Sean and Michele Connolly are the Chip and Joanna Gaines of Nassau County.
The husband and wife have been antiquing for close to 30 years. Their 1903 Victorian home in Lynbrook — the same town that houses their antiques shop, Vintage Salvage & Supply Co. — is filled with as many vintage finds from England as it is with Long Island acquisitions.
Like the Gaineses — the Texas-based couple behind the HGTV series “Fixer Upper,” which ends Tuesday, April 3, after five seasons of transforming rundown homes into awe-worthy properties — the Connollys share a passion for vintage design and decorating. Over the course of their careers, the pair have helped every day customers, restaurant owners, photographers, and TV and movie set designers in pursuit of antiques. The Connollys are among a handful of Long Island shop owners who say shows such as “Fixer Upper” have helped increase interest in stores like theirs.
“It’s given the person that may not have had the vision before a new light on vintage decorating,” says Sean Connolly, 52. “These shows say, ‘Hey, it’s OK to hang that chippy white garden gate on the living room wall.’ Even though we’ve been doing it for years.”
The Connollys trek from Maine to Maryland and beyond — stopping at auctions, markets, old barns and factories, demolition sites and 100-year-old hardware stores — in search of inventory.
“Wherever we can find unique, old and interesting, that’s where we go,” Sean Connolly says.
Same goes for other enterprising Long Islanders, it seems.
Chad Weilbacher has found a purpose in repurposing.
As the owner of Reclaim Everything, a Huntington antiques store born from the idea that everything old becomes new again, Weilbacher creates custom furniture from vintage lumber. Since 2009, he has sold hardware, bundles of wood and custom furniture while working within a range of budgets.
“People come to us with their ideas, and we make it into a reality,” says Weilbacher, a former contractor who worked extensively on antique and historical homes. “If it can be made out of wood, we can do it.”
When sourcing, Weilbacher says, he dismantles old barns and buildings, paying particular attention to the period each item is from. He deals strictly with old-growth lumber — wood that is naturally weathered, antiqued and distressed. Most items come from across New York and New England. All date back to the 1920s.
“Some of our items are put into custom projects and need to be fully restored,” says Weilbacher, 46, an East Northport resident. “However, our barn wood is cleaned and left raw until a customer requests a specific stain or coats of polyurethane.”
His top-selling projects are tables, barn doors, mantels and finished wood for accent walls, including shiplap, a “Fixer Upper” favorite. Weilbacher says many of his customers come to him with ideas from HGTV.
“People have had an interest, but these shows are illustrating the ideas and designs people are thinking about,” Weilbacher says.
MODERN FARM STYLE
Carol Staci, 53, and Lisa Iampieri, 43, both of Bellmore, and Crystal Brenner, 33, of Massapequa opened Urban Farmhouse in June.
“We wanted something that would marry the farmhouse feel with rustic and vintage décor,” Iampieri says.
In addition to their own creations, they sell works of local artists and makers at their Bellmore shop. They stock hand-built, vintage and repurposed furniture, market décor and farm tables as well as hand-painted pieces. The women say they are drawn to the 1940s and ’50s, and their pieces reflect that. And they’re all for restoring. If a piece is in bad shape, they’ll paint or refinish it.
At Urban Farmhouse, vintage scales, milk cans and bottles and Depression-era glass are in high demand. Accent tables, consoles, buffets and farm tables are top sellers.
The owners of all three shops say their inventory changes often and their businesses benefit from customers’ nostalgia.
People are drawn to the quality of early craftsmanship, Sean Connolly says, and to the history and originality of earlier designs.
WHERE TO FIND ‘FIXER UPPER’ STYLE
Vintage Salvage & Supply Co.
260 Merrick Rd., Lynbrook
INFO 516-268-7211, vintagesalvageandsupply.com
Open Saturday and Sunday; Thursday by appointment
1320 New York Ave., Huntington
INFO 631-525-9940, reclaimeverything.com
Open Tuesday through Saturday; Monday by appointment
108 Bedford Ave., Bellmore
Open Tuesday through Sunday
Janelle Griffith traded the land of Bruce Springsteen for the island of Billy Joel to work as an entertainment reporter and feature writer at Newsday. A news junkie and foodie, she also enjoys giving (solicited) fashion advice.
Source : https://www.newsday.com/lifestyle/fashion-and-shopping/fixer-upper-long-island-1.17755370