Susie Margaret Abate On Her Love for Antiques and Vintage Home Restoration

For International Women’s Month, we’re shining the spotlight on a handful of inspiring women who harness their feminine strengths in their work and personal lives.

Welcome to the first installment of our interview series, HerStory Unveiled: The Women Behind the Curated Spaces We Love. To kick things off, meet Susie Margaret Abate, a mother and design enthusiast currently working on restoring a century-old vintage farmhouse (@our1897vintagefarmhouse). Take a peak into her personal journey, design values, and essential advice for anyone looking to revamp their own home.

Your vintage farmhouse restoration is a fascinating project. Can you tell us more about how this came to be?

In 1997, we had our first son and needed a bigger home. This house had been empty for many years and when my mother suggested looking at it, my initial thought was no! It needs too much work. But when we entered the house and we saw all the charm and original features intact, we fell in love. The house needed new walls, new electric, a new roof and so much more. I was a stay-at-home mom, so we were on a tight budget. My husband and 79-year-old grandfather worked for 6 months straight to get the house liveable. I would help while my grandmother watched our 6-month-old son. It was truly a family effort!

How has this project stretched your creativity and eye for design?

My love of antiques came from me spending every weekend with my grandparents. Every Sunday we would drive out east to visit all the antique stores. Then we would have lunch. It’s one of my most beloved childhood memories. This house is the perfect place to incorporate that love while staying true to the home’s aesthetic.

What was the very first piece of antique that interested you when you were young?

When I was young I was obsessed with vintage china and it has carried over into my design now. Every room has a china wall and I love to set a vintage table. Antiques have always been a part of my life. My whole family has always embraced the vintage.

Restoring a farmhouse is a massive undertaking. What’s the most challenging thing about it so far?

Restoring a farmhouse is a massive undertaking, especially when you’re on a tight budget. My husband would work here at the house from early in the morning until 3 PM and then go to his real job from 4 PM until midnight. He was able to do everything himself, except for the heating system.

What design aesthetics have you been most drawn to during this process and why?

The design aesthetics I have been most drawn to are the original features of the house: the mouldings, ceiling medallions, the original tin ceiling we uncovered in the kitchen, and the woodwork in the foyer.

Your farmhouse is a labor of love. What is your favorite part of the house?

My favorite part of my house is our kitchen where all the love is poured into the dinner and then it is shared by the family.

What made you decide to share your farmhouse restoration journey on social media?

I wanted to share my love of home and family.

Any advice for other women seeking to accomplish similar projects, or for anyone looking to revamp their home?

My best advice in designing your home is to stay true to what you love. I have loved antiques since I was a little girl because I spent so much time with my grandparents. I once tried to stray from this love and tried to follow the trends. It ended up making me (and my home) feel empty. Your home is a reflection of you, and in my case, it is a haven for love and cherished memories, many of which are represented by the family heirlooms I treasure.

Sleep is a critical part of that, though it’s one one people often overlook especially with the business of daily life. How do your bedding choices help you foster more peaceful sleep and energized mornings? What other self-care practices do you prioritize?

Self-care is of utmost importance. I wake up early every day to meditate and exercise. For sleep, I think creating a peaceful and relaxing environment in our bedroom plays a major role. My bedding choices have to create a cozy, warm environment. A good night’s sleep is imperative to a productive day.

What’s your favorite HiEnd Accents product?

My favorite HiEnd Accents product is my Stella Faux Silk velvet bedspread set.