Excited for our new series here Designer Keepers! We are going to be featuring designers and decorators that have impeccable style and how they showcase vintage in their home. Get to know some of these beautiful people and their homes. We are kicking off this bi-monthly series with Bethany, from Arcadian Revival. We hope that Bethany’s style, advice, and love for vintage will certainly bring some inspiration for your own styling and hunt!
Bethany’s home is located in Saratoga Springs, NY and she creates a true classic feel to her home with details that truly elevate global meets timeless.
Here’s some of the questions we asked Bethany and how she breaks down her style and shares a glimpse into her home and vintage style.
1. Tell us about you, your personal design style, and your home.
Hi! I am the founder of Arcadian Revival, a sustainable design and lifestyle company. An Ohio native, I spent a decade living and working in New York City before moving Upstate New York with my young family. I spent years working across economic and real estate development, energy and urban planning in the public, nonprofit, and private sectors before I decided it was time for something more creative.
Arcadian Revival came out of a desire to live more intentionally, closer to nature, and more in tune with the community around us. With a love for 19th century art, ‘Arcadian’ was inspired by Thomas Cole’s ‘The Arcadian State’, the second in a series of paintings entitled ‘The Course of the Empire’. This painting depicted man living harmoniously with nature. Regardless of whether that state ever existed, the notion of living thoughtfully and by a set of values became important to me. The decision to change my career and physical location of our family were driven by this desire as well.
My personal design style is inspired by living sustainably and with a global perspective. I love using color schemes, patterns, textures, and organic pieces derived from nature. I use antiques and other existing items for this reason too.
Much of my design aesthetic was born out growing up in a century home in the midwest with a slew of antiques and gut renovations that I enjoyed being a part of as a child. As I grew older, pieces from other parts of the world inspired me and I love the idea of bringing various cultures and perspectives into our home. I love mixing old with new, but also enjoy pairing something English with something western or something from India with a piece from the midwest. It sounds crazy, but I am doing it and it works. I love that pieces in our home represent us and the global perspectives that we value.
Our home sits on the outskirts of Saratoga Springs, at the northern tip of the Hudson Valley watershed and at the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. While my passion is for old buildings, we purchased a new home that was designed as a Greek Revival. Classic architectural Greek Revival details on the exterior take the stage, but details such as transom windows, quarter-sawn oak floors, and elaborate millwork on our main stairs all make our home special. One benefit of new construction is our heated floor system. The house is more energy efficient and provides a ton of thermal comfort, a perk especially helpful with little ones. The excellent state of our home has allowed me to put money and effort into creative design projects to give the space a more historic, timeless feel.
2. What is your favorite piece in your home?
This is a tough one. I am lucky that there are many pieces that are special to me. One piece that jumps out is an antique jewelry box that my mom handed down to me. It has a mirror inside the lid along with the original silk fabric liner. The top of the box has a gorgeous antique vase of flowers painted on in soft shades of greens. Growing up she used it as her cash box for her annual Holiday Open House shows that she hosted in our home. The memories I have of that box sitting on our antique kitchen table as a “checkout” for customers and friends who attended are full of love and excitement for the holiday season. It also reminds me of my mom when she is at her most passionate. The box reminds me to pursue my own passions.
3. Why do you love decorating with vintage and is there something that you collect?
I love decorating with antique and vintage pieces because of what they represent in our home. The benefits of decorating with vintage are three-fold: First, vintage is sustainable by breaking consumer culture and revealing value in existing merchandise. Second, shopping vintage fills a space with unique pieces that add interest. Third, these pieces tell stories. For me, many have been acquired throughout generations in mine and my husband’s family.
I’ve always collected books. A first edition of The Grapes of Wrath that I found as a young teenager is still a favorite. I love being surrounded by works that can educate and inspire. Over the past several years I’ve increased my collection of vintage art and frames for our home, most recently for a gallery wall project that I am finishing.
4. What is the best advice you can give to others to achieve the same look?
Find pieces that speak to you. If you love it, you will find a place for it. Think about your values, your background. Find pieces that help tell your story.
5. Is there anything you are currently on the hunt for, for your home?
Always. I’m patiently awaiting a large antique general store or apothecary store display cabinet to use as a dining room hutch. And then, of course, beautiful pieces to display on it. My husband also “gifted me” a tea set for my first Mother’s Day in 2020. I still haven’t found a set that speaks to me, but I’ll know it when I see it.
Bethany’s picks from the shop!
Have fun with it! Experiment. If a piece doesn’t work, resell it and try something else. I love having enough pieces to switch things up seasonally too.
And if you’re a new arrival to the vintage scene or are unsure of it, take inventory of the pieces that you buy. Chances are, you may tire of trendier pieces, or they may not last as long as you would like. I like to take inventory of anything that enters our home and becomes unnecessary waste. There’s a sense of pride that I feel when I make use of something that exists. And when it comes to vintage, if it’s still around it’s likely that it will stay that way.