Virtually every nook and cranny in the Ohhh so Nifty Resale Shop in Apollo Beach is filled with something to see. Displaying antique, vintage and retro furnishings, the shop is a delight to browse through and envision a new look for that uninspired corner of your home.
“Dede is constantly staging the store so people can see what it will look like in their own home,” said Scott Kenny, who owns the shop with his wife, Dede. “She’s always loved vintage and retro hand-painted furniture, and this shop is her dream come true.”
“I couldn’t do it without Scott,” said Dede. “He’s my partner in crime in every way. He’s our delivery guy, fix-it man, electrician, carpenter — you name it. All the ladies that come in here love him.”
Dede says much of the merchandise in her store falls under the category of “Shabby Chic,” a popular form of interior design where old furniture items are chosen for their appearance of age, repainted in interesting colors and textures, then distressed to achieve the appearance of an antique.
“My sister and I grew up painting furniture,” said Dede, who now conducts workshops in painting furniture for local customers. Her painting techniques help create a soft cottage-style feel, typical of the Shabby Chic style. “There are no rules in this type of refinishing,” said Dede. “The sky is the limit.”
Shabby Chic items are often heavily painted through the years, with many layers showing through timeworn areas. The style is achieved by using glaze or paint, then rubbing and sanding away the top coat to show the wood beneath. Known as “distressing,” the finish can end up being as colorful and as creative as your own imagination. Furniture pieces that are not genuine antiques are usually selected for their resemblance to older furniture styles, and can also be embellished with flower swags, garlands, cherubs and other decorative motifs. It is a soft, relaxed, romantic style of decorating that looks comfortable and inviting.
The Shabby Chic style originated in Great Britain to imitate the faded old chintz sofas and painted furniture found in large country homes.
“She’s constantly working on new pieces,” said Scott. “Even while we’re watching TV at night, she’ll be sitting there painting a piece of furniture.”
When asked how she originally got involved in her craft, Dede explained: “I was a district manager with a large storage unit facility, and I was in charge of conducting auctions for abandoned units.”
Dede would see interesting pieces of furniture that had been left behind, and would take them home and adopt them, giving them a new look and a new life.
“It was right around the time that Shabby Chic was becoming popular, and I just fell right in with it,” she said.
Besides furniture, Dede also looks for items like vintage pillows, linens, chandeliers, garden furniture, pie safes, buffets, jelly cupboards, cookie jars and vintage signs. “We look for items 20 to 100 years old that can be painted and refinished,” she said. “Antiques are considered to be 100 years or older, and generally you wouldn’t want to paint those.”
Dede said she loves the Shabby Chic style because it allows so much room for creativity. She has trained four other artists who refinish furniture for her, and continues to teach her skills to others in the community.
“There are several other shops like ours in the area, but we don’t view them as competition,” said Dede. “In fact, we often work together and trade customers, because all of our items are so different.”
“We’d like to be a destination area for shoppers to come here from Tampa, Bradenton and beyond, who are looking for affordable, unique pieces,” said Scott. Since opening the shop in October, the couple has experienced an overwhelmingly positive response from the Apollo Beach community. “We love it here, and we seem to fit right in,” he said.
Ohhh so Nifty offers free delivery and is located at 229 Apollo Beach Boulevard next to the UPS Store. New items are posted weekly on both its Facebook page and website at ohhhsonifty.com. For more information, call 813-645-3537.