Meet the Style Maven: Treci Smith
A vintage stylist and retailer shares her bohemian rhapsody
Treci Smith is a self-described “real estate investor, interior stylist, black bohemian soul, vintage huntress and purveyor, wife, and mom of four.” The youngest of four from a military family that settled in San Diego when she was 13, Treci (pronounced Tree-see) has long trawled through thrift stores and flea markets, always looking for ways to give new life to vintage goods. She now has her own retail space in the Kurtz Street Vintage Marketplace and has spun her knack for staging homes (that she and her husband flip) into a burgeoning design career. She has also teamed up with her friend and mentor, interior designer Rachel Moriarty, on a number of projects, including a renovation at Treci’s home that was recently featured on My House Is Your House on HGTV.
That would be L.A.-based designer, artist and writer Justina Blakeney, author of The New Bohemian: Cool & Collected Homes and The New Bohemian Handbook: Come Home to Good Vibes. Justina’s blog, jungalow.com, offers more tips and salutes to the boho lifestyle.
Where do you go for inspiration?
Shopping, of course! “Thrift stores are like my therapy,” Treci says. And apparently she has a sixth sense for it. “I can drop my kids off at school and get a feeling that takes me toward a thrift store, like there’s something there for me.” She also mentions the merchandising vignettes at Anthropologie in Fashion Valley as an influence on how she arranges her Kurtz Street space.
Treci likes to keep herself grounded with some Bikram hot yoga as well as gardening and communing with nature (including a flock of chickens and a duck) at her family’s acre-sized Bonita homestead. “It’s very zen for me to just be out in the elements and hear the birds; I’m an earthy person.”
Favorite travel destination?
“I love Ireland,” Treci says. “It’s so serene and beautiful and green.”
Who are some of your heroes?
Treci counts Maya Angelou, Oprah Winfrey and Tracee Ellis Ross among those she admires, but she also finds heroes a lot closer to home—right in her own family, including her grandmother and parents. “I have to say I also look up to my husband, just watching him and seeing how he is for our family,” she says. “My kids are heroes to me, too. You learn a lot from your kids.”
What was your most indulgent purchase?
Treci has several midcentury pieces that she prizes: a boomerang table and a couple of Thayer Coggin recliners. But it’s not just the style that’s important to her: “I’m all about function, so if I find something for my home it has to function in my space, for a family of six, where we’re not really worried about it being too fragile or anything like that.”
Treci gives a shout-out to the South Bay minichain TJ Oyster Bar, which serves Baja-style seafood. “You have to try the smoked tuna tacos—it almost tastes like bacon,” she says. “They also have smoked tuna fries—those are kind of dangerous.”
What was your first concert?
New Edition at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. “It was so good.”
What are you listening to now?
She’s a fan of R&B and soul artists like Sade, Jill Scott and Anthony Hamilton. “I’m into music that tells a story,” she says.
What’s your most treasured possession?
That would be a music box that belonged to her brother who passed away when she was 17. “It’s a happy memory for me,” Treci says. She also has an emotional attachment to her garden gate (below): It’s the repurposed headboard from the bed she and her husband bought 25 years ago when they first married.
What’s your design philosophy?
“Design is an expression of love,” Treci says. “Creating a thoughtful space allows people to be inspired, comforted and engaged with their surroundings; it imparts an appreciation for beauty and art. I also love to repurpose objects, which offers our imaginations a story and ties us together—young and old, glam and boho, city and country. We honor the past by sharing it with the future.”