Growing up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Melanie Meriney loved playing ice hockey, reading novels, and writing songs. She quickly became an avid fan of country music, citing influences such as Shania Twain, Phil Vassar, Taylor Swift, Fleetwood Mac, and Miranda Lambert.
While her mom always played country radio in the house, her dad instilled in her a love of rock music. Surrounded by Pittsburgh’s metal/rock/pop scene, Meriney’s songwriting and singing became a product of her environment: primarily country with an urban, pop-rock feel that comes from growing up in a Northern city.
Meriney carried this influence with her to Belmont University where she dual-majored in songwriting and English and received a Masters in education. “I just want to make good music, whether that’s blues, country, pop, reggae, or something completely new and different. I’ll always be a country artist first, but when it comes to creating music, I want to let the song be what it’s meant to be.”
How did you get started in refurbishing?
My husband, Michael Funk, and I have always been creative types- as you know, I’m a singer/songwriter, and he’s a music producer here in Nashville (owner of Funk Studio). It makes sense that our side hustle became furniture refurbishing. After we got married last year, we started looking for a bedroom set (a dresser and two side tables) and I found some down at a thrift shop near our place. They were pretty beat up, but we got them at a really good price and just figured we’d fix them up. We ended up going for the mid century modern look and ordering some legs as well as new drawer pulls- going through the process of sanding down, painting, and staining was really fun and after we were finished we loved the result. We just thought it could be a fun hobby to do in the meantime.
Not only does refurbishing give new life to the pieces we find, but it’s a great way to make some extra cash. We usually find pieces for cheap on either Facebook Marketplace or curbside and pick those up (luckily Michael has a Ford F250 that comes in handy for this).
What are the steps to refurbishing furniture?
It all depends on the piece, but usually if it’s painted we will strip it down, sand it, and restain or paint it. Sometimes if we’re lucky, it only needs some polish or beeswax. We like finding pieces with original hardware that looks vintage that we can buff, but Etsy also has some cute drawer pulls and Amazon comes in clutch for items like drawer liners, legs, and stops, etc. Once we finish, we calculate the amount we’ve put into it, both money and work-wise, and relist it on Facebook Marketplace to sell. Some of our flips have found a permanent place in our house (coffee table, side table, and a dental cabinet we converted into a bar cabinet). It’s fun to get creative with different colors and stains to fit different aesthetics. We like pieces from the Art Deco era as well as MCM pieces (basically anything from 1920s-1950s). Every piece is a learning experience and we get lots of tips and inspiration online from different Instagram accounts.
Resources you’d recommend for beginners?
The best tip is to look for pieces that are real wood (not laminate). Veneer can be cool, you just have to be a little more careful with it when sanding- a lot of the Art Deco stuff is veneer, but if it’s in good shape, it can have a really pretty wood pattern. I’d also recommend investing in a good respirator mask and making sure that your space is ventilated and you are testing your pieces for lead (especially if they are older pieces with original paint or stain).
Have you refurbished Christmas decorations?
We haven’t tried Christmas decorations yet, but that may be next!!
Can you also update fans on your music & Steel Fox?
Furniture refurbishing allows us to be flexible with our time and devote more time to music, which is where both of our passions lie. I’m happy to announce my new single “Figured Out” will be dropping early next year (date TBA) and Steel Fox Entertainment has had a great year as far as song placements (“Night Needs You” released via Australia’s The Viper Creek Band and Jessie G released “Cold Feet” last month) and we are gearing up for a successful 2023 with our growing catalog!