The studio and shop today overflow with an abundance of fascinating furniture: repurposed and redesigned vanities, tables, chairs, bed frames, benches, and desks. Schober spends several hours each week combing flea markets, estate sales, yard sales, consignment shops, and searching Craigslist to find the perfect pieces.
Her boyfriend’s parents, whom she calls her “pickers,” also scour sources of collectible items on her behalf. “Old pieces just have so much character, and furniture isn’t made like that anymore,” Schober says. Her favorite pieces are the ones that she says “need some love.” Turning finds into something beautiful and worthy is the essence of the partners’ business philosophy. To that end, Schober uses different painting, sanding, and waxing techniques to both accentuate and fix up the imperfections of each piece.
Crupi-Dulmaine upholsters the furniture and makes pillows and window treatments to highlight each piece of repurposed furniture. The fabrics are marvelous bleached-out pastels and bright colors in bold, yet whimsical designs as well as damask prints that Crupi-Dulmaine designs in-house for printing at a North Carolina company. The fabric, designed by hand or with computer software, combines the seamstress’s love for graphic design and her considerable sewing talents.
One highlight of Crupi-Dulmaine’s craftsmanship is a series of whimsical custom fabrics devoted to various Cape towns, each pattern a collage of graphics depicting landmarks, businesses, and other icons. The Sandwich fabric, for example, includes local favorites like Scorton Creek, Sandy Neck Beach, Shawme Pond, the Boardwalk, Town Neck, and East Sandwich Beach.
Crupi-Dulmaine also takes commissions for custom wall pieces and window treatments. Besides selling pieces in the retail space, MVDS does commission work for homes and offices. Customers approach MVDS with a picture of an empty room and the pair design and create pillows and valances as well as furniture to showcase each individual interior.
At MVDS, redesigning time-worn furniture doesn’t simply help retell a story—it honors the past. “I love having a piece of history in a home, serving its new family,” Schober says. “I love telling customers who come in about our different pieces, where they came from, and what they were once used for.” At Modern Vintage Design Studio, holding on to the past means telling a great story again.
Ashleigh Bennett is a freelance writer and photographer who lives in East Sandwich. Hillary Wenzel contributed to this story.