This is significant to our house story because it has become a much larger part of our house plan and contributing to the cost of construction than I ever thought possible.
About the time we were dealing with the house that wasn’t, our other rental was trashed. A property manager put a tenant in who never should have been. They ended up moving out without us knowing and moved in their family members, siblings, and their boyfriends and girl friends. These new residents partied there with total disregard. I will never understand how people can go through life like this, with total disregard to other people. This is why rents are so high!!
They finally gave notice and when we finally got keys back we were astounded. There were six dump loads of stuff to get the house cleaned out. It was bags of belongings, mixed with food that had rotted. The House had cockroaches and carpet beetles, makes my skin crawl. The wood floors had water damage from a leaky refrigerator. The HVAC system was dead, they’d ran it in such a dirty house that it suffocated and cracked. Our property manager never showed up to see the damage, she didn’t care. Lesson learned, owners are always left holding the bag, we will only manage our own properties.
In two weeks we had the HVAC replaced, new carpet, new paint inside and out, six dump loads, pest control, massive amounts of cleaning. This was at the same time we were drilling a new well on another house! Probably $10k in damage when all was done. The good news was we had 200+ calls in 5 days on the house. We screened everyone, being super picky, and ended up with amazing tenants. This is also why landlords discriminate against pets, large families, poor credit, anything they can, it’s all you have to go in when handing someone this huge asset and the laws don’t favor landlords!!
The other good news is that these horrible people left behind furniture. It was a nice quality, solid wood bedroom set. It was in bad shape because they obviously crapped on everything, but too nice for me to put out on the curb, so I brought it home. It sat on the side of my house for several months. I’ve always been crafty, pretty artistic, so I decided to play with it and bought some chalk paint.
It needed a lot of work, but turned out well. A simple finish compared to what I do now. It sold quickly, I think I got $675 for that first set which had come my way for free (unless you count the $10k, lol). I bought another piece, and it sold, then another. I did a few for my own house. Then one of my customers asked for a custom order, what was this, my first order!! One of my customers encouraged me to start a facebook page to compile pics of my work, so I did, sitting on my couch one night.
I think I’m busy enough now to call myself a small business owner?? I do 2-3 pieces a week, working about 3-4 hours a day. I mix in custom orders with my own for sale pieces because each for sale piece usually generates 2-3 new custom orders. I read constantly to improve techniques, communicate with other painters, grew my product stash and stockpile of vintage furniture. I invest a little from each sale in staging items and paint. I had a watermark made for use on my photos. I share every piece I can in as many places as possible to get my name out there. I have just under 1,000 followers, still small by most standards, but huge to me!! Shocks me that that many people would be interested in what I create in my garage!!
Check out my page and follow my work there as well!
This small business venture has taken over our garage. What used to hold a boat and my SUV, now has half dedicated to storage and the other half to work space. My skill level has grown dramatically from that first bedroom set. I’ve learned so much! I still struggle with confidence issues, questioning what I am doing, and then something beautiful is created and I can rebound for a bit.
The profits have helped us be able to pay much of the up front costs associated with building along with helping us develop a stockpile of construction materials and finishes before we even started on the house. It has become part of our design, we’ve thought about my work space in our floor plan, storage, a garage sink, a spray booth, and eventual detached workshop of my own if this sustains through the move.
Painted furniture has become a fundamental part of our new home journey, I’ve done nearly 200 pieces in the last year. Now I tell the kids “I’m working” it’s my job, from the hunt, pick ups, social media, communications, researching, painting, deliveries, our whole family has stepped in to be a part of growing this and the timing couldn’t be better for us. This blog and furniture painting will overlap along the way I am sure.