David Welch


Absolutely Refabulous

When Anne-Marie Eddy, owner of Vineyard Haven home goods and paint shop ReFabulous Decor, rented her first space in 2013, a small studio across from the Black Dog, she wasn’t concerned about the off-the-beaten-path location.

“The first space was a workshop,” Eddy said when we met in her current and much bigger location at 65 Main Street. For years she had been doing custom refinishing jobs, transforming well-loved furniture into fresh, stylish pieces, mostly using a brand of paint she had grown to love.

But she couldn’t keep her love of the paint – a unique decorative product called Annie Sloan Chalk Paint – to herself. Soon she was selling it as a small retail operation. “At first I thought we’d sell it out of Big Sky,” she said of the tent and event rental business she owns with her husband, Jim Eddy, but she quickly realized she’d need to find her own space.

It’s a good thing, because in the five years since opening she’s expanded twice, now filling a spacious corner off Main Street with rehabbed furniture, a variety of paints and DIY supplies, as well as jewelry, accessories, and other home goods, much of which she makes herself.

“I have no formal art training,” she said, gesturing to the trays of leather cuffs and crystal necklaces she designs and crafts in her at-home basement studio. On the wall hung one of her custom resin windowpanes, a dramatic sweep of color glowing on the glass.

“I have this theory that for thousands of years women were used to doing creative things with their hands,” she said. Eddy’s mother and grandmother, for example, made all of their children’s clothes. “I’m the first generation not to make clothes for my kids,” she said. She attributes some of the stress and anxiety present in modern order-it-online culture to the lack of handwork present in our daily lives. As she began to explore various crafts – jewelry making, resin art, furniture-painting – she found that the work served as a form of much-needed meditation. “I feel the more we can incorporate that kind of meditative motion, the better. It’s in our deep DNA.”

Eddy shares her appreciation for DIY therapy with many of her clients, who may come into the shop hoping to hire her for projects and leave with the confidence to embark upon the jobs themselves. “So much of my job is convincing people they can do this stuff on their own,” Eddy said, weaving through inventory to reach the back corner of her shop where shelves of paint, tools, and brochures are displayed alongside freshly re-imagined end tables and chairs.

The chalk paint requires no priming and sanding and dries quickly, making it an easy choice for novice decorators and professionals alike. “I’m passionate about this paint,” Eddy said. And her passion has proved a savvy business investment; paint sales remain her bread and butter at the shop.

For clients interested in bigger jobs, Eddy continues to take on refurbishing projects, consulting for rental agencies and design firms. She’s currently in the process of repainting a thirteen-piece bedroom set for a client in Boston.

As her client list has grown, so has her inventory, which now includes a variety of Island makers like Shady Lady – lampshades made from vintage maps – and the photography of Michael Blanchard. Other vendors she finds on websites like Etsy or at Brimfield, the annual antiques fair in central Massachusetts. She prefers to
support small businesses and craftspeople, often taking the time to meet them in person. “I could go to the big shows,” she said. “But I’d rather take my time looking at things and really make a connection.”

Affordable pricing is also part of her mission at ReFabulous Decor. “I set my prices based on what I think I could afford to buy,” she said. “I don’t want to gouge people.” Her popular leather cuffs, imprinted with an image of the Island, start at $25. 

The shop also boasts an impressive collection of d├ęcor accessories, unified by Eddy’s eclectic aesthetic. Knob pulls in the shape of skulls and dinosaurs, crystals, and chunky decorative block letters are all on display as examples of ways to round out a piece or a room.

Making is a family affair for the Eddys; one of her newest vendors is her twelve-year-old daughter, Annabel. “She started making slime with a friend for the [Agricultural Fair],” Eddy said, pointing to a shelf stocked with containers of colorful goo. The venture was so successful that Annabel has started an at-home production line, setting up photo shoots for her Etsy account. “It’s serious business,” Eddy said.

Despite the requirements of running a successful shop, Eddy still finds time to sneak into the basement to keep her inventory robust. She relies heavily on Square credit card readers and automated business tools, like an app that lets employees clock in on an iPad and syncs with her home computer. This leaves her more time to do the work that she loves. “When I’m making things, I’m in my happy place,” she said. “If I could sit here making things all day, I would.”

Comments (1)

Kevin Kelly
Fort Worth, Texas
A great story and a solid read. Please let me know if your travels bring you through Texas!
March 20, 2018 - 2:05pm