Eclectic, Bohemian Up-cycling of Furniture and Fashion - Interview with Jeanne Connolly of Vintage Renewal

Jeanne Connolly is a masterful, indie furniture and fashion designer.  Her work starts with taking something that exists (vintage furniture and fashion) and recreating it into a new thing of beauty.  She uses a clever combination of color and fabric in each of her one of a kind (OOAK) designs.  Take some time to check out her store and her "sold" galleries.  Her work is inpirational.  I was thrilled when I discovered her on IndieMade!

Jeanne Connolly

In a nutshell, what do you do?

I am the Indie Furniture and Fashion Redesigner for Vintage Renewal. I take vintage and second-hand furniture and clothing, deconstruct them, and redesign/restyle them into fresh bohemian works of art for your home, studio, office and your very own wardrobe.  In short, Vintage Renewal creates eclectic bohemian inspired style through the reuse of existing vintage and recycled materials.

How did you get started & how long have you been doing this?

It was actually a bit serendipitous.  At the same time I was starting a different business with a friend, I was moving into my first solo apartment.  In order to decorate my new apartment on an extremely tight budget, I found myself combing through thrift stores and garage sales. .  . My new apartment was beaming with color and patterns.  The other business never went anywhere and I received tons of compliments on my new place! 
That’s when I discovered my passion.  My heart was set on generating new life into vintage pieces and the idea for Vintage Renewal was born.

Where do you get your creative inspiration?

Vintage Renewal’s furniture takes inspiration from fashion, vintage craft books, different decades, antique furniture and old world influences.  My furniture has multiple influences from the 60’s and 70’s, mostly in terms of pattern choices. 

Where do you want to go next with your work?

This summer I was accepted into a fashion design mentoring program in Denver called The Denver Design Incubator.  As my business and concepts evolve through the Designer in Residence program at the Denver Design Incubator, I am broadening my role as an Indie Redesigner, while expanding Vintage Renewal from home décor to an all- encompassing lifestyle brand.  There is so much potential in all items from the past.  I like to consider myself “Saving the earth, one redesign at a time”.   I’m just doing my little part for the planet! 
Vintage Renewal is the most authentic thing that I have ever done.  My personality is in every single piece that I redesign.  Reflections are often that “my outfits match my furniture”, which is true!  I am very much Vintage Renewal.  Vintage Renewal is a lifestyle brand, not just limited to furniture. 
Currently, I am working on a Eco-Fashion line that expresses the same vibe as my furniture.  This line inspires me to take vintage or second-hand clothing, deconstruct it and redesign it to create fresh modern fashion trends. 

What’s the best part about what you do?

I am so very lucky that what I love doing is a very sustainable act.  I’m saving wonderful things from going into a landfill.  Frequent comments are that my work is very inspiring to people.  That inspiration helps them to rethink what they might have cast away too, which makes me smile.  Everybody has a project that they’ve been meaning to start.  If they don’t ever get to it, they can see me and get something funky that will fit the bill.
   Vintage Renewal chairs     

What one piece of advice would you give to others who are just starting out?

Design from instinct.  Keep plans and projects to yourself until you are done unless you are surrounded by open-minded people.  Sharing thoughts with unenlightened audiences hinders what could be a wonderfully bold outcome!      

What’s your favorite anything?

The use of textures and bold pattern combinations is exciting!  I’m finally seeing more noteworthy mainstream furniture and eco fashion designers that aren’t afraid to get really extreme with their bold pattern choices.  I LOVE that! 
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Axel McCarthy

...she's an IndieMade customer, of course! 

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