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    Stripping the old, creating the new

    You’ve just moved into your new place and taken the furniture from your former house with you, but it doesn’t look quite right in the new place. So what do you do, sell it and buy something new? You could, but you’ve been out looking, and nothing looks quite the way you want. How about checking out what Phoenix Phurnishings in Salem can do for you?

    Much as the name suggests Phoenix Phurnings can make your old furniture rise from the ashes. At this point, Phoenix Phurnishings is a one-woman show with owner Amanda Brenneman-Brown doing it all.

    Brenneman-Brown takes the time to figure out what you want your piece to look and feel like. She provides a free one-hour consult so you can figure out what you want. If you don’t have an idea, she’ll have some suggestions. Once she has an idea of what you want (colors, stains, etc.), she’ll then provide a sample board so you have a more definite idea of what the finished project will look like. If everyone agrees, then the real work for her begins.

    Brennamen-Brown doesn’t just slap some paint on a project and call it good. When she gets a piece evaluates what needs to be done and goes from there. It starts with cleaning the project, sanding, and striping (if required), more cleaning, priming, sealing, more sanding, then painting (often several coats). Once she has the paint on, she’ll sand it again and then put on the finish. Thus how you get 9 to 10 hours of work in one chair. She says the sanding helps keep things smooth.

    “It’s all in an effort to create peaceful spaces,” said Brenneman-Brown.

    Like so many dreams that start in a basement, Phoenix Phurnishings is no different. Brenneman-Brown began working on her projects in the basement, and then as the projects got bigger, she moved the projects upstairs to the living room. Now the projects (like the dining room table) have even moved out onto the back deck. She would like to find a space away from the house, but being a first-year business and the ventilation requirements she needs are making it a little challenging at the moment.

    For the 33-year-old Brenneman-Brown, the business started as a dream she hoped would one day allow her to quit her job in financial services. In a few short months, she was able to turn in her letter of resignation a year early and focus on her furniture refinishing.

    “I loved the idea of being my own boss,” she said.

    She’s quickly being recognized for her finishing and painting skills as well. In the fall, Brenneman-Brown showed Darci Haney with MD Haney & Co in McMinnville, where she buys many of her supplies, a photo of a finished antique dry washstand featuring Annie Sloan paint. Sloan, widely recognized as one of the world’s most respected experts in paint and color, then talked with Brenneman-Brown and featured the piece and Phoenix Phurnishings on her Facebook page, Annie Sloan America.


    Every artist has one that got away. For Brenneman-Brown it was a 1880s-90s washstand that she found in someone’s front yard that was neon green and white with the original hardware, but the bottom had rotted away. She stripped it all, resealed it, painted it, put it up for sale and in 7 hours it was gone.

    “It was a real cool, unique piece,” she said.

    With the holidays now in the rear-view mirror Brenneman-Brown will resume the trade-show circuit she started last year, that gave her the confidence that she could make it. She did a couple of shows, and some folks started showing some interest in what she could do. Husband, Michael Brown, a Fed-Ex driver during the week, helps with the shows.

    If you happen to see Phoenix Phurnishings at a show, you will find a few pieces that Brenneman-Brown has done that show just what she’s capable of. You will also see candles and melts that she makes as well. The latter items can be purchased on her website

    Brenneman-Brown is also very active with the social media and has a newsletter showing  pictures of her projects in progress and keeping folks updated on what’s

    Written By:
    Jessica Coudare
    Writer, Blogger, Mother & Homeowner

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