Artist Turns Her Talent To Old Furniture

By Patricia Sheridan
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) It was a $25 dresser found at a flea market that got Beth Salak hooked on furniture restoration. She cut out and painted the Empire-style dresser and turned it into her kitchen sink. Now, she is sharing her creative passion with others who value hidden treasures. Salak recently opened “Vintage 73” a shop where everything old is new again.

PITTSBURGH

If it’s abandoned, discarded or on the auction block, artist Beth Salak wants it. She rescues furniture and breathes new life into it.

“Sanding is the most important part,” said Salak, the owner of Vintage 73, a new shop in Crafton Heights. “I used to hate sanding, but now I love it.”

She has come to see sanding as the elixir of life when it comes to making something old new again.

She finds her furniture at auctions, estate sales and even at curbside.

“Usually it is the stuff no one else wants,” she admitted.

For example, Salak found a solid old wardrobe with the look of mid-century modern minimalism on the side of the road.

“I couldn’t pass it up,” she said.

“I think it’s from the ’40s,” said her husband, C.J. Salak, who fixed its door.

With a little TLC, some paint and a lot of sanding, she revived the reject.

Located at 1514 Stratmore Ave., her shop is leading a renaissance in the neighborhood, where several other businesses plan to open this year.

“Stratmore Avenue and Crafton Boulevard is a busy intersection, and this area has a lot of potential,” said city Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith, who came for Vintage 73’s ribbon-cutting Aug. 5.

Salak wanted to express herself in a way that would also enhance and help her community. She and her husband moved to the neighborhood from Bethel Park two years ago.

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