Everyone has those few pieces of furniture that are the right size, the right shape, and built to last, but that are also, unfortunately, so aesthetically unappealing that they languish uselessly in attics, spare bedrooms, and basement rec rooms.
A local businesswoman offers a way to revitalize those bland, boring, or downright ugly furnishings so they can be proudly displayed again, making them appealing to the eye and functional for use in any room of the house.
Shiloh Byrnes, proprietor of the aptly named From Drab to Fab, has spent the past year doing just that. “I enjoy upcycling old furniture into something new. I take old wooden furniture and upcycle it with a modern twist,” she explained.
Mrs. Byrnes said that she was inspired to open her store when her hobby expanded into an actual business. “There was in a need in the community to get customized painted furniture at a reasonable price. It started as a hobby out of my house after I had my daughter, then I started selling online, and it just kept getting bigger until I needed my own space,” she explained.
With no formal training, but gifted with an abundance of skill and good taste, Mrs. Byrnes is able to transform tired, drab furniture so that it simultaneously looks fresh and modern and also lovingly used. “Everything I’ve learned has been on the internet. I learn a lot from Facebook groups based on what I do and from talking to people,” she remarked.In addition to innate talent and a willingness to learn, Mrs. Byrnes has found a product, Dixie Belle Paints, that allows her to focus on creating the desired appearance of a piece rather than on arduous stripping and sanding to remove old finishes. According to the Dixie Belle Paint Company website, their product is a chalk mineral paint with “superb adhesive qualities allowing you to paint over practically anything without any sanding, priming, or prep work.” The paint, which comes in 42 colors, adheres to almost any surface and can be distressed to create an appealingly worn finish. From Drab to Fab is filled with items that Mrs. Byrnes has upcycled. Dressers, nightstands, small tables, bed frames, and benches are among the items that are often available. She acquires furniture at auctions, yard sales, thrift shops, barn cleanouts, and from people who give her unwanted pieces. Imperfections in the furniture can lead to alternate uses, such as a dresser with missing drawers that she modified into a spacious shelf for storage. Commissions on furniture that people already own forms a large part of the work Mrs. Byrnes does at her store. “People can make an appointment, bring something down, and we’ll talk about color choices and finishes. They can tell me exactly what they want and I’ll have it ready for them to come pick up in about two weeks,” said Mrs. Byrnes. Price is based on the size of a piece, so people are encouraged to bring or send a picture for an estimate if cost is a factor. From Drab to Fab’s grand opening took place on December 8, 2015. In the year that has passed since that date, Mrs. Byres said the shop has gotten busier, with many people requesting custom finishing of pieces that are already at the shop or that they bring in. She has also started a photo booth rental business, where people can rent pieces to create a theme for special occasions, like weddings. To accommodate both businesses, she believes a bigger space in the same plaza would be beneficial.
In addition to upcycled furniture, From Drab to Fab features handmade wooden signs, handmade pillows, pallet clocks, small decorative items, and seasonal and holiday items. Many of the items in the shop have been produced by area craftsmen. For those inspired to try revitalizing furniture on their own, the shop also carries a selection of Dixie Belle Paint.
Mrs. Byrnes also hosts monthly Paint Parties at the Maiolatesi Wines Cellars store, located right next door to her shop. “I do it there because they have more room than me! For $45 you get two glasses of wine and snacks, and I bring all the supplies. People can bring their own item to refinish, then take it home at the end of the evening,” she said.
The From Drab to Fab store, located at 506 ½ Route 6 (Scranton-Carbondale Highway) in Mayfield, is open Thursdays and Fridays from 10 – 4 and on Saturdays from 10 – 2. For more information, call (570) 687-7779 or visit the From DRAB to FAB Facebook page at www.facebook.com/shilohdrabtofab.