Why buy new? Flipped furniture saves money, environment

Lisa Arnold is a transformer.

The Richland resident takes pieces of furniture that are outdated and brings them back to life.

“I am passionate about this,” said Arnold, owner of Fabulously Flipped. “I put my heart and soul into every piece to make it look beautiful again.”

She began by refurbishing some of her own furniture in 2018 and selling it at a local upcycle shop in Richland called Modern Yesterdays.

By the summer of 2022, Arnold began searching for additional pieces to flip. Her business began to grow to — she started refurbishing bathroom vanities, kitchen cabinets and bedroom sets. She has recycled buffets, coffee tables, nightstands, desks and even old record players.

“A person might have a family heirloom they want to preserve, something special to them, and it just might need updated,” Arnold said. “They want to keep it, but feel like it needs a new color because they are changing the décor of their home. I can help them.”

One of the benefits is that clients don’t have to invest in purchasing new, she said.

According to Architectural Digest, a GlobalData survey said 54% of shoppers feel that buying secondhand furniture pieces is better for the environment.

Additionally, refurbished furniture adds a character that one isn’t going to find at budget or mass-produced furniture stores.

The cost of her service varies based on size, intricacy and technique — the paint and finishing process. Pricing for a six-drawer dresser starts at $200.

She typically works on quality wood pieces.

“I can save you money,” Arnold said. “A lot of times people get new countertops and floors and backsplashes for their kitchens. I can redo the cabinets for a fraction of the cost (of new ones).”

When she is doing a project such as refacing kitchen cabinets, she removes the doors and drawers and takes them to her off-site workshop.

The remainder of the work is completed at the client’s house.

Arnold sands and primes the wood and then paints the pieces.

Sometimes people will want cabinets on a kitchen island painted a different color than the others. For drawers, she can line them with contact paper or wallpaper. She can do minor repairs. Oftentimes, she will freshen up handles and knobs and, if necessary, replace them.

Doing the work takes time because she strives to do it right, she said. It takes a minimum of seven to 10 days because there is a process.

People mostly bring their pieces to her, and she will travel within a 15-mile radius to do an on-site kitchen cabinet job.

“The nice part is I don’t disrupt your kitchen,” she said. “The only thing you have to do is push items inside towards the back.”

Michelle Botta of Cranberry said Arnold “totally transformed” Botta’s mother’s 60-year-old kitchen. Arnold painted the doors off-site and installed new hardware.

“She was so professional from start to finish,” Botta said. “She uses the best paints and finishes, worked in a timely manner. She worked closely with us on color choices and design.”

Holly Johnston of Richland said Arnold’s work is “absolutely gorgeous” and that Arnold had the process timed perfectly, so there was no inconvenience.

Arnold, who is self-taught, said she is constantly educating herself. She said she reads a lot and asks a lot of questions. She comes from a family that appreciates art and who are entrepreneurs. Her parents and two sisters have owned or own businesses.

“I am proud of that,” Arnold said. “It runs in the blood.”

Arnold uses two types of paint: fusion mineral paint for furniture and Benjamin Moore products for kitchen cabinets.

Her business is fully insured, she said.

She is doing more commissioned pieces and recently launched ceramic tile painting.

Arnold posts her work on Instagram and Facebook, so a lot of clients come based on referrals and through social media, she said.

“I am blessed to be so busy,” she said. “It’s super fun. I love to paint. I could paint every day.”

Details: fabulouslyflipped.com.

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact JoAnne by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

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