Distressed to Impress – Turning Flaws into Fabulous Furniture


Nothing says creativity quite like hand-crafted furniture created by local artisans. Our everyday furnishings can be greatly improved through the unique beauty and painstaking craftsmanship of quality furniture, and in a world filled with boring knock-offs, these artists are renowned for taking something old and making it new and beautiful again.

If you’re looking for something unique in furnishings and interior design, there’s no shortage of creations available locally that will make your friends envious and your home stunning.

Hamilton’s Liberty@Home, housed in The Cotton Factory, strives to “rescue” gently loved, quality furniture, hand painting and transforming items for a new appreciative home. “We choose pieces we love,” says Trish O’Neill, who, with co-owner Janet Marecki, enjoy the thrill of the hunt as they find pieces to restore and enhance. “We’re beautifiers, and we love all the cozy and comfortable things.”

Featuring lots of wood with white, black and neutral shades, the vintage and elegant “farmhouse” feel flows throughout the collection. Offering a style that’s different and distinctive, yet will feel comfortable in any home, they encourage clients to be bold and take chances. “It’s distressed, with a natural, stained and chipped feel, but fits in easily with anything new,” says O’Neill of their finds. And it must be working out, as they’ve had great feedback since opening their doors in May.


An even more rustic, distressed wood look is HD Threshing Floor Furniture’s specialty, where all the imperfections that make wood stand apart are kept intact for that special look. Flaws are filled in with two-stage epoxy urethane unique to the store that makes the pieces very hardy but allows distresses, nail holes, natural weathering and splits to remain visible.

“We work with raw materials, old barn floor boards that are repurposed and bought from a demolition company,” says owner Gerald Reinink. Delivering throughout Ontario with a main showroom in Cambridge, the business keeps very busy with numerous projects a week. The reclaimed wood is lovingly and expertly transformed into a variety of pieces for any home or business while maintaining and nurturing a love and appreciation of all things past. This extremely experienced team has a love of history while bringing pieces into the present. “The unique flaws are what sets these pieces apart,” says Reinink.

The Lea Wood Company specializes in crafting high-quality custom pieces such as coffee tables, while prioritizing excellence and valuing customer involvement and input. “Works can be tweaked to whatever a customer wants or needs,” says Project Manager Madison Aimers when describing artist Craig Lea’s unique and stunning designs. “Word of mouth is very important for us, as clients share their happiness with others who then come and ask for something custom for themselves as well.”

Lea Wood Company moved to James Street North in 2016, intent on creating custom furniture accessible for everyone. With projects taking about six weeks to complete, intense customer involvement is important as they’re involved from concept to design to the finished product.


Rustic Designs by Rich is a family-owned business also operating in the historic Cotton Factory. The business features one-of-a-kind black walnut charcuterie boards and also specializes in custom river tables. Rustic Designs carries a wide selection of kiln-dried wood and live edge materials, benches, signs and trays, tables, a Canadian line featuring uniquely Northern designs, and seasonal décor. Custom orders and wholesale purchasing are available.

After years working as a journalist, Andrew Johnson finally embraced his love of all things carpentry-related, attended a prestigious wood-working program in California and turned his hobby of wood-working into a full-time job, fashioning beds, tables, dressers, cabinets and other unique pieces at The Barnboard Store.

Johnson meets with potential clients one-on-one to discuss design aspects and different wood options before tackling new, high-quality projects. It’s clear his decision to embrace his passion for wood-working was the right decision. “There’s nothing better than doing a good project and having the client share that with someone else,” he says.

The Barnboard Store features reclaimed wood of grey, brown and red barn board, live edge slabs in ash, maple, oak and walnut, and barn beams of all sizes. All reclaimed and salvaged wood is sourced exclusively from within the province, with custom pieces made to order, including headboards, hallway and console tables, feature wall installations, live edge furniture for coffee tables, benches,
and dining.

While all of these artisans love designing and creating beautiful furniture with their hands, O’Neill probably sums up everyone’s feelings most accurately when she says:  “We have a passion, will and desire to share what we love.”

by Allison Dempsey

Local Links

Liberty@Home, Hamilton

HD Threshing Floor Furniture, Cambridge
Lea Wood Company, Hamilton

Rustic Designs by Rich, Hamilton

The Barnboard Store, Hamilton

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