Old Furniture Deserves a Second Life

Just because your furniture is outdated doesn’t mean it’s ready for the landfill. This is especially true with family heirlooms, which are often well-built.

Susan McCabe and her husband, Dennis, have made a fruitful retirement living from helping people refresh furniture that was outdated. Their company, Refreshed Furnishings & Makers’ Market in Cary, sells all types of refurbished furniture and supplies to do it yourself.

“I think more people are finding out that refurbishing it is cost-effective,” says McCabe. “And you’re getting a much more unique product.”

There are many ways to refurbish a piece of furniture, but most jobs start with new hardware or a new finish.

McCabe sells chalk-like paints from Hannah Bella and American Paint Co.

“With our finishes, you can change the color and the look,” says McCabe. “It can be a plain clear polyurethane finish or glazes, metallics, paint washes or wax.”

A fresh finish isn’t the only way to preserve old furniture. Plenty of people choose to repurpose it.
McCabe and her team have taken dry sinks and turned them into changing tables; created benches out of headboards; and refashioned armoires into coffee stations or bars that stand more than 6 feet tall and have chicken wire doors.

“Some people don’t want cookie-cutter cabinets. They want to use more character pieces, like a dresser in their bathroom,” McCabe says. “They come in with an idea and a vision – ‘I want my bathroom to look like this’ – and they often have a piece they want to use. And we help them accomplish that goal.”

That’s the thing about well-built furniture, like the stuff grandma bought: It’s built to endure, no matter how you use it. And it’s built to be renewed.

“Just because it was a dresser doesn’t mean it has to stay a dresser,” McCabe says. “If there’s a use for it, it’s much better to place it in somebody’s home than a landfill.”

Refreshed Furnishings & Makers’ Market, is located at 175 Northwest Hwy. in Cary, (847) 220-8443.