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Business offers unique furniture, special furniture painting classes

By Suzanne Montgomery
Opelika Observer
One day Cathy Johnson of The Refinery found she had too much of a good thing. After raising four children, three of whom had finished college and moved on with their lives, she discovered that the home she shares with husband, Chuck, was just overloaded with furniture.
Her boys had left behind furniture and accessory pieces; relatives had been generous, too, and given her their belongings when they moved away.  So, the idea of opening a shop where gently used furniture could be given a new face and a new purpose was born.
Originally, Johnson started The Refinery on Glenn Street in Auburn last June but quickly discovered she did not have enough studio space in which to paint and create. The Refinery soon relocated to 906 Columbus Parkway in Opelika, adjacent to Angels Antiques. The shop draws a crowd looking for the unique and unusual for themselves or for gifts.
The furniture and accessory pieces in Johnson’s shop are painted, distressed and ready to take a place in someone’s home. Additionally, people who have a special heirloom or favorite furniture piece that just needs a makeover can visit her shop to select from a very large array of colors and stains.Johnson does the artistic work, and classes in painting and distressing are offered for those who would like to enjoy the creative process personally.
The paint, Johnson said, is wearable, durable and dries to a hard finish. It can then be sealed and/or waxed, but that step is not necessary.
According to Johnson, anyone can learn how to paint. For those who would like to try their hand at this art form, she is offering a five-hour class this Dec. 3, 7 and 30. The cost for the class is $95.00. Participants should bring one piece of furniture; all other supplies, including paint, bushes and technique, will be supplied by The Refinery. Snacks will also be provided.
Johnson also accepts furniture people are looking to get rid of. Anyone looking to dispose of large furniture pieces that can still be refurbished can bring them to The Refinery for Johnson to examine.She said she usually buys old doors, shutters, mirrors and large furniture pieces.
Sharing the business space with The Refinery is New Creation Upholstery. Owner and upholsterer Horacio Anguiano offers custom upholstery and embroidery.
“It seemed like the perfect match to have New Creation Upholstery in the same space,” Johnson said. “We really complement each other.”
The Refinery is open Thursday through Monday from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. Sunday hours are from 1-5 p.m. Johnson can be reached at 220-8925 to sign up for classes or inquire about custom work.

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