“We love finding quality old furniture that we can bring to new life,” says Chris Denneny of the business he shares with his wife Mary Jane Ferland-Denneny, Granary Farmhouse Antiques. Their combined efforts, which include refinishing, restoring, and repurposing curbside, picked, and sourced finds, can be found at their Granary Workshop in Charlestown, Jules Antiques and General Store in Richmond, and across the northern Rhode Island border in Putnam, CT at Antiques Marketplace.
“I learned how to refinish furniture years ago from my previous father-in-law who was a master craftsman,” says Mary Jane. “I started painting furniture as I came across pieces where it wasn’t possible to restore them due to either cost or lack of availability of the right materials.” She explains that a popular furniture look from the 1940s and 1950s typically used veneer finishes on top of natural wood; not only is it often cost-prohibitive to refinish them properly today but that style isn’t in right now and demand is low. Instead, “painting these pieces gives them a new look and brings them into the present.”
Mary Jane revels in giving wood furniture a distressed look with decorative paint techniques like layering finishes, distressing, and applying stencils. “Our style ranges from shabby chic to modern farmhouse. We feel that all the pieces can fit into a farmhouse from any era.”
The duo can often be found at estate auctions, where Chris is the picker and buyer. They also travel to Lancaster, Pennsylvania a few times a year to buy from Amish craftspeople. “They’ll tear down an old school or barn and use the wood to build furniture, and we purchase some of those,” says Chris. For Mary Jane, though, the most gratifying part of the process is finding furniture on the side of the road that she can transform into something beautiful that someone wants to put in their home. She recently modified a set of “trashed” drawers into a series on legs. “I thought they would make cool plant stands,” she adds of the inventive pairing.
Looking over some of their current inventory, like a blue dresser from the 1800s, Chris says, “This is rock-solid and will last another 100 years. The original wood color was very outdated, but now, painted a light beachy blue, it can fit into a coastal home or a farmhouse.” Mary Jane’s favorite is the tall, 1920s dresser that she stenciled with a Damask pattern and treated to multiple coats of pale, icy gray-blue paint. It’s a work of art that she spent many hours on. With a smile, Mary Jane says, “I’ve always loved antiques and always dreamt of doing this as a business.”
From Memorial Day to Columbus Day find Granary Farmhouse Antiques at the General Stanton Inn Flea Market on Sundays in Charlestown. For an appointment at their home workshop, contact them through the “Get In Touch” link at GranaryAntiques.com or Instagram: GranaryFarmhouseAntiques
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