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Trash to Treasure Vintage Home

Trash to Treasure Vintage Home

bedroom with floral wallpaper and vintage metal bedframe

This trashed rental has transformed into a vintage home that's a treasure trove of beautiful antiques and found pieces.

Can a new house learn old tricks? That’s what café owners Bruno and Diantha Lima have learned in the last five years as they’ve fixed up their home. The 1,700-square foot structure was a rundown rental the couple has livened up with plenty of vintage collectibles—all while running their café By Lima and raising their two children.

birdhouses on outdoor gateway
A wonderfully charming gate separates the patio from the garden. Homeowner Diantha Lima’s father and her husband Bruno built the garden arch, which now has roses growing up the sides.
covered dining area in greenhouse with tiled floor
The greenhouse at the back of the garden was built by Diantha’s father. She uses it to start and pot seeds at the end of winter. She also uses it to host outdoor parties in the warmer months. Diantha keeps a hutch with vintage cups and saucers for that very purpose, and doesn’t mind that the old table shows its age outdoors. It’s a vintage piece from an English pub.

Humble Beginnings

When they bought the house in 2017, the interior was an eye sore. The first owners, who had built the house in 2000, never lived in it. Instead, they had rented it out for 17 years. That meant that, apart from the structure and utilities, it had received very little TLC.

botanical gallery wall
In the living room, Diantha mixes old with new in the form of a Samsung Frame TV, which disguises as a large painting, alongside vintage still life portraits, a vintage coffee table and a thrifted sofa she covers with various throw blankets.
sectional with dusty pink, powder blue and offwhite
Beyond the superficial problems, and knew that this property had the potential to become exactly what we wanted: a gorgeous bungalow on a substantial plot of land,” Diantha says. “Even though it was the stepchild of the neighbourhood, we knew we could transform it.”

Both the house and the garden were pretty neglected. “We were able to see beyond the superficial problems, and knew that this property had the potential to become exactly what we wanted: a gorgeous bungalow on a substantial plot of land,” Diantha says. “Even though it was the stepchild of the neighbourhood, we knew we could transform it.”

bud vases with fresh flowers
The French marble mantel was another vintage find, which Diantha’s father helped her to restore. There’s no burner in the hearth yet, but it’s on the list of things the Limas want to do in the future.
Diantha in sitting room
The living room has space to relax and look out onto the garden. The table is from a thrift store, and the milk jug is from a flea market.

This property suffered as any rental property does. All the appliances, architectural details and other elements were very basic, and hardly anything had been updated. The floors were cheap and worn out, the walls needed new finishes and the kitchen needed a remodel. The window frames and doors also needed a fresh coat of paint.

vintage home dining room with chandelier
The dining table is from the 1980s. “It had to be a sturdy table, and I don’t mind that there are scratches on it,” Diantha says. The chairs are also vintage. Diantha painted some of them, but felt that leaving some in their original condition gave a better effect than having them be all the same color.
vintage home kitchen with large wood island
The kitchen is full of vintage finds. The island is a vintage baker’s counter that Diantha found. She left the wood untouched, showing traces of its original purpose. The floral wallpaper is also vintage, as well as the lighting above the island. Diantha created it out of a mix and match of several glass lampshades she found at flea markets.
farmhouse kitchen with clear jars on exposed shelves
Shaker style cabinets and a farmhouse sink play up the farmhouse style in the kitchen. Diantha keeps fresh flowers in vintage vessels, like this milk jug her mom brought back from France.
Diantha and baby Kae in vintage home
The home is the perfect place for Bruno and Diantha to raise their children, Xavi and his baby sister, Kae.


Although the house needed a lot of help, it was a blessing in disguise. The Limas now had a chance to make sustainable decisions and make their mark on the house. They opted for solid oak floors and a custom farmhouse style kitchen. Using an old baker’s counter for the island enhanced the farmhouse look and complemented the Shaker style cabinetry, farmhouse sink and antique tiled backsplash.

Here and there, Diantha added to the light, romantic feel by using delicate-toned floral wallpaper. “Flowers are a theme, not only in the garden, but in the house too,” she says. “I wanted the house to have lots of appeal when you walk up the driveway. So I had white indoor shutters custom made, and created a bed of hydrangeas under the living room windows. It makes the house look really cozy and inviting.” Using old-fashioned cobblestones for the path adds to the effect.

vintage home dining table
Diantha and Bruno bought their vintage chandelier from a collector in North Holland. Only after they purchased it did the seller restore it to make it functional.
bedroom with floral wallpaper and vintage metal bedframe
The primary bedroom continues the spring-worthy theme, complete with vintage collectibles. The French bed frame was originally much too small, so the Limas commissioned the seller to lengthen it after they bought it. The Queen Anne chair is a thrift store find, and the wallpaper is vintage as well.
attic room with floral wallpaper
wall collection
The hallway outside the primary bedroom was the ideal spot for Diantha to display her collection of old mirrors. She painted the hallway a dusty pink that makes the antique finishes on the frames pop.
nursery in vintage home
The Limas’ son, Xavi’s room works well with the rest of the house, even with a more masculine boy theme. It features a vintage armchair, as well as a custom clothes rack dad Bruno handmade.

Kitchen Garden

The other area of this property that was special was the garden. It was originally overgrown, but large and full of potential. “We’ve put a lot of work into the garden,” Diantha says. “We repaved everything, built raised beds for herbs and vegetables, and divided the whole garden into manageable sections. It’s great to find new ways of using what we grow in the products we sell at By Lima.”

vegetable garden
The vegetable garden uses raised beds. Using predominantly organic produce is one of the couple’s goals for By Lima, their café and bake shop, and they use some of the products from their garden. “I don’t grow nearly enough to supply By Lima, but I do like using my own produce in the lunch room,” Diantha says.
garden in vintage home
vintage home garden
Not only do Bruno and Diantha grow vegetables, they also love having a flower garden. Diantha’s favorite flower is the rose. She has planted them all over the garden, as well as in a bed that lines the driveway.
vintage tea cups
Diantha keeps a hutch in the garden greenhouse, perfect for keeping cups and saucers and other dinnerware, rather than having to carry things in and out of the house. With Diantha’s penchant for collecting, there’s enough to fill both the kitchen cabinet and this one. The chandelier has been adorned with antique English tea cups.
tea and cake al fresco

What’s Next?

Like most home décor enthusiasts, the Limas want to build on what they’ve already accomplished in the coming years. “I’d like to convert the mantel into a working fireplace, but that will only happen when the children are older,” Diantha says. “It’d be too risky now.”

They also want to turn the sunroom off the kitchen into a living kitchen, as well as add onto the structures on the property. “At some point in the future, I’d love to have a small guest house,” Diantha says. “I’d also like eventually to have goats and sheep!”

garden path in vintage home
Lima home repurposed bike used as garden box
This old cargo bike was originally from a flower shop, and Diantha bought it for less than $10. It stood for a while on the terrace at By Lima, but wheeling it in and out of the lunch room every evening became a chore. Now, filled with potted plants, it brightens up the patio.
exterior of vintage home
birdhouse in vintage home garden
signposts in vintage garden

Love vintage? So do we! Read on for Vintage Spotlight: Eastlake Furniture, Collecting Vintage Gardenalia, Vintage Organization Charm. Of course, don’t forget to follow us on InstagramFacebook and Pinterest to get your daily dose of farmhouse inspiration!

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