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COVER STORY | 15 Vintage Lifetimes


These west suburban Chicago residents will leave you impressed and inspired as you are introduced to their vintage lifetime– from unique collections and career hobbies, to sentimental keepsakes and interesting talents– each nostalgic tale will connect you to yesteryear.

Kelly Holmes, Clarendon Hills

Vintage Fresh

Hinsdale’s Kelly Holmes learned to love beautiful old, handmade things by spending so much time at her grandparent’s home when she was young. She roamed the house looking at the antiques and homemade clocks – some that her grandfather made himself. “My mom used to tell me I was born in the wrong era,” says Kelly. “She was probably right.”Today, Kelly has taken her love for vintage and turned it into a business. Vintage Fresh, in Clarendon Hills, showcases Kelly’s refurbished furniture and vintage accessories. She even teaches and guides her customers on their own projects with a product she loves and sells, Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. “Once you do one piece of furniture, you become hooked,” explains Kelly. “Seeing the end-product of your own handiwork is very exciting.” –MK

Lori and Ashley Durham, Aurora

Vintage Market

With a love for decorating, staging, and antiques, opening The Vintage Market in North Aurora simply fulfilled this mother-daughter’s passion in life. Lori loves to sew and can make pretty much anything from pillows to curtains, and Ashley loves to stage and set up different vignettes throughout the store; so working together is effortless. Plus, Lori’s obsession with vintage chairs and sofas keeps the store filled with unique and timeless pieces. “We love vintage because it has good bones,” Ashley says. “We also love that the pieces have been all over the world in different states and countries. You almost travel with the pieces once they’re in your home in your mind.”The ladies love mixing old and new furniture to create a vintage inspired look. –KK

Lisa Hartman, Aurora

Vintage Farmlife

Having always enjoyed history, crafts, and working with children, operating as an Interpreter at Blackberry Farm in Aurora is the perfect place for 21 year old, Lisa Hartman. Part of her job is spinning; which produces both thread and yarn. As a crocheter and knitter, Lisa was immediately hooked and loves using the sheep wool or flax to make intricate blankets. She is most proud of spinning her first two skeins of yarn on the drop spindle recently to make a pair of socks. Lisa watches a lot of YouTube videos to pick up skills to use in the Weaver's Cabin, like plying yarn and warping a loom. Working hands-on with antique items has influenced her career and education decisions. This fall, she is returning to school to earn a master's degree in Public History. –KK

Jason Meslin, Naperville

Vintage Cars

Jason says the automobile restoration community is an extremely passionate group of people with many different talents, temperaments, and convictions. Cars evoke emotions for people; especially Jason. His 1972 Chevy Nova Custom Restomod belonged to his childhood best friend, Jeff Bevan, who was killed by a drunk driver in 1998.Jeff purchased the car in 1994 with intentions of rebuilding it himself. After his death, Jason purchased it from Jeff’s father. “My need for closure and the desire to honor my lost friend inspired me to begin a journey that started in 2006 and finished in 2016.”The “J72” Nova is a tribute to Jason’s best friend and the car was and will always be, “Jeff’s 72 Nova”, thus the license plates and logo you find on and in the car. –KK

Julie Starck, St. Charles

Erasistable Vintage Rentals & Styling

Julie Starck, from St. Charles, is inspired by bringing a vintage vision to life for photographers, brides and other vintage lovers. She owns Erasistable Vintage Rentals & Styling, a business that rents out vintage props and accessories. “When I can bring my client’s dream into reality, it’s magical,” says Julie.Julie loves the treasure hunt of her job. Favorite era? “I have to say the 1920’s- the clothing, the music, the Charleston and the free-spirited lifestyle,” says Julie. She and her husband, Marty, were even married with a 1920’s vintage themed wedding with guests dressed in the era as well. Their 1938 home is complete with treasures from the past, including a canary yellow Chambers stove she still uses for cooking today. –MK

Lindsay Jirasek, Wheaton Vintage Clothes Lindsay inherited her love of the past from her parents, which encouraged her to begin selling vintage clothing as a teen. Although Lindsay has a degree in Education and English, she chose to pursue another passion when she opened Frocks and Frills vintage in 2012. Lindsay can find beauty in every piece she purchases for the store, and spends hours restoring items to perfection as these items are not vintage-inspired; but, indeed authentically old. She believes that vintage is classically sexy and daring. Lindsay states that, "it's not outdated, or frumpy, it's what grandma wore when she was hot. I love the quality and history of the pieces." At 32 years old, Lindsay is a modern-day entrepreneur helping people rekindle romance from the past. –KK

Cathi Mundsinger, Oswego Vintage Museum A volunteer with the Oswegoland Heritage Association since 1985, Cathi loves connecting history to real life at the Little White School Museum. She has worked to resource thousands of visitors to the museum. Her favorite artifact is the Oscar Shoger straw boater hat; a boater with an 18" string and button attached. She enjoys watching children challenge themselves figuring out the purpose of the string and button - a simple activity that makes 90 years disappear for kids. Cathi also lived in an 1895 farmhouse for 30 years. The house was filled with traces of the last 4 generations of her husband’s family including scribbles from when he was 4 years old. She feels the vintage home gave her marriage and children a strong base and sparks awesome memories. –KK

