We had our first girly date with Elizabeth Ulrich from Stockroom Vintage about a month ago. Ever since we first laid eyes on her website and blog, we knew this was going to be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Elizabeth has the special talent of recognizing an extraordinary piece when she sees it and being able to visualize the perfect use for it. Some are perfect as is. Some she lovingly and painstakingly restores by hand. Maybe we can talk her into giving classes? Or maybe I should just hire her as my personal decorator.
This gift for digging vintage gold comes with years of practice and an inherited love for both procuring and designing beautiful pieces. You might’ve seen Elizabeth and her booth at Porter Flea a few weeks ago — an event that she styled herself showcasing many pieces from Stockroom Vintage’s inventory. We asked Elizabeth to tell us a little bit about how she got started collecting her vintage lovelies and what Stockroom Vintage can offer those planning an event.
Why do you feel vintage things speak to you and how did you first get into vintage collecting?
Elizabeth: When I was a kid, I spent lots of time in my dad’s woodworking shop. I watched him design these beautiful, quality pieces of furniture with such creativity and care. Even though I was so young, I had this sense that a great piece of furniture was a work of art, something to be admired and cherished. In his wood shop, family heirlooms were born. As an adult, the smell of sawdust always brings me back to those days and makes me smile. I’ve never lost that appreciation and awe for well-made furniture.
Even though I grew up in a family that loved antique pieces and handmade furniture, I didn’t start thrifting and collecting pieces of my own until my early 20s. But once I started hitting thrift stores and estate sales with my mom to stock my single-girl-style apartments with vintage pieces, I was obsessed. Buying vintage allows you to infuse a standard space with such life and character and create a well-traveled, eclectic look that’s all your own. Plus, vintage shopping is just a stellar way to spend an afternoon!
What is your process for finding your pieces?
Elizabeth: I never stop looking for new pieces. In fact, I’ll soon be adding nearly 50 pieces to the inventory this summer alone—and that doesn’t even take into account the vintage goodies I’m sure to find and fall in love with along the way. Hunting for vintage pieces isn’t just my job—it’s my absolute favorite way to spend a day. So I go to flea markets, estate and garage sales, thrift stores and plenty of attics and outbuildings, hoping to unearth pieces I can’t wait to share with clients.
I love plucking a chair or table from a dusty pile and returning it to its former glory. These are pieces that were once loved and cherished and somehow cast away. So when I find a great vintage piece, I feel like it’s my responsibility to bring it home and give it a new life, which means I also spend a lot of time in my garage. I sand, paint, refinish and restore each piece by hand as needed. I’m such a girly girl, but I can sand a piece and work a paintbrush like nobody’s business. I spend a lot of time washing paint out of my hair.
Why do you think vintage rentals are the perfect addition to a wedding or event?
Elizabeth: Vintage pieces add such warmth, charm and interest to any event space. Each piece Stockroom Vintage rents, from our heirloom china and vintage luggage to our farm tables and mix-and-match chairs, has a history all its own. Plus, I’ve combed every flea market, attic and estate sale around to pick only the pieces that absolutely wow me. That way, you’re sure that any piece you rent will be a photogenic showstopper. And the best part? Each of our vintage rental pieces has lived this long, mysterious life before finding its way to your wedding or event. I think that’s the most romantic thing ever.
Who is your typical client?
Elizabeth: So far, I’ve worked with all types of brides. Some want the full-on vintage wonderland look and have rented our rustic-chic pieces by the truckload. But even brides going for a more modern look have come to Stockroom, looking for our graphic, black-and-white chevron upholstered pieces and chalkboards for food and bar menus, which I illustrate and write by hand through Stockroom’s “DIY Minus the Y” service. The great thing about vintage is that it’s so versatile—the final look is all in the styling.
What services can Stockroom Vintage offer their clients?
Elizabeth: I really am dedicated to giving brides—and anyone planning an event, really—all the support they need to make an event so utterly beautiful. Aside from vintage rentals and delivery, I offer Styling Services for weddings, events and photo shoots (think blog-worthy engagement shoots). I also offer a DIY Minus the Y service to brides, so if you’d like to add handmade details to your wedding and don’t have the time (or patience!) to do it yourself, you can hire me to make your crafty vision happen.
Oh, and I can’t forget to mention my Custom Search service. If a bride has her heart set on a vintage item she doesn’t see in our inventory, I’ll be her custom search party. I love hunting down vintage pieces, so I don’t mind doing the legwork so brides can focus on their events. All the services Stockroom Vintage offers are explained in detail on our Services page.
How far in advance should brides book their rentals?
Elizabeth: If a bride falls in love with one of Stockroom’s pieces while browsing our online inventory, she should reach out to me as soon as possible. (I’m always happy to chat on the phone, and I’m obsessive about returning emails quickly, so it’s easy to get a quick answer about availability.) Because most of our rentals are one-of-kind pieces, I can’t guarantee availability for items that aren’t reserved. I definitely would recommend that a bride reaches out sooner rather than later.
That being said, if a bride is looking for a last-minute piece, she can always give me a call. Stockroom Vintage doesn’t have a minimum rental amount per event, so if a bride needs just one farm table at the last minute—and I have one available—I’ll be happy to load it up on the truck and help a lady out.
Tell us something people may not know about you?
Elizabeth: If I’m not out hunting for vintage pieces or styling events and photo shoots, I’m such a homebody. My husband Will and I have worked to create a home that reflects everything we love, which includes tons of vintage pieces and lots of graphic black and white and chevron prints (I’m obsessed!) and plenty of nods to the nerd culture he loves. Our East Nashville house simply is our favorite place to be, especially since our fur baby brood has recently grown from one to three! Nigel Barker, our shihtzu, now has two adopted brothers, Topher and Mumford, who had been living on the mean streets of Dickerson Pike for, like, ever before finding their way to us. Now Will and I have even more reason to stay at home—these three furry goofballs (posing for a family photo on a vintage chair, of course!) are the only entertainment we need these days.
Well, even if Elizabeth is a self-proclaimed homebody, when she exercises her social side she is heaps of fun. We have some very special collaborations in the works with Elizabeth and Stockroom Vintage so stay tuned for some exciting news later in the summer!