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Stories, things to do, and one of a kind tips from downtown Cape Girardeau.
Breathing New Life Into Eclectic Housewares
Breathing New Life Into Eclectic Housewares
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“I shop for the store like I’d shop for my home,” said Susan Hall, owner of Shoppe La La, a furniture and housewares repurposing and resale studio studio located at 437 Broadway.

Lucky for me, Hall and I must “shop for our homes” in a similar fashion. My husband and I decided to make a stop at Shoppe La La one Saturday, on a whim, while making our occasional jaunt to the downtown area’s antique and vintage stores. I’d spent nearly two years searching for larger, more eclectic bedside tables to pair with the mass-produced bedroom group we’d purchased after our wedding.

My new tables were nestled in the studio work area of Hall’s shop, one of which has been the perfect height and size for holding a can of Old Town Paints and multiple brushes. After decided to purchase the side tables, Hall and I discussed available colors and finishes. I placed a 50 percent deposit on the tables after deciding on the perfect color, finish and completed price of $100. About two weeks later, the tables graced by bedside and are a perfect fit!

“What’s unique about us is not only do I have pieces that are prepared, I have pieces that customers can pick unfinished and be a part of that process,” Hall said. “Or, if you have something and you need it remade, or made over, you can bring it in and we’ll do that, too.”

Other than customers special-ordered pieces, Hall takes an artistic approach to choosing other projects for her studio. “They just kind of talk to me. I don’t really do a factory assembly line type of painting,” she said. “I look at each piece and as I’m cleaning and base coating it, it tells me what it needs to look like. Something just attracts my eye.”

Hall will bring chosen items to the studio if the pieces have great lines or a potentially great purpose. A busy bee, customers will almost always find her and her employee working on a new item or three. Projects include everything from a small set of candleholders to large and detailed buffets and sideboards.

“Most people would think they were beyond repair. We took them, and took away and added to, and made them beautiful and useful again. For me, that’s probably what sticks out in my mind. We can take pieces that really have been forgotten, whether it’s been damaged or is out of style, and give them new life so people can enjoy them for the next 20 or 30 years,” said Hall.

Shoppe La La is also a retail location for Old Town Paints, the type of chalk paint Hall uses to create beautiful “new” pieces. Chalk paint is gaining popularity worldwide, thanks to Pinterest, and its durability and ease of use makes it a great product for painting furniture. “I actually used to use a different chalk paint starting out. I decided not to carry that brand, so I went searching for something that I would like,” Hall said. “I contacted several companies, had them send me their paint, tried it out, and Old Town Paints won, hands down.”

Hall liked that the Old Town Paints brand had a large selection of colors and was relatively inexpensive. “I don’t think it should cost a huge amount of money. You really can get quite a few projects out of one quart. And then it was just a really lucky coincidence that it was called ‘Old Town Paints’ in Old Town Cape,” she said.

After being involved in design and repurposing for 20 years, Hall started concentrating on furniture, originally selling out of her home and then from a booth space. Growth landed her back in Old Town Cape. Hall only sees advantage to operating out of the downtown district. “I think there’s a great energy down here. I think there are a tremendous amount of creative people down here. I think it’s a mindset – even when customers come down, they know they’re going to get something that someone created,” Hall said.

If you’d like to learn how to create your own works of art with chalk paint, Hall is offering classes at the studio beginning in January 2014. “The first classes are an intro to chalk paint. You can come with absolutely no prior painting skills. Then, throughout the year I’m going to up the ante,” she said. The three-hour classes cost $50 and is hosted at Shoppe La La. Entrants should bring their own small project, and Hall will supply the paint, brushes and other supplies. Course space is limited. Email shoppelala@gmail.com or call 573-803-2744 to sign up. A small fee must be paid to hold your spot in class. Upcoming classes include 1 to 4 p.m. on January 21st, 3 to 6 p.m. on January 25th, and 6 to 9 p.m. on January 31st. /p>

Shoppe La La can be found on Facebook, and operating hours are 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

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