Home & Garden

Home décor by consignment

Decorative painting gives new life to a vintage bench.
Decorative painting gives new life to a vintage bench.

Out of necessity, real estate brokers Shannon Simonini and Kathryn Powell became savvy interior designers. Their specialty: making over a home without putting up a lot of cash.

So when they decided to go in together on a retail business, they concluded a consignment store would be a good fit. They opened Atascadero’s Design on a Dime in November.

Although they carry a range of looks, they give priority to on-trend cottage and vintage pieces, what they call a “Pottery Barn style.” This includes solid wood furniture with a rustic or painted finish, as well as good-quality wicker furniture. They also favor accents like wrought iron and vintage glassware.

Many of their consigners make their furniture stand out by creating distinctive painted finishes. At the very least, the owners require that items be clean and in good repair.

“It should be in decent condition, no chips, not broken,” said Simonini. “It’s a good idea to wash it and price it.”

She recommends bringing in photos in advance to avoid hauling in something that is simply not a good fit for the store. If you want to increase your odds of being selected, choose items from Simonini’s list of hot sellers. Solid wood is always popular, especially dressers and desks. Although they don’t accept upholstered pieces, wood seating is always in demand. Wicker is particularly popular.

“It’s hard to find these days because it’s so expensive to ship,” she said.

Kitchen items are a solid bet for consignment. Especially popular are pieces of a vintage, cottage style such as apothecary jars, decorative chickens and roosters, old canisters, and pottery bowls and jars. Textiles such as antique linens, tablecloths and doilies are also popular. They accept older china pieces, especially collectible items like Blue Willow.

What doesn’t sell well, however, are fussier, formal pieces, like antiques with dark finishes, and silver. While the shop does stock some tea sets, silverware and silver serving pieces are mostly passé due to today’s low-maintenance, casual lifestyles.

Simonini and Powell will soon be adding new, non-vintage items to the store including both home décor and gift merchandise. Also, they plan to carry items for the garden and patio starting this spring including furniture, accents and garden art.

Design on a Dime is at 8550 El Camino Real, Suite B in Atascadero, 550-9233. Many of the shop’s consigned pieces may be viewed at http://designonadimegifts.webs.com.

Reach Rebecca Juretic at rajuretic@sbcglobal.net.