So I have a lot of people that come into the shop an ask, "what is this place? why is it called Restoration Alley DIY Co?" Some get confused and think that they can come in and have anything restored. So I'm here today to share the story of Restoration Alley and how it all began.
In my previous post I shared with you that I love art and always wanted to be a high school art teacher. Along with that I have always loved crafting and creating things. Even as a child I crafted with my mom. She used to make things and sell them at craft fairs and I was always there watching and helping when I could.
I worked at A-B in various roles, but at the time when my side hustle began I was in a position where I was not using any of my creativity at all. I was just doing the day to day desk job and I needed something more! I lived in South St. Louis City and shortly after moving there I discovered that when people didn't want things they'd put them in the alley. There were certain days of the month that were designated "big trash day" and the days leading up were the best for finding great items. It really is amazing to see what people throw away.
I found some cool pieces and would take them in, usually paint them and then use them in my house. My ex-husband and I even took old windows and made shadowbox tables out of them, which was one of my favorite projects. People in South City were constantly getting new windows in their homes and they'd just throw the old, originals, out. So we went around and collected all that we could.
As I also mentioned in my previous post we divorced when Wes was about 5 or 6. I kept our house and took on all the debt that came with it. Being a single mom was not something I ever planned for and I was not financially prepared for it. So I would find furniture in the alley and refinish it to use on our home. I had no means of buying brand new furniture so I made each piece new again and soon we had a home full of unique furniture.
It didn't take long for friends and family to ask me to refinish pieces for them and thats when my side hustle was born. It was amazing! I was getting to be creative and I was making extra money while having fun.
This is when Restoration Alley was born! I was literally taking things from the alley and restoring them into beautiful, unique pieces. It really is a trash to treasure story.
Nowadays I don't keep as much furniture inventory on hand, the hubs likes to park his car in the garage. But I do still do custom refinishing for people. I also always have a project in our house that keeps me busy.
Restoration Alley has evolved quite a bit over the years and I really like where we are now. In leading the DIY classes, I feel like I'm finally doing what I was always meant to do, which is teaching people to use their creativity to make something beautiful.