What was once old is now new again. It’s an expression easily applied to what Gina Berg, furniture refinisher and vintage curator, does when she transforms dinged up, timeworn or nearly broken furniture. To find the pieces, she scours Facebook Marketplace or estate and garage sales. Other times, people simply surrender to her the odd buffet, tumbledown dresser or lackluster nightstand, knowing Gina will provide the item with a new lease on life, so much so, that the resulting piece feels like new again.
For rehabbing her pieces, Gina’s creative process can entail many different things. Sometimes she adds new legs to a piece, repairs drawers and tabletops, retouches wood varnish, chooses new modern hardware or divines the best paint and wood combos. “I try to mix it up and think about where woodwork would look best on the item or where pops of paint might be best,” she says. “I’ll ask myself, ‘Do I want to add new feet, or do I want to add new trim?’ It really varies from item to item, and it's more work than just slapping on a new coat of paint.”
While lengthy, Gina’s job is a labor of love. To find furniture to refinish and sell, the item must be at a low-enough price point to start. This means the piece is usually cosmetically flawed. “A lot of the stuff I refinish is pretty scratched up,” Gina admits, “or there’s veneer damage or chunks of wood are missing. It’s generally the stuff that nobody wants.”
But with Gina’s artful hand and artistic eye, she creates standout pieces that anyone would want to adorn their home. In fact, the pieces she tends to gravitate to have lately been on trend: Mid-century Modern furniture. “Mid-century Modern has become really popular even for those who like a modern farmhouse look,” she says. “People like the style’s clean lines, and customers in St. Louis seem to really be drawn to the funky MCM pieces. If I have a Mid-century Modern piece, it tends to sell really fast.” Just five years ago, she says, this wouldn’t have been the case. “Mid-century Modern has really taken off, even pieces in their original condition.”
At the same time, beyond its stylish appearance, vintage furniture is more sustainable. “It’s what the younger generation seems to love about it, but what I’ve always loved about it,” says Gina. “I struggle to buy new things sometimes because there are so many wonderful old things.” When selling her pieces, Gina tries to style them with untouched vintage items to show her followers on Instagram how new and old can be cleverly combined. “I want to show people that they can make things fresh and new even if they are old things,” she says. “I like inspiring people as much as I do selling my work.” Find Gina's work on Instagram @bayberrymoon or in person at Two Chicks Vintage Marketplace in West County.