In the almost two years since we’ve retreated indoors, my living space has been peppered with decor items, thanks to the rabbit hole of online shopping.
Enriching my home has become a mission — an antidote, of sorts, to our living version of Groundhog Day. This led me to seek out where the really good stuff is, a part of the internet where adding to cart is not a simple option, where you have to work a little harder to acquire a piece.
I’m talking about Instagram vintage shops — the mecca of unique and curated vintage decor finds. Think of it as an online flea market, where you’ll find gems, from off-kilter glassware and art deco pieces, to odd prints and kitschy home pieces.
I’ve rounded up some of my favorite Instagram shops and talked to them about their beginnings, processes, and the importance of beautifying your space.
Founder: Jose Paolo Cervantes
Expect: Vintage home objects, art glasses, ceramics, Maneki Nekos, prints, lamps, and linens.
Favorite find: “Really obsessed with the discontinued and deadstock lamps from IKEA that I sourced in Europe.”
How it started: “It started with a conscious decision to buy ‘small’ or vintage. Initially for clothes but (then) transposed to home objects. I was initially on the lookout to buy stuff for a new apartment and I got pretty obsessed with it. There’s always that thrill of finding a gem amongst a pile of old second-hand items. I decided to open up Maartefacts to be practical with this newfound hobby and also as a breather from my corporate job.
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On Instagram: “Instagram is a visual platform so it’s important to have consistency on how your posts would look like. I set a personal ‘Creative Brief’: I want Maartefacts to look maximalist and approachable. I make sure that my photographs are always in the context of a room (with minimal negative spaces) and photos are taken by my phone.”
The Lost Drawer
Founder: Yamilla Zapanta
Expect: Vintage art deco pieces, ceramics, glassware, and contemporary pieces.
Favorite find: “Our top three favorites have to be the 1970s Belfor sherry crystal glasses, a vintage art decor horseshoe, and a ceramic foot warmer bottle.”
The process: “Sourcing is our favorite part of the process. We go around the city and hand-pick items we think our followers would love. Some days are productive, some aren’t. So a lot of love and patience flow throughout the process. Then on Thursdays, we put together our makeshift shoot setup. We don’t use any studio lights — just the sun! So our shoot days rely heavily on good weather to get that natural, minimalist lighting.”
On decorating: “By personalizing our own space, we’re also showing ourselves that change is okay. If we can’t rewrite the outside world right away, then maybe we can design a space to remind us that pretty things don’t always have to be on the fullest scale.”
DA Stall 10
Founder: Marrielle Saraos-Villavicencio
Expect: A variety of items, from unique vintage pieces, quirky toppers, farmhouse-themed props, eclectic decors, minimalist wares, and tchotchkes.
Favorite find: “Some of my favorite pieces are candleholders, because they’re pretty and useful at the same time.”
How it started: “I remember as a teen, my aunts would go to Dapitan Arcade, the home decor haven in Quezon City. They’d bring (me and my cousins) along. That started my passion as a thrifter. After a few years, we found ourselves really into it. From thrift shoppers, we became stall owners at Dapitan Arcade and started selling our own finds. I realized that this is something that I could and would love to do, too.”
On decorating: “I think that home improvement is self-care. It isn’t just making the most of your time at home. Of course, the process diverts your attention from everything that’s happening right now. I feel it’s a need to make your space yours because when you see something that pleases you, it makes you feel good. When you’re inspired, you’re excited — and you become hopeful to keep going.”
The Freeform Objects
Founders: Sisters Zam and Zuleika Gammad
Expect: Vintage and off-kilter glassware, glass art pieces and centerpieces, vases and lamps.
Favorite find: “Definitely the Iwata glass lamp, a vintage Japanese lamp from the ’60s.”
How it started: “The idea came to my sister and me while we were out thrift shopping for bedroom decor. I had just finished renovating my room, and we went to this thrift shop in our area that sold all these beautiful glass pieces. They were all one-of-a-kind and definitely not things I’d seen online before, so we decided to share our favorite pieces with everyone else — hence Freeform.”
On decorating: “When you surround yourself or create an environment that’s filled with items that speak to you, are meaningful to you, or just aesthetically pleasing to you, it lifts your mood. It can even be a source of inspiration, and at the very least, looking at something pretty is never a bad thing.”
Founder: Mikaela Keen
Expect: Fun and quirky home pieces from the ’70s and brand new contemporary items.
Favorite find: “This Neon Pink Clear Phone from the ’80s that I sourced locally here in Los Angeles.”
How it started: “Like most people, I rearranged my living space so many times at the start of the pandemic to keep myself productive and sane. I started posting stuff I wanted to get rid of online to make more room. My intention was to create a pleasant space to work and live in 24/7… until sourcing became a new little hobby. That’s how newnew was born. I launched it on new year’s day of 2021 –– a brand newnew year!”
On Instagram: “It’s important for me to present each item as close to reality as possible since the shop is fully digital. The floating/ green screen setup hopefully helps the viewer imagine it in his/ her own space. I try to make it look as tactile as possible since these are items that will live in people’s homes. I still have the time to engage with people in my messages. The conversations are usually us nerding out on the items and the nostalgia it sparks. It’s like Newnew is a portal to an era.”