Claire Shore takes a very pragmatic approach when it comes to the inventory in her new antique store in Armstrong.
“If you’ve had it for three years, you’re asking too much or it’s the wrong colour,” laughed Shore, who operates Updo Furniture & Antiques with her husband, Cliff, on Okanagan St., just across from the Co-op gas station.
It is that same common sense approach that led the Shores into the business, as they specialize in restoring quality furniture that requires only a little TLC in order for it to be sold again.
“We’re pretty impatient; we like things to move,” said Claire.
“If something’s not moving, we’ll sand it and change it.”
Claire said it starts with finding a sturdy, well-made piece, and after that, she and Cliff sand, strip and paint it to give it a ‘shabby chic’ look. The process can also include layering colours and changing the knobs to give each piece a unique look.
“You find a good piece that’s all wood,” said Claire. “Hopefully there’s no press board in the back or at the bottom of the drawers. Then you just make it a little bit more contemporary.”
Claire said going the shabby chic route is a better bargain than buying pre-fabricated furniture from a big box store, most of which is composed of MDF or press board. In the long run, all-wood furniture is built to last if it is properly cared for.
“Young families are strapped for money and if you don’t know where to go to get a dresser…and you spend $350 on a dresser and six months later you move it to vacuum and the bottom falls out.
“People appreciate the sturdiness of the old stuff, and if you can you can make it modern to catch someone’s eye…”
The most common colour for shabby chic furniture – if you search Google images – is almost all white. Updo Furniture, which opened in December, is the exception to the norm. And defiantly so.
“That would drive me nuts,” grinned Claire. “I would have to have some colour.”
Updo’s inventory doesn’t stop at furniture. They also stock painted pictures frames, antique armoires and desks, signs and a fabulous selection of kitsch bakeware and kitchenware.
Cliff adds his own touch by filling one corner of the store with items best suited for a man cave, including retro beer signs and posters, bottles, miniature cars and other nostalgic collectibles.
The store also features an eclectic array of oil lanterns, everything from two-inch miniatures up to the old Coleman camping models with the original paper shades.
“We always have new stuff in the store,” said Claire. “Every week there’s at least one new piece of furniture.”
Updo’s wares show nicely in the store’s locale as the space features high ceilings and antique wooden floors.
“It’s perfect for an antique store,” beamed Claire.