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Written By Megin Potter  |  Photos Provided

Today, the welcome charm and character of well-worn kitchen implements, distressed furniture pieces, and simple, homespun decorations made from antique and vintage items looks fresh and exciting to eyes accustomed to the haze of mass-produced mediocracy.

Buying, selling, and creating with these unique (and often undervalued!) pieces is a lucrative cottage industry for savvy shoppers like Diana Petrillo, a collector and crafter with a clever eye for business.

Growing up on the edge of the Adirondacks in Peru, NY, Diana was always creative and making things as a child but went in a different direction as a young adult. Crafting took a side seat to studying law and working in the legislature until Diana became a stay-at-home mother for her two children, now ages 27 and 25.

In “retirement” she began buying and selling antiques. “I could do as much or as little as I wanted, depending on the needs of my family,” she said.

Finding Farmhouse Flair

The creativity of dealing in antiques afforded Diana the flexibility she needed. By repurposing her second-hand scores and sharing her best tips for accentuating their usefulness, beauty, and value, she built an immensely informative collection of eBooks, price guides, and other resources on her blog, Adirondack Girl at Heart.

“It served as an emotional outlet for me initially, but as the family needed my time less and less, while needing money more and more, I became more involved in working on the business. I learned how to make my website more attractive to Google and what people were looking for and needed. Then, I started writing in-depth articles about antiques - how to sell them - and how to buy them,” said Diana.

Appealing to the DIYer as well as those looking to make money in the antiques market, her virtual courses are full of helpful webinars, lessons, and tutorials for enthusiasts. Diana’s Facebook group, Your Vintage Headquarters, has more than 5,600 members.

“It’s a happy place, and a helpful place, and that’s how I want it to be.”

Diana sells items through her Adirondack Girl at Heart Etsy shop, on eBay, from a booth in the Gristmill Antique Center in Troy, and at the Shaker Heritage Society gift shop in Colonie. Her work has been featured in national magazines including Farmhouse Style, Country Sampler, and First for Women.

Braving Brimfield

Before buying, selling, refurbishing, and decorating with antiques and vintage pieces, first Diana must find them. Scouring estate sales, flea markets, and antique shows, Diana and her husband also attended last year’s massive Brimfield Antique Flea Markets in Massachusetts. A town tradition for half a century, the markets’ multiple fields draw more than 50,000 people annually eager to see what thousands of exhibitors will have on display. Because they were only going to be there for a single day this year, they set their sights on the Black Swan Meadows field.

With their stomachs full of good fair food (sausage and peppers sandwiches and cheesy fries!) The couple found many interesting booths, including one with a huge trough of bread boards.

“I have a large personal collection of bread boards, but I also sell them. They often have these beautiful pieces of worn wood in different shops but to see so many in one place is exciting!”

Another booth had an eye-boggling array of feed sack fabric.

“Feed sacks, at one time during our history in the early 20th century, were made with this calico fabric. Women made clothing and household items out of it during the depression and would pick out what fabric they wanted when their husband went to buy seed,” said Diana. 


For more information on buying, selling, upcycling, and decorating with vintage pieces, go to