NYMM was thrilled to be able to interview Ann Couser Kittredge, expert DIY blogger, vintage home decorator, and avid thrifter. She is the founder of Dabbling & Decorating, a blog dedicated to cultivating a creative space and showcasing her passion for all things vintage. Read our Q&A below to learn about the joys of thrifting, vintage designing, and home decoration.
How did you become so passionate about all things vintage?
My parents and a few other extended family members collected antiques when I was growing up. I have very fond memories of antiquing and decorating from a very early age. I used to love how my mother would find something she loved antiquing, and my father would go back and purchase it for her for Christmas. She would be so surprised. And today all those loving pieces are mine.
What advice would you give to a beginner thrifter?
If you like something, buy it, as it may not be there when you return. With all the online marketplaces today, you can always resell an item if it doesn’t work for you. So I always say, buy it if you like it!
I know you have worked on your family’s home in Maine. How has your life in Maine influenced your interest in decorating and thrifting?
Coastal Maine is where I grew up and so did my mother. Maine is home to so many beautiful old homes that have so much incredible history. You can’t help but admire the quaintness of the New England homes and aspire to be within this environment. Maine is also home to amazing antique and thrift shops up and down Route 1. There’s just so much to be inspired by.
What made you so interested in settling in Vermont?
I’ve wanted to live in Vermont since I was in high school. I have always loved the mountains, snow, and skiing. The people are so friendly and laid back. I’ve always felt that Vermont and Maine are very similar in the way, that one is known for its coast and the other its mountains. The people in both states are so welcoming and proud of where they live.
What are your priorities when decorating/renovating a house?
I think a home should be welcoming and cozy. I’m not really interested in a showcase kind of home. I want to create a space where people can gather and not worry about taking their shoes off. I also enjoy incorporating unique vintage finds and momentos into every room. I don’t like spending a lot of money, as I enjoy switching things up and replacing items all the time. If I spent a lot of money on a piece then I feel like I need to hang onto it forever. And that’s just not me.
How has the pandemic affected your work in renovations and home decor?
Honestly, It’s been tough. We were right in the middle of starting to decorate for the Maine home after a winter season long renovation, and all the stores were closed and shipping was delayed for months. Our furniture did not arrive until the end of the summer when it was time to return to Vermont. And most of the antique shops that I was counting on over the summer were closed, too pricey, or had low inventory. The big box stores that I would normally rely on for appliances, curtains, bedding, etc. also continue to be extremely low on inventory. I did however, keep reminding myself how fortunate we are to have a home in coastal Maine and all of it’s beautiful memories.
What are you most looking forward to in terms of your home projects?
I’m looking forward to the upcoming Vermont Vintage Market Days next weekend and antiquing all winter for our home in Maine, as we were really stalled this summer. So right now, it’s pretty much about finding special pieces and making that home into a place we love to visit. Like taking the time to find the right coffee table and rug for the sunroom. Some vintage curtains to place throughout the home. And any other pieces I can find throughout this winter’s thrifting expeditions.
Photo courtesy of Ann Couser Kittredge.
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