Click on the plus signs below to reveal Jenn's & Amanda's answers!
How long have you been refinishing furniture?
As crazy as this may sound, we've been refinishing and painting since we were kids. Our dad had a carpentry business and sometimes he would be hired to tear down old buildings. We would always go into the buildings beforehand and try to salvage any little table or chair so we could fix and paint it for our bedrooms. He taught us so many skills growing up while we spent time with him in his shop. He showed Jenn the art of how to strip paint from a wood door at her first farmhouse, which is a skill we both still use regularly.
Tell us how you got started?
We continued to refinish pieces for ourselves as a fun way to spend time together, while adding a lot of refreshing character and history to our homes. We've always enjoyed going to auction sales and estate sales, looking for that treasure that we could clean, fix, paint and showcase. Over the years we'd received such kind feedback on our finished pieces and kept hearing that we should sell them. So one day we decided to, and we haven't looked back!
Do you refinish for personal use or do you sell?
We refinish furniture for ourselves and also to sell. We've become quite busy with custom painting, but we've made sure to set boundaries to ensure that we are still able to enjoy the process and continue to feel inspired creatively.
Do you have a favorite furniture style that you like to refinish?
We describe our furniture style as modern farmhouse, and we are quite strict with adhering to very specific antique and vintage quality furniture. Empire style is at the top of our list for favourites, but anything with beautiful detail and solid wood. Solid wood is an absolute must for us and we do not compromise on this. We love furniture that has a story to tell.
What paint medium is your favorite?
Fusion Mineral Paint is our favourite paint to use. We've tried numerous types and brands of paint over the years, but we always go back to Fusion. Fusion Mineral Paint is a Canadian company, easy to use, and very durable. It doesn't require a topcoat and can be used outdoors. We love it so much we became retailers this year, and have really enjoyed helping clients design their projects.
Do you have a favorite piece you've refinished and why?
Amanda - I have two that I can't choose between. The first piece is the empire style desk that we won our staging award for this year. As stated above, empire style is our absolute favourite and is really hard to find in our area. So when we do find one it's a really big deal! I loved the story and history behind this desk, and spent a lot of time curating the perfect grey, removing veneer on the top to reveal an incredible piece of solid wood, and completing it with apothecary style and worn hardware. I did not have the heart to sell it, so it's now in my dining room and acts as a petite sideboard; it compliments my style perfectly. The second favourite is our very first Martha Washington sewing cabinet. A year ago we had seen Kristin from Shackteau Interiors paint one and became very intrigued with these dainty cabinets. We had never seen a cabinet like that in our area, ever. A few weeks later we came across one at an estate sale, it was absolute fate. We refinished it and posted it for sale, and to our surprise we had multiple buyers. Once again, I felt too attached and couldn't bring myself to sell it, so it now sits in my guest bedroom as a nightstand.
Jenn - My favourite is a vintage french style dresser. At first glance it didn't look like anything special, and was covered in a thick white paint. I'm actually surprised we were able to convince our client to customize it. I spent so much time stripping that old paint off and getting the dresser down to the bare wood so we could start with a clean slate. The walnut top I exposed was an exceptional surprise, and after the old paint was gone you could really appreciate the details that had been concealed for so long. The beading gets me every time, I just love this on furniture, and the caning turned out phenomenal. Our client loved it and really appreciated all the hard and tedious work that went into it.
Overall, not exclusive to furniture refinishing, what is your favorite color?
Jenn - Definitely not white! Even though this is a popular trend and request that looks beautiful on furniture, it does not pair well with my farmhouse and animals. I'm drawn towards teal, but I get more excited talking about different types of wood than colours. I quickly shift to giddy joy when we find a piece that is made from solid elm or quarter sawn oak.
Amanda - I love greys, but it has to be a grey without a blue undertone, and navy is a close second. A warm and cozy light grey with wood accents is what you'll find throughout my home. Rustic Farmhouse is my style, so beautiful wood mixed with warmth is always my fascination.
When you aren't refinishing furniture what do you enjoy doing?
We both really enjoy gardening and using that as a way to relax. Growing up on a farm allowed us to always have something to watch grow and feel that accomplishment of enjoying your personal produce. We learned from a young age how to take our produce from the garden and pickle it, as well as turning the berries we picked into jams, syrups and pies. We are constantly adding to our peony collections (Jenn has 60 and counting) and always trying to find new and rare breeds. One of our favourite things to do during the summer is wander through our yards and gardens to see what has grown, and then send each other pictures when something beautiful has bloomed.
Cooking and baking is also at the top of our list. We are always trying new recipes, comparing notes and have taken a lot of enjoyment in learning the recipes from our family's heritage. During the holidays we are always in charge of the baking, and we thoroughly enjoy seeing our loved ones' faces when they bite into our classic sugar cookies.
Do you have any tips you would like to share?
Although very hard at times, staying organized is so important for us. When picking up new furniture we've made it a habit when unloading the piece to take pictures of it right away, take all measurements and make note of any fixing needed. All this information gets recorded before the piece is placed in storage. This saves so much time in the future. When we have a client request information, for example about a buffet, we already have all pictures and dimensions ready and available of our inventory. It gets sent off to the client quickly and speeds up the process of selection. It also helps us factor in any extra time that will be required for fixing when organizing our budget and final quote.
Do you have a favorite Zibra Paintbrush and why?
The Square is our favourite and no project is painted without the Square brush. It paints perfectly around details and shaker style doors and sides; which are very common on antique furniture. If we need to use a roller for painting, the square is the perfect combination with it. We almost always have wood tops on our pieces which then get completed with a poly top coat, making our next favourite brush the Chiseled Wedge. We have designated the Chiseled Wedge as our poly brush because it leaves a flawless finish.
As for a topic to discuss regarding refinishing, we'd like to discuss our fascination with repurposing. We never throw anything out and are always looking for ways to repurpose wood. Our examples are building our table troughs from leftover wood, and using antique sewing machines and turning the drawers into apothecary drawers. We have pictures of these projects on our instagram and facebook.
OUR PODCAST FEATURE WITH JENN & AMANDA: Learn more about The Vintage Sisters, their pieces and HOW THEY WORK IN A FURNITURE REFINISHING PARTNERSHIP (Part 01) and HOW THEY SPECIALIZE IN REPURPOSING FURNITURE! (Part 2).