Painting by design


A refinishing business aiming to make period furniture look authentic, not upcycled.

With just a garage, a paint brush and a selection of vintage pieces, Diane Grover began her business, The Paint Factory, based in Hillsboro, Oregon. ‘I’ve always enjoyed painting and it became a great stressreliever, hiding in the garage away from the madding crowd,’ explains Diane. ‘I would have been quite happy staying at that level – just me, paint, brushes, and stillness – but a friend mentioned that people would buy my pieces if I ventured to show them. That was the scary part. Who wants to put their work on display to be critiqued?’
Several years on it’s a decision that’s very much worked out. ‘I was beyond surprised, but incredibly motivated to think this could actually become a business,’ says Diane. ‘I think the biggest obstacle to overcome was the confidence factor, or lack of. I think there are probably a slew of incredible artists, at home or behind an office desk, who could be incredibly successful in the refinishing world, if they just had a small push. Someone telling them, “Hey, people would really buy your stuff”.’

Diane revamps and repaints vintage furniture, often adding beautiful images across the front of a piece. ‘I always try to get my pieces to look authentic, as though the image was always there, so the image has to work with the lines of the piece,’ she explains. She uses a few different paints to get the perfect finish, too. ‘I cut my teeth on Annie Sloan Chalk Paint; it’s a fabulous product. I love to use high-end products, so alongside Annie Sloan I use Pure & Original Classico. What I like about both products is that they’re easy to manipulate; I can play around with the texture of it which helps me get a more authentic feel to my finishes.’ There’s lots that Diane enjoys about bringing new life to old furniture, creating works of art from abandoned goods. ‘I could say I enjoy saving an old piece from being thrown in the landfill, or growing a business from home, or showing my children that creativity and personal expression has a real value to it. But, if I’m completely honest, I would say I love the challenge. I have the type of personality where I need to challenge myself; I need to continually push myself. I always want to up my game and painting allows me to do that. So every new piece of furniture is my next challenge. How can I hone my skills on this one?
And how can I get the audience to believe that my finished piece is how it looked in its infancy?’
• See Diane’s work, read her blog and visit her shop at

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