Don't throw out your furniture! Are you planning to throw out perfectly good, but outdated furniture for Clean Up Week or take it to the dump? Don't do it! There is a new option! Instead of discarding it, “UP-cycle” it! Nouveaux Riches Boutiques is a new boutique that has recently opened up inside McGrath's Paint and Hardware, 28 South St. in New Providence selling up-cycled, hand painted furniture by Cindy Gelormini, aka “The Paint Diva, the color consultant at McGrath's.
Nouveaux Riches (pronouned Noo-vo Reesh) are french words meaning “The New Rich”, a tongue in cheek term used by Aristocrats to describe those with newly acquired wealth as “New Money”, but were seen as “trashy”, as opposed to those with “Old Money” who had the proper breeding and sophistication. The Paint Diva saw it as a perfect name, because she is not dealing with antiques, or expensive pieces, but rather takes pieces usually rejected by other resale stores. She gives ugly, old furniture a new, “rich” look. With a coat of paint and an eye for color and design, she takes one man's trash and turns it into another man's treasure.
The idea was birthed back in December when she went down to Belmar, NJ for a “Paint Out” at Paintin' Place Decorative Art Studio as part of Hurricane Sandy relief. After a large furniture drive, the owner of Paintin Place took the donated furniture, and invited fellow decorative artists to come and paint the furniture to be donated to those who lost all their belongings in the storm. Cindy went down to paint furniture and to film a segment for her show “A Taste for Design” airing on HomeTowne Television. A month later Cindy returned to paint a couple pieces of her own furniture using Sherry's chalk paint she makes herself and sells at her store. It became the beginning of a wonderful new friendship. Sherry encouraged Cindy to pursue painting furniture on her own.
Although Cindy had painted murals for years, (most recently the large outdoor mural at Galileo's Restaurant in New Providence) she had shied away from painting furniture because it was too labor intensive, and she found it hard to keep costs down when it involved so much work. But now after learning some tricks from Sherry, and that Benjamin Moore has invented the Aura paint line that is self-priming with one coat coverage, half the work has been eliminated. Working at McGrath's which sells Benjamin Moore paints has made it even more convenient. Cindy paints the furniture in the back room at McGrath's.
For now, she does not usually pay people for the furniture donations, but rather takes pieces that would otherwise be thrown out. For people cleaning out their houses for re-sale, they are usually just happy to have someone take it off their hands. For large pieces, McGrath's will come with the box truck that they use to deliver grills, and pick up the furniture. Occasionally she buys pieces at thrift stores and estate sales, but prefers not to buy furniture in an effort to keep costs as low as possible. The prices are extremely reasonable. By not having to buy furniture, she is able to just charge for the price of her time to paint the piece.
Originally inspired by the Sandy relief and helping people restore homes down the shore, she has painted mostly in very beachy colors, and had shore homes in mind for most of her pieces. For those who need to refurnish their shore homes, this is a great option. She also loves to paint brass chandeliers and give them a new, updated look.
Several people have begun to request specific pieces, but it depends on what becomes available. She suggests that customers follow her on facebook, as she posts photos of any new pieces that arrive. If you see a piece you like, you can request specific paint colors before it's painted. You can visit her website as the Paint Diva of New Jersey at ThePaintDivaNJ.com and her facebook page as The Paint Diva of NJ. For questions or inquiries, call Cindy at McGrath's 908-665-0711 or email her at cindy@thePaintDivaNJ.com