studio (un)scripted: christina gentile & rockwell relics.

CHRISTINA GENTILE, FOUNDER, ROCKWELL RELICS (and quite literally our new style guru, dream designer and all around go-to creative genius in the throws of launching the coolest in online shopping)

The studio is my happy place, where is yours? 

I think my happy place is less about the place and more about the energy of whatever place I’m at. For example, I hardly ever listen to music and am one of those weird people that enjoys driving in complete silence (I promise I’m not a psycho). But, take me to a small concert venue where everyone is singing in complete unison and I can feel the literal vibrations of the room…. that’s my happy place. Add in an emo ballad from the early 2000’s and now we’re talking pure bliss. 

I have other happy places too; like our back porch in the wee hours of a summer morning. I love waking up before the rest of my family and spending a few hours by myself before the chaos of the day begins. Believe it or not, I start off almost every day playing a game of Solitaire (the old school way, with actual cards). It has become my morning ritual and there is almost a meditative quality to it for me. I’m a physical therapist, specializing in chronic pain and I love what I do, but as you can imagine, I spend most of my time around people making small talk, and caring for others. So having that quiet time every morning is a really important part of my day. It helps me to fill my cup.  

Another happy place is sitting anywhere outside with a good book. However, the key elements here are that A) the book is actually good and B) it has to be hot outside. And I’m not talking about it just being a little warm; I’m talking about the sun beating down on me with such intensity that little sweat droplets begin to accumulate on my skin. I can feel the tingle just thinking about it. I don’t know if it’s the fact that I’m half Cuban or what, but I love the sensation of being wrapped in warmth by the sun. And yes, I do wear sunscreen.

You have just embarked on an exciting new entrepreneurial journey — Congrats! Tell us what Rockwell Relics is all about, and what we can look forward to seeing from its growth! 

Thank you! This is something I have been dreaming up for quite some time. I think I first got the thrifting bug years ago after my husband took me out on a surprise date night where the goal was to find a crazy outfit at a thrift store and then wear it out to dinner. Pretty cute, right?! Well, it turns out I had so much fun looking around that we never made it to dinner and that is where the obsession began. While I remember that date as an exciting adventure (and the beginnings of this passion project which would start many years later), my husband just remembers being hungry at the end of the night.

Rockwell Relics is about colorful accessories for your home and wardrobe. It’s that quirky accent piece that maybe you wouldn’t want all over your home, but in small doses it adds the perfect amount of interest or character. Rockwell Relics is about finding items that are uniquely “you” so that you can surround yourself with things that make you feel at home. My hope is that I can help people find the fun in being a little different. If you like it, decorate with it! If it makes you feel happy, wear it!

The way it will work is: I have curated thrifted collections that I have categorized into various fun themes to highlight a particular style, design quality, or aesthetic. I love a good theme. For the time being those collections will include 8-12ish hand-picked items that will be for sale individually, with a discount for those purchasing more than 1 item in a collection. Some upcoming collections include holiday-themed items (ugh…so many cute Christmas pillows that I imagine were handmade by Mrs. Claus herself), a whole grouping of vessels suitable to put a plant or flower in, and items with nostalgic vibes that will take you right back to 1997. But shhh…that’s all I’ll say for now. You’ll have to follow @rockwellrelics on instagram for regular drop announcements and sneak peaks!

Rockwell Relics design & decor rythym is described as “sustainability with Bohemian style” — can you elaborate on the kinds of things you will be selling that fall into those categories?

I love thrifting because I never know what I’m going to find. Granted, sometimes I only find trash with a price tag, but more times than not I can sift through the racks or shelves and find an item that has a certain quality about it that speaks to me. Whether it’s the fact that someone probably made it, or the colors are just right, or maybe I’ve never seen anything quite like it. I love intricate hand-carved wooden things and anything that you could put a plant in that adds some fun or color. I’m also a sucker for pillows or frames with a cute cross-stitch design, or a well-made crochet blanket that I know someone spent hours making. Or if it’s something (anything!) that has a cat on it…that’s a no brainer and it’s going in my cart. I love the satisfaction of the hunt, and knowing that I found something cool or unique. Something that maybe others skimmed past but that I found the beauty in, and hoping others will too. I can hardly stand going into “regular” stores anymore because they’re so boring!! You mean, there are 10 of these duplicate items, just sitting on the shelf – what’s the fun in that?!

Rockwell Relics sells all second-hand items, giving new life to the used and discarded. Although I’m hesitant to describe my own style with one word, I believe “Bohemian” does capture the essence of what you’ll find with my product selections: free spirit, eclectic, colorful, with a mixture of patterns and organic accents. The things for sale are the things that I find on my thrifting adventures (and have to convince myself repeatedly not to keep at our house). I don’t typically use trendy words like “vintage” or “antique” because I’m not an expert on what is old or actually even valuable, but my goal is that everything you find at Rockwell Relics will have a certain charm or quality about it that I hope makes my guests smile.

As someone with such a creative and cool design palette, how would you describe your personal aesthetic? Is there an artist or creative whose style you aspire to emulate in your own life?  

I think back to my personal style not only with regard to how I decorate my home but also in terms of how I dress. I feel like it’s changed so much over the past decade. Or maybe it’s just that I’ve finally learned that it’s okay to like a little bit of everything and that I don’t have to be married to one specific “look”. I come from the Pinterest generation of striving for a perfectly cohesive home or outfit. In my 20’s, I always felt like I was trying to mold my wardrobe or space to reflect an “inspiration board” I pinned, but it never felt quite right. I used to be so preoccupied with whether or not things looked like the picture I saw, that it no longer felt like “me”. 

When I started thrifting, I began purchasing items based on one sole criteria: does it speak to me? And you know what I learned? If I bought things I loved and put them together, they somehow always looked good together! The thing about it is that you are probably innately drawn to a certain color palette, or design quality. So when you put those things together, they may not “match” in a standard way, but they have something in common and that’s the fact that you love them. Worst case scenario – you are wearing clothes that make you feel like yourself and you are surrounded by items in your home that you adore

I don’t think you will find my design aesthetic on HGTV and my fashion choices are certainly not based on the latest “it” trends. It’s challenging for me to describe what I like and I wouldn’t say I’m inspired by just one style or designer. And that’s the cool thing about it… if I like it, I wear it. If it makes me happy, I put it on a wall. It doesn’t have to make sense; just knowing that I like it is enough for me. But I do think some of the common themes you can tag me with are: colorful designs, florals, a mixture of materials and patterns, and a strong possibility that your grandma either wore it or made it.

If you could ask me anything, what would it be? 

If your house was on fire (my worst fear), assuming all humans/pets were already saved and you were told that you could safely go back inside to grab 3 items, what would they be and why? 

Absolutely follow Rockwell Relics immediately so you don’t miss out of the perfect piece(s) for your home, office, man cave, ladies lounge or dream room during their IG sales! (Dibs on anything bright blue or pink!)  

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