Furniture refinishing is the happiest accident that Anastasia Graziose, our guest curator this week, stumbled upon. It all started when Anastasia, her 3-month-old son and her husband made the big move north to Connecticut, in a suburb right outside New York City.
Anastasia went to her local Goodwill and found a beautiful rattan bar cart. She was going to look around the store for a few minutes and come back to it, but it was sold within that time. She was so surprised and realized there is a huge demand for once-loved items.
That day, she bought a nightstand, painted it, and sold it within a week. And so her furniture obsession began.
Anastasia's style changes constantly and her technique improves all the time. Her business, Shab To Rad, is also always evolving. It started out with selling refinished pieces of furniture on Facebook marketplace, but now she refinishes custom pieces for clients all over the New York metropolitan region. Now, only four years into her furniture refinishing journey, she feels like the best yet to come!
What's the most challenging thing you encounter when refurbishing secondhand furniture?
The hardest part when refinishing secondhand furniture is definitely all of the prep work before you can paint or stain the piece. First is cleaning years of furniture polish off. Then either stripping off the old paint or stripping off the old thick varnish.
Make sure to use precaution at this stage such as gloves and a mask. And lastly sanding and sanding some more until the piece is smooth and ready for paint or stain. The prep is a lot of work but it is one of the most important steps in refinishing to ensure a lasting and smooth finish.
Do you have any tips in choosing secondhand furniture (color, shape, size, etc.) that will make it easier to flip?
My best tip for choosing secondhand furniture is to choose pieces that fit your style and make you happy. When I first started refinishing I would pick up any pieces (literally any free pieces off the side of the road) that came my way not taking into consideration the style or the repairs that may be needed.
Now I’m pretty selective and choose pieces that have moderate repairs and ones that fit my style. Refinishing is fun and therapeutic so when you find the right piece it makes the job that much more enjoyable.
What's your absolute favorite item ever purchased at an estate sale or online auction?
I would definitely have to say my daughter Avelina’s spool bed frame circa 1880. I recently transitioned her bedroom from a nursery to a little girls’ room.
The theme for her neutral bedroom is white, wood and brass. The wood spool bed frame is the star of the room. I stripped off the old finish, sanded down every spool and left the wood in its natural raw state. It had been in the previous owner’s family for three generations, and I hope to carry it in my family for generations to come.
As an AuctionNinja bidder, what's your favorite AuctionNinja purchase?
My favorite AuctionNinja purchase was a tallboy Hollywood Regency dresser that I found for a client. My client had picked up another dresser at a local secondhand shop and they were looking for a match to complete the pair.
I found an almost perfect match on AuctionNinja. I refinished the dressers by taking off the old dark wood finish and transformed them into light wood modern pieces to fit the style and motif of their home. Light wood furniture is very popular right now and I love seeing the unique wood grain that would usually be covered up with a dark stain. That is the great advantage of refinished furniture, each piece will be unique and completely one of a kind of.
What are the one or two things that you always find yourself bidding on/looking for when shopping secondhand?
My style is ever-changing, and I love to mix different eras in my home. Since I refinish furniture, I’m always on the hunt for rare and unique modern pieces. I gravitate towards the Hollywood Regency style and Mid-Century Modern furniture because of their clean lines and unique wood patterns. I am definitely a minimalist who likes neutral colors when it comes to decor.
Recently I have been eyeing 1980’s postmodern décor, such as unique lamps, vases and sculptures. Anytime I see an online auction or estate sale with those items you can bet I will be there or will be bidding online.
This week I had a chance to select a curation for AuctionNinja’s Collected Perspectives series and here are 8 items I’ll definitely be bidding on.
A Vintage Cow Skin Pillow And Throw Rug (Clearing House Estate Sales)
Nemadji Pottery - Wedding Vase - Made in USA (Sisters In Charge Estate Sales)
Stunning and Masterful Oil Painting by World Renowned Artist Green (Bijoux Estate Sales)
32 Drawer Oak File Cabinet (Keene Auctions)
A Karl Springer Style Lacquered Linen Dining Table (Modern Day Auctions)
Mid Century Modern Giancarlo Piretti Alky Chair by Artifort (Trading Post Estate Sales)
A Mid Century Danish Rosewood SideBoard (Modern Day Auctions)
Contemporary Inlaid Wood Oval Hall Mirror & Matching Shelf (Diamond Tag Sales)
District of Columbia