Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze & Observer 04-25-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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8 SPRING IN THE VALLEY 2019 APRIL 24-MAY 1, 2019 | THE VALLEY BREEZE & OBSERVER This HOPE CHEST on legs (before, above; after, at right) is Sharyn Stoff's favorite furniture makeover completed so far, done by blending different paint colors together to create a vignette effect. A dresser transformed using chalk paint and a decal transfer by Sharyn Stoff (before, left; after, above). Sharyn Stoff created a standout piece by using dark paint and gold embellishments to make this dress- er's features pop. One of many signs of the season in New England is the rise in curbside furniture left for the taking as people begin their spring cleaning. Many people will drive past the discarded dressers, desks and chairs without a second glance, but keen-eyed salvagers with a vision for design have found ways to transform one person's trash into another's treasure. Seven years ago this month, Sharyn Stoff dis- covered chalk paint. "We bought an old house with a lot of old knot- ty pine paneling. I was tired of the physical labor and wanted a quick and easy fix to paint over it," she said. She discovered that the mineral-based chalk paint adheres to the wood, meaning she could paint it without sanding or priming. Her first attempt at using chalk paint on a piece of furniture was on an antique settee she inherited from her grandmother, which she also reuphol- stered. Since then, Stoff has continued using the paint to reclaim drab furniture as a hobby and side business, selling her pieces at Stillwater Antiques, also called Antiques Alley, in Smithfield. She has been dealing antiques there for 15 years. "My mother was an antique dealer. I got the bug from her," she said. Stoff said her competition is on the rise as chalk paint becomes more and more popular, but that every dealer and customer has their own unique style. She has been able to create statement looks by using furniture transfers, or rub-on decals, which she said are trending right now along with techniques such as blending paints and creating a "distressed" look. Asked what she looks for in a piece, Stoff said she looks for something made with quality hard wood. "Something that needs new life, but has good bones," she said. "The varnish might be torn off, but I look for something solid and well- built." She has never paid more than $50 for a piece of furniture. "People don't want this old maple furniture from the '50s and '60s. Once you paint it, you give it a new look and it becomes much more desirable," she said. That's not to say she's painting antique furni- ture of value, said Stoff. "Sometimes I do cringe when I see people paint over an antique wooden piece," she said. "This is about adding value to furniture that is not desir- able as is." Stoff said the hobby is her "time away." "I love to watch the transformation of the piece," she said. "To go back and look at the before photo ... I really enjoy it." Fresh techniques bring new life to old furniture By NICOLE DOTZENROD Valley Breeze Staff Writer nicole@valleybreeze.com

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