Meet Michelle Seekamp, crafting, thrifting and design fiend, who joins us from North Creek, New York, home to some of the most gorgeous scenery in the Northeast. Looking for some amazing deals on vintage doodads and knicknacks? Check out Michelle’s corner, The Astor Room, and read on to hear more about her thrifting exploits, inspiration and her prized possession that recommends that you get off your horse and drink milk.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a long-time vintage décor enthusiast who has taken my passion to the next level and opened a vintage shop on Etsy and Krrb. I like the idea of bringing a little patina to people’s homes and think that a room should have a sense of humor about it’s furnishings. I sell housewares, art, tabletop, functional and just plain awesome stuff in my shop.
I own a cat unintentionally yet pretentiously named Amelie, I have an MFA in ensemble based physical theater and am a Taurus. I love diners, ridiculously large sun hats, and Pinterest. My dream is to one day own a vintage mini-camper and travel around the country selling my kitsch. I make great pancakes.
Where are you from and where do you currently live?
I’m originally from Albany, New York, but I was living in New York City for the past seven years until I recently made the move back upstate. Now I’m about an hour and a half north of Albany in the Adirondacks (or ADK as I like to call it). I needed a total change of pace, and I got it.
What is the most awesome thing in or about your neighborhood?
Well I currently live off a dirt road on top of a mountain so there aren’t too many “neighbors”, but there is a great sense of community up here and people have a lot of pride in the area and where they’re from. The scenery is rad too with 360 degrees mountain views, and the Hudson River flows through town which is pretty darn awesome too. Funny that it’s the same river that flows all the way down past Manhattan.
What are your favorite places you go locally to discover hidden treasures.
There is no shortage of GREAT vintage and antique shops around here, favorites include: Ft Anne Antique shop, Glenwood Manor, Laura’s Closet (kick-ass vintage clothing, jewelry and accessories shop). But I am still a Salvation Army kind of girl at heart and the 50 cent finds are my favorite. There are estate sales and tag sales just about every weekend and I recently went to a town-wide garage sale where I scored a John Wayne wall clock!
What blogs or websites do you visit regularly?
I read a lot of design blogs like The-Brick-House, Sarah.Wandering, Two and Twenty, Birch + Bird, Lonny Mag, Rue, Design Lovefest. But I try to keep it real and read some non-design stuff when I can: Smitten Kitchen, Garance Dore.fr, Matt Armendariz, All Around Albany (trying to reconnect with my local peoples) and I’m also a huge xoJane fan.
As a kid, were any of your toys and clothes hand-me-downs? Stories please!
I can’t remember any good hand-me-down stories, my sister and I are only 18 months apart so there wasn’t a ton of overlap in the clothing department. I do remember matching outfits though, she always had to wear the blue one, I was pink, she had a bowl cut mine was more mullet-esq.
Today, how often do you go to garage sales, flea markets, etc.? What is your modus operandi? Any personal tips you’d like to share?
I hit up a sale or visit one of my regular shops at least once a week, and a lot more now that garage sale season is kicking into full gear in the Northeast. I have learned a lot in a short amount of time about collectible pottery brands for example and how to spot them. When you start to be able to identify McCoy from Shawnee, Hall or Roseville it certain makes scanning rows and rows of items a lot easier. But I think it can also be easy to get caught up in that kind of thing and in the end I try to remind myself to follow my own taste and buy what I like not what I think someone else might like or think is valuable.
Have you ever taken home an object you found in the street or dumpster? If so, what was it? And where is it now?
Um, YES! I was living in Astoria, Queens for the last 2 years and it was a Mecca for curbside treasures. Every little old lady on the block got rid of an amazing upholstered couch, or some mid-century gem at one point or another, I have a beautiful walnut credenza that I got off the street in the pouring rain at 11 at night. I had to refinish the top, but it now serves double duty as a linen closet and wet bar.
Are you a hoarder or a minimalist?
Somewhere in between. I don’t like excessive clutter but when I moved into my apartment in Queens I had an air mattress and a dresser and when I left it took a 20 foot Uhaul so… I might be in denial.
What is your most cherished thrifted, secondhand, vintage, upcycled object you possess? What’s the story behind it?
It’s a tie between my vintage anatomical chart of an eye and ear; it’s a huge pull down canvas (like you would have had in health class) that is painted in gorgeous colors that have gotten nice and patina-ed over time, I found it tucked away in a chest at an antique shop in Hudson, New York. My other cherished possession is a light up holographic Jesus Picture Box with a gilded metal frame; I also found it on the street in Astoria, it’s amazingly kitschy and gothic at the same time.
Do you create/make things? What are you working on these days?
I am starting to experiment with some re-upholstery and have been working on lamp shades since I always find amazing lamp bases and can’t seem to find the right shades to go with them. They’ll be covered in some modern textiles and some vintage stuff as I find the right fabrics or wall papers.
By the way, what’s your day job?
By day I’m a social media consultant for creative brands.