Mid Century Modern Classics Get an Upgrade

by | Mar 2023

Shayne Confrey refinishing a vintage piece of furniture.

Photos: Chris Emeott

Relic Remodels transforms worn furniture into unique, vintage accent pieces.

With Relic Remodels by Shayne, worn furniture no longer has to meet its fate at the edge of the curb awaiting trash day. The refurbishing business revitalizes vintage and antique furniture in order to create one-of-a-kind, custom pieces with a slice of history.

Its founder and Maple Grove resident, Shayne Confrey, has been refurbishing vintage pieces for years. Its founder and Maple Grove resident, Shayne Confrey, has been refurbishing vintage pieces for years and has been in business for approximately two years. Relic Remodels, which Confrey runs out of her home, developed from a combination of her love for thrift shopping and her mother’s taste in home decor; Confrey’s mother filled their home with midcentury furniture and antique pieces.

“I never really had much of an appreciation for midcentury furniture,” Confrey says. “But then I started to look at furniture differently as I got older. I stopped looking at it like it was just for utility and more as something that could provide style to a home.”

Mid Century Modern turntable.

Confrey has refinished a plethora of pieces from dining room tables to dressers to vintage radios. Although the vintage radios no longer play music, Confrey finds new ways they can be used in the modern home. For example, with a few of her refinished radios, she removed the speakers and replaced them with drawers, doors and wine glass holders to turn them into bar cabinets.

“One of my favorite things to do is find old pieces with good bones,” Confrey says. “Midcentury furniture was made so well. But sometimes it just needs some refreshing, refinishing and new legs. Plus, remodeling them keeps them out of landfills.”

With each piece, Confrey feels like she gets to restore a little piece of history. She bought a table from 1904 that had been used in a barn in Sidney, Nebraska. According to Confrey, the $50 table was in rough condition.

The table had been in the previous owner’s family for over 100 years, and the names of their great-grandparents were written on the table’s crate. Although Confrey normally sells her refinished items on her website, she decided to keep this piece of history for herself.

Along with selling items, sharing her portfolio and communicating with customers on her website, Confrey also belongs to a collective called The Artisan Markets Furniture (theartisanmarketsfurniture.com). The collective was founded by Laura Johnson-Hernandez and Lori Gravink, who believe that furniture artisans should make money that not only covers the work they do, but the time it takes to create such special pieces, as well.

“We put so much effort into the furniture we refinish, and we ensure a level of quality that you don’t get with bulk furniture pieces,” Confrey says. “An artisan’s focus is quality and uniqueness.”

Ruler on Table

When it comes to DIYers wanting to follow in Confrey’s footsteps, she recommends trial and error, as well as utilizing the right products.

Confrey has noticed an increase in interest for revitalized midcentury pieces. She thinks this is partially due to people getting rid of or refurbishing furniture that their young children or pets had previously damaged. According to Confrey, folks in their 40s are realizing they would like to have furniture pieces that have meaning and that provide a unique statement in their home.

This was the case with Jen Knutson, Relic Remodels customer and Maple Grove resident. She didn’t want to give up hope on her dining room table and chairs after they had been damaged by kids and a puppy. Instead, she looked to Confrey to bring them back to life.

“I knew some of the awesome work Shayne had done with refurbishing other pieces of furniture. Her work was amazing,” Knutson says. “She was super with communication, she was quick and her work was great.”

With a bit of direction and a lot of creative liberty, Confrey revitalized Knutson’s dining room set. According to Confrey, the main areas of focus were the damage to the chair legs, seats and table top.

“The Knutsons have the cutest bernadoodle,” Confrey says. “And he enjoyed chewing on the furniture as a puppy.”

Confrey filled and sanded out all of the damage. Then, she used her sprayer to prime and paint the bases. The table and seats were stained to match Knutson’s kitchen cabinets. Finally, Confrey sealed everything for protection and durability. “I love it,” Knutson shares. “It matches our kitchen perfectly.”

Products for Furniture Finishing DIYers

Confrey’s favorite products can be found at The Black Cabin in Osseo:

  • Fusion Mineral Paints
  • General Finishes, Stains & Topcoats
  • Melange Paints

Refurbished Bar Cart

Relic Remodels by Shayne
Facebook: Relic Remodels
Instagram: @relic_remodels_byshayne

The Black Cabin
212 Central Ave, Osseo, MN 55369; 763.777.2468
Facebook: The Black Cabin


Recent Stories

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This