'I'm Not Old, I'm Vintage'
A sign says it all at Stephanie Sieben vintage furniture shop on Haddonfield's Kings Highway.
Even the trio of pastel-painted stacking tables placed near the doorway into Roomers lures passersby. They’re simple, vintage-y and perhaps just the right practical addition to a family room.
Stephanie Sieben, who opened her painted furniture boutique on Kings Highway in February to fulfill a long dream of owning her own business, has pulled together older furniture with new decorating ideas to create a shop stuffed with one-of-a-kind items.
Corner cabinets, painted in stripes or highlighted with hand-drawn flowers, are popular, she says. Dining room and desk chairs, some distressed and most upholstered in pretty fabrics, could fill a void in a foyer or kitchen. Here you can find a perfect table to hold towels in the bathroom or stash a child’s toys in a corner of the living room. Need a bedside table that doesn’t scream out the name of a major furniture retailer? If it’s not here this week, it could be next, especially if you can give Sieben a hint about what you’re looking for.
Sieben, who next week will return to her day job of teaching high-school English in the Cinnaminson school district, gathers the furniture from a network of suppliers. Some of it is from flea markets and estate sales, other pieces from auctions. Most of it arrives already painted and decorated, although she does some of the decorating.
Her inventory ranges from small mailboxes to a china closet that’s about 36 inches wide and has a matching storage piece that could work as a sideboard.
Because so many of the homes in Haddonfield have small rooms, Sieben said, she focuses on furniture that isn’t gigantic. She’ll have items painted or decorated to order, but mostly she relies on the decorating ideas of her suppliers, who see a vision in the curve of a table leg.
Sieben said visitors are always welcome and she likes especially to chat with older women who look at newly decorated pieces and recall how similar items were in their homes when they were young women.
The furnishings, mostly all wood, have good bones, she says, and have years of use left in them. A few pieces have been stripped of old finishes and stained but most are painted a la the shabby chic concept.
The location previously was a sports memorabilia shop and Sieben brightened it with yellow paint, keeping the lattice on the walls when she realized it was ideal for displaying items like mirrors and artwork. She pulled up dark green carpeting that had been in place and installed dark laminated floors.
Sieben is working on updating info on the shop’s Facebook page and on the website, roomersfurniture.com, to show new inventory.
The shop opened on Presidents Day weekend in February and has drawn a steady run of customers and browsers, she said. One customer used items she found at Roomers to outfit a nursery.
Pastels are most common, but a few items painted in flat black, with distressed edges, show more sophistication. Some pieces have beachy looks, brightened by sketches of shore birds.
A teacher for 18 years, Sieben said she was on a day trip to St. Michaels with her sister, Lorraine, about a year ago when she expressed some concerns about burning out in education. “I had always dreamed of owning my own business. My sister told me to do something I was really passionate about. That was furniture.
“So this is it. This is my dream, my first attempt at business,” said Sieben as she walked around furniture pieces jammed into the store about a half-hour before she opened the door to the public.
Her teaching duties limit her time in the shop, said Sieben, so she relies heavily on her sister for shop duties and for her own specialty of painted picture frames.
Items range from about $50 to $500. Sieben’s current personal favorite is a child’s vanity with a large oval mirror. The piece comes with a vanity bench painted green and upholstered in hot pink fluffy fabric.
One of the more unusual items is a coffee table with the original beveled glass insert.
The shop carries some home accessories, like a $70 set of four rooster canisters and a collection of soaps and bath salts from an herb farm in Forest City, NC. Sieben will be adding candles from that supplier in a few weeks, she said.
She’s working out details with Habitat for Humanity to donate a piece from her shop to homeowners benefiting from that volunteer organization.
Price tags on the furniture and accessories all are stamped with Sieben’s motto: Live well, Laugh often, Love much.
Roomers at 138 Kings Highway East is open Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Fridays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m.
The shop is closed Monday and Tuesday.