Say the word “classic” to somebody and wait for their response. I’m guessing that nine out of ten times, they’ll reply with the word “car.”

A classic car is a beacon for everything that defines timelessness, quality, and most importantly, style. In the case of our Mercedes, the process of making it a slick example of rolling timelessness paralleled what I oftentimes do in design when a fixer-upper project is staring at me begging ideas to bring it back to life.

My husband, Mike, had been considering a vintage car to toodle around in for quite some time. Many trolls on the internet led him to what was once a beauty and had the potential of being one again. The stick shift, 4-door car was buried in a barn just two hours away. There were so many things wrong with it. It was decrepit, in terrible shape with many of its parts serving zero function stored in the trunk. The 1971 car, now 50 years old, also required diesel fuel, not exactly an ideal choice when you want to try to practice environmental responsibility.


I can’t say that I was overly enthused when Mike brought what we aptly named “The Mothball” home with him. It was rusty, noisy, and you guessed it, smell like mothballs. But just as I ask my clients to trust me and have faith in my plans for a decorating facelift, It took quite some time for Mike to find the right people to restore this back to automotive charm.

After having the seats reupholstered and the exterior paint a rich chocolate brown (a color that was an offered color selection at the time that this model was introduced), he set to have the inner works repaired.  He befriended a German mechanic, one who specializes in German cars, and his new pal went to work on the engine, restoring it and all other functional parts.

For me, there’s something extra special about installing a room that has been renovated versus a new build where everything is completely fresh. The accomplishment of taking on a before and after, regardless of what it is, brings a different level of accomplishment to a project. Now, except for the occasional dead battery, the Mothball runs like a dream. It’s fun to have a vintage car.  Although ours isn’t one of those candy-colored beauties that you see in Fourth of July parades, Mike takes the  Mothball for regular spins and he loves how it greets our neighbors with that diesel purr each time we turn the key. Classics come in all product categories and so does design. The Mothball is a perfect example of a redo that culminates in joy.