Molly & Her Home
You know those homes that inspire you to run out and purchase an armload of vintage landscape paintings or Moroccan textiles? Those spaces that feel like they were created just so that you could have that extra special "aha" moment? Well, for our team, that home turned out to be designed by vintage lover and business owner, Molly Mathias.
It was practically love at first sight the moment we clicked through to preview images of Molly's home. Her space features that one-of-a-kind type of character that only comes from years of hunting thrift and antique stores for the perfect finishing touches. Molly's collections are each lovingly displayed in ways that tell so much about her passion for secondhand pieces, and as we later found out, she has since found a way to turn that passion into a profitable business.
In case our gushing hasn't quite gotten the point across, we are oh-so thrilled to share the Mathias home with you today and hope that you also experience a lightbulb moment or two as you peruse the pretty pictures.
First things first! How did you find your house?
This house took a long time to find! It actually was not our first choice, not even our third choice! When we started looking two years ago, the real estate market was still crazy. We were submitting offers on our “dream homes” without any luck. We were even under contract on a house that fell through after a bad inspection.
When we first came to look at our house, we were not impressed and actually hated it. A few days later, we decided to take another look with an open mind. Our house is old, built in 1910, but it was obvious a flipper took out a lot of the charm (think: brown tile, bad wood laminate, Formica counters). The second time we looked at it, we looked around to see how we could add charm back to the house and quickly realized it was really only cosmetic changes that needed to be made. Luckily, the structure was very good, so all we’ve had to do is make some small changes to make it our own.
How would you describe the design aesthetic of your home?
I like to mix different styles. Looking around, you can see a California-modern influence along with some more traditional aspects. I like to stick to a consistent color palette instead of a “style.” It’s pretty easy to see I have a thing for blue. I really just look for cool pieces I like and then figure out a way to make them work later.
Sometimes I find myself taking things so seriously and social media can really get you down. I just thought it was so awesome that someone as stylish and cool as Drew Barrymore would look at my pictures.
What's your favorite room, and why?
My favorite room is my dining room! It combines my love of vintage and DIY. The table was made by my husband and dad, the giant triangle bookshelf was made by my dad, I hand-dyed the dining chairs and my mom and I made the yarn chandelier. I filled the bookshelf with all my favorite vintage finds that I’ve collected over the years. I wasn’t sure how it would all come together, but I was really happy with the end result. Because it’s all DIY or vintage, everything was super affordable. I think it sets the tone for the rest of the house. It says, “Hey, it might get a little weird in here, but trust me.”
Give us the rundown on MM Vintage. When did you launch the business?
My mom and I started MM Vintage in 2013 when I was a boring accountant. I needed a creative outlet, so we started looking for cool vintage furniture. After realizing we were quickly headed for our own episode of hoarders, we started selling it.
What's the gist of the company?
We do a little bit of everything that is furniture/design-related. We sell a curated selection of vintage furniture and accessories. We also do our own reupholstering to update boring vintage chairs and make them fun and fresh by recovering them in vintage textiles such as rugs or indigos. We recently started creating our own furniture and also started offering furniture rentals. We also offer design/style services for commercial or residential projects. See what I mean? A little bit of everything.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since opening your own business?
How to deal with the customer service side of the business. I went to school for accounting and was an accountant for a few years out of school, so I don’t think I would immediately call myself a people person. While I’ve got the “business” side down, I’ve had to learn over time to be patient with customers. I think for most creatives they are the opposite, so I’m definitely grateful for my finance know-how.
I also am learning to say “no.” People always want something from you as a small business owner and when you are first starting out, you want to do it all. I’m learning that my time is precious and to be very particular about opportunities that come my way.
In addition to MM Vintage, you're also a REALTOR! How do juggle your roles in real estate and the vintage shopping world?
Juggling MM Vintage and my real estate business is always a struggle. Luckily, I have a great support system with my family and they are always there to help. I try to block things off for my different jobs. Thursday and Friday mornings are typically when I shop for MM vintage, so I try not to schedule any real estate appointments during those times. I also try to always remain flexible. There will be some times that real estate needs to be a focus, and other times that real estate is slower so I can spend more time on MM vintage. It’s really just a careful balancing act and I would say I’m still only successful at balancing it 60 percent of the time. The other times I’m basically running around like I’m on fire.
