It has happened to everyone; a family member down-sizes or bequeaths a piece of furniture that was a fixture in their own home and suddenly the challenge becomes how to incorporate it into your own unique and perhaps more contemporary surroundings. The nostalgia and sentimentality associated with the original owner, not to mention the collection of memories of special times through the years, pulls at your heart strings to accept the piece simply to keep the remembrances still alive. So, how do you introduce it to your home, or more importantly, how do you embrace it, as a piece you would have deliberately chosen? You re-purpose it.
Enter East Sandwich’s Furniture Re-born, whose owners, Michael Edwards and Paul Antonellis are breathing new life into pieces that have already done service in someone else’s home. That new lease on life is more than a good dusting, cleaning and perhaps waxing. Out come the unexpected hues of paint, innovative artistic papers, and new modern hardware and most importantly Michael and Paul’s creative vision of how to make piece have a new run at fun. Case in point, in their Route 6A showroom, a myriad of pieces that seem familiar suddenly appear to be re-invented, re-purposed, re-born to be exact. A commonly found Hitchcock breakfront desk suddenly has been transformed into a matte black bar with a scarlet painted interior behind the glass and fretwork of the upper cabinet doors. Or, a previously unremarkable empire dresser now has the armor of a fresh coat of powder blue paint and polished silver hardware. Cinderella herself has nothing on the transformation these two are able to imagine and execute on most of our grandmother’s unsuspecting furniture.
Michael and Paul are also incorporating artistic papers that have Florentine designs, or natural flecks of pulp in Asian rice paper, into their conversions. Most importantly, they understand their clients, and the story they bring. “Most people have a story to tell about the furniture they bring in,” Michael explains. “But our job is to create something fresh that will start to be part of a brand new story.”
Paul who is the smiling face that greets visitors to the shop adds, “People come in and they genuinely don’t like the piece they are bringing us. Then we strip back the layers—both of the furniture and the owners relationship to the piece, or maybe even the previous owner—and voila! A new beginning for everyone.”
The duo also works closely with local businesses who are able to remove a finish to allow Furniture Re-born to have a blank canvas, as well as a local furniture repairman they describe as a magician. Regardless of the perceived value (or lack thereof) of the dresser or dining table your favorite aunt may have left you, this duo is prepared to resurrect it, re-purpose it, and give it another chance to live again.
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