Nearly Everything in This Vintage Store Owner’s Home Is at Least 50 Years Old

published Jun 22, 2021

Nearly Everything in This Vintage Store Owner’s Home Is at Least 50 Years Old

published Jun 22, 2021
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Bedrooms
Square feet
1045
Sq ft
1045

Name: Leney Breeden, founder of Folkling.
Location: Gordonsville, Virginia
Size: 1,045 square feet
Time lived in: 7 months, renting

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A photographer for over a decade, Leney Breeden has spent a lot of time on the road, actually driving across the US more than once. She started Folkling in 2017 in an “effort to create new lives for the old things” she picked up on her travels. In 2020, she opened her brick and mortar vintage store of the same name, and began renting this lovely home in Gordonsville, Virginia. This 1045-square-foot house is not only filled with vintage goods from Leney’s travels around the country, but also a variety of special family heirlooms. Revering and reusing vintage pieces — and celebrating the stories behind storied objects — is a common thread that runs through her home and her business.

Credit: Minette Hand

“Something that’s incredibly important to every area of my life, and not just my home, is to shop secondhand or handmade whenever possible, which you can definitely see reflected throughout my home! Things that have character and are unlike anything you can get at a typical big-box store are more often than not the things that I am drawn to,” she explains. “Most things from 100 years ago were made with remarkable craftsmanship and created with explicit purpose and beauty vs. frivolity. While I decorate my home with things that could be seen as frivolous, they are all things that at one time held, or still hold, usefulness and have inherent beauty because of the intentional way they were created. I do not feel that can be said of most things that you see in home decor stores today.”

Credit: Minette Hand
Leney and Owen in front of their store, Folkling.

“It is an age-old adage repeated by many much older than I that things aren’t made like they used to be… but it’s so incredibly true,” explains Leney. “In line with that is my belief in the importance of caring for and being good stewards of your possessions. Loving them despite perceived imperfections and mending them when they break or even further — learning to do without.” 

Credit: Minette Hand

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Is very centered around things with layered stories. Most everything in my home is at least 50 years old! Save for my couch and a few pieces of furniture my dad made, everything is from no later than the 1970s but most things are much older.

Inspiration: I find a lot of inspiration in slower and more elemental ways of living as well as the amount of time I have spent living out on The Road. I strive to be intentional with each and every piece I bring into my home. Most things have been in the back of my Subaru Outback at one time or another so pieces that are easy to move with my more mobile lifestyle, but also able to be versatile and moved throughout my home, are important to me.

Credit: Minette Hand

I rearrange a lot. That’s partially because I often use my home to stage pieces I am selling in the shop (check out the Folkling web shop — you may recognize a few you see here!), but it’s also because it’s an outlet of creativity for me and allows me to be satisfied more often than not with the things I already own vs. feeling the tug of dissatisfaction to buy more. Moving things around and finding new ways to love and appreciate them allows me to feel content with what I have.

Everything I own has either explicit purpose and usefulness or is something I find to be inherently beautiful, but the best things are the ones that hold both of those traits. 

Credit: Minette Hand

Favorite Element: In a way my home is a physical and stationary representation of my very motion and travel-driven life. Many of the things that line the walls and shelves are from my many travels around this country and others. They remind me of the people I have had the honor of crossing paths with or the places I have been. I love that nearly everything in my home is a one-of-a-kind piece from a bygone era and that each item holds a story and history all on its own that I get to add to. 

Credit: Minette Hand

Biggest Challenge: I thrive on natural light and the middle of the apartment can get quite dark. It’s definitely challenging for me to create vignettes that feel cozy and happy despite the lack of light. Another would be shelving… The apartment is all sheetrock and plaster, which I can’t anchor shelving into (understandable landlord rule!). Alternatively, I seem to fall in love exclusively with very large industrial shelving that I can neither fit in my car or carry up my very narrow stairwell… I feel like I am still trying to remedy many shelving situations throughout my home!

Credit: Minette Hand

What Friends Say: “What’s the story with ___?” Everything in my home is unique and has a story and most everyone in my life knows it! So everyone’s always asking where I found something or the story behind it.

Biggest Embarrassment: The kitchen floor… It’s impossible to make it look clean. The tile is small with wide grout that has long since gotten dirty and discolored from past tenants. I wish I had the ability to change it!

Credit: Minette Hand

Proudest DIY: The antique quilting frame in my study that I turned into a table! I found the piece of glass on Facebook Marketplace for $20 and I love how it showcases the old wood of the frame, right down to the bits of fabric that were left in some corners of the joints. It feels special to sit at it and make things, like so many women before me did.

Credit: Minette Hand

Biggest Indulgence: My quilt collection! I source a lot of quilts for Folkling because I list a weekly collection online, and I am constantly amazed by the artistry of them. They are endlessly fascinating to learn about and I spend a lot of time dating and identifying the ones we have in the shop. The fact that each and every one is a one-of-a-kind work of art and has so much unquantifiable time put into its creation is so incredible. Admittedly my personal collection rotates with ones from the shop fairly often… but I try to keep the ones in my possession down to a manageable number! There are definitely a few though that I plan to never part with.

