How often is it that you find a piece of older furniture on Craigslist or at a garage sale that needs to be infused with new life? Carter Averbeck knows a thing or two about putting a new twist on older furniture. Starting as a hobby, Carter soon saw the demand for his transformed pieces increase and started his business, Omforme. I had the chance to interview Carter via email and learn more about his process. Read on after the jump!
How do you describe your business?
The description I use on our Etsy.com store says it best:
Omforme: (verb) is a Norwegian word meaning “Transform”, and that is exactly what we do with vintage, mid century and upcycled items to re-create new home furnishings out of the old. Are we purists? Only in the sense of wanting to offer some of the funkiest, most artfully designed items for your home. We like the challenge of good design using objects from past generations and giving them a resurged value; and that makes good sense in a marketplace overrun by disposable furnishings.
How did you start your business?
This has really been a passionate hobby of mine since, uh, forever! I have always adored creating a silken purse out of a sow’s ear, make gold out of straw. I would find a great piece of furniture that had seen better days, revamp it and use it in my home. Since I work out of my home with the art/design business, I had clients over all the time as well as friends. They would see these pieces; want to buy them, so I’d sell whatever I had. Of course it left me without furniture again, so I would go on another search for great pieces of furniture, revamp, …again someone would want to buy it,……..I think you can see where I’m going with this
Where did the name, Omforme originate?
When the light bulb went off in my head that maybe I could turn my hobby into a business, I wanted to have a name that personified the aspect of transformation. Part of my family heritage is Norwegian and when searching for a name for the biz, I found the perfect one within my heritage: Omforme. The word in Norwegian means ” To Transform”, and that is exactly what we do with every piece of furniture before we send it out to the public masses.
Where do you find your furniture pieces?
With a good eye, I peruse garage sales, second hand stores, sometimes Craigslist and have even found some incredible pieces of furniture next to a dumpster with nothing wrong with it other than age. The challenge is finding potential in a piece so not every chair or dresser will be a candidate for our magic.
Where do you get your inspiration to re-do the furniture pieces?
I’ve run my own Art Design firm for some time and I see a lot of stuff in the interior design world; incredible stuff at that. Much of it cool, slick, beautiful and expensive that I file into the dewey decimal system in my brain for future reference. But what inspires me more than anything is to take a piece of existing furniture from a previous era or everyday items and re-imagine those things in a new context. It’s easy to take a dresser and just paint it. I go beyond the obvious and don’t always play it safe when redesigning furniture pieces: I’m hoping my daring will pay off. Like dipping an entire chair in rubber! I am also inspired by designers like Philippe Starck who can take an existing icon such as a french chair – imagine it in a new light and voila a new & modern take on an existing icon (the ghost chair is a perfect example) – thus making it a new icon for the current generation. When I think about redesigning a piece of furniture – I try to go at it from the same angle as Philippe Starck. I also see inspiration in daily life – dandelions as footstools or a dog bed isn’t far off from how I think.
What has your favorite project been so far?
Taking a set of very dated 1980’s Louis XVI Dining chairs and turning them into a bold stroke of rainbow colours. The lines of the chairs were classic. The wood and fabric were as tired as could be. So I stripped the chairs down to the bones, added vibrant colours to each and used iridescent auto paint so that the chairs would change colours as you walked around them. In essence – making modernity out of antiquity. When I first posted the before & after photos on our Facebook & Pinterest pages – people started going nuts and calling me for more items.
How do you describe your own personal style?
My style is molten concoction of modern, minimal, eclectic, bold character with nuances to the past. My home is more like a gallery of carefully curated objects of furniture as art. Nothing is left without going through some kind of beautiful transformation. Modern Antiquity?
Where can folks find Omforme pieces?
Right now, as Omforme is a new business, folks can find our pieces online at Facebook, our online shop Etsy.com/Omforme, Twitter & Pinterest. By contacting us through those means, folks can come over to our studio and see all the goodies at once. Locally, folks can find our stuff at FindFurnish in NE Minneapolis and Ambiante Showrooms inside International Market Square. We are in negotiations to have our pieces in several local designer stores in the metro area soon.