Ashley Harding’s new Fulton Market showroom is a dream come true for the local maker.
A vintage sofa reupholstered by Vintage Refined in Fabricut fabric incorporated into a project by interior designer Julie Mitchiner
After a nine-year run in a finance and accounting career, Ashley Harding decided her heart wasn’t in it. In 2014, after being drawn in by the allure of interior design (a craft she’s been passionate about since she was old enough to rearrange her bedroom), she expanded beyond painting in her garage and launched full-service custom and painted furniture brand Vintage Refined, a Chicago-based, woman-owned company. And in January, she opened the doors to her Fulton Market showroom.
A Vintage Refined walnut campaign desk in a space designed by Mitchiner
“I wanted to create a place where customers could come and enjoy an all-encompassing shopping experience,” Harding says. “There are so many talented designers in various trades in the Chicago area who I really wanted to support and showcase,” she says of her decision to showcase other local makers. “Personally, I love discovering new brands and designers who aren’t mainstream.”
Throughout the space, clients will find Harding’s own work, consisting of custom chairs and various other painted pieces; woman-owned textile brand Merinda Studio (look out for the Vintage Refined x Merinda fabric line collab); Stone Textile; and four woman visual artists: Christina Jones, Erin Henkel, Eleanor Miz and Andrea Hitpas. A cohesive fusion of vintage and modern selects populate the showroom, with standouts such as a pink lacquered Thomasville bench and a range of painted accent chairs on offer.
While designing the showroom, Harding imagined an atmosphere that would complement the furniture and art. “While I am a traditionalist at heart, I didn’t want the showroom to feel like an extension of my home,” she says. “I opted for more modern finishes and bolder colors.”
Inside the Vintage Refined showroom
Location was also a major factor. “After I found this space, I got my heart set on it, and was determined to make it work,” Harding says. “Not only did I want the physical space to represent my brand, I wanted to be in a location that also fit my brand. Fulton Market really checked all the boxes. It’s a neighborhood that has really seen a transformation in recent years, yet still encompasses the grittiness and authenticity of its past. My showroom is an extension of that feeling.” 855 W. Randolph St., 2nd Floor