“We make the old new again,” is the slogan at Attics of My Life, but it wasn’t until I spent an hour in their warehouse space that I was able to fully grasp the magic that local couple and business partners Ashley Abell and Brad Sonczewski are performing on what others would deem old pieces of furniture, or even trash. “There’s just so much that you can use that people would normally just throw away. We scour, we look…I have to have something speak to me,” explained Abell. “Brad calls me the furniture whisperer.”
Attics of Life may still be in its early stages as a business, after all the couple only ‘officially’ launched this past year, but that doesn’t mean Abell and Sonczewski don’t bring years and countless hours of experience to the table. Sonczewski is an MHIC licensed contractor with over 20 years of experience. Abell has fostered her passion for DIY, upcycling, and design since she was a little girl. Together they repurpose and upcycle, as well as build custom tables and focal walls using reclaimed lumber. Attics of My Life also carries General Finishes milk paints, stains, and glazes, which Abell also uses to bring lackluster pieces of wood and furniture back to life. The pair spends hours scouring the area for old pieces of furniture and wood to work with to create furniture, floors, and focal walls. “It’s basically like American Pickers, but for building,” explained Sonczewski. For Abell, the goal is to find a piece that will carry a story with it to its new home. “That’s what we like – the story,” she said. “How cool is it for your family dining table to be made from wood that was cut down in the Civil War-era.”
Currently, Attics of My Life is working out of their warehouse in Selbyville (62 Ellis Alley) where they are slowly building their showroom, which will feature their custom furniture pieces, as well as the floor and focal wall that the pair built entirely from reclaimed wood. Also available will be the General Finishes Brand, which DIYers and hobbyists seek out for its quality and durability as water based finishes. Attics of My Life is a local retailer for the eco-friendly furniture paints, chalk style paint and wood stains, cabinet finishes and wood finishing products. Abell keeps a large selection of the brand in stock, but can also order any product for customers. Abell also has plans to host classes this summer to show groups how to use the paints and glazes to transform small pieces of furniture.
In addition to painting and finishing cabinetry and furniture, the pair also builds, repurposes and upcycles as much as possible – as you can see in the photo gallery below. “We put a lot of love and work into it – it can be hard sometimes to sell the pieces,” said Abell as she gave us a tour of the warehouse, which is chocked full of an incredible array of ongoing projects and finished pieces that will be or are currently for sale. Attics of My Life ships nationally, and is willing to travel both to find reclaimed wood and for contracted projects.
“I always wanted to do this, I just always loved it,” said Abell of her dream job. “I got sick of doing what didn’t make me happy. I wanted to show my kids that you can pursue your dreams.” In fact, Abell’s children play an active role in the family business, learning the ins and outs and pitching in wherever they can. “This isn’t just something that we decided to do on a whim,” added Abell, noting their years of experience and hours upon hours of research that they have each put into their craft. “Brad is an amazing builder – we just work so well together.” In addition to being experienced, licensed, and insured, Abell emphasized their love for what they do. “I am always learning, I will never stop learning and trying new techniques. That’s what keeps us fresh and keeps me going.” As a result, Abell spends much of her free time working with the milk paints and finishes to create new looks and textures for furniture, which is why she hopes to host classes this summer to share her love with fellow DIYers and upcyclers in the area.
For more information on Attics of My Life, follow their Facebook and Instagram (especially for giveaways and specials!). Also, be on the lookout for their website that will be launching soon, as well as the upcoming completion of their showroom in Selbyville. Abell also encourages interested clients to contact them via FB, be it for information on General Finishes, projects, furniture, or custom work.