Just shy of 30 years ago, Julie Chiodo brought her design talents to Benicia. After then moving for a few years to the Peninsula to work and attend college, she returned to the quiet town on the Carquinez Strait and met her future husband, who was attending the California Maritime Academy. They married at the Benicia Yacht Club in 1997, and have raised their three children here.
Chiodo has always had a passion for decorating. Her specialty is design on a budget to achieve a coastal living "collected over time" look. “The quality, history, and character a vintage piece brings to your home makes it that much better,” she says. “I love the beach, and an East Coast/Cape Cod relaxed style for our own home, she adds, “mixing traditional and vintage, with timeless, quality pieces from France and Europe.”
The stay-at-home mom was looking for a way to earn some income with the flexibility needed for kid activities, so she became an antiques dealer in 2004. In 2007, she joined Summer Cottage Antiques in Petaluma. In addition to her space there, she also manages the collective. Chiodo has done “some light staging and merchandising jobs” but has always wanted to have her own shop in downtown Benicia. Recently she found the perfect sized space to allow her to expand, and Bayside Vintage Living was launched on First Street in 2016, offering antique and vintage items that reflect Chiodo’s design style.
The shop carries vintage goods, French finds, garden and home decor, gift items from local artists and handmade products from other Northern California small businesses, as well as triple-milled soaps and a few food items from France such as honey, mustard, salted caramels and Herbes de Provence. Chiodo is also a big supporter of other small business in town, and enjoys being part of a Downtown Benicia’s interesting mix of retail stores.