Five years ago Michele Tansey turned her love of vintage furnishings and serious shopping habit into a full-time job. And two years later, husband Ryan joined the party, giving birth to Homestead Seattle.
In the beginning, the duo ran a blog with beautiful images of Michele's scores styled alongside the accents in their airy Madrona home. As it turned out, Ryan's photos—full of natural light and decorative flourishes—lent themselves beautifully to social media sites like Instagram, and they quickly deveopled a following of thousands of vintage-loving clientele, eager to snap up the newest find.
Eventually, the furniture business overtook their home, so the search was on for a new space to display their mid-century modern credenzas and brass bar carts. Last fall, they made their move into a Capitol Hill showroom.
Although the showroom is by appointment only (for the time being), it's easy to keep up with the Tanseys' inventory as they diligently photograph and list their newest acquistions online in pin-worthy images. Just beware that you might not be the only one coveting that stylish piece in their feed.
ShopTalk: What song or album is playing on your sound system right now?
Piñata Beats by Freddie Gibbs and Madlibs.
What was your first job? What did you love or hate about it and how does it compare to what you do now?
Ryan: In my case I worked making phone calls for the local blood bank, it was a good start to my customer service experience.
Michele: My first job was at Hallmark. My mom was my store manager and she basically trained me on customer care and attention to detail. The clientele here is very different than Hallmark, but I've been in retail ever since, so I think it got me to where I am now.
Where do you shop when you're not at your store?
For the most part we love antiques stores, since that's our habit. Pacific Galleries in SODO is one of our favorites. Its collection of vendors do a great job curating their stuff. We also do a fair amount of online shopping on Etsy, it's all vintage and handmade, so it fits in with what we're trying to do.
What do you love about the showroom's neighborhood?
Ryan: We first met when we were both living on the Hill. The neighborhood has been changing a lot, like lightening fast, but it still has a wonderful core of businesses that we love. Most importantly it is a very supportive and accepting community. Everyone gets to be themselves.
Michele: It's hard to put into words exactly. It just has the vibe that's right for us.
What nearby restaurants or coffee shops do you recommend?
Michele: Right across the street is Bauhaus. We've been going there all the time and love it. We drink Stumptown coffee here, so that's our other coffee shop. And luckily we have Melrose Market close by, which is a good place to send people.
What is your favorite thing in the showroom right now?
Michele: There's this antique chaise with an oak base and oil cloth upholstery. When we found it, all the seams were busted; it was just a lost cause and I could see it definitely ending up in a landfill. We took it to our upholsterer and got it completely fixed up and now it's beautiful. Luckily the thing wasn't thrown away—it's amazing, and it's going to have many more years of life.
Ryan: I was tempted to pick the same thing. Another would be a chrome framed chair which we upholstered in military tent canvas.
What's the weirdest thing that has happened at your store?
When we had the shop at our house the weirdest thing was when people who saw us on a feature would stop by randomly. We would be watching a movie in our pajamas and suddenly we would have customers. Most people would have the decency to call, but some people would walk right in.
Do you have any notable celebrity clientele?
Macklemore came by and bought a whole bunch of stuff. Oh, and Linda (Derschang). We ship furniture everywhere, too. We've sent pieces to politicians and musicians, even to the Governor of Maryland.