Saturday, November 15, 2014

Vintage Vignette ~ A Convo With Cathleen Alyce Of Vintage Home Lifestyle!!!

Welcome Gin'Gilli's FANS & DEDICATED CUSTOMERS!!!  Richert here...The following is the FIRST INSTALLMENT of a NEW Face-To-Face series we are calling "Vintage Vignettes"!!!  In these posts we are shining a SPOTLIGHT on one of the many talented VENDORS that sell in our beloved shop.  In these in-depth interviews we will discuss each merchant's Aesthetic, their Inspiration, their personal lives, and much much more!!!

The first vendor we are highlighting is CATHLEEN ALYCE who runs her shop known by all as VINTAGE HOME LIFESTYLE.  The following exchange is what we recently discovered about this very talented Artist & Shop Owner - ENJOY!!!:

Richert: "Thank you so much for taking part in this new experiment Cathleen!  Why don't you start off by telling us a little about yourself - your past history, how you got into Vintage?  How you were trained or learned your craft?"

Cathleen: "I have always had a love for antiques and old homes.  I opened my first shop in the early 90's and I was building reproduction furniture then.  I fell deeper in love with vintage when Rachel Ashwell came out with her first book.  I learned a lot from her but I am mostly self taught."

Richert: "I love hearing that you proclaim yourself as "self taught"...I am sure many fellow merchants feel the same.  Sometimes getting into this business is a bit of "baptism by fire" - it is crazy how a little dream can turn into a mini business overnight!  So how would you describe your aesthetic and look of your shop?

Cathleen: "A comfortable casual relaxed feel with a blending of French Farmhouse, Shabby Chic & Chic Industrial.  Innocent and clean with a little bit of edge."

Richert: "What was the coolest vintage find you ever discovered?  What did you do to it?  Do you still own it?"

Cathleen: "That's a tough one, Richert!  I would say it would have to be the huge redwood table with a 3 inch thick top, I found laying in a field at a farmhouse, it took a forklift to put it on my truck, luckily they just happened to have one at the farm.  I just put a whitewash on it and sold it to an antique dealer in Petaluma.  I would have kept it if I could have got it through my door!"

Richert: "That table sounds AMAZING!!!  I am sure we all have similar stories about those pieces that have haunted us simply because we loved them so much but unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) had to part with.  Which leads me to my next inquiry...what inspires you?  What are your muses?  What designers do you admire?"

Cathleen: "I find my inspiration in going to antique shows, flea markets and a huge part of my inspiration comes from the magazine Jeanne d'Arc Living.  Rachel Ashwell is my designer of choice...I love her spirit...when she fell down...she picked herself up...brushed herself off and kept going."

Richert: "OMG!!!  I finally have found a kindred spirit - I LOVE Jeanne d'Arc Living magazine!!!  Not too many people know about it nor can afford that amazing periodical.  For all of you wanting to check it out GO HERE: Jeanne d'Arc Living  On that note, I have long admired your painted furniture pieces in your space...Any secret tips or techniques you would like to divulge on painting furniture?"

Cathleen: "I have always had a hard time with teaching or giving tips because every piece is different...some need a more clean refined look, some call out for a more rustic feel.  I guess the one best tip I can give is, use a bristle brush not foam, the brush marks make it look more authentic."

Richert: "With Fall & Winter upon us, what do you see as design trends in the coming months?"

Cathleen: "I forecast more warm tones of natural wood finishes, soft warm whites mixed with functional industrial and accents of burgundy, burnt orange and mustard yellow...or at least that's what I would do...LOL."

Richert: "I like throwing in a fun question like this one - In your opinion, what 3 things (design components or decor items) should every room in your house contain?"

Cathleen: "Ok, now you are really getting tough.  Start with one main large piece and go from there.  A beautiful accent lamp and a floor rug for grounding."

Richert: "I believe every room should contain: 1. A beautiful clock that actually tells time, 2. A selection of gorgeous books, and 3. Green plants that evoke nature and life!  So now let's get down to business.  As a merchant, seller, and business woman, what is the best business advice you can give or was ever given by someone else?"

Cathleen: "My answer is actually very simple:  Live your passion.  Sell what you love, if you love it, you can sell it.  Don't give up on what you love!"

Richert: "SO TRUE Cathleen, so true!!!  What is your secret vintage addiction or biggest collection you currently own?"

Cathleen: "I have never been a collector, but my biggest vintage passions are lamps and chairs.  But I am known for large pieces, if its big, I'll find it.  I can't tell you how many times pieces have had to be loaded in my truck with a forklift!!!  My poor truck...LOL!"

Richert: "I have one last question for you - What was your proudest design "moment" or accomplishment?"

Cathleen: "When I did the San Francisco Gift show with my Bath & Candle line and received an award for best booth display and design!"

A HUGE Thank You to Cathleen Alyce for taking a moment to chat with us, impart some wisdom, and share a bit of your PASSION with us today.  Please be sure to check out her space VINTAGE HOME LIFESTYLE today.  A little birdie told me that Cathleen has already brought in many of her FABULOUS candles and soaps for the holiday season and they are selling like hotcakes!!!  Come in and get yours today!!!  Richert signing off for today, but stay tuned as we plan on featuring another talented vendor in a future installment of Vintage Vignette!!!


  1. We are delighted to have this beautiful addition to gin'gilli's! Such a beautiful person as well!

  2. Thank you so much, Richert! I had so much fun talking with you. I love what I do and it is wonderful to be able to be a part of Gingilli's. Thank you, and Linda are truely beautiful people as well!