Mixing antiques, salvaged, handmade and new
With the popularity of painted furniture comes many options of paint lines geared toward DIY-ers, hobby painters and professionals. How does one choose what is right for them? Well, first you have to identify what your end goal is, are you up cycling pieces for your own use or are you planning to do an occasional sale or full fledged storefront? Since my assumption is that if a person is at the point where they want to start their own painting business, they already use paint and know the difference between the options so I am going to talk hobby paint in this article.
With anything on the market there are benefits and downsides to any product, it's a matter of finding what is right for you and your desired outcome.
Latex, Milk, Mineral, Chalk, OH MY!
Painted furniture is only as good as the surface beneath the paint meaning that the outcome of your piece will be determined by the prep work you do. No matter what paint you use. Some of the selling points about certain types of paint are that "you don't need to sand or prime" however with my experience in the painted furniture business I can assure you that you WANT to do the prep work. As with anything in life, you get out of it what you put into it. I also want to preface this article with the fact that I am not affiliated with any paint company, I do not sell any paint in my shop.
There are so many options, you really can't go wrong just start with what look you are trying to achieve:
One of the biggest complaints I get from the male customers in my store is "I can't believe you would paint over [insert any piece of furniture here]. It's an argument with many of my design clients as well, the wives typically want the trim in their homes painted while the husbands can't stand the idea of painting woodwork! I agree with both arguments, wood should and shouldn't be painted but how does a person decide?
The painted furniture trend has taken the nation by storm in the past 6 or so years, generally interior design trends will last about 7 years so it's safe to say the trend has peaked and will be subsiding shortly however my best design advice is to avoid trends and decorate your home in a way that makes the most sense for your family but do it in a way that you can incorporate ever changing trends without having to do a complete overhaul. Painting furniture is an easy and economical way to update a thrift store find to help make your space feel more current and that's why everyone loves it!
Deciding when to paint is the most crucial step because once a piece is painted there is very little chance you will ever strip it back to the wood finish when that becomes the latest trend. My biggest painting pet peeve is watching a novice DIY painter slap paint over a mint condition piece of furniture because the trend said so. Here are some simple steps to help decide if you should paint!
Welcome to Heirloom a blog for people who enjoy interesting interior spaces mixed with antiques, salvaged, handmade and new written by a Salvage Sister! I am Heather Fisher, the owner and operator of Salvage Sisters Mercantile, a gift shop located in my home town of Mankato, MN. I am celebrating my 6th year in the antique, handmade and salvage business and I am excited to share my story with you!
I am 4th generation Mankato resident and small business owner. My great-grandparents owned Dalton Motors which was a Chrysler dealership and was passed down to my grand parents who had seven daughters and one son. My mom and her many sisters were antiquers, salvagers and junkers, it was a way of life. My Aunt Cindy Florine owned two antique stores: "Wild Goose Chase" and "Viking Antiques" where I spent Saturdays as a kid with my mom working the shop. I would play in all of the vignettes creating stories in my head about the history of the items. Early on, I learned an appreciation for heirloom quality furniture by watching my mom sell the features of the pieces. Dovetail, mortise and tenon, double booked and spoon carving were words in my vocabulary at age 9.
I earned my Bachelor of Science Degree in Interior Design with a Minor in Studio Art from Minnesota State University in Mankato. Soon after graduation, I had my first child, Hazel, and helped my then husband build Office Space Design. Bringing a toddler to the office was proving to be a difficult task so I began working from home doing marketing for two hotels located in Belize, Central America where I would also lead groups on volunteer tourism trips in the rain forest which is a story for another time. After having my second child, Samson, I was introduced to Salvage Sisters.
Salvage Sisters was founded by three friends in July 2012 it was a painted furniture shop that was housed in a cute little storefront on Riverfront Drive in Mankato. Six months after being in business, the women decided that the small business life wasn't for them and they were going to announce their closing. I received a call from a woman at the SBDC informing me that one of the women wanted to continue the shop and was looking for a business partner when my name came up. I discussed it with my family and my then husband but he already had a "hobby business" that we were just beginning so he didn't think it would be a good idea for our family if I were to start another one so I called the women and told them that I would have to pass. As they began to announce their store closing, I just couldn't stand by and watch such a great concept go under especially since owning a boutique was one of my life goals! I crunched numbers and did projections and decided that I needed this project, for myself. We were business partners for a year and a half until she decided she no longer wanted to own the business so I bought her half and have owned the store on my own since 2014.
Over the years, Salvage Sisters has changed from being solely salvaged, painted furniture to a gift shop. I first brought local makers into the shop in 2014 offering items that were more than just home decor because you can only buy a dining room table so many times, right?! I wanted people to keep coming into the store even if they didn't need a piece of furniture. Today my shop is filled with locally made items from baby clothes to wall art, unique antique finds, salvaged furniture and quirky gone-of-a-kind gifts.
While some people think that something looks dated if it doesn't have characteristics of the latest trends, I love creating interesting designs by mixing the old with the new! I am here to ensure that grandmas' heirloom pieces don't end up in the dump by showing my customers how to make their homes unique and interesting by incorporating items they have with items they love. We all need to remember that trends come and go and whatever is popular now will someday be dated. Think 1970's wood paneling... everywhere...