Kadeeja Best is an illustrious figure in the vintage selling community. Bringing a warmth and presence to everything she does, Best’s signature is a level of care akin to reverence. This energy has served her well: With her Chicago-based vintage shop Amo Domus, Best has discovered and distributed vintage gems that have seen the homes of fashion and interiors influencer Kellie Brown, design director and aficionado Anna Fine, interior designer Sophia Emilia, and more. Best’s finds are so distinguished, countless other sellers have shopped her wares for lifelong heirlooms.
It’s this reverence that flows through Kadeeja Best’s celebration of the characters and stories that inhabit the vintage space and its objects. We launched this series, once unnamed, in the spring of last year with Kadeeja, then our newly-discovered favorite vintage seller. Today we have the honor of working with her as a member of the Dendwell team. In this conversation, we asked about how her shop has changed and grown in that time, what vintage gems she’s kept and which she’s shared, and: why vintage? Read on for the conversation, or scroll down for Kadeeja’s REM Round.
Dendwell: When first we spoke, you shared how you opened Amo Domus both as an adaptation to pandemic circumstances, but as a realization of a lifelong collection and appreciation of vintage — like the first vintage dresser you saved for. Why vintage? Why furniture and home decor as your business?
Kadeeja Best: I think vintage has always felt comfortable for me. It's something I've always had around me, from my classical training to the clothes I bought. Vintage was the natural choice for me. I also didn't want to create a business that was adding to consumer waste! Deciding to sell furniture and home decor came from knowing I already had many of the skill sets needed to get into this space, combined with an existing passion.
"Vintage is here to stay,"
DD: How would you describe your wares from then and now, and have they changed since then? How would you describe your style today?
KB: My style in sourcing has definitely changed! When I first started, I was really concerned about finding things that would sell, even if I wasn't always in love with it. I think I was worried if I stuck to only selling things that I loved, it might sit for a long time. Now, I exclusively list things I LOVE. I think that has been the biggest change. My shop is a reflection of who I am on the inside. Evolving, growing, changing and giving myself permission to be fully 'me'. I would describe my style as 'moody calm'.
DD: The evolution has been amazing to watch and cheer on. As you claim more space to be fully you, does this inform how you source your collections?
KB: I source pretty much exclusively on how something makes me feel. So when I see something that gives me a certain feeling, I will add it to my collection! I have learned that my gut instinct works better than looking at items through a technical lens.
DD: But how do you know when a piece is worth buying?
KB: There are several ways I break this down: 1. Is this a well made object? 2. Who designed it/created it? 3. If I walk away from this item, will I regret it? While I don't necessarily look for strictly labeled or designer objects, it's always an extra cherry on top if I am already drawn to it!
DD: It's a nice combination; instinct guides you, and the technical lens informs when to put up the money. It's amazing how it begins in this emotional place, because you ultimately choose to share your amazing finds, you let them go. What has been your favorite piece you’ve sold away?
KB: Ohhh, this is such a hard one to answer. Every drop I think I have found my new favorite haha. Right now I think the 1980's Stone Plaster Hand is at the top of my all time favorite finds!
DD: How about in your personal collection, what is something you'll never get rid of?
KB: My vintage Catelan Italia Glass and travertine waterfall table. I always joke with my partner that if there was a fire, I wouldn't leave without it haha.
DD: As extreme as the fire metaphor is, it’s so apt for one-of-a-kind vintage pieces. You just don't know when you'll see something again. Is that why people should shop vintage? Why should everyone shop vintage?
KB: It's sustainable, and truly one of the best ways to find your personal style! It opens so many more doors to style and figuring out what you like. Something I feel is much harder to do with big box retailers.
"Community over competition."
DD: You are our pulse, the liaison for our amazing community of vintage dealers, so I want to know: What do you think this community needs? What do you think the future of this consumer category is?
KB: Omg you're so sweet. I think the vintage community just needs to keep on keepin' on! The connections we are building and the community that has been created here is truly like no other! I think if we continue on this path of kindness, mutual respect and encouragement, we are going to have one heck of a community space. As for the consumer side of things, I think the future of vintage furniture and home decor is that it will become part of everyone's lives in some capacity. Vintage is here to stay.
DD: Amen! Any message you want to end on?
KB: Community over competition ✨
Favorite designer right now: Eny Lee ****Parker
Favorite object right now: The Artisanal Iron Bed that was sold by Bruises Gallery. I literally cannot stop thinking about it 🥲
Your astrological sign: Scorpio/ Sagg cusp!
Texture your eye is drawn to: Smooth Stone
Color your eye is drawn to: Off white, but this changes day to day!
When I'm not collecting, curating, and selling vintage wares I am playing my cello or hanging with my cats (sometimes at the same time!).
My estate sale strategy: Don't go in with too much of a plan. It almost never goes the way you want it to. Just go with the flow!
First song on the estate sale getaway car playlist: Go by Cat Burns
When I say chair, you think: 1970's John Risley Face Chair
When I say light, you think: Murano Egg Lamp
When I say bend, you think: Bentwood
When I say table, you think: Coffee table