had to stop. She pulled a rack of vintage just for me at Buffalo (so special!) and we got to chat for a bit. I genuinely wish I had more time in Vegas to shop & eat so I think I’ll make that happen soon. She suggested I stop over at Glam Factory around the corner as well which was also sooo good!

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We made it to St George that night and got a solid night’s sleep before trekking to Zion National Park the next morning. One major bummer here was the construction happening on the road leading up to the entrance. We sat in our car waiting to get in for over an hour in dead stopped traffic. I recommend going as early as possible! Since we had Mochi with us, there was only one trail we were allowed to walk, but that’s okay! It was so beautiful and not very busy at all. Weather was also crisp and perfect for a hike.

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As soon as we got back to St George we stopped in at the adorable Larsen’s Frostop. I mean, how cute is this place?!

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The next day we packed up and got on the road to head to Horseshoe Bend in AZ. Sooo gorgeous in person and a great place to stop if you’re traveling with a pet. It’s about a 20 minute walk round trip to see the actual horseshoe once you get there. Oh, also it’s free! Maybe not the greatest place for kids or off-leash pets as there isn’t a rail around the edge. I read online it’s one of the most photographed places in the country and I can definitely see why.

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Next stop was Flagstaff and I can tell you that we were thrilled to be in a city with more than a few food options! Spent the afternoon vintage shopping at Incahoots, buying too much candy at Sweet Shoppe Candy Store and then eating dinner at Pizzicletta (mmmm).

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The next morning we got up early, grabbed a smoothie at Local Juicery (the only healthy meal I had on this trip, ha) and hauled ass to the Grand Canyon. I wanted to get there before the rush and we got there with only four cars in front of us in line, YAY! We parked with ease and walked over to the rim of the canyon and proceeded walking around for about 2 hours. The path around the rim of the canyon is 13 miles long and dog-friendly so it was pretty perfect. It’s true what they say: photos don’t do it justice. In person it’s like you’re looking at a 3-d multi-colored painted backdrop that is somehow real. I wish we could have seen the colors change at sunset but I’m so happy with what we saw. Also, it’s very draining walking around with a cute dog in a sweater at a place like that! By the end, Aaron was joking that we were walking Beyoncé because we couldn’t get 10 feet without someone stopping us to take a picture or pet her lol. When we drove out of the park there was a line about one mile long of cars waiting to get in! So glad we missed that rush..

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Next stop was the Bedrock City about 30 minutes back towards the highway. I’ve wanted to go here for awhile and it was exactly what I imagined: a rundown roadside attraction with equal parts kitch and creep. Unexpected bonus: dogs are allowed since it’s an entirely outdoor park. The $5 admission is definitely worth it for the photo ops. Must stop if you’re in the area!

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The rest of our route was along the historic Route 66 which was so great for kitschy spots like this that pay homage to yesteryear. Sadly, many spots were closed due to it being the week between Christmas and New Years. If you’re driving this road, you have to stop in Seligman, AZ.

By the end of our trip we were more than ready to get home and sleep in our bed with a nice meal, but we really had the best time! Tips below:

How to keep your road trip within a budget: Research & be flexible! Our original plan cost almost double what this trip cost us and would have required way more driving so we adjusted accordingly. I used TripAdvisor to book everything because I like their interface and find that they offer the best pricing aggregate. I didn’t always book the cheapest option since I read reviews and looked at photos. I think it all depends on your priorities and ours were mainly in our experiences on the road since we knew we weren’t spending much time in the actual hotel rooms. For meals, we kept it cheap or even free when possible with RX bars & pretzels in the car and taking advantage of included continental breakfasts. We indulged when we had the option but really tried to not spend too much on mediocre food. Another cool part of our trip was that after visiting two large national parks ($30 entry to each) we splurged the extra $20 and got a year pass to any national park! I’m all for spending on experiences rather than things and I love that this is sort of a challenge to see where we can go next.

How to travel with a dog: Mochi is so easy to travel with but Georgie isn’t so he stays back when we go out of town. It’s pretty easy to find dog-friendly hotels and also see what sort of fee they have. For the National Parks, some are more welcoming than others but we had no issues. There was one place I wanted to stop that I couldn’t because we had her and they don’t allow dogs (Lower Antelope Canyon) but I don’t regret bringing her at all. Just research ahead of time!

How to pack: I’m genuinely thrilled with myself on this one, haha. This is probably the first time that I got back home and all I had still clean was 2 pairs of underwear and 2 pairs of socks. Since everything was pretty mapped out, I knew when I would want to wear a cute dress or leggings for a hike or to be comfy in the car, and I packed just that plus extra undies and socks. I also usually make a few vintage purchases on the road. Also, bring things that you can easily change into on the road if you want since most time won’t be spent in a hotel. Get yourself a good lil duffel bag if you don’t already have one for trips like this so it can squish behind your seat if need be.

What I could do differently: research more and bring more healthy snacks. The cute exterior motels aren’t always cute inside (duh, haha).

xo

Sam