McGee & Co. Vintage | History Behind the Pieces

The best part about vintage décor is the stories that come with the pieces. Here, a few of our favorites.

27 March 2023 -

We love a good story—

—and like most items with any sort of age, our McGee & Co. vintage collection come with them in spades. Shea and the design team use vintage pieces in almost every project they work on, from one-room reveals on Netflix to whole-home, multi-year, ground-up builds. There are smaller décor moments, or conversations pieces, and furniture staples that have been reworked to fit the modern lifestyle. And there are a few that have a time-honored history of origin, no matter where it was sourced from. Here are a few of our favorite stories from the McGee & Co. vintage collection.

No. 01 | The Dough Bowl

No. 02 | The Metal Trunk

No. 03 | The Turkish Rug

No. 04 | The Workbench

white kitchen with white leather pendants over kitchen island with dough bowl
white dresser with vintage vignette with vintage Turkish rug

No. 01 | The Dough Bowl

In the 1800s and 1900s, before a plethora of other building materials were available, wooden dough bowls were a staple of kitchen shelves, used primarily for functional purposes rather than the décor items they’re considered today. The deep base and high sides of the bowl were hand-carved and provided a safe spot for the dough before baking. The heat generated from the yeast was retained in the wood and allowed for an even rise while the deep pit it sat in protected the dough from drafts. These wooden dough bowls were often handed down through generations, like a lot of vintage, getting better as they age.

Explore the McGee & Co. Vintage Collection here.

modern living room with vintage dough bowl in built-in cabinets
dining room with black hutch with vintage dough bowl
white kitchen with white leather pendants over kitchen island with dough bowl

No. 02 | The Metal Trunk

Large, handled trunks date back to the 1880s when transporting your luggage meant fitting it into the cabin of a steamship. When sea travel became the main mode of transportation, getting a traveler’s belongings on and off the ship was quite the chore, using the handles on the side of the trunk and carried by two men across the ship’s transfer bridge. First made of wood, the trunks were eventually constructed of metal, and sometimes covered with leather or canvas.

Explore the McGee & Co. Vintage Collection here.

brown vintage metal trunk
brown vintage metal trunk

No. 03 | The Turkish Rug

Turkish rugs have a rich and deep history, starting first with nomadic tribes needing something warm to cover a tent floor. The flatweave was particularly helpful when it came time to roll up and move on. The more intricate patterns didn’t come until later on, believed to be around the 13th century, when looms were constructed in town centers that could handle the rug’s traditional impressive scale. As the political climate of the country changed, as did the patterns and colors used in the rugs.

Explore the McGee & Co. Vintage Collection here.

living room with vintage Turkish rug
hallway with vintage Turkish runner rug
white dresser with vintage vignette with vintage Turkish rug

No. 04 | The Workbench 

Primitive workbenches are perhaps the oldest vintage item on this list. In ancient drawings and carvings, Roman woodworkers are depicted honing their craft on wood benches that were quite lower than what we see today, usually employing mortise-and-tenon joints. Vintage French benches commonly relied on dog clamps to keep their piece in place, while British and American benches used vises. Today, the pared-down and perfectly patinaed workbenches of the past provide an element of texture and visual intrigue to modern spaces.

Explore the McGee & Co. Vintage Collection here.

bedroom with vintage work bench at the end of the bed
vintage work bench styled with decor
vintage work bench behind sofa in living room
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Date Posted
27 March 2023