On the outskirts of Cape St. Claire, one woman is finding a growing market for used furniture, and it started on a risky gamble.
Heidi Peters has been restoring furniture and creating custom furniture for just under a year now for her home business Refabulous. And while she’s made quite a name for herself in Broadneck, it wasn’t always such a sure thing.
Peters said it all started one afternoon when she decided to take a chance and restore an ancient table bestowed upon her by her great-grandmother. Originally, the piece simply wasn’t her style, Peters said. So one day she pulled it out of storage, moved it to her deck and sanded it down to bare wood.
“My husband was actually mad at me, asking, ‘What are you doing?’” Peters said. “I told him, ‘I have no idea, but I hate it as it is, and what do I have to lose?’”
She ended up refinishing and reupholstering the piece, making it look new. Shocked at the result, her husband then asked, “Well what’s next?”
Peters showed off the piece on Facebook, and then friends and others started asking her to refinish their furniture. And that’s how Refabulous was born.
Peters does anything from staining to painting to faux-finishing—and now she’s working on creating her own furniture. Starting her own home business has been quite a transformation, not only for her, but also her family.
“You should see my Christmas list—a year ago it was diamonds, now it's Skilsaws. It's all stuff you could get at Home Depot,” she said.
Operating Refabulous takes about 60 hours a week, she said, but the feeling of creativity and personal satisfaction makes it worthwhile, Peters said.
“I've got three kids, so juggling all that has been a challenge. But it's working, and I love it. It’s been nice to finally be in my niche and use my creative side instead of just changing diaper,” she said.
Peters’ goal with Refabulous was to offer an affordable way to people to own some of the higher-end, luxurious pieces of furniture you could find in Pottery Barn or Restoration Hardware.
Every week, she’ll visit yard sales, peruse Craigslist.org and shop across the region to find quality used furniture, or pieces that she still sees a life in where other owners have given up. She also does home visits to speak with customers who want a particular piece refinished or brought to life.
“Right now, people love old wood. The more worn the piece looks, the better,” she said.
With such a booming business, she said her home workshop space is becoming cramped. She’s looking to expand into a storefront sometime soon, she said.
For more information on Refabulous, visit the company’s Facebook page, which also features before and after shots for every piece of furniture she’s worked on.