It is funny to think that all of this started with one dining room table and chairs and a sideboard. How our furniture business, which if I’m honest takes up probably 80% of our time each and every day, all started with one dining room table, 6 chairs and a sideboard.
There I was on the hunt for a new dining set, frantically searching and all the while my mother in-law would say “up-cycle your own”. I had indeed got a lovely solid beech dining table and chairs, but it had a dark varnish finish and wasn’t that nice to look at. I also had a matching sideboard which sat at the bottom of stairs, extremely heavy, but again just looked dull! But could I turn this furniture around?
This wasn’t going to be an easy task I thought. Although I really enjoyed Art at school, I never thought about pursuing it as a career. My husband and my in-laws, are the creative ones, my mother in law had been up-cycling furniture for years, it always looked amazing, but never something I considered doing, up until now that is…
Why not I thought? I couldn’t find what I wanted, or what I wanted I couldn’t afford so why not? What have I got to lose?
It didn’t take that long, a few days, a lot of sanding, painting, changing of seat covers, white washing, varnishing, new drawer pulls and a few days later…
Our newly up-cycled dining table and chairs
Our newly up-cycled sideboard
I absolutely adored our new furniture, I could not believe I was going to get rid of such lovely solid wood pieces of furniture and probably traded it in for something that was not nearly as nice. And I had transformed it! I loved that furniture then.. and I still love it now!
That is how it all began in a nutshell. That was 5 years ago! That was it…
My mother in law had released a monster!
I now had the desire to paint more furniture, not just furniture for me but furniture for others, If I can transform something myself into something I love, then I could do this for others. Lots of research followed. Where to start? Which furniture did people want up-cycled? Which paint did people prefer? Which style do I go for?
There are lots of fantastic pieces out there to work on, but if we are to run a business which is going to pay the bills, which items are most popular? The most sought after furniture are dining tables and chairs, bedroom furniture the essentials.
We didn’t want our business just to sell the essentials so we seek those one off vintage pieces, statement pieces on a regular basis, furniture that really has the wow factor, furniture that really gets people talking. It is funny that when talking to friends and customers there are certain pieces that people always remember from our Facebook page.
There are many examples, this is one, a stunning vintage dresser, given a new lease of life in navy and gold.
We chose the paint, we prefer chalk paint, it has textured finish and looks amazing on vintage furniture. It is great to work with and there are lots of different finishes to choose from. We chose to work with Annie Sloan chalk paint primarily. It is a great paint to work with, with a great colour palette. You can distress, add clear wax, dark wax, dry brush, it is limitless what you can do with this paint. Our paint of choice is now Sarah Jayne Signature Chalk Paint. It is a great paint to work with. We are also stockists for this paint. We will also offer help and advice to customers who want to give up-cycling a go.
We spend a crazy amount of time, searching for furniture, even looking at furniture that has already been up-cycled. It all about keeping up with current trends, colours and style.
It would be hard to put everything that has happened in the last 5 years into one blog, but to round it up. We have learned a lot.
Not everything does as it says on the tin.
Vintage furniture is very heavy
Great customer service is a must
Go with you gut instinct
Up-cycled furniture isn’t for everyone
On commission jobs really listen to the customer and get a real insight into what they are after.
Research, Research, Research… you can never know too much
5 Years on, we have nearly 3,000 followers on Facebook, we have over 5587 images of furniture we have worked on and sold in our Facebook gallery and my husband and I have a successful furniture business that is continuing to grow. It hasn’t been easy, and it won’t ever be easy.. But if the question you are thinking is, do you really still enjoy picking up that paint brush?
Then the answer is still…. yes 🙂