Winter’s chill is still in the air, but inside B Cheeky, colorful furniture and accessories deliver the sensation of strolling through a spring garden.
The Boxford home goods shop is the domain of Pam Leonard, an artisan and decorator who rescues furniture and accessories and reimagines them into fresh vibrant pieces that fit a modern lifestyle and a modest budget.
“There is an endless supply of cool stuff out there waiting to be recreated!” Leonard said. “People donate old pieces to places like Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore, give them away on online marketplaces, or my favorite, just leave them on the side of the road.”
Leonard began her career as a staff accountant at Marshalls. Being office-bound was not for her, so she left and opened a general store that was a mix of coffee shop, art gallery, and gift boutique.
After several years, she realized that what she really loved was creating artistic furniture and decorative elements. She sold that general store and opened her current shop next door, at 561 Main St.
“I only adopt well-made furniture — no particle board. All that is usually needed is paint and a fresh idea,” she said.
“I take old china cabinets, repaint them, and use them in walk-in closets for display and storage. Handbags, jewelry, and scarves look fabulous on backlit shelves, and the drawers work beautifully for lingerie. It is less expensive than prefab-closet organizers and it adds personality.”
Leonard is also in demand to update existing furnishings and inherited family furniture.
“For folks that want to add a new look to furniture that suits their purpose but no longer their style, I provide custom painting,” she said. “The most important part for me is making people love their furniture and their home.”
That desire led to B Home, a decorating service that Leonard said “spun off organically with my friend and fabulous artist” Kris Munroe.
“When we delivered a painted piece, the customer wasn’t quite sure how to use her other furniture, so we said ‘oh we can help with that!’ We redesigned her first floor using all of her own items,” Leonard said. “She had us back to redo her other rooms, and B Home was born.”
Leonard is happy to share a few tricks of the trade.
“Most projects do not require lots of tools or experience,” she said. “An old bed footboard can easily become a coat rack for a hall entry with a couple of hours of work and a little imagination.”
Be cheeky in five do-it-yourself steps
You can turn a castoff headboard or footboard into a one-of-a-kind hat rack. Pam Leonard, owner of B Cheeky in Boxford, shows how:
(available at any hardware store)
■ Headboard or footboard
■ Denatured alcohol or white vinegar — to clean off any old residue
■ Coat hooks
■ Screw gun
■ D Rings
■ Anchor bolts to attach to the wall
■ Paint. According to Leonard, “Leftover wall or trim paint will usually do, but if not available, Restore sells a great line of recycled paint created by two Massachusetts women that saw a need to reuse rather than dump in landfill. It has great coverage on furniture and the colors are consistent with the color charts.”
Step 1: Clean the surface with denatured alcohol or white vinegar. Allow it to dry.
Step 2: Lightly sand the surface and clean off any dust.
Step 3: For a washed look, mix paint with a little water and paint the surface with broad strokes.
Step 4: When it is completely dry, decide where and how many hooks are needed and attach them with a screw gun.
Step 5: Finally, attach the D rings and use anchor bolts to hang securely.
For an extra fun look, Leonard suggests adding a mirror, picture frames, or possibly using a variety of different color hooks. Even with purchasing new paint and the hooks, Leonard estimates the project to cost less than $20.Linda Greenstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.