Home & Design | Q&A: Family Ties

You probably wouldn’t guess Teresa and Adam DeJarlais are related just by visiting their not-so-related stores. While they both sell vintage items in their shops—often with a European influence—that’s where the obvious similarities end. Teresa owns The Porch in Buffalo, a bright multilevel shop piled with vintage farm goods, reclaimed furniture, and handmade gifts. Adam’s shop, Northeast’s Twelve Vultures, is a little moodier: The dark-walled emporium displays taxidermy, skulls, and natural and other curiosities befitting a natural history museum.

But despite their stylistic differences, the mother-son duo are more than just family; they share a mutual appreciation for what the other does. And, they’re quick to say, they’re more similar than people might think. We had to know more—and traveled to Buffalo to meet the mini-dynasty of Minnesota vintage.

How did you get into vintage and antiquing?

Teresa: When Adam was in junior high, we’d go to the Medina flea market every so often on Sundays. That love grew until I started estate sale-ing—I’d post photos every week of my Sunday load. Then I got started selling what I found—and when this building [now The Porch] became available 20 years ago, I took it.

Adam: Yeah, I was the kid getting dragged to the flea market and antiques stores, with Mom saying, “Don’t touch anything.” But I grew an appreciation and curiosity for older-looking things. Because of my mom, furniture would filter in and out of our house, and after being exposed to older items, they interested me more than just going to a furniture store because they actually had a story to them.

Did you always know you wanted your own store?

Adam: Growing up, if you had told me I’d have a shop, I would have said, “Nah, not my thing!” I worked in kitchens as a chef up until my mid-30s. I started helping out [at The Porch] and testing the waters, like, Is this something I could do for myself? So I ran a space here, and then at Hunt and Gather, which is where I found myself gravitating toward more of the natural side of things. Right before the pandemic, I found the shop in Northeast Minneapolis that became Twelve Vultures.

What drew you to this more unconventional scope of the biz?

Adam: I remember the first ram skull I found, it felt like the coolest thing ever. Now, my biggest supplier is a guy in the Pyrenees Mountains in France. That’s where I get a lot of the skulls and taxidermy of sheep, wild boar, and roe deer. I also go to auctions and deal with private collectors. It’s important for me to do this all ethically. There’s some good overlap with what my mom sells here—I can bring antlers and sheepskins.

Teresa: Like in a décor kind of way.

Adam: Right, and then at my shop I can have more funerary items, human bones. I’m not going to have those in rural Buffalo and get people worrying, What happened to The Porch? I don’t go for shock value; I feel like I can be somewhat educational with what I do.

How do you two help and learn from each other?

Adam: I took a lot away from her—not just my time working here, but growing up around it all. You gotta hustle; you gotta keep moving and rolling. My mom’s always done that, even when she had a full-time job. It’s kind of full circle.

Teresa: Oh, I liked hearing that.

Adam: I still do a bit here. My mom runs the shop full time, but I’ll come in once a month and rework things, move some of the big stuff around.

Teresa: He always shows me a new way of looking at things. There’s actually a real overlap in our styles.

How so?

Adam: Anything European, like the wood plaques and gold gilt frames, old mirrors. We both go after a lot of the same things, or I’ll pick something out of my stuff to sell here, and she’ll end up buying it, or she’ll do the same thing and I’ll want it.

Teresa: I do watch for things I know he’ll like.

Adam: And you love things that are natural; that’s another big overlap.

Where do your styles differ?

Adam: [Laughs.] Well, I like things like the inner workings of clocks, the gears, things like that. And you’d rather have the clock. And I dive into some pretty weird taxidermy, and the macabre side of things, where that’s definitely something that stays on my side of the room, so to speak.

Teresa: A lot of the stuff I have upstairs, he might go, “Ehhh.”

Adam: Yeah, it’s not my style. I see the worth in it, but I’m not as into it.

Teresa: He totally goes with his gut on things. And I’m a mixture of that and what people want. Of course, they want what he has, too—

Adam: —But if you don’t like it, too bad!

Teresa: So he’s pretty lucky that people like it, isn’t he?

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. 

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