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When you first walk into the Lauren Lane Décor studio, you can't help it; you don't know where to look.
The walls are covered in planks of wood with hanging paintbrushes. There is furniture everywhere, set up in a way for you to admire and to examine, painted in warm, cool, and modern colours. Everything in the studio is set up artistically, almost effortlessly.
You can't help but want to take every single piece home. There are vanities, dressers, tables, bookshelves; all acquainted with age, yet transformed with a stroke of a paintbrush.
Tara Jamieson spent 10 years of her life as an accountant in the oil and gas sector in Calgary. At the same time, she found herself drawn to old beat-up furniture. Her creativity and passion for bringing things to life resulted in closing the accounting books for good and opening her very own furniture store.
"I could never find anything I liked, so I started painting furniture in my garage and then I sold a few pieces online because I was moving and a couple pieces received over a hundred emails," Jamieson said.
"I was like, 'I'm good at this,' I had a light bulb moment and it exploded into this," she recalled.
Jamieson said she has never taken an arts class or a furniture refurbishing class and is completely self-taught.
"I saw a dresser that I really liked and thought, 'hmm, I think I'm going to paint that,'" Jamieson said.
At the age of 27, she started selling pieces she had painted out of her garage and at a booth at an antique mall in Airdrie, Alta.
"I slowly began to make a name for myself and then started to get repeat customers and now they are asking me to paint their kids' beds."
Deidre Woodward, a close friend of Jamieson's, thought maybe she had gone "a little crazy" for leaving her accounting job behind to pursue her dream.
"She was like, 'you know what I did this weekend? I had some furniture and I didn't want to buy new stuff so I repainted it,'" Woodward said. "She sent me a picture over Facebook, and I was like, 'that looks really nice' and she said she was going to do more."
Woodward describes Jamieson's work as a "neat way to recycle old furniture."
"I would describe it as her finally finding something she is passionate about and she can channel her creative energy to transferring old things into new," she said. "She followed her dreams, not many people can say that."
Jamieson began selling her recreations out of her garage but moved to Lauren Lane Décor, and has been open for business for about a month.
Jamieson said she looks for pieces at thrift stores and estates sales. Some people just drop off furniture on her doorstep and other times, the pieces find her.
"I found a piece in a back alley near my house, and thought 'I'm going to take it to work and fix it up.' The paint had been worn away in the weather so a couple coats of paint later and then there you go, " Jamieson said.
While looking for pieces of old furniture she is always looking for good lines, if it is battered or bruised or if she can paint over it, and of course, the lower the price the better.
Debra Van Dyke, owner of frilly lilly, a Calgary chain of boutiques specializing in waxing, manicures, and pedicures, said a friend had recommended Jamieson's work.
"A friend said to me, 'you have to meet this girl she does exactly what you are looking for,'" Van Dyke said. "I have lots of stores and lots of furniture and now Tara supplies us with furniture on a regular basis."
"She has done very well for herself and it has come together so fast. Hopefully she doesn't get too busy or we won't be able to use her all the time," laughed Van Dyke.
When she is not out hunting for her next piece to recreate, Jamieson offers beginner and advanced classes in furniture restoring.
"If I can teach myself to do it, I'm confident I can teach others how to do it."
So far, all of her classes have been sold out.
"I love to teach, teaching is really fun. The beginners class you learn the basics of painting and brush strokes and how to apply the paint. As for the advanced classes, people can bring in their own pieces of furniture and we paint the."
To take one of Jamieson's classes or to find out more about her work, visit her blog or to visit Lauren Lane Décor at 4020 15A St. S.E.
To see what she is currently working on click here