Bringing furniture back to life: Local designers take on the trend of refurbishing and repurposing

2013-11-04T23:35:00Z 2013-11-06T17:06:28Z Bringing furniture back to life: Local designers take on the trend of refurbishing and repurposingTrish Maley Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
November 04, 2013 11:35 pm  • 

Not everyone has garage sales floating around in their dreams. But Michelle Randall of Crown Point does.

What started out as a hobby four years ago for a mother-of-four is now an up-and-coming business—refurbishing and repurposing furniture.

“I actually have dreams that I am at an awesome garage sale getting these great deals on furniture,” laughed Randall of Redeemed Furnishings. “I think growing up in an old house and having to be crafty and frugal as a mom has inspired me to do what I do.”

Randall has tapped into the trend of giving reclaimed wood a new life with chalk paints, milk paints and various distressing techniques.

Grays, vintage blues and creamy whites are some of the most popular colors chosen. However, according to Mandy Pappas, owner of On the Square Antique Emporium in Crown Point, who features Randall’s pieces in her front window, Randall is popular for her brightly painted pieces.

“Right now we have a chair in the window from Michelle, and it’s probably from the 1960s. It’s distressed and painted pink. She has a different view on things. She goes outside the box with colors and style, and it works. People are looking for that one accent piece to brighten up a room,” said Pappas. “I absolutely love her stuff. You can’t go to a big box store and buy ten of these chairs. It’s eclectic. It’s different.”

Randall is self-taught in the trade and admits she doesn’t always enjoy the entire journey of refurbishing, such as sanding or priming. She said she does like how creative she is able to get with the furniture pieces. “Sometimes I instantly know what I want to do with a piece, and other times I really have to think it over,” said Randall. “I also like asking my Facebook fans what color they would choose when I post a before picture. I have so many wonderful fans that really keep me inspired. “

When a piece of wood furniture is chosen for a repainting project a few basic steps should be followed to prevent the paint from chipping off. First give the furniture a thorough cleaning. Next, sand the furniture to remove the glossy finish. This is so the paint can grab onto something. After your furniture is dry and dust-free, paint onthe primer. Sand again to attain an even finish then paint desired color.

Cathi Lloyd of Decorating Den Interiors in St. John, said this process is not as easy as it may seem.

“The worn weathered look of distressed furniture has become a bit more upscale in design and while it may look easy, it takes careful planning and shopping to be able to pull it all together,” said Lloyd. “Furniture that is made from reclaimed wood and is remade into a new piece of furniture has lots of character. Many of these pieces may have a French origin and an aged silver or weathered gold finish.”

Randall said she has made mistakes along the way, but overall feels it has helped her be where she is today with her craft.

“One of the mistakes I’ve made is paying too much for something for the thrill of buying it. Take the time to really check out what you are buying. When shopping, I look for solid wood pieces. None of the pressboard stuff—the heavier the better. And of course you can tell craftsmanship by carefully looking at the piece, opening and closing drawers and looking for dovetail joints.”

Hammond native Kory Blosky-Amezcua, ASID (American Society of Interior Designers) of Kory Blosky Interior Design in Chicago thinks the versatility that reclaimed wood furniture has, gives the trend staying power.

“European antique and vintage furniture is a classic design that will always find its way into people’s homes. Distressed and painted reclaimed wood not only carries a soft romantic aesthetic but also offers a recycled material which is very popular with those who choose to protect the environment,” said Blosky-Amezcua. “You don't need to create an overly traditional space to use these pieces either. Combine a French country cottage dining table with modern chairs and create a comfortable dining room highlighting many eras.”

On the Square Antique Emporium is located at 116 S. Main St. in Crown Point. They will be at an event called Hunt and Gather November 15 at the Lake County Fairgrounds between 2 and 8 p.m.

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