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Crafty woman takes junk and turns it into treasures
To an untrained eye, that old broken table might just look like junk.
But not to Sandy Keidel.
Keidel is the owner and the inspiration behind Overlooked Treasures, a second-hand store that recently opened in Bremerton. She shops garage sales and estate sales and remakes furniture and collectibles that other people might just throw away.
“I’m not sure you would call it a talent,” she said. “But I can see things in stuff that other people would just call junk. Many times I bring something home and someone will say to me, ‘That belongs in the trash.’ But I see the potential.”
Her “talent” started at a very early age.
“My grandfather owned a mercantile in a small tourist town in upstate New York,” she said. “When I was a kid I liked to look around the store and in the back room and see what I could find. My grandmother used to say I was nosey.”
As she got older, that investigative nature took her to shop garage sales and old barn sales. She began to accumulate too much stuff.
“I would switch out everything in my house every other season because I had so much furniture,” she said. “After years of doing that I decided I had to get rid of some of it.”
With a 23-year background in the garden and nursery business and as a clerk at a grocery store, she decided to try her hand at retail. She opened up a booth in another market called the Flea Market Chics. There, she displayed the remade furniture that she’d painted.
“It’s kind of like therapy for me,” she said of her crafty work. “I’ve always loved collecting, but I’ve just never really had the time to do anything with my collection until lately.”
Having raised five children, worked full time and moved with her husband from New York to Washington state to California and then back to Washington a few years ago, she was just too busy to really have a business of her own — until now. Her husband has been a ship and ferry builder and followed his work to various locations.
Just last month, she opened her own shop in the same location where the Flea Market Chics had been at 1212 Pacific Ave. in Bremerton. Flea Market Chics moved to a new location in the Manette Mercantile and Keidel decided to stay and go it alone.
At her shop, which she calls Overlooked Treasurers, she has a quaint showroom of the dressers, tables, plant stands and other furniture that she’s found and spruced up. The items are accented with great finds like lamps, garden tools, kitchenware and linens. She also sells locally made hats, scarfs, jewelry, jams and soaps.
In a room at the back of her store, is her workshop.
“I spend a lot of time in there,” she said. “It’s where I do all my creating.”
She takes special care to paint all the refurbished furniture with Annie Sloan brand chalk paint which has no chemicals or latex.
“It’s expensive paint and often times it takes two coats,” she said. “For me it means less profit, but I want to know that everything that goes out the door here is environmentally the best it can be.”
When she looks for furniture, she looks for good quality wood, anything made before the 1960s.
“I like to find the vintage stuff, the older stuff made in the 1930s, because the wood is so much better,” she said. “But if I find stuff that’s not so good, I can use it, too, mostly for parts.”
Often times she’ll paint a dresser or table a base color, possibly an off-white, and then add color to it by painting insets or handles a brighter color.
Big dressers and tables are what sells the best and her turn-over happens fast.
“People like the big stuff because they want to put their big screen TVs on them,” she said. “Those go real fast. I’ve only been open since Feb. 11 and I have very little in here right now that was here when I opened. I’m always adding new things.”
When she’s not shopping estate sales, painting or working in her store, she likes to garden in her yard.
And her house these days has very few pieces of her collection.
“Our house is pretty small,” she said. “Lots of times I make something that I really like and I want to keep it. But I know I don’t have room so I just have to part with it.”
The store is open Tuesdays through Saturdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.