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Inspired by finding decor with high quality and individuality on a strict budget for their own space, a local couple decided to launch their own custom furniture and decor business. Read on for all the designer details.

The Copper Pearl sells refinished home decor and furniture items.
The Copper Pearl sells refinished home decor and furniture items.

Cincy Chic: Tell us about The Copper Pearl!
Mary Parsell, Co-Owner of The Copper Pearl: The Copper Pearl is a Retail and Service enterprise solely devoted to providing unique and completely custom-centric furniture and décor to our clients and community.

Our vision has always been to give clients a sense of Uniqueness and Individuality. We do this through uncovering “pearls” – treasures hidden in not so pretty exteriors – within furniture and home décor. Our mission is to inspire engagement through the design process and getting to know clients’ personalities and visions for their spaces and then following it through with expert restoration and transformation. We are also committed to promoting a sustainable community.

Cincy Chic: What’s the inspiration behind The Copper Pearl?
Parsell: The Copper Pearl was originally conceived when we moved to our home in Loveland in 2011. New homes are always challenging as you strive to make the house unique and fill spaces that you did not have before with items that reflect your taste and style. I liken my approach as “Donald Trump tastes on an MC Hammer budget!” So creating this sense of high value and individuality on a pretty strict budget was quite difficult! Plus, we never really wanted items that everyone else had. We didn’t want someone walk into our home and say, “Hey! I have that exact same table.” We wanted our home to be very unique and creative and something that would entice guests to explore. We wanted every space to be deliberate and have a sense of meaning, like it was carefully considered and chosen because there was nothing else like it. Eventually, a naturally creative curiosity, an engineering mindset, and a conservative budget gave way to refinishing existing items that met our style and thirst for uniqueness while mimicking high-end and high-styled furniture. Soon we began to get requests from friends and neighbors asking for items to be found and finished as well as refinish some of their items that they already had in their possession. As word spread, the requests grew until we could no longer park in our garage because we needed the work space!

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Cincy Chic: Who’s behind the business?
Parsell: The Copper Pearl is a husband-and-wife venture that I do alongside my husband Bryan. Bryan is the main operations and business leader and I provide support as evening and weekend help in design and operations. We also have several employees who help with finishing and the manning of the retail store.

Cincy Chic: Tell us more about the name “The Copper Pearl!”
Parsell: Bryan coined the name “The Copper Pearl” for a few reasons. Firstly, copper is his favorite type of metal and secondly, from the fact that pearls are treasures found inside hardened mollusk shells – shells that from the outside are not very elegant or beautiful – but once you open them up and get past that exterior – there is a rare and unique beauty waiting inside. “Pearl” also comes from Bible verses Matthew 13:45-46; “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.” Owning our own business has been a lifelong dream of ours. We’ve made significant lifestyle changes, taken risks, and learned valuable lessons to be able to pursue this passion and count ourselves incredibly blessed to be able to do this as a livelihood.

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Cincy Chic: When did you launch The Copper Pearl?
Parsell: We eventually were led to opening up a small storefront in Milford in November 2013. The storefront was only about 500 square feet – enough for a small retail space and a very weather-limiting work space in the back. In December 2015, we secured the vacant bank building on West Loveland Avenue and set about the renovation process. We went from our 500-square-foot space to a space with more than 3,500 square feet. We completely renovated the inside, installed new flooring, repaired windows and structural items, created visually stimulating vignettes with 24/7 lighting that was attractive through the windows, added decor and benches to the outside, and signage that fit with the historic downtown Loveland fee.

Cincy Chic: What’s been one of your favorite pieces you’ve created so far?
Parsell: One of our trademarks and signature pieces are the copper penny bars. Those are some of our favorite projects to work on because they are such statement pieces. Usually heads up and a heavy epoxy finish, we like to add some element of fun to them by creating games, trivia questions, and seek/find items. This might include making a few of the pennies tails up, adding Canadian maple leafs, or shields, or Abe’s log cabin as well as ensuring that important years to the client (i.e. birth years, anniversary years, etc…) are contained in the penny top. We had one client call us back about three hours after we delivered their bar asking where the 1918 penny was located because she couldn’t go to sleep until she found it. (We did tell her by the way, and once located she slept soundly for the rest of the night!)

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Cincy Chic: What makes The Copper Pearl unique?
Parsell: The Copper Pearl is unique in that we do a large variety of finishes, which allows us to service a very broad range of tastes and styles. Many clients bring in their Pinterest or magazine pictures and say, “I want it to look like that!” and we say, “OK!” We can restore and transform vintage/country shabby chic styles with chalk/milk paint, distressing, staining, and glazing; we can do high end sprayed finishes and ultra-high gloss. We transform mid-century modern and antiques with paint and stain as well as do original metal work, custom furniture design and builds, hardware reconfigurations, and in-home cabinetry refinishing. We’ve invested in commercial equipment, products, and spaces to be able to create and replicate custom finishes that are professional caliber. We enlist partners who complement our products and who have similar values in being able to transform existing materials out there into usable, functioning, and highly unique works of art. We also sell high-grade paint products along with paint classes to support creativity and confidence in their DIY capabilities. We work really hard at being able to provide our clients the look they want at a price that they can afford, regardless of the style. Our dream is to be able to transform the customer’s experience from mass produced replication shopping to a very invested, intimate and engaged connection while developing their space.

Cincy Chic: Is there anything new on the horizon for The Copper Pearl?
Parsell: Yes! Our custom built furniture segment is really taking off! We are working on new designs for unfinished furniture that can be built based on the client’s specifications and finish requests. Refinishing of in-home cabinetry projects (kitchens, built-ins, bathrooms, etc…) are also a growing portion of what we do and we are looking to add a new cabinetry section in our Loveland store to demonstrate the transformation that can happen in a kitchen or bathroom with a new coat of paint! The outside of our building is also getting a facelift soon which will include repairs, new paint, and a custom sign!

Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more and follow along with your projects?
Parsell: Go to our website at www.thecopperpearl.com, follow along on Instagram, and like us on Facebook. Check out our new retail space in historic downtown Loveland at 301 W Loveland Avenue.

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We chat with two local ladies who are taking vintage furniture from drab to fab! Read on for all the details to inspire your inner design diva!

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Cincy Chic: What is Drab2Fab?
Susanne Salzarulo and Rachel Massa, Owners of Drab2Fab: We like to take other peoples’ furniture that may have sentimental value but no longer fits the owners’ style and make it fabulous utilizing the customers vision and our recommendations. We also like to find pieces for clients if we don’t already have something in our shop. Sometimes we go into a client’s home to offer a fresh perspective on their existing decor and make recommendations on how they can refurbish it.

Cincy Chic: What’s the inspiration behind your business?
Salzarulo and Massa: We started our business just over a year ago utilizing our 30 years of combined experience upstyling vintage furniture. We sell high quality and well-crafted vintage pieces at a fraction of the cost of new while being kind to the earth.

Cincy Chic: Who’s behind Drab2Fab?
Salzarulo and Massa: We are the owners behind Drab2Fab. We met more than 20 years ago while working at the Estee Lauder Counter in Kenwood. We both have always been passionate about unique furniture and home decor, and have always been able to see the beauty in old, beat up furniture that no one else wanted.

Cincy Chic: What do you do at Drab2Fab?
Salzarulo and Massa: We like to take other peoples’ furniture that may have sentimental value but no longer fits the owners’ style and make it fabulous utilizing the customers vision and our recommendations. We also like to find pieces for clients if we don’t already have something in our shop. Sometimes we go into a client’s home to offer a fresh perspective on their existing decor and make recommendations on how they can refurbish it.

Cincy Chic: Where is Drab2Fab located?
Salzarulo and Massa: We’re located at 4901 Whetsel Avenue in Cincinnati.

Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more?
Salzarulo and Massa: Readers can check out our items by appointment or on our Facebook page.

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011215FEATURE1Two local ladies turned their passion for vintage furnishings into a new business. From mid-century quirky and French Quarter color to farmhouse chic, see how their vintage event rentals and styling for weddings, parties, and events can set the scene for your celebration with a flair of vintage fashion.

The romance of vintage furniture wooed Amber Zaragoza and Emma Durham to start their own business – Queen City Vignette, or “Vignette” for short. For them, it’s about the details, lines, texture, imperfections and implied stories that come along with each piece.

How do the ladies behind Queen City Vignette create their own story? They rent out their vintage furnishings to clients so they can share the love for their pieces without 011215FEATURE2letting them go forever. In addition, Zaragoza says, they provide the vintage atmosphere and details that clients are looking for at well-under retail price.”Hunting for vintage furniture is like people watching: you get to create your own narrative,” says Zaragoza.

Queen City Vignette offers vintage furniture, furnishings, accessoriesand styling and craft services for weddings, photo shoots and other special events. “We work out of an industrial, natural-light studio, and our home is your home,” explains Zaragoza.011215FEATURE3

They know the struggle that comes along with searching for vintage furniture and the time spent searching through antique stores, auctions or Craigslist to find the perfect pieces. They also understand that at the conclusion of your event you may not need the furniture any longer, which leaves you searching for a new home for the items you’ve already spent so much time searching for in the first place.Their textural, industrial loft studio is also available for rent for video and photo shoots on a daily or hourly basis, in addition to all of the vintage props and furniture they own. “We pride ourselves on offering an easy, stress-free way to have pieces full of history and romance at a client’s video or photo shoot,” Zaragoza explains.011215FEATURE4

While the dynamic duo work out of their studio in Camp Washington, they say their pieces are available for events all over Southern Indiana, Southern Ohio and Northern Kentucky. “Our motto is ‘have vintage, will travel,'” laughs Zaragoza.”We take all of that hassle away,” says Zaragoza. “Do you want something specific for your event that we don’t offer yet? We’ll go hunting for it! We are in the process of building our inventory, so we are very receptive to special requests from our clients.”

The ladies of Queen City Vignette draw from their passion for furniture and décor, and also their formal training and artist backgrounds. Zaragoza says they like to arrange rooms like installation art and style tables like they’re still-life paintings.

011215FEATURE5In addition to their collaborative teamwork, Zaragoza and Durham are in love with what they do. Despite the splinters, smashed fingers, stubbed toes, surprise spiders and storage dust that accompanies the thrill of every find, they are always taken aback by the final beauty of a product. “The moment when a client says ‘Yes! That’s the one!'” Zaragoza says, “That gives us some of the best feelings in the world.””We work as a team, so we also bring diverse interest and taste to any project,” explains Zaragoza. “Emma has a naturally more feminine eye while my taste leans toward the crisp lines of Art Deco and Midcentury pieces. This brings a natural tension and balance to our approach, and that keeps things interesting.”

011215FEATURE6Zaragoza says the duo has the most fun on Instagram, but you can also check out their website and blog at www.queencityvignette.com to learn more about them or contact them to add a vi

ntage touch to your next event. Since launching in November 2014, Queen City Vignette has worked with photographers, videographers and stylists. They will be launching their wedding offerings this year, for which they have mix-and-match themed china settings for up to 200 people, cake stands, centerpiece options and a variety of colored glass vases available in the spring. “We’re ready to dive into the deep end of party décor,” she says.

You can also “like” them on Facebook and follow on Pinterest, or stop by the studio for an in-person visit.

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