Finding by Feeling
Vintage treasure hunter Veronica Torres-Miller knows a good find when she feels one
In a tiny storage space Downtown, Veronica Torres-Miller, prop-stylist and founder of Nostalgia Resources — a vintage rental and styling company — keeps her collection of aged doors, Persian rugs, rows of wooden chairs, towering stacks of tables, and colorful vintage trunks.
Torres-Miller, who was born in Buenos Aires and moved to Las Vegas in 1998, took her longtime love of antiques and, with her husband, David W. Miller, transformed it into Nostalgia Resources in 2013. They often travel throughout California, Arizona, Nevada, and elsewhere to explore garage sales, flea markets, and antique stores.
Now, six years later, pieces from her collection, which includes everything from ornate 1970s peacock chairs to vintage campers, serve as backdrops for desert weddings, photo shoots, and film productions — seamlessly imbuing every environment she creates with a dash of nostalgia.
“Being in contact with all these objects that have stories and history brings me so much joy,” Torres-Miller says.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve found? Any interesting people you’ve come across while searching?
That’s tough; they’re all characters. There was an older Asian lady who contacted me when I first started the business. She lived in a compound in the Nellis area that had a big gate and wall around it. She was getting rid of stuff because her husband had passed away. Her husband was a collector of things and had all of it spread out onto the yard. Then, she took us into her home and showed us these ornate Japanese porcelain dolls with elaborate kimonos, and wall art she wanted us to buy. I think they belonged to her family because she really valued them. She had a bunch of beautiful collectibles, but they weren’t my style. So, I asked if I could walk around the yard again. We found this ornate iron base for tables, green military chairs, and the coolest locker that we now use at home. There was a small house in the yard that was falling apart. It was around a hundred years old and had this pink door left on it. We asked, “Can we take the door?” She was really surprised. She thought I was weird. I felt bad saying no to her collectibles because she thought there was more value in those things. (They) might’ve been more valuable in general, but I really liked the junkier stuff I had found.
What style do you usually look for?
I look mostly for things that look aged. I usually mix things. I don’t like to have everything from one era. So there’s a boho side of me that loves the peacock chairs and all of that. I make macramé, so those chairs go great with creating boho environments. And then the other side I would say are pieces from the ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s that have character.
How did you find your vintage green camper?
Through this older man on Craigslist. He was from Utah. The camper was kind of like his man cave located outside of his house. He had a TV in there and air-conditioning, and that’s where he went to watch his football games and stuff. I think he was having second thoughts the whole time. He didn’t want to let it go. I told him, “We could send you pictures of what we do to it,” and he said, “No, it’ll make me really sad, I’ll miss it even more.”
When you’re searching for these pieces, what differentiates between something that is a good find and something that’s not?
I’m very instinctual when it comes to all of this. I don’t rationalize it very much; it’s more about how they make me feel. I don’t think about the value and the resale and all of that stuff. It just has to look a certain way. I have to like it and can picture it in environments, because I create environments and vignettes. It has to be a little rough. I like texture like this (touches aged royal blue trunk). I don’t like shiny, super-perfect things. It has to be a little bit imperfect. If not, it doesn’t attract me. (Points to vintage trunk). This is a bright blue color, but you can tell it’s gone through its years. I like them to show time and usually go for things that have their patina. I like when they come in good condition but are not too pompous or too precious.
What does “found” mean to you?
Found is often discovering things you didn’t know you wanted or needed. Discovery, surprise, wonder. That’s why I like the phrase “lost in the found.”