Glenn Lynch, Aurora Out of The Attic Antiques Glenn Lynch began as a basement collector of antique barware including English water pitchers, shot glasses, beer taps, steins and whiskey pourers. When he retired from big box retail, he took the opportunity to turn his love for vintage into a business. He now owns and runs Out of the Attic Antiques outside of the Fox Valley Mall Center in Aurora. It is a 10,000 square-foot space, and he rents space to over 70 dealers, which makes it one of Chicagoland’s largest antique malls. The store appeals to all ages, both male and female. “My favorite part of my job is working with the dealers to procure their merchandise,” says Glenn, “and helping customers find the items they grew up with.” –MK

Marlon Mathre, Newark/Yorkville Vintage Coins, Naperville Marlon got interested in rare coins as a kid when his uncle offered him a dollar for an old wheat penny. Uncle Harold later gave him a 1967 copy of The Blue Book. “I got hooked and I haven’t quit looking for rare coins since,” Marlon says. Right out of high school, he opened Yorkville Coin Investments. 15 years later he opened Fox Valley Coins, now located in Naperville. His most memorable purchase was a 1915 $50 gold Pan-Pac Commemorative which weighs nearly 2.5 Troy ounces of gold, is octagonal, has an owl on it, and was worth $80,000 at the time! He is fascinated with the unique history of coins, such as the special WWII nickels minted out of silver; ancient coins from Corinth, Widow's Mites; and coins with the actual portrait of Christ himself! –KK

Thomas Milschewski, Yorkville Vintage Photos Thomas’s home is filled with antiques passed down from family members, as well as antiques from stores around the area. He especially loves old photos and began researching his own home’s history and discovered that the founder of the Kendall County Record lived in his house when he founded the record! He also learned the street he grew up on was known as "the Wall Street of Yorkville" in the early 1900's. Thomas is an accomplished violinist and teacher who dedicates his spare time to finding vintage pictures and then locating the people or building where it was originally taken. He then takes a modern picture holding the old photo in front of the matching scene and includes a historical story. He is always on the hunt for new photos! –KK

Adam Gibbons Historical Author, Geneva Every night for dinner, Adam Gibbons, his wife, Heidi and children, Evelyn (9) and Tobias (7) sit down at his great-great grandmother’s kitchen table. Afterwards, Tobias practices his music on the 1897 piano, while Evelyn rests her violin music on her great-great-great grandmother’s settee. Adam loves his family antiques, old family traditions and local history. He has taken these passions into researching and writing local historical books titled Founders and Early History of Geneva, Kane County, Illinois, and An Illustrated History of Campton Township, Kane County, Illinois (Parts 1 and 2). “It gives me a thrill to study historic documents, find obscure historic photographs and make new discoveries,” says Adam, whose books can be found at Town House Books in St. Charles or online at www.camptontownshiphistory.com.–MK Photo Submitted

Ashley Downing Curator, DuPage Historical Museum, Wheaton Ashley Downing has always been interested in history and historical artifacts. It started in high school when she aspired to be an archeologist, just like Indiana Jones. In college, she participated in two archeology field schools and graduated with a Masters in Anthropology. She now finds herself in the museum field as the Curator of the DuPage Historical Museum where she is constantly surrounded by the past. Her favorite part of her job is being able to go behind the locked door. “There are so many things in museums that are not on display,” says Ashley. “My job is to go through objects and record information. Every week, I find something else that just puts me in awe.” –MK Photo Submitted

Bob Markert Classic Car Show, Downers Grove If you happen to roam downtown Downers Grove on any Friday night in the summertime, you will come across an array of classic cars out for show on Main Street between Maple and Franklin. Bob Markert, Chairman of the Downtown Summer Nights Classic Car Show, works tirelessly every week with his committee to bring a different themed classic car display to the community. One night it might be Thunderbirds, another Model “T” Fords. Bob was involved in the vintage car hobby at an early age. He is also the President of the Illinois Region Antique Automobile Car Club and a National Car Judge. “I love working with the people who collect cars and listening to their stories,” says Bob, “and I love watching the spectators having fun.”

–MK / Photo Submitted

Cassie Van Tassel

Vintage Faire, Minooka

Garbage days are fun days for Cassie Van Tassel and her boyfriend – along with garage, estate sale and auction days. They drive around in his 1979 Ford f350 and scout, pick, repurpose and reinvent vintage items to be sold at the Vintage Faire she runs in Minooka. “My entire work and hobby life revolve around creating vintage treasures to showcase and sell at the Faire,” says Cassie. The Vintage Faire is open the last Sunday of every month February through November. Cassie includes 60 other vintage vendors at the Faire each month as well. After quitting a corporate job for the vintage world, she loves the time she can now spend with her children at their activities and with her boyfriend reworking found treasures. –MK / Photo by Lisa G. Photography

Danette Lince Dane Vintage, Woodridge For Danette Lince to travel through her hometown of Naperville, she could either ride on her Schwinn Fair Lady bike - complete with a banana seat - or in her husband’s 1969 Javelin. She has always been intrigued by vintage goods, which she believes are a better design and quality than most modern construction. “Ultimately, I think necessity drove me in that direction,” explains Danette. “Vintage goods are also ‘used goods’, and they are much less expensive than purchasing new.” After a corporate layoff in the early 2000’s, Danette dabbled in reselling mid-century and Danish modern furnishings, which later grew to vintage clothing. She now owns Dane Vintage in Woodridge where you can find an array of vintage clothing and pieces to add into your wardrobe. –MK

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