Makeover queen Jeanne Connolly gives new life to vintage furniture and fabrics.
—Courtesy of Christine Dirkschneider Ballard
Don’t kick that old love seat to the curb just yet; we’ve found someone who can make your castoffs cool again. Jeanne Connolly—self-proclaimed creative hoarder and founder of Denver furniture-design company (and DIY blog) Vintage Renewal—creates “usable art for the home” by reviving neglected furniture frames with found vintage fabrics. “I’m really interested in turning materials that would not even get a second look into something fabulous,” she says. “I love helping people see things differently.”
Before she began revamping furniture, Connolly was a visual designer at a large home-goods retailer, longing for more tactile work. So she studied upholstery at Emily Griffith Technical College, mastering old-school techniques and putting her own bohemian spin on the process, and in 2007, Vintage Renewal was born. Free-spirited and fun like the designer, Connolly’s upcycled pieces are so bold, they should come with a warning: Far from throwing them out, you’ll be tempted to redesign your rooms around them.
Art Crush “Sabin Aell is one of my favorite artists in town. She shows her work at Walker Fine Art in Denver and is the owner of Hinterland Art Space. Both are worth a trip. Her work is the perfect complement to my work and style.” sabinaell.com
Design Tip Pair Vintage Renewal pieces with neutral walls. “I throw all the color in with the materials, so if you get crazy with colors on the walls, it starts to get dizzy.”
Latest Craze Upcycling fabric. “Before I would find ugly-duckling chairs; now I’m excited about ugly-duckling fabric—manipulating it with bleach or dye or thread.”
Inspiration Fashion design. “I’m a magazine junkie. I rip pages and pages out and make binders to flip through if I ever need a pick-me-up. And I’m a Pinterest psychopath.”
Tools of the Trade A staple gun and an air compressor. “There’s a lot you can do with upholstery without having to sew a thing—cutting, tucking, folding, stapling.”
Go-to Source for Furniture Estate and garage sales, Craigslist, and thrift stores (Arc is a favorite). “It’s the more gritty stuff I get excited about. Once you start going into vintage furniture shops, you’re paying for them to do your search.”
Jeanne Connolly, Vintage Renewal, 720-984-7914, vintagerenewal.com