My Blog

Archive - November 2000

21.07 20140

“The Way We Worked” Smithsonian Exhibit

This weekend, a really interesting traveling exhibit by the Smithsonian made its way to Pell City, AL. "The Way We Worked" is on display at the Pell City Center until August 23. You should come out and see it! Pell City was natural choice because of our history. We do not have a museum of our own, but we have an active interest in both our past and the future.  In the al.com article linked above, Pam Foote is hoping that this exhibit will be a springboard for a museum in Pell City. It might be a great way to stoke interest in the regional heritage that makes us so great! A lot of interesting furniture has been made from repurposed items that lived another life as work items around mills, factories, and farms. These vintage items might be kept as-is, and simply preserved. Sometimes the wood is salvaged and made into something entirely different. Either way, a bit of history is preserved. Here's an example of a light fixture made from salvaged wood at Lilly Designs, A Design Resource. Just think, this wood could be sitting in a landfill, rotting. But instead it's a beautiful piece just waiting to add personality to someone's home. Salvaged wood slat pendant light (blue tint) This piece is in my showroom in Pell City. It's a refurbished cart being used as a coffee table now. It was most likely used in an old mill. Pell City's industrial history is a treasure trove for decorators! coffee table   In addition to my normal items, I carry unfurbished and refurbished items. It's interesting and responsible to repurpose these items, and they're great talking pieces, too. I can always find you that perfect item you're looking for to add that touch of history and interest to your living space. You should visit the exhibit in Pell City, then take a stop by my shop to continue to be inspired by the voices of the past!      

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10.05 20130

“With These Hands”

By: Renee Categories:Buzzworthy, The Hive

As I travel, looking for new furniture and new design ideas, I meet a lot of interesting people and learn about so many things. On one of my trips, I met someone who suggested I watch a documentary, With These Hands: The Story of an American Furniture Factory. Here's the trailer for the documentary by the Unheard Voices Project: With These Hands is the story of the rise and fall of a furniture factory in Martinsville, Virginia. As you watch the documentary, you get to hear from the son of the founder of Hooker Furniture, Clyde Hooker. This retired CEO tells how he was there to blow the whistle on the first day. Workers tell of the great pride they took in their work, how this was the type of job that you couldn't train for by reading a book. Hands-on learning was necessary, and the skill was handed down from mentor to worker over a period of 82 years. When the factory in Martinsville shut down, 280 workers lost their jobs. These were people who loved their work, took great pride in their workmanship, and truly were unprepared when the doors closed. The documentary discusses the changing economy and the difficulties competing with imported goods. They had been growing and booming and opening new factories in the late 1990s, but in a very short time period everything changed. The Hooker Furniture company was shutting its last wood furniture factory down by 2006. The last decade has been hard on manufacturing jobs, and the furniture industry has been no exception.  Labor from skilled workers in the United States can cost a company so much more than outsourcing. WalMart, in particular, has driven the demand for cheaper and cheaper materials, and everyone has to struggle to compete. Many of these manufacturers simply cannot stay open, because Americans won't buy the domestic product due to the higher cost. At one point, Clyde Hooker laments that the company has changed fundamentally from a furniture making business to a marketing company. The fact that the furniture is no longer built by the people of Martinsville, VA reflects the changing times. The story of the Martinsville factory has played out over and over through the county in the past decade. The full movie can be seen at FolkStreams, and I recommend you watch it when you have an hour and a half to spare. It's an interesting look into the hearts and lives of the people who are being displaced by the changing economy. The amazing thing about the film is the optimism and goodwill these workers had, even after losing their jobs. Yes, they were discouraged, but they held no resentment towards the company. They understood the situation, and were sad to see their close-knit family break up, but in the end, the message is an inspiration. These people still have hope and determination.

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01.02 20130

Painting Furniture Brings New Life

      Painted chest of drawers

Recently, I went to Atlanta on a buying trip. The wide variety of vendors at market means that I always come back with interesting new finds as well as interior design ideas. One of  the most exciting ideas I've been focusing on lately is taking old furniture and either refinishing or painting it to make something old new again.  

Painted Furniture detail

  I am always finding interesting old furniture at estate sales. Sometimes it just needs a little polish and cleaning, but other times the piece is outdated or in desperate need of a new finish. Sometimes, this means a chance at a fresh, vibrant new look. Other times, a weathered, antiqued look would fit in well with someone's existing decor and the style of the furniture. There are really so many possibilities.  

bathroom paint

Americans throw away around 10 million pieces of furniture a year! While some of that is truly ready for the trash bin, think of all the money and resources that are being wasted! Look at your old table and think how you could show your creativity and liven up your room with just a little imagination.

Paint contrast

  If you want to learn more about painted furniture, I would love to talk to you about my ideas for changing an old piece into something new. Martha Stewart has a great article for those with a Do-It-Yourself mentality, but most of us don't have the time or space to devote to the trial and error, though. That's where Lilly Designs: A Design Resource can help you. I can look at your existing interior design and give you ideas on how we can breathe new life into furniture that has become boring and familiar to you. Instead of throwing those pieces out, contact me and let's talk about the possibilities.   Before PaintingAfter painting               .

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