Breathing New Life into Antique Furniture
By Leah Morningstar
Caprice Ruberto has always been crafty and creative. As a child, she loved nothing more than to get her hands dirty working on a big project. The medium and the end result wasn’t as important as the process of being creative and working with her hands.
In 2011, Ruberto was looking for a creative side hustle where she could fulfill her need to create while subsidizing her expensive Chevy truck and Harley Davidson hobbies. Ruberto started painting canvases with pop culture images or inspirational and humorous phrases, but she wasn’t sure if she’d found her calling, so to speak.
A year later, after being gifted a drill and a set of tools, she found she really enjoyed the physical challenge of working with them. She continued painting but began seeking out old barns and fences so she could use her tools to dismantle and salvage the wood. Using reclaimed wood as the backdrop for her hand-painted signs and for small construction projects was even better, in Ruberto’s opinion, than painting on plain white canvases.
It was several years before Ruberto even thought about fixing up furniture. In 2017, her mother asked if she wanted the old dresser from her childhood bedroom. Ruberto wondered if she could repurpose it to fit her home decor; she agreed to take it and give it a try. The joy derived from sanding and painting and replacing hardware was unlike any other.
Soon Ruberto was cruising thrift stores and estate sales, looking for furniture in need of some extra love and care. She was specifically looking for well made antiques that needed a facelift. “If I see a beautiful old solid wood armoire, I leave it for someone else,” she says. “I’m looking for the broken pieces; the worn out pieces. I’m looking for something that needs a bit of help becoming a beautiful treasure.” Ruberto can often be seen unloading furniture into her garage workspace. She’s small in stature but she’s a powerhouse of strength.
Ruberto rarely paints on canvases anymore, and the sign painting is minimal. She will likely never stop trying out new ways to be creative, but upcycling quality furniture has provided a comfortable and fulfilling artistic outlet. “With the furniture I really think I found my niche,” she says. “I’m starting to get known for transforming old furniture into something new.” Not everybody can look at an old desk or dresser and see potential. But Ruberto looks at the world and sees nothing but potential. Anything, even the most broken and bedraggled, can be reimagined and remade into a beautiful treasure.
If you are looking for quality and unique pieces for your home, peruse Beauty In The Bay on Facebook and Instagram. You might find a treasure or you might be inspired to make your own!