ReBorn Home Furnishings brings new life to worn-out itemsLUVERNE — Restored, recycled, reused, refinished, rebuilt, revived and repainted — those words best describe the work that goes into each piece offered for sale at ReBorn Home Furnishings in downtown Luverne. At a time when people often perceive themselves as living in a throw-away society, one family is doing what it can to save objects from being tossed in the landfill by breathing new life into them and making them useful for others.
By: Julie Buntjer, Worthington Daily Globe
LUVERNE — Restored, recycled, reused, refinished, rebuilt, revived and repainted — those words best describe the work that goes into each piece offered for sale at ReBorn Home Furnishings in downtown Luverne.
At a time when people often perceive themselves as living in a throw-away society, one family is doing what it can to save objects from being tossed in the landfill by breathing new life into them and making them useful for others.
Becky Feikema of Luverne, in partnership with her parents, Ron and Kathy Vander Lugt of rural Chandler, have taken their love of repairing and restoring worn-out furniture, finding new uses for dated décor and fashioning thrift store finds into trendy trinkets.
“My mom grew up fixing and restoring furniture, going to auctions, garage sales and buying down-and-out pieces that nobody wanted and either refinishing, fixing or restoring them,” said Feikema, who operates the store and manages the business. “It’s been kind of a lifelong project of hers and, as I grew up, I did the same thing.”
They find their inspirational pieces at auctions, estate sales and garage sales — and they’ve even been known to dumpster dive and pick up pieces people have tossed to the curb. Most of their pieces are found within an hour’s drive of their home.
“A lot of times at auctions we buy the things nobody bids on because they’re in such bad shape,” Feikema said. “Those are the pieces that we love.
“We go for the diamonds in the rough — the things that nobody else gets excited about, that’s what we haul home,” she added. “The fun of it is to see the transformation.”
She is quick to point out their business isn’t an antique store — in fact, they have pieces from every era that have been fixed up and made to look new and modern. People will find vintage, retro and contemporary furniture, often with an updated twist.
“We’ll take a 100-year-old chair and put a modern upholstery on it,” Feikema said. “We’re different from an antique, second-hand or thrift store in that all of our pieces have been custom- restored.”
The restoration work takes place on the Vander Lugt farm, where Ron works to either repair pieces or create one-of-a-kind home furnishings in the shop, and Kathy does the finishing work, such as painting, staining and varnishing. The Vander Lugts are full-time farmers who also operate Valley Varnishing and Painting, a service that provides painting and varnishing in new homes.
“This (recreating items for ReBorn) is the thing they do for fun and fill in in the winter, when they aren’t farming and they have more time,” Feikema said. “It’s more of a hobby.”
Because it’s a hobby, they have created a morgue — a place in the shop where projects pile up until inspiration hits.
“Things are still dead are in the morgue until they are reborn,” Feikema said with a laugh. Inspiration may come in the discovery of a unique upholstery fabric, or simply a flash of an idea.
One of their favorite projects at this time is using quarter-sawn oak that was salvaged from an old home in Luverne and using it to create original king-size headboards for beds. They also find new uses for old doors by turning them into headboards, benches, tables and even bookcases.
“Decorating is your own personal style these days — you can pick and choose things you just really love … and put together a home that is the reflection of you,” Feikema said. “We have unique things that you can really personalize your home with.”
In addition to furniture, ReBorn Home Furnishings has lamps, vintage photo frames, candle holders made from old light fixtures and an array of accent pieces. The business also offers custom lamp shades for people who want to breathe new life into an old shade, and it also offers custom refinishing work for people as well. For more information on refinishing, people may call the Vander Lugts at (507) 220-0100.
ReBorn Home Furnishings is located at the corner of Freeman and Main streets in downtown Luverne, next door to the Palace Theatre. The business is open this Saturday — and the first Saturday of each month — from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Beginning in May and continuing through December, they are also open from 4 to 7 p.m.
Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the shop is open every Saturday. If those times don’t work, Feikema said they are also open by appointment. They also have an array of items displayed on their website, www.rebornhomefurnishings.com.