Scottdale woman 'upcycles' furniture
It's not a good day if Carla Rhodes doesn't get paint on her hands. Now, thanks to a new fleatique known as Saturday's Treasures that just opened in Mt. Pleasant, she has an excuse every day to do so.
The 38-year-old is fulfilling a longtime dream of having a retail spot to sell her “upcycled” furniture and share her love of redoing, revamping and restoring wooden items.
“I heard about Saturday's Treasures when there was an ad in the newspaper. The location is perfect since I live in Scottdale, and my husband can help me load and unload the larger pieces after work without much travel,” she said.
Rhodes, who said she's a painter first, businessperson second, also liked the location's size, which allowed her the opportunity to showcase a wide variety of items.
“I try to balance large pieces such as buffets and dressers, with smaller accessory pieces like side tables and chairs. I try to stage the furniture with pictures and small decorative items which are for sale also,” she said.
Like all start-up ventures, this one comes with a sense of excitement and challenges as well, like making sure items are priced right, pieces are up to Rhodes' standards of “being just perfect,” and the booth is always filled with new items to sell.
“The hardest part was gathering quality pieces, refinishing them, and then storing them in my house until the space was available to move in,” Rhodes said. “Thankfully my husband is patient and I stored them all in his ‘man cave!''”
Working every day on her rehab projects, Rhodes said being able to finish a project and move it out of her home to the fleatique booth is beneficial, because she is no longer tempted to “fall in love” with a newly upcycled item and keep it. It's a passion that she has had for quite some time.
“I have painted for about two years, but I've always done crafty projects. It's in my genes. It started out of boredom when my kids got older and wanted to stay home a lot in the summer and grew from there. I also did it as a release of stress as a social worker,” she said.
So far Rhodes is happy with the success of her business. With the fleatique giving locals the opportunity to shop six days a week, she has sold a range of small to large items and has regularly been receiving positive feedback and compliments on her work.
“I love to talk ‘furniture' and I'm so happy with all the people I have met,” she said. “I have a number of people I have met who call me when they find good furniture bargains. I also try to tell people, if you have your grandmother's old side table which you dislike, you don't have to keep it the way it is. Paint it. You might fall in love with it again. Grandma will be looking down pleased!”
Rhodes added she only works on well-made, solid wood pieces that have “good bones” and will last a lifetime. She said while letting go of a project is tough, she is happy it will be used again.
Part of the creative artist's long-term business plan also includes sharing her painting techniques to achieve a wide variety of styles.
“I also want to teach people the different types of furniture styles such as ‘chippy,' ‘shabby-chic,' ‘distressed,' ‘waxed,' etc. I try to put examples of all types of furniture in my booth so if others would like their treasured pieces of furniture refinished I can do that with the look they desire,” Rhodes said.
Having a retail space is a stepping stone, getting her closer to her future dreams of owning her own shop, holding painting seminars and becoming a local distributor of a famous brand of chaulk and milk paint, she added.
Rhodes blogs regularly about her passion and upcoming projects making their debut at Saturday's Treasures. Between her day job, painting until 3 in the morning, you can find her regular entries at www.mommyinthedale.blogspot.com.
Rhodes has no plans to stop painting anytime soon. She said there will never be a shortage of ugly furniture that needs a new life.
She can be reached at 724-989-0689 to discuss the upcycling of furniture finds.
Sonia Whalen-Miller is a contributing writer.