Homes: Paint turns furniture into works of art
Ely start-up Painted to Purrfection is making heirlooms, says founder Annemarie Taylor
Look at Annemarie Taylor’s exquisitely painted pieces - dressers climbing with roses, tables topped with birds and cherry blossoms - and it’s evident, as she says, “this is using furniture as a palette to create art”.
“From custom colour blends to bespoke designs, my work is different from the standard one-colour upcycle,” continues Annemarie. “For me, painting is an escape; a chance to switch off from everything in the world and create something to be cherished.”
Her business - Painted to Purrfection, named after the Taylor family’s five rescue cats - was launched in lockdown after Annemarie turned to painting to help her heal. Just 13 when her artist mother died, she then lost her brother aged only 46; she also lives with chronic pain and suffered an occlusion - a stroke in one eye - in 2019.
“I live with the attitude that even one small step is better than none; the goal is to just keep moving forward and to be a better person than the day before,” she says. “As with everyone else, Covid was the next challenge, and when my employer refused to allow me to work from home, I decided it was time to pick up my paintbrush full time.”
Hailing from the flat farmlands of Northern Michigan, Annemarie moved to the flat Fens in 1999, marrying her Ely-born husband Richard, an engineer, and going on to have two now-grown-up children. “My grandmother was born in Liverpool in 1901; the UK always felt like coming home,” says Annemarie, who adds she “is proud to be ‘British’”.
Having originally studied and worked in business, Annemarie returned to university in 2009 to train in social work, going into the charity sector before taking a research role at University College London. Then, two weeks into the job, her brother died. “It was then that I began to consider what really made me happy,” she says. “I realised my creativity as a child had died when my mother died. The last year of painting has healed me in so many ways; the passion and creativity I once had has been renewed.”
Having painted and built bespoke furniture through the years, it was Covid which provided the leap of faith to go full time and “put everything into creating a brand and carving out a niche in the growing restyled furniture market,” continues Annemarie.
Among the rewards of her work is, she adds, in breathing new life into unloved pieces - and in taking a client’s already loved piece and “turning them into a treasure to be passed down”.
“I think what jumps out about my pieces is the attention to detail: from the painted screw heads to the custom lined drawers, nothing is left untouched.”
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More by this authorAlice Ryan