HGTV hit shows like “Flea Market Flip” and “Fixer Upper” helped popularize upcycling old furniture and opting for locally made home decor. Denver resident Flo Ward, owner of the online business We Chic’d It, helps locals achieve these popular styles.
Ward shared her design expertise with the Denver Citizen and provided some insight for 2018 trends. Here are edited excerpts from that conversation.
Denver Citizen: What’s the appeal of upcycling versus purchasing new items from a big-box home decor store?
Flo Ward: Being eco-friendly, my goal is to get items and keep them from going into the landfills, and I think that aspect of it is attractive to people. In Denver we have a lot of organizations working on cleaning up the area, but it’s really an eyesore seeing wooden pallets and furniture on the side of the road. We collect those things to give them a new purpose. And what's also happening is a lot of people are getting heirloom pieces from older generations, and we can fix it up to make it work for their own houses.
DC: Hand-painted furniture and locally made art seem to be in right now. Are you seeing that trend take off in the Denver area?
FW: It's on trend right now. People like that shabby chic look, and even if they don’t, they like being able to customize something specifically for their home. The price point also works well for people. You can get a custom, very high-end look without the price tag furniture and home decor stores sell at.
DC: Is there any style of home decor you think will be big in 2018?
FW: There’s really a huge range of styles – sometimes they want their pieces to look aged or distressed, and sometimes they want it to look contemporary with a high-gloss finish.
DC: From painting wall art to customizing an antique, are these projects things people are able to do on their own?
FW: The short answer: yes. We host pop-up classes with Sweet Momma’s where people can learn how to work with a paint brush or explore the difference between painting on wood versus a material they might be used to like canvas. We let them test their skills on drawer fronts so they can work with actual furniture and go through the process of upgrading and customizing an older piece. But we’ve also had to fix some furniture flips gone bad and work with clients on how to achieve their vision.
Ward started upgrading her own furniture years ago and it wasn’t long before neighbors noticed, she said. Ward runs her business online but is looking for a large studio space to host more art classes. More information about the business is available on the We Chic’d It Facebook page.