A Seller's Eye

The Value in Older Things with Kadeeja Best of Amo Domus

Amo domus translates from the Latin as I love home. “I do love my home. And I think a lot of people love their home. And the more you furnish it, you know, to your liking, the more you love your space usually. So I decided to go with it,” said Kadeeja Best, the founder of Amo Domus.

Julian Wright

Based in Chicago, Amo Domus is a Black-owned vintage shop started by Kadeeja in December. As a professional musician, the pandemic was not necessarily beneficial to her music career trajectory. She did, however, have a passion for vintage and a lifelong commitment to its treasures. At a young age, she started shopping for vintage clothes at thrift stores.

“I was probably 13. I was obsessed with the Victorian era and like the fashion of the time. So I did a lot of that. And then it sort of morphed into furniture at about 14. And I bought my very first vintage dresser with my babysitting money at a garage sale actually. And it ended up being worth like $1,500. I think I spent maybe $30 on it or something,” said Kadeeja.

This interest in vintage comes from a place of reverence. Kadeeja was “raised to hold value in older things.” In our conversation, she gave the analogy of a grandmother passing down a pierce of jewelry, a book, or a blanket. “I think at the root of it it's that these objects were loved at some point by someone. And then they're getting passed down to this next person. It's sort of this beautiful generational thing where, you know, it doesn't necessarily have to come from a family member, but someone loved that at some point and you get to bring that love and that moment into your home.”

It’s not simply the longevity of an item that attracts Kadeeja’s interest. She also appreciates artisan objects for a similar reason. There’s life, character, and love behind them, breathing life into a home. The temporal force an object can contain is what gives it character beyond just being a pretty piece of decoration.

This understanding of vintage has led Kadeeja to Amo Domus, her Instagram shop where she curates her finds. “I source everything. And I edit all of my, you know, videos and photos on my own and yeah, it's just sort of me and my husband and my cat kind of being my amazing assistants here in our little Chicago apartment.”

She’s even influenced her husband’s opinion of vintage. She told us a story of a metal, GE fan from the 1940’s that was $4 at a garage sale. Of course, she wanted it. Her husband thought it belonged in the trash heap, not in their home. It ended up going home with them where Kadeeja gave it a deep cleaning. “Now he absolutely loves it. I've thought about selling it or getting rid of it. And he's like, no, we can't, I love this fan so much.”

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Our spaces are reflections of who we have been, who we are, and who we are becoming. We believe that the objects we surround ourselves with have meaningful impact on the lives we lead, and it is our mission to empower people to find and experiment with objects that move them, resourcefully, sustainably, and freely.