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From drab to vintage-chic: Couple breathe life into old furniture
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Tyler Martinez opened Rehab 2 Fab in Gillsville with her husband Vincente in hopes to expand their fledgling furniture restoration business. The space allows the couple more room for restoration and a showroom for customers as well. - photo by Scott Rogers

When Tyler and Vincente Martinez see a piece of discarded furniture, they look past its drab exterior and see the future.

Through the power of paint and hard work, the married couple transforms old dressers, tables, beds and other household items into vintage-chic designs.

“Some pieces, when I get them, I have a vision for them and I know exactly what I want to do,” Tyler said. “I like doing it because you’re taking something ugly that no one wants anymore, and you make it pretty and desired again. We’re also recycling and saving the environment.”

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Rehab 2 Fab co-owner Vincente Martinez cleans a piece of furniture Monday, Jan. 21, 2019, in the back of his Gillsville shop to begin the restoration process. Martinez and wife Tyler recently opened the furniture restoration shop to expand on their home business. - photo by Scott Rogers

As the owners of Rehab 2 Fab Designs, LLC in Gillsville, Tyler and Vincente have devoted their time toward upcycling old furniture and selling it to customers.

They also hold classes for people wanting to paint a range of pieces including wooden signs, serving trays and candle holders.

Before they opened Rehab 2 Fab in February 2018, the two started painting furniture in their garage to sell at their friend’s shop, Dirt Road Restoration and Design in Gainesville.

Growing tired of the cold temperatures in the garage, they decided to look for another place to work.

Tyler said she noticed an old building in downtown Gillsville and asked the town’s mayor about leasing it. Despite its tendency to collect dust and spring unexpected leaks, Tyler and Vincente were able to spruce up the place and open their first business.

Tyler said she experienced a rude awakening with the necessary non-creative aspects of opening Rehab 2 Fab.

She found the largest challenges of the business included figuring out how to pay taxes for her shop and building her own website.

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Rehab 2 Fab owners Tyler Martinez inspects a piece of old furniture she plans to restore Monday, Jan. 21, 2019, at her Gillsville shop. Martinez and husband Vincente take unwanted pieces of furniture and brings them back to life. - photo by Scott Rogers

“Being creative, I just want to paint and do something pretty,” Tyler said. “I don’t want to have to worry about social media and logging in everything for taxes, but you have to. Officially having a business, there’s a lot that you have to learn that goes behind it that you don’t want to do.”

Although Rehab 2 Fab has been in Gillsville for nearly a year, Tyler said locals are still surprised when they come across the shop. She encourages people to visit the store and experience what it has to offer.

The two gather most of their store’s stock from people who discard their old furniture, or by purchasing items from The Salvation Army. They also restore pieces of furniture upon request.  

Tyler said the process of revitalizing the furniture usually takes a couple of days. This task includes sanding, degreasing, patching, priming and painting the pieces.

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Gillsville's Rehab 2 Fab features old items refurbished by owners Vince and Tyler Martinez. The couple are expanding their home-based furniture restoration operation with a brick-and-mortar showroom for customers. - photo by Scott Rogers

“A lot of people say, ‘Anybody can paint furniture,’” Tyler said. “People don’t realize how much hard work it is and the physical labor. Not to say that you can’t just slap some paint on something and call it done because a lot of people do. We don’t roll like that. We try to do good quality work.”

She said she has kept consistent customers because they appreciate the time and effort put into restoring vintage furniture.

Tyler and Vincente specifically choose to work with old furniture because of its quality.

“Older furniture is better built than today’s furniture,” Tyler said. “It just has some history behind it and a lot more details. Also, I think everybody just likes the vintage look.”

In addition to co-owning Rehab 2 Fab with her husband, Tyler works as a nurse with Northeast Georgia Health System.

Balancing two jobs and raising a son with her husband is no easy task.

“Most days I feel like I’m failing at everything because I’m doing too many things,” Tyler said.

She said she is blessed to have Vincente, who takes care of her son when she’s at work, while also maintaining the business.

Vincente said he has no trouble balancing his work life and home life because there’s no difference between the two.

“I don’t have to separate them,” he said. “It’s easy. It’s no different from home life. We get along.”

For more information about Rehab 2 Fab, or to make a furniture restoration request, contact the owners at 706-362-4545 or visit the shop at 6284 Ga. 52 in Gillsville.

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Rehab 2 Fab in Gillsville takes items like old furniture and other decorative pieces and restores them. - photo by Scott Rogers
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Vincente and Tyler Martinez opened Rehab 2 Fab in Gillsville to expand their fledgling furniture restoration business. The space allows the couple more room for restoration and a showroom. - photo by Scott Rogers
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