Credit: Minette Hand

The 1840s jelly cupboard in my dining room was probably the biggest splurge and indulgence I have ever made for a home of mine as far as one piece goes though! But it’s my hands down favorite piece of furniture I own. Even though it is a little crooked… I love how much character it has and the persimmon color is unlike anything I’ve ever owned before and feels really fun to style around.

Best Advice: Let your home grow with you — don’t be afraid to let something go if you don’t love it. I am constantly editing my home and keeping things around that only make me feel good and remind me of people I love or places I’ve been.

Credit: Minette Hand

Dream Sources: Any antique mall, old barn, or junk store off the side of an old back road that I haven’t been in yet! Traveling and picking is my dream source always. I feel fortunate that I now get to do it for a living full time with having Folkling and that by proxy that trickles into my own personal living space. It feels like a dream to just simply get to follow my curiosity and the pull of The Road and get to find unique and beautiful things for my home, and others, along the way.

Resources

Credit: Minette Hand

PAINT & COLORS

  • I haven’t painted anything in the apartment myself — It was already painted when I move in. I tend to like the blank canvas of white walls though to showcase the textures and colors of the old things I own have a neutral backdrop!

ENTRY 

  • Coat rack — Was my great grandfather’s 
  • Old hat mold turned mirror — Class and Trash 
  • Primitive stool — Found out picking 
  • Industrial Cart — Old American Barn antique store in Gordonsville down the street from the Folkling shop!
  • Wooden clamp turned hat rack — Found out picking, we have similar ones in the shop
  • Cast iron piggy bank — From my grandmother
  • American flag — Bought from my friend Brian McDaniel at his first vintage pop up
  • 1800s Hooked Runner — Found out picking
Credit: Minette Hand

LIVING ROOM

  • Sofa — I found it on Facebook marketplace but it’s actually this sofa from The Novogratz, the one non vintage piece of furniture in my home!
  • Rug — Experimental Vintage (my dear friend Anna has the best vintage rug selection! She has also been a long time inspiration for me to do what I do now)
  • Baskets — Found picking
  • 1937 Ship Painting — Experimental Vintage 
  • Coffee table — Got for free from someone who was throwing it out!
  • Lamp — Picked from a guy’s old warehouse of junk in Richmond, Virginia years ago and I recently found this skeletal lampshade for it which I love!
  • Vinyl Record side table — A gift from my dad and his own auction findings
  • Mid century safari chair — Class and Trash 
  • Blue wood chest — Class and Trash 
  • Chest of drawers — Was my great-great grandmother’s
  • Woodworkers toolbox — Tiny Space, a great vintage shop in Richmond
  • Tin boxes on windowsill —Were my great grandfather’s and house some of his original stamp collection
  • Wooden scoop on window sill — From a barn that sadly is no longer standing and holds a great deal of sentimentality to me
  • Angora goatskin — Found at a market in Seattle, Washington
  • Figure painting — By a talented musician friend, Lael Neale 
  • 1930s Overalls — I frequently hang vintage clothing I love as art whenever I’m not wearing them. Pieces will get traded out often!
  • Dresser — This was made from naval shipping crates in WW2. It is such a special piece and one of my favorites that I’ve acquired in recent years!
  • Candlesticks — Refurbished by Sarah Grace Cheek
  • Quilts — I wish I could say that these were my personal family heirlooms but sadly I don’t have any quilts from my family. Quilts are one of the biggest things I source for my shop Folkling though and one of the textiles I am most passionate about! I curate 1940s and earlier in our brick and mortar, but if you can’t come for a visit one weekend, I list a new collection weekly on our web shop. You can see the current collection we have here.
Credit: Minette Hand

DINING ROOM

  • Storage trunk — Was my great-great grandmother’s
  • 1860s Dining room table — Bought from a fellow vintage picker
  • Candlesticks — Thrifted
  • Chairs — Class and Trash 
  • Primitive Banjo — Out picking
  • Overshot coverlet remnant — It always breaks my heart to see these cut but I found this piece and decided to use it as-is as a runner.
  • Rug beaters — Found out picking, I have a ton in our brick and mortar! They’re really interesting sculptural pieces and I love the different ones you can come across.
  • Wrought iron candlestick holder — Handmade by Charles Fenaux, a local blacksmith. We will have a few of these in our shop soon!
  • Antique hutch — Rescued from an old run down theatre
  • Star Chandelier — This used to hang in the house my grandfather grew up in. It has its own special story and I’ve been carrying it around from apartment to apartment and displaying it in a similar fashion, hoping to one day hang it in a permanent home of mine.
  • 1840s jelly cupboard — Bought from a nice man who works at a post office
  • Laundry basket on top of cupboard— My grandmother taught me how to make baskets when I was younger; I made this one when I was 14.
  • Hardware Apron on the wall — Bought from a dear friend who has some of the best picking skills on this side of the country
  • Rug — Experimental Vintage 
Credit: Minette Hand

