Eye for Design: Rhody Repurposed

That Guy RI specializes in refinished furniture with Ocean State flavor.

They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Guy Lemoine takes that mantra to heart with his furniture refinishing business, That Guy RI, where he puts his creative touch on well-worn pieces and makes them worthy of a few more years of love.

Much of the other merchandise in his shop has also had a past life, like license plate signs and soy candles poured into old liquor bottles. Lemoine is currently in the process of relocating to the West Side, but can be found on Facebook. Here he talks about how he got into the biz and how he comes up with his designs.

How did you get into furniture refinishing?

I had been laid off from my job of thirteen years in late 2012 and my wife wanted me to refinish a few pieces in our house while I was home. Soon I had friends wanting me to do pieces for their house. My wife encouraged me to think about refinishing not just as a hobby but a job. In the summer of 2013, I did a few shows at the Providence Flea and had great feedback.

What made you decide to make the move from an Etsy to brick-and-mortar store?

I personally like to shop in person. I need to look and feel whatever I'm purchasing to make sure it's a perfect fit for my taste. Pictures don't ever do a piece justice.

Who is the typical That Guy’s customer?

That Guy's customer is someone who loves a piece of furniture with character, integrity and fun; a statement piece. Usually it is also someone who loves buying local.

Where do you find the furniture you use in your designs?

My family and I love to go to yard sales and hunt for treasures. Many friends and family give me their unwanted pieces, too.

What is the process for refinishing a piece of furniture?

The prep work is the hardest part: You have to strip the piece down to its bare bones, fix any damages and give it a good cleaning. Then it’s just a matter of painting and adding a design. That’s the fun part.

Many of your pieces have a nautical look. What is it about that style that you are drawn to?

Rhode islanders love anything nautical, especially anchors. The nautical look just reminds people of the fun of summer and I personally love that Newport, beachy style as well.

What's your favorite piece that's currently in the shop? Why?

The whale pallet table. It's upcycled, classic, nautic-chic.

In addition to your furniture, what are some of the other products you stock?

At That Guy, we carry only Rhode Island artists’ work. Currently we have sixteen artists, including R.I. Artisan Birdhouses; Tricky Pony Arts handpainted ceramic animal sculptures; Home State Home pillows; Gilded Rose Studio hand-embroidered napkins, tea towels and embroidery loops; Jack Smooth olive picks; Bill Mac Rhode Island landmark prints; Cedian Paintings handpainted ocean and wildlife scenes; Dream Antenna photography; Salvi's street signs; Holly Landry mixed media art; River Farm wool throws; TODO Dots calendars; and Fruition vintage coasters.

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