Barb Blair, owner of Knack Studios shares her secrets for turning forgotten shabby furniture pieces into unforgettable focal points.
Q. What led you to start your business?
A. I started Knack in 2007 with a sincere desire to transform the forgotten into the unforgettable. Plus, I wanted to work on my own for a flexible schedule that would allow me to spend time with my husband and two kids.
Q. Tell us about Knack.
A. My studio is a totally rad space that allows me to breathe and create comfortably. It’s located in a storefront situated in the Pendleton Street Arts District, which is an old mill village with architecturally fantastic buildings full of artists and designers. I love being right smack in the middle of all the action!
Q. Where do you find great furniture to make over?
A. I am a gatherer and a hunter, so I find pieces all over the place—estate sales, antiques dealers, resale stores, and people’s homes.
Q. How would you describe your design style?
A. You might call my style eclectic-modern—I like a clean, uncluttered look with a collected feel. My motto is “Live with what you love,” and when you do that, a look comes together to tell a very personal design story.
Q. Tell us about your latest find.
A. A friend found a huge collection of antique chests at a warehouse sale here in Greenville and called to tell me about their Knack potential. I knew this Early American chest of drawers would shine after a little TLC.
Q. How did you go about this amazing transformation?
A. I sanded down the piece, filled in the cracks with wood filler, and then covered it in a bold floral wallpaper with metallic details. I custom-matched the paint color to the wallpaper and chose shiny glass knobs to give it a fresh new look.
What She Used
Wallpaper: Poppy (81/1001) by Cole & Son (www.cole-and-son.com), available through Knack; knackstudios.com
Paint: by Behr (behr.com), available through The Home Depot; homedepot.com (custom color matched to wallpaper)
Knob: mirrored glass, also available through Knack
Q. What do you love most about performing furniture face-lifts?
A. The most rewarding thing about what I do is taking a piece that is worn out, dirty, and forsaken and turning it into something that is relevant, fresh, and frabjous (a treasured Alice in Wonderland reference). The power of seeing a transformation never gets old and applies to life as well as furniture.