What makes a purchase “worth it”? The answer is different for everyone, so we request some of the coolest, most shopping savvy people we know, from small business owners to designers, artists and actors—to tell us the story of one of their most prized possessions.
Arranging really good vintage furniture is literally Tenlie Mourningday job. As CEO and Founder of Denwell, a digital source of creative inspiration and shopping choices curated by vintage furniture professionals, hunting is its bread and butter. She describes devoting the last years of her life to learning about vintage furniture and connecting with the vintage seller community as “a real thrill in my world”. Dendwell specializes in objects imbued with meaning, each with an origin story of its own.
Some origin stories are born out of necessity. “When we moved into our apartment, I knew we would need a long, thin table,” Tenlie recalls. The natural angle of the dining room gave the gathering space a transitional feel. Plus, it created the opportunity for a big table. Buying a table that seats ten was what she calls “very serious and grown-up.” Inspired by postmodernism and grounded in a sense of togetherness, Tenlie set out to find a table and chair setup that seemed like the perfect stage for dinner parties to come.
When and where?
Like many great New York furniture love stories, Tenlie’s began craigslist. Located in Park Slope, a short walk from her Harlem apartment, she took matters into her own hands by hiring a moving service and coming down for a solo pickup. “It was a total New York moment for me and the seller to drag this huge table up the steps of their brownstone and into the truck,” she says. Two years later, the table could use new laminate wrapping, but it’s still a treasured piece in the founder’s home.
“As someone who is very prone to changing my mind and tastes, I have to really like a piece before I bring it home,” she explains. “It must touch a nerve in me and inspire absolute clarity that this is the piece.” At the heart of Dendwell’s philosophy is a shared belief that the objects we bring into our homes tell stories about how we hope to live.
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