Are you an avid thrift store hunter? A tchotchke lover and vintage art hoarder? If you answered “yes,” then chances are good that your home is overflowing with a kaleidoscope of color, pattern and personality. If you can’t help but fill your shopping cart with secondhand treasures every time you hit the antique mall, then today’s nursery (and living room!) tour may just speak to your heart.
Enter Lauren Stewart, co-founder of Urban Vintage Rentals. As a professional vintage hunter, this creative Southern Floridian has the enviable opportunity to indulge in her love for antiquing on a daily basis. Thus, the home that she shares with her husband, Kyle, and new baby boy, Sawyer, is filled to the brim with beautiful, one-of-a-kind treasures that reflect her ultra-inspiring day job.
Below, Lauren offers us a peek into her life as a small business owner and new mom. Plus, she touches a little bit on how she’s managed to add an airy, kid-friendly vibe to her natural maximalist tendencies.
Let’s start all the way at the beginning. What did you want to be growing up?
When I was a kid, my dad surprised me with a log cabin in our backyard. It needed to be furnished so my mom and I would go thrifting and pick out the pieces for it. I would spend hours playing around and rearranging things. I had the best time foraging through my backyard finding leaves and pine cones to create little styled spaces inside. Looking back, that was such a special time in my life. I was able to create and play, and I learned what my passions were from a young age.
After moving into your home, what was the first step in the decorating process?
When we first moved in a few years ago, I was loving the color gray. Fast forward a few years later and I’ve become a bit tired of the color. When I found out I was pregnant, I wanted to lighten the room up and make it a pretty white shade. Benjamin Moore Cloud White was the perfect shade to brighten things up.
Does your home style differ at all from your personal style? How is it the same?
My personal style is definitely a reflection of my home style. I like to keep things laid back and playful, and I don’t take myself or my home too seriously. Boho, eclectic, a bit whimsy with some rock ’n’ roll undertones.
What are your thoughts on entertaining at home? Do you have a favorite gathering you’ve hosted?
Being in South Florida, it’s all about enjoying the outdoors. We love having family gatherings where we can enjoy the weather while sharing a meal.
I like to fill my home with things that I love. That doesn’t always mean everything goes together perfectly, but that’s what makes a home happy.
What have been the biggest challenges in your career so far? How were you able to overcome them?
There are plenty of challenges being a small business start-up. Part of my motivation for starting my own business was to do something I was passionate about, and that meant that I needed to do something creative. I wanted, more than anything, to get out of the 9-to-5 routine. I love that I have the flexibility to make my own schedule, but it’s also important to set boundaries for myself and separate my work life from my personal life. Having balance is important so I can be totally focused on my business and also have time with my family.
What is your favorite budget-friendly piece in your home, and why?
I’d have to say my gallery wall. It’s almost like a giant scrapbook of memories. Anyone can make one and find the most insane art if they are willing to be a little patient and enjoy the hunt.
The nursery turned out beautifully! Do you have a favorite spot or item in it?
I’m going to cheat and pick a few because the truth is, I don’t have one single favorite thing. My mom found the vintage Wonder Horse at an estate sale. I think it’s the coolest toy ever and can’t wait to see Sawyer play on it. My husband built the shelves—he’s handy like that. And I love the West Elm rug.
Do you have any memories of events that you still laugh about to this day?
Vintage furniture is heavy! We have trudged through sandy beaches with some of our big heavy pieces. I love when clients have their events outside—beaches, woods, a farm. It always turns out beautifully and it’s totally worth it when we see how happy they are.
Do you have an all-time favorite event you’ve styled?
We did a sunrise beach shoot and built a bohemian tent right on the beach. It was a bit different from anything we’ve ever done, which was fun and challenging.
What exciting projects are on the horizon for Urban Vintage Rentals?
We’ve been able to work with some amazing people in the industry, so we hope to continue to build relationships! We are continuously sourcing amazing new pieces to add to the Urban Vintage collection. I’ve been obsessed with copper lately and hope to add a few modern pieces to the collection. Farmhouse tables have been popular, so we plan on having more made. We are also working with some amazing clients doing home staging, and we’ve got a few weddings on the horizon.
How has your style changed since becoming a mom?
- Personal style: I’m still in the early stages of motherhood, but have always been a lover of maxi skirts and breezy boho dresses. If I’m not wearing those, I’ll dress in a vintage band shirt or crop top, and a pair of jean cut-offs.
- Home: Nothing, as of yet, but I’m becoming more mindful of areas in the house that need to become more kid-friendly. Being a tchotchke lover, I see that I need to make some adjustments soon!
We love your art prints! What would you tell someone who is sourcing artwork for their home?
I have found most of my favorite pieces from thrift stores, garage sales and flea markets. My two favorite pieces happen to be original works my husband and I found during our honeymoon in Paris at the Clignancourt Flea Market (Marchés aux Puces de Saint-Ouen).
What was your biggest home décor influence?
Just making sure our home was a truly a reflection of us. I like to fill my home with things that I love. That doesn’t always mean everything goes together perfectly, but that’s what makes a home happy.
What was it like merging your style with your husband’s taste? Does he get a say in the decor?
He gives me artistic freedom, but because my style is eclectic, he tells me when things start to look like a hot mess. In his words, “Lauren, it’s too much.” He’s also a mighty fine picture hanger!
What advice do you have for budding entrepreneurs?
Don’t be afraid to take a risk and always believe in yourself.