Name: Nikki Witherspoon-Whited, owner of East West Vintage Rentals (with husband Steve and children Atlas and Rosie)
Location: West Asheville; Asheville, North Carolina
Size: 1350 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years; rented
Artfully styled scenes of found objects can be discovered at every turn in Nikki’s delightful 1920s bungalow. The vintage treasures, once covered in dust, shine again as they join a new family of modern furnishings and accessories. The house, which features high ceilings, original wood floors, wide craftsman trim, and sunny casement windows, is located in the heart of West Asheville, North Carolina.
As a mixed-media artist, the home makes the perfect canvas for Nikki to display her creativity using her collections of vintage chairs, unique lamps, and playful art.
“I’m drawn to anything white and sculptural; unexpected and quirky, with a bit of humor,” says Nikki. “Finding unique objects at a good deal runs in my blood.” Coming from a long line of antique dealers and collectors, Nikki is always on the hunt for a special artifact. She visits thrift stores, flea markets, and yard sales at least three times a week to find pieces for her home and for her rental business, East West Vintage Rentals. Nikki is convinced however that the bargains often find her. One morning at the Goodwill, she saw a woman pull out a child’s desk and chair from her van. Just before donating them, the stranger recognized Nikki’s interest and began to explain how the set belonged to her as a young girl. She then gave it to Nikki, happy to know of its new owner. It now resides in three-year-old Atlas’ room, sweetly singing a new tune.
Every room is adorned with love-at-first-sight pieces steeped in stories of yesteryear. Among Nikki’s favorite objects is a $10 pair of wrought-iron Tole lamps in her bedroom and a $15 folk painting above the fireplace. Each beloved object is made a focal point in the detailed vignettes throughout the house. Nikki admits that she doesn’t always have an overall vision for a space, “But you give me a dresser and I’ll style that thing!” Her eye for blending cherished valuables with inexpensive pieces proves that a sophisticated home can be achieved on even the tightest budget.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: I tend towards "Curated Vintage Boho" with a touch of modern and a pinch of rustic. Give me high contrast. Load on the patterns. Bring in some natural elements with a splash of granny florals. Top it off with art, a few chippy furniture pieces and some brass animal sculptures, and I’m a happy girl!
Inspiration: Lord, so many things inspire me! Emily Henderson, Furbish & Lonny are always high on my list. I have a slight magazine addiction too. Hunting for vintage treasures, traveling near and far, vintage floral patterns, museums and sea life always leave me inspired. There is something so captivating about the texture, shape and color of ocean life.
Favorite Element: I love that many of my pieces have a story behind them. I also love that most of my pieces were hunted as opposed to store-bought. I believe a person’s home should tell their family’s story, and that story is always evolving.
Biggest Challenge: Editing. I tend towards clutter. Pretty, pretty clutter. I just love so many things, and since I am always on the hunt for vintage items to add to my collection for my business, I continually find such cool stuff that I can’t leave behind! I will never be a minimalist, it’s just not me, but I do believe there is a happy medium between well-curated objects and too many trips to the thrift shop! My husband would agree.
What Friends Say: I can’t believe you found that piece at the Goodwill! You have the best luck!
Biggest Embarrassment: The kitchen counters don’t match. They are baffling to me. The sink countertop and the counter next to the stove aren’t the same. They are the same shade of blond laminate, but still not matching. If we were to take on another project, the counters would be next!
Proudest DIY: Our kitchen floor peel-and-stick tile project was the biggest improvement to our home. When we moved in the kitchen had “brick” like linoleum from the 70’s, and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to deal with that on a daily basis. I found a girl on Craigslist that had over-bought the black and white tile for her kitchen and was selling her leftovers. She had the perfect amount for us to complete our kitchen. My husband did a great job laying it! That floor brings me joy daily!
Biggest Indulgence: Being the thrift maven that I am, the most expensive piece in our home would be our dining room table. And we still didn’t pay over $200 for it. I would say fresh flowers are my weekly indulgence. Flowers are a jolt of happiness for me!
Best Advice: Buy pieces that excite you. I believe we are all created uniquely and objects speak to us in different ways. Don’t rely too heavily on trends, and follow your own aesthetic. Trust yourself. Bring nature inside. Natural elements bring a richness and depth to any space. Art is another really great way to add interest & Soul to a room.
Dream Sources: Rose Bowl Flea Market, Brimfield flea market, Anthropologie
Resources of Note:
PAINT & COLORS
- Living Room: Sherwin Williams “Antique White”
- Kitchen: Custom Mixed Paint
- Desk Nook: Sherwin Williams “Pewter Green”
- Dining Room: Sherwin Williams “Comfort Gray”
- Bedroom: Sherwin Williams “Antique White”
- Atlas’ Room: Custom Mixed Paint
- Rosie’s Room: Ralph Lauren “Celery”
Sofa: Rowe Furnishings, purchase at a yard sale
Metallic Pillows, on sofa: West Elm
Accent Pillow, on sofa: etsy shop Fourth Floor Home
Coffee Table: World Market
Mirrored Tray, on coffee table: Target
Framed art, on mantle: purchased at Goodwill
Gold Vases, on mantle: Target
Glass Dome, on mantle: Pottery Barn
Wood Bowl, on mantle: purchased in Nicaragua
Lion statue, on hearth: purchased at a yard sale
Pair of Vintage European Cityscapes, on bookshelf: purchased at auction
White Clay Sculpture, on bookshelf: made by Asheville artist, Heather Knight
Green Leather Chair: purchased at a yard sale
Small Console Table: Target
Abstract Art, above console: purchased at the Goodwill
Shag Pillow: Target
End Table: Pier One Imports
Vintage Gold Lamp: purchased at a thrift store
Dining Table: Scratch and dent Sale
Dining Chairs: Craigslist
Slipper Chair: Target
White Shelves: IKEA
Light Fixture: came with rental
Large Abstract Art: made by Nikki Witherspoon-Whited
Photograph, framed above dresser: WAC Photography, William Adam Collins
Dresser: Purchased from a friend
- “Fresh Produce” Sign: purchased for $1 at a flea market
- Bowl, on counter: made by an Asheville potter
- Curtains, at sink: Purchased at Goodwill
- Peel-and-stick Checkerboard Flooring: purchased from Craigslist
White Lacquered Dressers: purchased at a thrift store in Georgia
Pair of Mirrors, above bed: TJ Maxx
Lincoln Bookends: purchased at a thrift store in North Carolina
Pair of Tole Lamps: Habitat REstore, Asheville NC
Elephant Side Table: purchased at the Goodwill
Art, above dresser: purchased at the Goodwill
Jewelry Box, with black and white top: Diane von Furstenberg for Target
Rug: purchased from Craigslist
Sheepskin, on bench: IKEA
Highboy: family heirloom
Woven Blinds: Pottery Barn
Desk and Chair: Goodwill
“A” wall décor: made by Asheville artist, Darlene Hatchett
DIY frame, framing the “A,”: purchased for 25¢ at a yard sale, spray painted
Quilt: made by Grandma
Lamps: purchased from thrift stores
Globes, Atlas Mason Jars, Atlas Powder Box: all thrifted
Leather French Chair: purchased from a yard sale
Floral Print Curtains: purchased as a bolt of fabric from the Goodwill, Atlanta, used as inspiration for the room
DIY Crib: Free at a yard Sale
Pink Metal Accent Table: Target
Pair of Square White Frames: Target, with art by Nikki
“R” décor, on table: Michaels
DIY Dresser: Found on side of the road, painted
Graphic Print, on dresser: Print and Be Merry etsy shop
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(Image credits: Tamara Gavin)