Photos by Katherine Harris
Bill and Kara Kurth of Golden Age Design
The Kurths in their Robbinsdale home.
Bill and Kara Kurth were a match made in secondhand heaven. By day Bill is a commercial painter, and Kara is a photographer and the creative director for Red Stamp. But after hours, the treasure hunters find and restore mid-century and Danish modern furniture, which they sell out of their ’50s Robbinsdale rambler. The couple started thrifting soon after meeting at a punk rock show 11 years ago. Last April, their hobby became business, under the name Golden Age Design.
What was the first piece of furniture you ever purchased together?
Bill: We bought a Danish modern coffee table before we got engaged.
Kara: That we still have. And he’s asked me a billion times if we can sell it, and I’m like “no way!”
Bill Painted this vintage dresser in the nursery for Baby Boy No. 2!
Why did you start selling mid-century modern?
B: We had been collecting for a while, and we had too much stuff, so we started throwing it on Craigslist to see what would happen—not to generate income, but to get it out of the house. There was tons of interest right away, so we put up a Facebook site and named it Golden Age Design.
And you restore everything yourself?
B: We often get pieces that are really beat up, and since I’m a painter by trade, I recondition the wood, bring it back to life, and make it look new again.
K: He’s really honed his skills in the last three years. But we still have a few curb alerts.
K: If something ends up looking like junk, it goes out on the curb.
B: Our standard for stuff is that if we wouldn’t have it in our house, we’re not going to sell it. Quality comes first.
You’ve got to be pretty persistent to find the good stuff.
B: The thrill of the hunt is huge. I’ll camp out in front of estate sales, I’ll knock on doors. If I find a huge bedroom set, I’ll make three separate trips to retrieve it all.
The found Bertoia chairs.
Like your six-piece set of Bertoia chairs?
B: Ha, yes. I would spot them in yards and garages, and ask the homeowners to sell them to me. A woman at one place was so surprised I wanted her beat-up chairs. She was like “These old things? Honey, I’m sure they still have them at Walmart or Target.”
Was there a piece that got away?
B: A Hans Wegner daybed that was pretty sick; I wish I hadn’t sold it. But almost everything on my bucket list I’ve found . . . . Well, there is one more thing: a Hans Wegner Papa Bear chair and ottoman.
How do you keep your home looking so fresh with all that vintage?
K: All of our sofas are from Room & Board, and we have a small amount of IKEA mixed in. You can make mid-century feel modern in the way you style it. I like things a little more feminine than Bill—he would have wood on wood on wood. I try to bring in glass, modern fabrics, beautiful art, and design books. And we avoid kitsch—it doesn’t age well.
What’s it like working together?
K: He finds the pieces and restores them, and I do the listings and social media. We go on trips at least one weekend a month, and we take our son Liam with us.
B: I teach him the names of the different designers, so he knows how to say Adrian Persall and Hans Wegner. It sounds so funny coming out of the mouth of a 3-year-old.
Kurth Family Favorites
- Hunt + Gather
- Dairy Queen
- Teahouse Chinese
- Triple Rock Social Club
- Arc Value Village