REFURBUTCH is a refurbishing and recycling start-up being operated by two Brooklyn artists, Luca D'angelo and Justice Apple. After stooping for some time, the “Not your average Home Depot Lesbians” have taken abandoned furniture and given them such a head-to-toe beauty makeover that even Kleinfeld was shook! Follow their work @refurbutches
What inspired you to begin REFURBUTCH?
I have been into picking up furniture and decorations from the street for years now. But ,in January 2019, I met my good friend Justice, who is the other half behind REFURBUTCH. I quickly realized we both have a love for stooping and a good eye. A month after we met, Justice got a work studio and in the months following I found that we were constantly moving found items into the studio and touching them up to furnish the space. This summer we noticed people throwing out really great furniture that was either in perfect condition or very easily fixable and just needed some love. We would go out and roam the streets of Williamsburg/Greenpoint with Justice’s beachcomber. Then we started following @stoopingnyc and checking it frequently to see what was around us that we could run and grab. Before we knew it, the studio was piling up with found furniture: tables, coffee tables, side tables, desks, chairs, shelves, decorative items and more!
While we used a lot of those things to furnish/decorate the studio, we had a lot of other things we weren’t utilizing and could do without. We didn’t want to put them back on the street just to get thrown out again. So we decided we should create an Instagram account dedicated to selling found and refurbished furniture. The name REFURBUTCH is a gay play on the word “refurbish” because we’re lesbians who refurbish furniture.
Do you have a favorite project that you’ve completed or started? Any advice for people who want to start their own refurbishing project or may feel discouraged to?
My favorite project, that’s been completed, is the lounge area of the studio. The majority of that area is comprised of refurbished furniture. If I had to pick a favorite piece of furniture we completed, it would be a wooden mid-century modern surfboard style coffee table I found in Brooklyn Heights about a year ago. I gave it to my friend as a housewarming gift when she moved and recently found out it’s originally worth about $900.
Whatever that project may be, you’ll never know unless you try. It’s amazing how many things can be easily self-taught; Justice and I are completely self-taught. There was no preconceived plan to start, it just kind of happened. With researching and handwork, I can confidently say I’m a relatively skilled handyman. Just don’t ask me to do any electrical or plumbing.
What is your home decor style? What advice do you have for someone to find theirs?
I really love mid century modern decor, as well as 70’s/retro decor. But my style is kind of all over the place. I love neutral tones and simplicity + minimalism — I think decoration determines whether a space feels like a personal space or like a display case with “please don’t touch signs everywhere”. I love antique, vintage, exposed pipes, rustic, modern, sleek (silver metal, shiny black leather, wood, lucite, animal print rugs, concrete, etc.) Also, house plants are the best—they add color and warmth to every room.
My advice for someone trying to find their home decor style would be just go with what catches your eye and what speaks to you; usually the rest will flow. Finding your home decor style is a personal venture just like finding your personal clothing style—have fun with it, experiment, and always opt for what makes you feel good and comfortable. Sometimes it’ll work, sometimes it won’t—but trial and error is necessary in order to find out what your thing is. Until recently, I didn’t have much vocabulary surrounding home decor style, and even now I’m still no expert. I just knew what I liked when I saw it and would go with that.
Go follow @refurbutch on Instagram for their latest work!