TAUNTON — Berkley-based Bostonian Repurposed got its start saving an old garage window destined for the trash. Several years later, the husband-and-wife DIY team of Dan and Kim Arena are in the running to become DIY Heroes.
“It all started pretty much through a window,” Kim Arena said.
A few years ago, while fixing up an old house for sale, Kim says she asked her husband to save an old wooden window they had removed from the garage. She wanted to make something out of it, something from the old house to put into the new.
“I said, ‘Don’t throw this away. I want to take it with us and do something with it.
Neither knew exactly what she was talking about at the time, but years later the window – reinvented as a “home organization system” – still has a place in their home. . The top half of the window is a chalkboard and the bottom half is a cork board, for writing and posting notes, with flaps on either side for filing important papers.
“It’s still in our house, we still use it.”
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How Bostonian Repurposed Was Born
Kim and Dan took on a few more projects, and it wasn’t long before family and friends got them to work.
“We’ve had people ask us if we could fix things, like an old piece of furniture, or build them something with it. That’s how it all started,” Kim said.
“And then people started asking us if this was something we were doing full time or if we were going to do something about it. So we sat down one night and thought, ‘Is this a thing? what we can or want to do and it just grew from there.
Bostonian Repurposed was founded in 2016, offering furniture refinishing services and taking on resale projects, all from the garage of their home in Berkley. The garage is still the home base and the business is a side hustle for Kim and Dan. Kim, who worked in social work for years, now works for Clockhouse Realty as a real estate agent, and Dan works for an insulation installation company.
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What is the DIY Hero contest?
Recently, the Arenas went out of their way to publicize their business as an entrant in the DIY Hero contest, sponsored by Barnwood Living and hosted by TV personality and craftsman Mark Bowe of Barnwood Builders on the Magnolia Network, and it’s going better than they could not have imagined.
Kim and Dan finished the previous round of voting in third place to advance to the final round, or top five. Currently, they are in fourth place and voting is set to close on April 7.
“When I first saw that we were in contention and in third place, I was like, ‘wait, what?’ I mean, I hate to think small, but we’re from little old Berkley, nobody knows us.
The DIY Hero winner takes home a maximum prize of $25,000 and an article in Make Magazine.
Arena says the contest is open to any DIYer, and the field includes jewelry and apparel makers and all kinds of artisans.
The contest, like the business, Kim says, is “one hundred percent shot in the dark.”
Prior to this first window repair project, Kim had no experience repurposing furniture and no carpentry skills to speak of. Dan had a carpentry background and was willing to help.
“It was trial by fire to begin with. I taught myself what I could, but I knew nothing at all about carpentry.
Dan accompanied the ride, full support and a helping hand.
“He’s just like, of course, whatever, what’s next?” said Kim. “If I don’t know how to do something, or if I want to try something, he shows me what to do and we make it work.
“I feel like the face of the company, but he is by my side and very supportive.”
Kim says Bostonian Repurposed works one-on-one with its customers and sells refurbished and recreated pieces through Facebook Marketplace and an online site. She says the only real limits are imagination and the willingness to try.
She says a lot of older furniture is good candidates for recreation and reuse.
“I see pieces from the 30s, 40s and 50s and all the way up to the 70s that are always good. When they say they don’t do things the way they used to, it’s very true. But old parts can be repaired and some of them will last forever.
And Arena says they can take ordinary items that may have seen better years and give them new life, and the customer a new look.
Ladders become light fixtures, old industrial lockers a TV entertainment center; a wagon wheel that takes on new life as a wreath or industrial-sized spools of wood thread transformed into a table or wall clock. The options are endless and waiting to be sorted.
It was a completely unexpected turn for the two, but today Kim intends to go full time when the time is right.
“The number one focus is a storefront and retail business, but I also have this vision of a backyard workshop where I can teach people how to refurbish furniture and fix things and helping people with their own projects,” she said.
Taunton Daily Gazette editor Jon Haglof can be contacted at email@example.com. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Taunton Daily Gazette today.