Profile: Jovan and Katie Blineau

PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNITY YOU SHOULD KNOW: Jovan and Katie Blineau – Vintage Curators

Who are you?

A couple who loves antiques almost as much as we love each other.

What do you do in real life?

Life outside of being a small business owner? What’s that?! All kidding aside, our work life is our real life. We absolutely love what we do, and we enjoy spending our free time going on road trips to find new pieces to add to our collection. When we’re not doing that (and even when we are) you can find us spending time with our two puppies, who are more like our children, and eating and drinking our way through new restaurants in Wynwood.

What do you like most about what you do?

I don’t think we can pick just one thing. From the thrill of the hunt or finding a new piece, to the exciting feeling of when we get a new sofa or chair back from our upholsterer, and of course having the opportunity to style weddings and photo shoots to make things picture perfect – it’s all the best part. If we had to pick just one, though, we would have to say our amazing clients. As a boutique rental company, we take the time to get to know everyone. Then getting that “thank you” after their wedding, or the review that says we made their dreams come true, always reminds us why we do what we do.

Why Vintage?

Vintage pieces tell a story about where they came from. These days, things are made to be disposable – furniture, décor, clothing, just about everything – nothing is built to last. We’re just as guilty as the next person of getting lost in Ikea and coming home with furniture that takes hours to build that falls apart a year later and ends up in the trash, but we don’t think that’s how things should be. Antique furniture was not meant to be disposable. The quality and the craftsmanship that went into building each piece make each item special and unique. The dovetailing on the inside of a dresser drawer, the hand carvings in the back of a sofa, they make each item special and it tells a story as part of the history.

How did you come up with the idea to create Unearthed Vintage?

The idea came from our engagement in June of 2011. Once engaged we knew the style of wedding we wanted, vintage, eclectic, a little quirky, and nothing too ‘matchy-matchy’. We searched and searched for a company who offered rentals to create this style of wedding, and we were upset to learn that at the time, the only companies who offered this existed in California. We didn’t want to compromise on the style of our wedding just because a company didn’t yet exist in South Florida, so we began collecting items on our own. We gave ourselves just under 8 months to gather everything we needed, and when it took us less than 3 months to have enough items for our 100 person wedding, we began talking about what it would be like to be business owners and to do this for other people’s weddings. We ended up planning not only our wedding {February 18th, 2012}, but the launch of our business {January 24th, 2012}.

What makes your things special?

This goes back to the question, why vintage? The history behind each piece makes each piece special, telling a story about where it came from. For example, our farmhouse tables are built of over 100-year-old reclaimed barnwood from Tennessee. Barns were built using square nails back then, and we chose to keep the square holes in each piece of wood when building our tables. It adds character and tells the story of the barn the wood came from. We also do our very best to keep the integrity of each piece we find. Often we find sofas and chairs with their original upholstery, and if we’re able to fix or repair the upholstery, rather than covering it with entirely new fabric, we always choose to do so.

Who and how do you name the pieces you rent?

All of our pieces are somewhat like our children. We joke about what we’ll name our kids one day – who knows; maybe they’ll end up being named after our favorite sofa. We try to stick with names that we love and are from the era the piece comes from. Each name is unique and chosen with great care by either Jovan or myself. If a sofa originated in the 1920’s, then what a better name than Eleanor, Genevieve, Loretta, or Geraldine? We love putting a name to the “face” of each of our pieces.

What is your personal favorite?

That’s a tough one! I think that would have to be a tie for two of our newest pieces, Penelope and Evelyn. I had been dreaming about these two chesterfield sofas for months, and finally we got them – in a blush pink velvet {Penelope} and a grey canvas {Evelyn}. They’re beautiful.

What is rented most and for what occasion?

By far our farmhouse tables and bistro lighting are our most rented items. We’ve used these for private backyard dinner parties, to weddings of 150 or more guests. The bistro lighting adds the perfect touch to any outdoor occasion, adding just the right amount of light for beautiful after-dark photos, and we love our farmhouse tables so much we even have one in our own kitchen!

Why do you think brides want vintage weddings?

Whether it’s a touch of vintage as a memento to a lost loved one, a rustic-vintage wedding for the bride who grew up in the country and loves the look of burlap, hay bales and mason jars, to the classic-vintage look with lots of lace, mixed metal candle holders with tall white taper candles, and Eleanor, our timeless tufted white Victorian sofa, vintage weddings can take on any style. It allows brides to really personalize their big day so their wedding doesn’t look like anything that’s been done in the past.

Do you hunt out vintage pieces on request?

Always! We won’t promise that we can find it, but we always do our best to find what it is our clients are looking for. The thrill of the hunt is one of the best parts.

What has been the hardest request to fulfill so far?

Building a 12’ custom bar along with a 12’ bar back for Art Basel in only 4 days. We literally worked through the night until 9am in order to be ready for a 1oam delivery. The bar ended up looking amazing, and we were incredibly proud of ourselves for accomplishing that in such a short amount of time. We happily enjoyed a drink served from our bar, then slept like babies that night.

Where do you find your pieces?

Everywhere. Literally. From flea markets to estate sales, road trips, you name it. We don’t ever stop looking, and often our collection grows on a daily basis!

You just did an event with Saks for Stella McCartney, how much fun was that?

So fun! When we got the phone call that they wanted us to not only provide rentals for the in-store event, but for a private, invite-only dinner party as well, we didn’t even know how to react. I think speechless was our initial reaction, followed by being absolutely amazed and thankful that they wanted us to take part in such a huge event. Once the day of the event finally arrived it was amazing to see the production team at Xquisite Events put together such a beautiful layout and to see people enjoying our vintage pieces as part of the set-up.

How did you approach the design and execution?

For the Stella McCartney event, the design team at Saks sent us their inspiration, as well as the plans that Xquisite Events had to lay grass and hedges in the store to create an authentic English Garden Party feel. We immediately knew we had to use our white ice cream parlor chairs and our white spool tables as part of the overall design, and loved the pop of color Geraldine added to a small seating area. The final touch was our canary wharf carreta, which was the perfect piece to display lots of flowers on.

Is your home vintage?

Our home is a mix of vintage-industrial and mid-century with a little bit of modern here and there. We love how all of these things can be incorporated for a cohesive look.

What inspires you?

A color, a flower, a photo, a song, an outfit. Inspiration comes from everywhere. A lot of times I find myself styling a vignette that ends up reflecting a recent outfit I wore with similar colors and textures. The pantone color of the year is emerald and we already have found ourselves pulling some of our upcoming design inspiration from richer colors.

What influences you most?

We always keep our eye on what is up and coming in the wedding and design world. Style Me Pretty, Green Wedding Shoes, Ruffled – those are our favorite wedding blogs to keep up with. Sometimes our brides influence us too! They come to us with an idea and we get to run with it to bring their vision to life.

What books/mags do you have on your bedside table?

Right now we have Southern Weddings Magazine and we’re looking to get our hands on Style Me Pretty Weddings, and The New-Fashioned Wedding by the Bash, Please girls.

Describe your personal style like a good friend of yours would?

Unique, eclectic, influential, and inspiring. Stripes, plaid, floral patterns, and bright colors can usually be found paired together in every outfit I wear. I love the look of mixing colors and patterns.

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