KITCHEN

  • Wood shelf — My dad helped me make this for my first apartment years ago and it’s traveled around with me ever since. It’s one of my favorite pieces.
  • Mid century towel rack— Found out picking
  • Milk Crate turned jar keeper — 68 Home a shop in Richmond, Virginia
  • Berry bowl — Potters Daughter
  • Crocks/baskets/pottery — I have found pretty much all of my kitchen accoutrements thrifting. Including all of my pottery and dishware! I love having a cohesive color palette of mismatched unique pieces.
  • Hand broom and dust pan — Sunhouse Craft (which we carry in the Folkling store)
  • Checkered hooked rug on the wall — Bought from a woman who used to have a thing for checkerboard everything in her house.
  • Rug on the floor — Found on the Eastern Shore
  • Blue stool — Made by my dad
  • Hand carved coffee stirring spoon set— Sarah Grace Cheek; we carry these in the shop!
Credit: Minette Hand

BEDROOM

  • Bed, dresser, and vanity set — Was my great grandmother’s. I have had these since I was a child
  • Equipale chair — Bought from a man wearing two gold Rolexes at a funky flea market
  • Driftwood ladder — I made this from driftwood I foraged from a little island in Maine years ago. I carried each piece back to shore on my kayak until I had enough for a few ladders!
  • Cow skull — Given to me by a woman in a trailer park in New Mexico
  • Navajo Rug — From Afterschool Vintage on Instagram
  • Figures Rug — Experimental Vintage 
  • Bedside table — Class and Trash
  • Small jewelry boxes — Were my mother’s when she was little
  • Lamps — Found out picking and restored back to working order by my shop neighbors at The Laurie Holiday shop here in Gordonsville
  • Tintype portrait — Taken by Slow Me Down
  • Small cedar chest — Was my great grandmother’s
  • Overshot coverlet on bed — Bought from that same Rolex wearing guy at that one flea market
  • Linen duvet and pillowcases — Mr. Draper
  • Hat collection — I am a big hat person. I have found these all over the country and since my hat size, 7 5/8, is hard to come by — I am always looking (*hint hint* fellow pickers…)
  • Quilts — I wish I could say that these were my personal family heirlooms but sadly I don’t have any quilts from my family. Quilts are one of the biggest things I source for my shop Folkling though and one of the textiles I am most passionate about! I curate 1940s and earlier in our brick and mortar, but if you can’t come for a visit one weekend, I list a new collection weekly on our web shop. You can see the current collection we have here.
Credit: Minette Hand

BATHROOM

  • Drying Rack — Thrifted
  • Stool — My aunt gave this to me when I desperately needed furniture for my first apartment. She paints so the little paint splotches remind me of her.
  • Antique rag rugs — Found out picking
  • Wooden box on shelf — My dad and I made this from old wood, rope, and sail cloth
  • Little chest of drawers — My momma’s 
Credit: Minette Hand

STUDY

  • Table — I made this from an antique quilting frame I found and a $20 piece of glass from Facebook Marketplace
  • Scottish Highlands Cowhide rug — We actually carry these in the shop! I don’t have the floor space to shoot them in the brick and mortar so they usually get laid out here in the study until I can photograph and list them. This one is hitting the shop soon! They originate from Scotland but ours come from a 150-year-old family farm in the mountains of South West Virginia where they are pasture raised and roam freely their entire lives.
  • Cupboard — Found near the blue ridge mountains from a really sweet couple. I definitely have a thing for cupboards!
  • Chair — This was found at an antique mall without its cushions and I decided to add this sheepskin I made on it! It’s actually a felted sheepskin, so there’s no hide or tanning. A friend of mine, Eliseo Curley, on the Navajo Nation taught me. He’s an incredibly talented weaver and fiber artist.
  • Hand art — Drawn by my dad
  • Singer sewing machine — My great grandmother’s. It feels so incredibly special to make things on it like she did, a special type of heritage and connection to my family history.
  • Vintage vessel collection — Some of these were made by family and friends and some by me. Most have been collected from all manner of weird little places around the country.
  • Lamp — Found at a funky junk store in Maine years ago
  • Kilim pillow — Found in Greece
  • Sheepskin — Tanned by me after being taught by another friend, Jay Begay, in Arizona.
  • Chairs — Bought from fellow vintage picking friends Meadow Sweet Mercantile
  • Shelf — Made from old barn wood and cinderblocks

Thanks, Leney!

This house tour’s responses were edited for length and clarity.

Correction: An earlier version of this post mistakenly said Leney shared her home with her partner Owen. They share the business. We’ve updated it to be more accurate.