Heather Woitas, owner of Cherished seconds, was raised by parents who enjoyed do-it-yourself projects and home remodeling. Heather’s dad told her that if she wanted a new bedroom, she would have to build it herself. So she did, and she loved the challenge.
To this day, Heather credits her father’s love of DIY for instilling her passion for refurbishing and restoring vintage and unique items. She isn’t afraid of hands-on work, either. In fact, she relishes it. “There is something to be said about a woman using power tools and using them proficiently. I used to borrow my dad’s tools, but now I have more saws than he does,” she says.
Heather’s store, Cherished Seconds, opened in Stewartville in 2015. “When I first opened the shop, I needed the trifecta: a place to sell, a place to teach and supplies for people who want to do it themselves.”
About half of her refurbishing work is done for private clients to restore nostalgic and antique pieces. Heather loves the discovery and creative process. “I love refurbishing dressers. They are so universal, yet with so many different styles and shapes. It might be used for the same purpose, but it won’t be the same. I can take a drawer out, add a shelf, and then add lights,” she says.
Melissa Klema also knew her passion for design and art from an early age. As a child living in Eyota, she used to make jewelry and sell it at a local shop. She then went to school for interior design and worked in the Twin Cities.
“I knew that I loved furniture, I loved interiors and I loved designing. So I started painting different furniture pieces. Then our garage soon filled up with all the pieces I painted,” she says. “It was crazy!”
Melissa now works full-time at Adourn, her interior design and DIY store in Chatfield. Most of her clientele are people looking for custom painting projects to refresh their homes or even redo entire rooms. Her previous work as an interior designer makes this idea a reality for her clients.
She continues to create other products as well. “Everything in my shop is handmade. My jewelry is sold here. I make my own candles and pillows. My shop has a variety of items, not just painted furniture.”
Cherished Seconds and Adourn each sell and use different kinds of paint for their projects and for their workshops. Both shops sell paints that are safe for kids.
Heather uses Debi’s Design Diary DIY Paint. It is mineral- and clay-based with chalk. She likes it because the paint can be distressed, meaning that crafters can create pieces that look aged or will allow for some of the original wood to show.
Melissa uses milk paint. This is a paint that begins as a powder to be mixed with water. “I tell my students to only mix up what they are going to use, so it lasts a lot longer. It doesn’t get crusty or cakey,” she explains.
Milk paint gives furniture a nice finish. It is lighter than other paints, and it can be made to chip or flake in various places to give it an older, finished look. Melissa says that crafters can also cleanly paint with it for a non-chipped look.
Both Cherished Seconds and Adourn offer workshops on painting and refurbishing, including a Bring Your Own Piece workshop in which participants bring a small piece that can be easily carried. Adourn also hosts a Paint Your Own MN workshop, which is a beginning painting class. Cherished Seconds will be hosting Rustic Fence workshops throughout March and April. A full list of workshop dates and times are available on the shop websites. Regardless of which workshop you attend, plan for your own day of restoration and renewal.
Soul Purpose Boutique
Located downtown Rochester, will also be offering creative classes starting in March.
Kim Zabel is a writer and photographer. She also works with cancer survivors as a Livestrong instructor at the Rochester Area YMCA.