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WHAT'S UP WEDNESDAY: Historic building restored into antique furniture shop in downtown core (16 photos)

Lorraine Schmidt of Hidden Beauty Vintage Antique Furniture opened her shop doors for business this week in Bradford's downtown core

Hidden Beauty Vintage, an antique furniture and decor shop opened last week in Bradford's downtown core. 

After spending the entire winter renovating the space at 67 Holland St. West, shop owner Lorraine Schmidt is excited to finally have her doors open to the public. 

It will be five years this summer since Schmidt first started her business, Hidden Beauty Vintage, restoring antique furniture pieces out of her garage. She always dreamed of having her own storefront location, so when she saw the building up for lease last fall, she knew it was meant to be. 

Always a fan of antiquity, she was drawn to the historic building, its character and the story behind it.

"I have always had a special place in my heart for this building," she said, noting it is one of the last original buildings on the street, due to the tragic fire that took out most of the properties in 1871. "These are the last of our Victorian homes."

The property of 67 Holland St. West was built in the Romanesque Revival style around 1860-1900 and was home to the Standard Bank. 

"This is a piece of Bradford's history," she said. 

Hanging at the storefront entrance, Schmidt pays homage to the history of the building with a photo of the bank staff from 1918 standing inside the building. Inscribed on one of the bricks on the outside of the building, is the date May 25, 1937, the day the bank moved down the street under the CIBC name. 

Since November, Schmidt has been working day and night, renovating the inside, knocking down walls, ripping up flooring, and painting to get the store ready for customers. She said it was the change she needed in order to propel her refinishing business forward. 

"I spent weeks and weeks hand chipping tar off the floor, sanding, staining," she explained. "It was so much work but I am so happy with it. It was a labour of love for sure."

Schmidt plans to use the store to showcase and sell her refinished pieces. In addition to restored furniture, Schmidt sells vintage and antique home decor items as well as handmade products and accessories by fellow local, female business owners.

"I wanted to create a welcoming atmosphere for people to come and shop and just visit," she said. 

She has always had an appreciation for antique furniture pieces and their craftsmanship. 

"You know it's going to be a quality piece with its own little quirks...they all have their own little stories to tell," she said.

Schmidt acquires her pieces from estate sales and online buy and sell groups. With inflation, job losses and supply chain shortages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Schmidt believes people's shopping habits have changed, and there is more of a desire to shop local and secondhand. 

"You have to think of other ways to be creative," she said. "People are tending to appreciate the older furniture, it lasts longer, it makes a statement, it's one-of-a-kind."

Schmidt lives in Bradford and grew up in Quebec on a homestead with her parents, sister and two brothers and had a modest, humble upbringing. Schmidt says her parents were resourceful and didn't like seeing things go to waste.  It was her dad who taught her how to use tools and fix things around the house, including furniture. 

Hidden Beauty Vintage is open Wednesday to Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. 

Check out their website here or follow their Instagram page @hiddenbeautyvintage. 

Natasha Philpott

About the Author: Natasha Philpott

Natasha is the Editor for BradfordToday and InnisfilToday. She graduated from the Media Studies program at The University of Guelph-Humber. She lives in Bradford with her husband, two boys and two cats.
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