Women’s business breathes new life into old furniture

Giselle Saucier, left, and Leanne Fera of Meraki Inspired Painting & Design. Cathy Dobson

Cathy Dobson

Two friends with a penchant for painting and a need to clear their homes of pending furniture projects have teamed up to start a new painting and design business.

Leanne Fera, 42, and Giselle Saucier, 37, say they share a passion for taking old furniture and creatively refinishing it.

“I love attention to detail and I love how well-made older furniture is,” says Fera. “What is one person’s junk is another person’s treasure.”

When they met, Fera had 20 years in the travel industry under her belt and her own business painting residential homes and refurbishing kitchen cabinets.

Saucier was – and still is – a piping designer at Worley Parsons. She also has a certificate from Lambton College in interior design and has operated a couple of her own businesses in the past.

Both took on furniture refinishing projects for fun and accumulated many pieces of furniture in their garages waiting to be painted.

“Our spouses were not thrilled with the accumulation,” said Saucier. They began to talk about renting a space for storage and a workshop.

That’s when they found 188 Maxwell St. near Christina, which was once a repair shop in the Keelan’s plaza.

“Before we knew it, we became a full-fledged business because this location had such a great showroom and a great work space,” said Fera.

They chose the name Meraki, a Greek word that means doing something with soul, creativity and love.

Their first task was filling the showroom with furniture refinished with the chalk-style paints and wax finishes they carry in the store. It’s for sale along with a small selection of accessories.

Since opening Jan. 27, they’ve held a number of group workshops in which participants carry in their own furniture piece and work with guidance from Fera and Saucier. The cost is $75 per person including paint.

“People are bringing in their chairs, their tables and small dressers,” said Fera. “We want this to be a space that women will love to come into and be inspired to paint.”

“Men too,” added Saucier.

Meraki also offers Fera’s house painting and kitchen cabinet refurbishing services.

Some people will pay $75,000 for a new kitchen, but it’s possible to have existing cabinets refinished in chalk-style paint for an average of $2,000 to $3,000, according to Fera.

The store is open Monday to Thursday by appointment only. Friday hours are 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. Close Sundays.

One-on-one workshops are currently available on Fridays and Saturdays for $95 per person for individual instruction on a project.

Meraki Inspired Painting & Design is at 188 Maxwell St.

Giselle Saucier can be reach at 519-384-9526. Call Leanne Fera at 519-466-2271.

Got an interesting business story? Contact Cathy at cathy.dobson@thesarniajournal.ca or 226-932-0985.