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Reviving Vintage Furniture: Tampa Bay Siblings’ Creative Touch

Growing up in a military family, Holly Klaus experienced frequent relocations. On each occasion, her mother, Andrea Santmyer, would explore garage sales and thrift shops to discover items to furnish their new homes.

During her childhood, Klaus learned to appreciate the art of refurbishing old furniture through the creative use of spray paint and latex paint. This early exposure sparked her passion for transforming found pieces into unique and beautiful treasures. This sentiment was echoed by Klaus when she mentioned, “My mom instilled in me the ability to envision the potential in aged furniture.” As she established her own households over the years, Klaus continued the tradition of salvaging and reviving old furniture instead of opting for new purchases.

The journey into the world of furniture refurbishment began for Klaus in 2009 when she made her inaugural sale of refinished furniture on Craigslist. Recalling that moment, she expressed, “I was immediately captivated.” Despite knowing her aspiration to launch a furniture store, it took several years for Klaus to transition from her role as an event planner in Virginia to embarking on this new entrepreneurial path.

Similar to many individuals relocating to Florida, Klaus was drawn to the warm climate and laid-back lifestyle that the state offered. In her quest for the ideal Florida town, she fell in love with St. Pete and its vibrant arts community. Initially starting her furniture refinishing endeavors in the garage of her St. Petersburg residence, Klaus eventually found a home for her passion in the Warehouse Arts District near downtown. With the support of her brother, Chris Klaus, who commuted from Merritt Island to assist in setting up the shop, Klaus’s dream materialized into Blend Furniture Studio. Chris, a skilled mechanic with a penchant for woodworking, made the transition to working alongside his sister on a full-time basis after relocating his family to St. Petersburg six months ago.

Each day, Holly Klaus scours various platforms such as social media, estate sales, online auctions, and thrift stores in search of pieces to restore and resell. Whether it’s refurbishing a former bedroom dresser into a versatile sideboard or repurposing a dining room china cabinet into a contemporary statement piece, the Klaus siblings breathe new life into each furniture piece they encounter.

The process at Blend Furniture Studio involves meticulous planning and execution. Upon acquiring items, Holly and Chris Klaus collaborate on the design direction, considering factors like repainting, structural enhancements, or hardware modifications. While Chris manages repairs and construction tasks, Holly takes charge of the finishing touches in the spray booth, which includes resurfacing, priming, painting, and applying topcoats. The final refinements and inspections are handled by Holly’s niece, Scarlett Klaus, adding a familial touch to the business operations.

Operating as a true family venture, Blend Furniture Studio showcases its creations on social media platforms like Facebook and its dedicated website. With a constant workflow involving approximately 10 pieces at a time, each piece undergoes a two-week transformation process. The studio’s inventory predominantly comprises nightstands, dressers, credenzas, buffets, and entry tables, with nightstands starting at \(699 per pair and larger items like dressers priced up to \)1,600.

Holly Klaus’s penchant for grandeur is evident in her appreciation for oversized pieces, which she describes as impactful statement pieces. Embracing a variety of colors in her designs, Klaus notes the enduring popularity of shades like green, black, cream, medium-tone wood, neutrals, and navy blue. The studio also offers customization options for clients, with the promise of sourcing specific pieces upon request.

Reflecting on her journey, Klaus expressed gratitude for being able to pursue her long-held passion for design and furniture restoration. Transforming vintage pieces into exquisite works of art, Blend Furniture Studio stands as a testament to Klaus’s dedication to breathing new life into forgotten treasures.