"Everybody knowns mid-century is a money maker," Dominic Fasano says.
He's sitting on his Paul McCobb-designed Widdicomb couch with his girlfriend Alba Serrato and their French bulldog Remi, in the small but well-staged 1965 Al Beadle Boardwalk condominium that they share.
For Fasano, however, mid-century isn't just a way to make money, it's a way of life.
For six years, Fasano has been buying, selling, and collecting vintage furniture and decor, working his way from professional picker to established dealer at Modern Manor, a vintage furniture store on Phoenix's Melrose Curve. Before that, Fasano was a professional chef, working in the kitchen at places like Palette and Jobot. While it might seem like a total career 180, Fasano says that's he's always been concerned with staging.
"I remember being a little boy and my mom would say, 'Clean your room.' I wouldn't clean it up. I would have to take everything and throw it in the hallway, put it back together in a different fashion and then I would have to show someone what I did."
It's this mentality that makes for an ever-changing interior at the Fasano-Alba home. Not one for passing up a good deal or a rare find, Fasano is constantly bringing home mid-century treasures, treasures that overflow into his front and back patios.
While many of these pieces will be resold at Modern Manor or through Fasano's Instagram account (you can follow him @domfasano), plenty have found a permanent place in Fasano's own home.
Some of Fasano's favorites include the industrial bingo sign that serves as the focal point of his living room (with origins that Fasano is reluctant to disclose) and the rare blue mosaic coffee table that he found at Red Modern.
But Fasano's real pride and joy? That would have to his Hans Wagner Papa Bear Chair that he bought from fellow dealer and Modern Manor owner, Ryan Durkin.
"It makes you feel like a boss," jokes Serrato, a hair stylist turned florist at Camelback Flowershop who shares Fasano's love of searching and staging.
On their days off, both Fasano and Serrato can be found scouring their favorite thrift shops, antique malls, and hidden hotspots around town. For this couple, there's no such thing as one-stop shopping.
"I hate it when people say, 'Oh, that store sucks,'" Fasano says. "Just because you spent one Saturday or Sunday going to a Goodwill or a Salvation Army and didn't find anything, doesn't mean that store sucks. You have to be persistent."
Persistence has certainly paid off, as evidenced by other rare pieces in the house: an Eames Hang-It-All in the bedroom, a vintage Bitossi Rimini blue wall clock in the kitchen, and, our personal favorite, the hanging bubble chair in the second bedroom.
Obviously, not everything in the home is strictly mid-century. Fasano incorporates a subtle but complimentary blend of 1970s grooviness, '80s glam, and modern aesthetic. His home decor is predominantly pre-owned, picked up anywhere from estate states to alleys on trash day.
"Growing up buying people's stuff that they didn't want — junk, garbage — taught me that everything has a value to someone," he says. "It's only worth what someone is willing to pay."
While Fasano might not be willing to reveal his most prized picking spots, he says that most of his usual shops can be found simply by entering "antiques" into a GPS device.
From his dealings with clients in New York, California, and Oregon, Fasano has found that Arizona remains by contrast a goldmine for undiscovered retro antiques, yet to be completely picked over by design-conscious dealers.
And through's there's plenty of competition in Phoenix for finding and selling vintage decor, Fasano says business is anything but slow. Because of this, he and Serrato are constantly having to compromise with space, whether it's in their two small sedans, or their two-bedroom condominium.
And yet somehow, they not only make it work, they make it wow.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.