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Lady Pickers Refurbish, Recycle Furniture

The locally owned Barefoot Dwelling brings refurbished mid-century modern furniture and accessories to those looking to update their homes.

Driving around in a 1961 "pickings truck" scouring for unique finds at yard and estate sales keeps Mary Quayle and Lisa McConkey busy in the warmer months. The pair are "pickers" who own a shop (and run a website) called the Barefoot Dwelling.

The small shop is actually a thriving business, currently open by appointment only. The pair started the business of refurbishing and recycling vintage furniture and accessories into attractive usable furniture in 2010.

Sharing space with in a small cottage at the fork in the road on Evergreen, across from in Severna Park, the signature purple door can easily be overlooked.

The shop features two rooms lined with vintage clocks, lamps from the '60s and '70s—now back in style—that have been touched up with an updated custom Scandinavian fabric shade by one of their vendors.

"We sometimes find interesting lamps at estate sales that just need a funky look, hence the new shade," Quayle said. 

The partners emphasize that household items don't have to be "just made" to be useful and attractive. Their mantra is to be more "green" by recycling what wore out its welcome in one home by sometimes transforming it into a like-new updated piece.

"It's about form and function. It can't be beautiful and not functional," McConkey said when talking about their trade philosophy.

Their focus is on the '50s, '60s and '70s with an emphasis on turning a piece of furniture or an accessory that wasn't being used into a statement piece that also speaks to practicality.

A good example is a vintage "Slim Jim" chair (shown in photo) by the late Adrian Pearsall, founder of Craft Associates and a leader in early modern furniture design.

"He is a mid-century designer who we love and this is an example of the funky, unique direction we are developing for Barefoot," McConkey wrote in an email about the photo.

Both say they have a knack for choosing fabrics and often lend advice and interior design tips along with a purchase.

"We both have a good eye for fun fabrics so that is the key to making them pop and come alive with a more current look," Quayle said.  

Having a network of talented people, like an expert upholsterer and slipcover person and another who designs and hand-screens fabrics for their projects provides the two with the tools to offer distinctive pieces to their customers.

"Each piece that we acquire has specific needs that we address accordingly," Quayle said.

Their overflow furniture is stored in a facility near the shop and can also be viewed on Etsy.

The Barefoot Dwelling will resume their regular "appointment only" hours (Thursday through Saturday) on March 15..

Carrie Hilliard February 15, 2012 at 09:30 PM
Yay! So happy you highlighted them! :)

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