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When work is your happy place – Eagle News Online


“It comes from practice, from learning from the best, from experience and from … well, my mother.”

Ask Anne Temple, the heart and soul of Annabell Design, about where her creativity and expertise comes from and she will tell you that it has deep roots. Her mother was an artist in multiple media. Her cross stitch creations were breathtaking. She created worlds with her words and paint and she had a good eye. Garage sales and the Skaneateles transfer station were also her “canvas.”

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“We had a barn full of beautiful things that she collected and later sold,” she said. “You couldn’t escape the pull of finding beauty everywhere with my mother around.”

Comfortably seated on her conversation couch toward the back of her boutique, Anne will also tell you that, for most of her life, she was in sales and then came the realization that she could rework, repurpose, renovate and embellish the beautiful wood furniture that so many people were discarding.

“Parents and grandparents are trying to give their family treasures away and the kids don’t want them,” she said. “I can take these loved items and transform them, find their new soul … evolve them into pieces that will find homes.”

The store on North Street in Marcellus is an eclectic compilation of Anne’s creativity. The furniture and findings are unique. We chatted about one piece, a recent commission where there were decisions to be made about the use of papers in the finished product. Using the power of modern communication, Anne was able to show the client how placement of graphic papers would create different effects. The finished piece was lovely, strikingly so.

“I have clients all over Central New York.” Anne said. “Some see my work on Facebook and Instagram and other find us settled in here in my shop. In any case, it is never just a matter of showcasing the work, but rather a conversation about the needs and desires of the client and how I can fill them with what we do here.”

Each sale is the answer to that conversation.

“I like to think of Annabell Design as a salon, where we can talk and understand and out of that, create,” she said.

Anne has worked with several similar venues, learning from each. It’s easy to see that she has mastered the difficult art of painting furniture, knowing not only the techniques but also how to edit the finished product to bring out her intention for that piece.

“Really good paint is a must,” she said.

While we were talking, Jean Burnham, a personal friend and professional colleague, was working on the second round of painting for two end tables, part of their transformation, with still more to come. Anne and Jean discussed how the interior would be finished, with emphasis on the inside of the door. What color would be best added to the exterior? Discussions of weight for a finished project.

Anne lives in Marcellus in a house that she says is perfect.

“I drove by and fell in love,” she said.

“I find such joy in the form and function of houses and furniture. I no longer worry about things like clothing,” she added, indicating her current garb, a paint-spattered sweat shirt as a prime example. “My happy place is when I am finding new pieces, contemplating how they will evolve into their next iteration, conversations with clients and painting.

“You know, this is how I make a living,” she said. “I have found that wonderful place where what I do is so satisfying that it is never work. There’s a tribe of us out there who love old things, who cherish the ability to transform, to reinvent, repurpose. They are my people. This is the best time of my life!”

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