HANSON — When you get a blizzard on the day you planned to move into your new business address you can panic or take a page from Kristine Thayer’s philosophy: just reclaim it and create something beautiful.
The owner of Attic Fanatic opened the doors to her new space at 1000 Main St., Hanson in early March and plans a grand opening open studio event for her furniture restyling business from 5 to 9 p.m., Friday, July 17. She also sells the line of paints that she uses.
A major focus of the event will be the debut of a new display gallery that brings the beach to Hanson.
The open studio will feature a preview of Thayer’s new painted furniture collection, snacks, spirits and an auction of a painted furniture piece to benefit the Hanson Food Pantry.
“This space will be transformed to the beach,” she said of the gallery, still under construction on July 6. “It’s a nice opportunity also if people are interested in buying Shabby Paints, which is the chalk paint brand that I sell.”
The paint contains no volatile chemicals and is non-toxic. She uses the American-made brand for all her furniture repurposing and refinishing.
Thayer is also taking part in a documentary being produced by her friend, Alex Eaves, on people who repurpose across the country. That film is due out this summer.
“He inspired me to become a little more focused on reusing, specifically, and that’s another reason I’m so passionate about finding antiques and pieces of furniture that we can keep out of the landfill and keep in the family,” she said. “If I’m giving it a new life and breathing new life into it, giving it a new use and a facelift, and turning it into a piece they actually want in their home, then I’m doing something for their family and the environment.”
There are the occasional hopeless cases, Thayer admits, but said more often than not she’s brought beautiful pieces that can be saved with some basic repair and a new finish.
This isn’t “Antiques Roadshow,” where the message is that refinishing diminishes value.
“At this point in time, antiques are not as desirable to folks, so they’re getting tossed,” she said. “They’re getting left on the side of the road, they’re getting sold for $30 at auction.”
The walls of her studio workroom were lined on this day with finished projects as she and friend Kevin Oberbeck worked at various stages of the refinishing process on a dining table and a bedroom set for her new collection. A ladder rack adorned with colorful, fat throw pillows brightened a corner.
She had previously operated the business on a retail basis out of a store on Broadway in Hanover for about a year and a half. The Hanson resident moved the studio out of a need for a larger space and her love for the town in which she lives.
“My business turned to 90-percent custom for clients,” she said taking a break from sanding a table. “Either a client has a piece of furniture that they want restyled or they come in and choose from one of the pieces that I have in the warehouse and I’ll paint it to their specifications.”
The business began in her garage.
“I’d go to antique shows, and I’d go to auctions and buy up a whole bunch of furniture and I’d repaint it,” she said. “It became more interesting to me and the history behind things, and the financial aspect — people, planet and wallet — as opposed to buying something new.”
But antique furnishings may have been the last thing she intended to pursue, as she grew up surrounded by them. Her father started his numismatics business about 30 years ago and also dealt in antiques.
“He and my mother, as a young couple, would do flea markets and auctions,” she said, noting she resisted being bitten by the antiques bug for a long time. “I wanted nothing to do with antiques. My home was more modern, when I finally bought my first home.”
Instead, Thayer worked in the corporate world for about 10 years with antiques becoming her hobby as well as a stress-reliever.
It was while working in the marketing department at the Patriot-Ledger that she met Oberbeck about 15 years ago, a designer who created logo for Attic Fanatic. It had been her first job out of college.
“We worked on few campaigns together and had fun,” she said. “We remained in contact and when I opened my Hanover location, Kevin was a big part of getting my logo to where it is now.”
“I just help,” Oberbeck said.
For more information on Attic Fanatic or the open studio hours, visit theatticfanatic.com.