Restore. Refresh. Revive. Whatever the term, when it comes to furnishings, the outcome is a new life.
Four years ago, Revitaliste founder Amy Frederickson turned her long-term passion for refurbishing furniture into a thriving business opportunity. A move to California made it clear the roster of trusted artisans she’d formed in New York meant nothing nearly 3,000 miles away. “It’s not like a doctor who can say they know someone across the country they went to school with,” she explains. “It’s not a connected industry like that.”
A search for new contacts resulted in a series of unfortunate experiences, including one that left the back of a chair covered in an orange dupioni silk finished in a different fabric. However, it gave way to a critical realization: “Quality doesn’t tend to be the issue. It’s communication, timeframes, other processes,” Frederickson explains. “There needs to be fixed checkpoints along the way, and if you do that, you greatly lower the risk of something going wrong.”
Launched in San Francisco, Revitaliste serves as a conception-to-completion project management platform for professionals and consumers looking to transform tired pieces into inspired ones. The company’s three-step process, conducted almost exclusively via email, begins with a form that asks users to upload photos of the piece, share their vision, provide measurements and select a desired service, such as upholstery, painting, lacquering metal plating or wood refinishing. Next, a deep dive into the specifics of the design allows users to detail their instructions or opt for professional guidance. Finally, a team works with the company’s contracted artisans to deliver the finished product in two to five weeks.
Currently, Revitaliste has workrooms in the Bay Area, Tahoe, Napa, Sonoma and Greater Los Angeles, along with a new online textile library with 5,000 fabrics from more than 120 designers. As the company has expanded, so, too, has the interest in furniture revitalization as a whole. There’s the appeal of owning an original piece, whether it’s a flipped flea market find or a modernized family heirloom. But there’s also the draw to the sustainability that the process affords. “I do really believe people are over the cheap and stylish-for-the-moment pieces,” Frederickson says. “These pieces are built to last.”
For Frederickson, who had spent hours post-college watching and learning from artisans of all trades, it’s equally important to pull back the curtain on the craft itself. “We can’t modernize how the work is done, and that’s what makes it so special,” she notes. “This is work that is done by hand. It’s not an assembly line.”
To this day, visiting workrooms remains among Frederickson’s favorite pastimes. “It’s actually what I love most about what I do.”
PHOTOS COURTESY REVITALISTE
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