Blackbird Vintage Finds
Blackbird Vintage Finds in the Distillery District is owner Paula DiRenzo's second take on vintage décor. She decided to close up her previous store, Fleur de Terre, which was on Avenue Road north of Lawrence, in favour of opening up something a little different, a little edgier.
"Everything was white, cream--very country estate," Paula says of her last store. "I wanted a new vision. Not so glittery. And anyway, I couldn't stop buying antiques."
Needing a space to put them, and after closing Fleur de Terre in January, Paula opened up Blackbird Vintage not two weeks ago, and is already enjoying the more relaxed Distillery vibe.
"People have been really friendly. It's not so serious."
So Paula has been able to get away with offering items with a bit of roughness to them, and the space itself emotes a sort of robust Victorian vibe (though perhaps that's the more the structure of the space than the stuff inside).
Blackbird Vintage Finds has pieces sourced from various countries, from small decorative items to full-sized antique furniture. There are also soaps, candles, and scents, including liquid bubble bath packaged in whiskey bottles ($29.95), perfectly exemplifying something that would never have worked at Fleur de Terre.
One corner seems an ode to vintage religious finds, framed by a leaning antique Sunday school sign ($895) found somewhere in Massachusetts. Next to the sign is an incredible 30-foot tall bus roll, which, as of now, is not priced. "I still haven't decided what I'm going to do with that," Paula confesses. "It says 'World Fair'--that's hard to find. And we have the height in the space here to show it off."
Some of the other, definitely for sale items include a variety of printing materials, such as calligraphy pens, an antique typewriter, and metal letter blocks in all different sizes. "Anything to do with communication," Paula says. "I really love that."
But she also loves antique trophies, evidenced by the array of golf and pigeon trophies displayed around the shop. They're neighboured by vintage trunks and suitcases, complete with original labels.
So, Blackbird Vintage has a little bit of everything. But I was drawn to the big items, including an incredible vintage iron washstand ($650), and an antique Argentina candy shop display composed of 18 individual glass canisters ($3,800). It's definitely not cream or glittery, and that's certainly a good thing.
Photos by Dennis Marciniak