Friday, May 8, 2009


Vintage-inspired Living
By Kait Kucy

A couple months ago, I was brainstorming new topics to include in the relaunching of Kitschykoo! and after coming up with a lengthy list of exciting things currently happening in Urbania, I decided that a feature on fabulous style and interior decorating was in order. I am constantly surrounded by people with impeccable fashion sense and a knack for setting trends, but in our current recessionista nomadic way of life, it is rare you come across a home that is truly put together. After hearing rumour upon rumour that my friend Jodie Leanne Sentes had quite possibly the perfect Vintage Life apartment, I had to drop by and take a look! It was all true. Treasures upon treasures, and all packed neatly into a historic bachelor apartment located in the Mission area of Calgary, AB. Sentes, a local jewellery designer, creates the most whimsical and unique pieces from glasses chains to feathered necklaces and notes that she finds most of her inspiration by her apartment and collections. I sat down with Sentes on a sunny late winter afternoon in her delightful pad, with a fragrant tea light burning and a vintage Santa Claus to my left and really got to know Jodie Leanne Sentes' apartment.

Choose 3 words to describe your apartment’s style
Cozy. Eccentric. Lovely.

Where do you get your design inspiration from?

More of if I see something, I have to get it. I haven’t tried to match anything up, its all been random purchases. I’m really into little trinkets and miniatures, and you can never have too much stuff, I find. The more packed the better.

Are there any particular eras or ideas you feel yourself growing towards?

I was gravitating towards the 50s and 60s, I definitely have a soft spot though for the 20s. These silk pillows I have, they are from around 20s-40s, and I picked them up from a church sale for a quarter each. I have had them packed away for the longest time, waiting for the right space or apartment, but with this space – anything goes. Anything from the 20s. I have a couple items from the 20s packed away, just waiting to paint my apartment.

What colour are you painting?
I’m going to paint a light green, a retro light green. Its an awesome colour. For this place, the colour is nice and neutral but its not bright enough, especially since I don’t have a lot of sunlight. I have a lot of lamps right now.

Who were your formal influences growing up in terms of style or design?

I would have to say my biggest influence would be my grandma. I’ve been raised by her, and I’ve been doing antiques with her since I was five. I’ve been hanging out and when she would go get a coffee I would sell her stuff. She is a huge influence. She knows what style I have now, like if its pretty crazy and out there, I’ll probably like it. She tends to be more all over the place. She likes the 40s more. Andy Warhol is a big influence as well as Diane Arbus as well as Artist Daniela Kamiliotis.

What is the biggest purchase you ever made?
The matching couch to the chair I currently have in my apartment. It was a 1950s Davenport. You lift up the bottom and it turns into a bed, and it has a storage underneath. I only spent a $100, but is definitely the BIGGEST purchase I made. I have many prized possessions. The elephant lamp is definitely one of my most prized. Original shade, topper…the only thing that’s been replaced is the cord.

You do a lot of jewelry design, do you feel that your personal style and apartments style inspire your creative vision for your jewelry?

Oh for sure. For sure. The colours are all really bright. Colours you wouldn't expect to go together, that really influences me. I have lots of stuff around my apt to give me inspiration. As well as I would like to someday see somebody like: Betsey Johnson, Vivian Westwood or Mary-Kate Olsen flaunting my craft!!

What are you up to in your spare time?

Making jewelry. I go to antique shows, both selling and buying. I like to spend time with friends, go to shows. Hanging out with friends, thats one of my favourite things.

What do you wish you could be doing more of?

I would definitely like to take 6 months off from work, get a mini van and drive to the states. Hit all the small towns, go to random diners, see how much stuff I can fill the van with. Bring it all back and get another bookshelf to fill up. I'd just love to go to these places that have so much stuff, here there is hardly any secondhand stores, Value Village is way overpriced. I'd like to open a store. A coffee shop with local art, move some of my stuff from my apartment into the store. Retro feel. And make more jewelry. I try to make jewelry at work as well as at home. I'll sometimes work on things until 4 in the morning.

Are there any themes that tend to show up in your home?

Yes, there is definitely more than one. I hadn't really noticed until my sister mentioned that she had noticed lots of woodland creatures. Owls, deers.... I have a little squirrel brought back from Chicago. I have a lamp with deers on it.
What really gets me is Urban Outfitters. You go on there and you see the same things on the website as you have (the real thing). Everything is coming back in fashion. Its really special to have the authentic object.

What is your dream home like?
I totally want a little house. An old shack. An old creaky, haunted -- something I can fix up. Not much bigger than my apt. I'd like to be in Montreal. A little garden with a picket fence. Maybe two more cats.

How do you feel your apt represents your personality? Cozy, eccentric, and lovely?
Yes, those words work for me, I guess. I am pretty cozy. Definitely. My home and I are one. I am more in love with it everyday.

Where do you think you will go from here? Moving plans? Rearranging?

I was thinking about moving to a one-bedroom apartment, but knowing the history of my friend the previous tenant, having lived here for 17 years -- I can definitely picture myself living here for 17 years. I might rearrange, I might find a way to block my bed and get more bookshelves -- more space. I want to paint, like I said. I have no intentions of moving, besides moving to Montreal in the future. Content with staying here and traveling. This is my home base.

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