As I approach the lilac and lime green sign that reads: “Re-use, Re-purpose, Re-cycle. Recaptured Originals” I find myself a bit green to the appeal of repurposing. Sure, I’ve watched my fair share of HGTV, yet I possess zero confidence in my own artistic abilities (read: inabilities). As I open the glass door to the shop I am immediately greeted with the hospitality of a charming boxer named Maggie. “She’s our store mascot,” explains Claudia, one of the store’s owners. I immediately know I’m in good company.
Claudia DeCesare and Ken Craft of Recaptured Originals stay true to an earth-friendly philosophy. The duo works exclusively with found and sustainable materials. They take old, unwanted and once-loved items and turn them into pieces that have newfound purpose. Ken specializes in woodworking and stained glass while collaborating with Claudia and her eye for design. A charming teal dresser with accented drawers is one of their recent joint efforts.
“It’s one of a kind,” Ken says, “you won’t find another one like that. You can go into a Cardi’s and you’ll find 50 of them in a back room and they all look the same... That’s the only one like that, and it’s the only one that will be like that.” The pair enjoys working with found art that they feel is well-made to begin with. And since the materials they work with usually cost them nothing, they manage to keep prices modest for pieces that boast such attention to detail and craftsmanship.
When asked what their specialty items are, Claudia gives me a laundry list, “Furniture, home furnishings, recycled clothing, jewelry, cloth...” the list goes on. “I don’t think there’s anything I don’t like,” says Ken of the custom works they have for sale. He motions to one hanging on the wall: “I’m not fond of that style, but other people like it. So I don’t judge it.” Claudia chimes in, “I’m more up to say ‘I don’t like it so I don’t want it in the store,’” she laughs. “It’s a good balance. Sometimes I need a reminder that not everyone has the same eye.”
When asked about their favorite item in the store, DeCesare points to a corner cabinet piece. “It really illustrates exactly what we’re talking about: that literally was found on the side of the road. It’s so solid it takes two or three people to move it. It’s a period piece, definitely made in the ‘50s or ‘60s, and it still has the look of that time period. And with very minimum woodwork, “just some sanding, stenciling and interesting colors that make it a standout” it didn’t take much to make it a unique piece.”
She continues, “We really want to preserve the integrity of the pieces that we work on so that they are beautiful in the way they were intended when they were originally made.” And suddenly, I have insight into how appropriate the signage outside is to the essence of Recaptured Originals.