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Collectors at heart and home

Two local friends, co-owners of "patina" in Scappoose, Diana Simpson and Carolyn Kuhn have weekend getaways filled with vintage-decorated furnishings and collectibles. Both homes are currently featured in national magazines
by: Gini Bramlett, Diana Simpson (above), co-owner of "patina" and Carolyn Kuhn, also a partner in the business, have turned their love of all things vintage into a thriving business in Scappoose

Diana Simpson's 1880's home away from home in Sea View, Wash., is a work in progress, but the summer issue of 'Country Decorating Ideas' magazine tells a different story. The interior of the two-story cottage with its original board-and-batten walls, dual fireplaces and eclectic country style decor reflect Simpson's decorating style.

A couple of years ago, a friend of Simpson's in Sea View had her home featured in 'Country Decorating Ideas' magazine. She took notice of how Simpson had created a homey casual style in her beach home and encouraged her to call the magazine. She did. Within days of that call last October, the photographers and stylists descending upon the beach town and took hundreds of preliminary pictures of the home. The photographs used in the magazine capture the colorful array of vintage items Simpson has collected on her regular flea market, farm auction and estate sale forays. 'It was a dreary day,' said Simpson, commenting on how bright and cheerful the photography appeared. 'They used huge outdoor lights to give the impression it was bright out.'

Simpson and her husband Steve, who live most of the time in Warren, bought the vintage riverboat captain's home about six years ago. With only one other owner since Captain Pope and his family finally parted with it in the 1950s, the large two-story home had changed little over the years. With a penchant for anything vintage, colorful and beautiful, it was love at first sight for Simpson.

Simpson set to work creating their weekend oasis, one room at a time, filling them with flea market finds, such as the vintage wicker chairs she bought for $20 she has on the sun porch facing the ocean, and her vast sea shell collection. She also collects vintage linens, furniture, china, silver (she doesn't polish it, preferring instead the tarnished look), quilts, pottery, bamboo and souvenir pillows which are in evidence by the sprinkling of the pastel-colored fabrics on chairs and sofas around the house.

Interest in all things vintage started when Simpson was a child. 'My parents were collectors,' said Simpson. 'My dad is 88 years old and is still collecting marbles.' Her collecting manifested itself when Simpson and two friends started 'Odd Dishes Sales,' thrice-yearly trunk show-like sales held for a while at the 'Time and Time Again' barn, and later at the Scappoose Creek Inn.

Then, last year Simpson, her daughter Heather Arnis, and four friends: Janet Williams, Carolyn Kuhn, Kathy Burger and Nancy Montisvil, pooled their talents and love of vintage collectibles and opened 'Patina,' a little gift shop next to Salon Halloo in Scappoose. Items range from shabby chic to antiques and anything for the home, even some new items that look old. 'We just have a variety,' said Simpson. 'Since there are six of us we bring in what we like. In spring we have a gazebo and sell garden items.'

Coincidently, another one of the co-owners of 'Patina,' Warren resident Carolyn Kuhn, has a Long Beach '60s era home that is featured in the May issue of 'Country Sampler' magazine. Kuhn's home differs from Simpson's in that it is a scant 600 square-feet in size. She secured the tiny bungalow when a realtor told her the owners were remodeling and would put it on the market when it was finished. 'When I saw it, I loved it and told the owners to stop remodeling,' said Kuhn.

Kuhn's home, like Simpson's, is decorated in vintage, but unlike Simpson who mixes the old with new, Kuhn's home doesn't contain anything that is not reused or recycled. 'Everything in my house has to be old,' said Kuhn. She even found an old and slightly damaged sign advertising beach cottages nailed to the bottom of an old desk she bought. Fixing the damage, she painted it and rubbed dirt on it, making it blend in with the old. Kuhn considers her cottage her hideaway where she can spend time with family and friends, especially the area around the fireplace. 'I love the coziness of it,' said Kuhn. 'It's full of family pictures, so I am surrounded by people I love.'