Because it’s all DIY or vintage, everything was super affordable. I think it sets the tone for the rest of the house. It says, “Hey, it might get a little weird in here, but trust me.”
What are two or three things you incorporate into your routine to help you live a healthier lifestyle?
I’m pretty much always on the go, so I have to be conscious of my health. I work out at least three times a week. I spend a lot of time in the car, so I need to make sure I get some activity in. I recently got a Vitamix, which has really helped me eat healthier. I now can run home and whip up a quick smoothie for lunch or a snack when I have a break. I’ve also become a fan of spin class over the last year. I like to take classes at GRIT Fitness in Dallas. All the classes are very fun and I love the girl-power attitude.
What's one song or album you could listen to on repeat?
One of my favorite bands is Matt and Kim. I like to listen to music I can sing and dance to and they are a really fun band for that. I recently got to attend one of their concerts in Dallas and it was basically a giant dance party, which is right up my alley. So anything Matt and Kim on constant repeat.
Got any tips for shopping vintage? What a few things you look out for when considering a secondhand piece?
I think it’s important when searching for vintage to keep a budget in mind. Just because you find something in a thrift store or at an estate sale does not mean it’s an automatic deal. If you are shopping for your home, have a list of items you are looking for so you don’t get side-tracked by other pieces you find.
I always keep in mind certain styles I like. I tend to gravitate toward wicker and mid-century, so if I spot any pieces that fit that bill, I’ll focus on those. If I’m buying something with fabric, I make sure to smell it (even if that sounds gross) to make sure there is no smoke or mildew smell. If you are buying a dresser, make sure all the drawers slide out. Check for names! If the piece has a name, you can do a quick Google search to see if you are getting a deal or you're about to overpay.
Tell us about the beautiful collection of landscape art you have over your dresser! Where did you source the pieces, and what was the inspiration behind hanging them together?
That collection started because I found an amazing watercolor at an estate sale. It was in a hideous frame, so I quickly got rid of that and decided to hang it up. It wasn’t big enough, so I decided to find more! I love how casual but romantic watercolors feel, so I searched on eBay for watercolor landscapes and bought one every couple weeks to add to my collection. I scored a few at estate sales as well. Now I’m always on the hunt to add to my collection. I decided not to frame them because I thought it felt a little more casual just stuck to the wall.
What are your secret spots around town for finding great vintage art and furniture?
I pretty much exclusively shop at estate sales for myself, but when I’m looking for stuff for clients I love to go to Scout, Lula B’s in Oak Cliff or Shop Vintage Dallas. It also amazes me the awesome stuff you can find on Craigslist these days.
How do you practice self-care?
I like to take time by myself to do something fun. I really like to go for a quiet hike by myself. That helps clear my mind while also getting in some exercise. Another favorite activity is to turn my phone off and catch up on some Netflix. I have to be attached to my phone because of my businesses, but sometimes it’s nice to shut off it off and spend a few hours with myself.
Check for names! If the piece has a name, you can do a quick Google search to see if you are getting a deal or you're about to overpay.
Favorite thrift store score to-date: go!
My wicker coffee table! I actually bought that for MM Vintage and had it up for sale for a few weeks. No one bought it, so I brought it home to take a picture of it in my own house. After I put it in front of the couch, I realized how perfect it was for my own home. My husband thought that it was awesome and if we can both agree on a piece of furniture, that means it has to stay. It has a glass top, which is perfect because it’s a lot more durable than wood and easy to clean. I think it adds a really interesting texture to the space.
You've only got 30 minutes to exercise! What do you do?
I really enjoying walking. Living in Dallas means I spend a lot of time in my car. We are not a very walkable city, so I try to go for walks around my neighborhood. I have a specific route I take to make sure I walk by all my favorite houses. Luckily, my neighborhood is very picturesque so there is something always pretty to look at. A lot of my neighbors go for nightly walks, so it’s fun to catch up and see what’s going on in the neighborhood.
Favorite toast-worthy moment of your career so far?
When Drew Barrymore followed me on Instagram! I actually don’t know if she is still following me, but every time I posted something after that, I would think to myself, “Would Drew Barrymore like this?” It was just something silly that made me laugh. Sometimes I find myself taking things so seriously and social media can really get you down. I just thought it was so awesome that someone as stylish and cool as Drew Barrymore would look at my pictures.