Grass Valley’s Gold Dust & Rust offers vintage goods this weekend
November 24, 2017
It's a little off the beaten path.
But if you're into reclaimed and refurbished vintage goodies, Michelle Denning's Victorian cottage in the 600 block of South Auburn Street is well worth the short detour from downtown Grass Valley.
Gold Dust & Rust is the distillation of a lifelong dream for Denning, who recently retired from 32 years with the state. She spent well over a year and a half renovating the dilapidated cottage before turning it into a permanent pop-up store chock-full of lovingly curated collectibles.
Denning opens her store twice a month for the weekend, which makes it easier for her to buy stock and rearrange items.
"I can bring in new things and keep it fresh," she said, adding, "And keep myself fresh as well."
Denning has been selling vintage items in area collectives since 2001. But having her own store was always her dream, she said.
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Denning — who owns recreational property in Nevada County and hopes to fully retire up here — purchased the decrepit Victorian in February 2016 and spent a year working on the design and the permits.
The city of Grass Valley staff was "very, very helpful" during that process, she said.
The house was built in 1905 and was a rental complete with shag carpeting and "layers and layers of wallpaper" when Denning took over.
"I had to bring it up to 2017 commercial standards," she said of the eight-month construction process. "I made sure it was ADA-compliant (with an access ramp) and energy-efficient."
Denning improved the aesthetics as well, removing some walls to open up the space and uncovering the "beautiful" wood walls and ceilings.
In each room, including the former pantry, Denning has focused on re-used and re-purposed "items with a past" — anything from Art Deco on, from the 1920s to the 1970s, she said. She also sells mid-century modern items at Midway Antique Mall in Sacramento and decorative items at The Painted Peacock in North Auburn.
Denning will open her store by appointment and also sells items online, through Etsy, eBay and Craigslist.
"People can come over by appointment, if they see something online," she said; she recently sold a vintage chrome dinette set that way.
Denning officially opened for business in October, and said people are just starting to learn about her store.
"I'll get sisters in here, or mothers and daughters," she said. "They'll spend an hour in here, it gives them an opportunity to spend time together."
Denning is looking forward to becoming an integral part of the community.
"I'd like to be a source for people in Grass Valley and Nevada City, a local business where people are getting what they need," she said, adding, "Come on in and say hi."
Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at email@example.com.