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Whether it’s the look, the cost, or the green factor, vintage is hot right now

College students and twenty-somethings waiting to land their first big gig aren’t the only ones buying used furniture right now.

“Refurbished furnishings are really important right now, with the green movement,” says Hunt & Gather seller Sandy Stone. “And they’re usually better made in terms of construction.”

You can hunt for pieces that need a little loving care, or buy from someone who has already done the refurbishing for you. DIYers can keep an eye out for promising textiles and baubles aching to be transformed into something new, but there’s a whole cottage industry of creative types cutting, sewing, reshaping — and reselling.

About thirty sellers fill the nooks and crannies of Hunt & Gather, making it necessary to shimmy around corners and spend time peering into every space, to avoid missing something. There’s very little here that would qualify as actual antiques (auction houses define this as more than 100 years old); this is all about funky, vintage stuff.

Across the street, Loft Antiques is a more traditional shop, but just as labyrinthine and packed with finds. Most pieces are in excellent condition — ready to settle right into someone’s living room. “People don’t have time to fix things up,” says Doug Byrne, a Loft seller who sells at Loft Antiques and has a furniture restoration business.

Both sellers agree that trends play just as much of a role in their business as in any retail store.

“Antiques go in and out of style like any other thing,” says DeEtte Theisen, a Hunt and Gather seller. “It’s seasonal, too. Now things are getting darker.” And people are already coming in looking for holiday decorations — and, yes, they mean those holidays.


Graphic bags
Hunt & Gather
Rough potato and flour sacks, old mail bags — all those old fabric pieces can have a new life. You can take the bags apart an reupholster with them or just hang them up. At a place like Hunt & Gather, you’re likely to find resellers who have already transformed some of these bags into something else.


Mid-century modern furniture
Hunt & Gather
Some people watch “Mad Men” for the plot and the character studies. Others are peering into the background, at the meticulously furnished 1960s offices, getting design ideas for their own homes.


Anything industrial
Hunt & Gather
Metal pieces that may have come from commercial kitchens or farms look worn and utilitarian and add unexpected visual interest, especially in contrast to a more contemporary room.


Unexpected wall-hangings
Anything that can be hung on a wall sells quickly, from old maps to architectural drawings to the pages of old books. Just tack them up on the wall as is. “Framing is overrated!” said Sandy Stone. “It costs too much and we have so many great ways to hang things now.”


Taxidermy
Hunt & Gather
“People are looking for anything organic, natural and a little weird in a curiosity-shop kind of way,” said Theisen. She added that people seem to love the antlers hanging on the wall at the Southwest restaurant Blackbird.


Bark cloth
This stiff interior-decorating fabric gets its name from its texture — rough like the surface of a tree — and was popular from the 1940s to the 1970s for curtains, tablecloths and furniture coverings. And it’s back! Vintage fabrics and reproductions are easy to find and fun to work with.


Signage
Loft Antiques
Old signs of any size and shape are ready-made art. The message doesn’t have to have anything to do with the room where they will hang — though you can have fun with that, too. Pay attention to colors and shapes; mix sizes and eras.


Mission and Arts and Crafts
Loft Antiques
Before the sleek 1950s and ’60s, the elegant lines of the Mission and Arts and Crafts movements were popular — around the same time that the Southwest neighborhoods were growing and many homes were being built. So these styles will always be a natural fit. “If you look in a lot of the homes around here, this is the kind of furniture that works well with the existing housing stock,” said Byrne. He adds — laughing — that bookcases in these styles sell particularly well, “because apparently people in Southwest read a lot.”


Loft Antiques

3022 50th St. W.
922-4200
loftantiquesmpls.com


Hunt & Gather
4944 Xerxes Ave. S.
455-0250
huntandgatherantiques.com