Tucson Lifestyle Home and Garden — October 2015
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The Pros Who Know: Blast From The Past
Thomas Veneklasen

Russell’s Retro Furnishings is the go-to stop for mid-century furniture and accessories, overflowing with items guaranteed to trigger fond memories in many of his customers. It is the only store of its kind in Tucson, offering a variety of vintage originals as well as refinished, reupholstered and restored pieces. Owner Russell Shumate grew up in his mother’s upholstery supply business as well as his father’s vintage car upholstery workshop. He honed his skills as a cabinetmaker before getting the retro bug and opening his showroom last year. His fiancée Lynn Alecia handles the shop’s marketing and assists with the research of each new acquisition.

Tips and Trends

• Mid-century style has seen a great resurgence due to shows like Mad Men.

• When buying restored mid-century furniture make sure the “bones” are sound and that the restoration pays homage to the form and function of the original design.

• Ask questions and seek expert knowledge to learn the history and quality of a vintage item before you purchase.

• Authentic restored pieces hold their value and become an investment.

• Purchasing vintage furniture is seen as eco friendly; restoration saves them from landfills and gives them a new life for a younger generation.

• Furniture pieces with age-worn fabrics often are reupholstered with vintage fabrics from Russell’s Retro inventory before making it into their showroom. Custom upholstered pieces from his warehouse also are available.