Carrie Rengers

Drab to Fab furniture restoration business opens in Andover

After a decade of selling commercial security, Tina Garrelts gave her notice at Protection One on Monday to begin working full time at her Drab to Fab.

It’s a furniture restoration business that she started somewhat by accident.

“I’ve been doing it for over 30 years for my family,” Garrelts says.

Then, four years ago, she says, she bought a new house and had a number of refinishing projects going on in her garage. Neighbors started to ask her to do pieces for them as well.

“It was just kind of a gradual thing,” Garrelts says. “It just kind of grew.”

She began doing custom orders on older furniture.

“Flea-market flips, I guess you could say.”

Last month, Garrelts moved the business into a warehouse at 302 E. 21st St. in Andover, which is just east of Butler Community College.

She’s been transforming the space into a showroom.

Garrelts says it was a difficult decision to leave the security business, especially since she worked in it with her husband, Paul.

“We’re just such a partnership. That was the tough part.”

The refinishing business is too good to not do it as a career, Garrelts says.

In addition to custom work, she says, furniture pieces from the 1970s are the inspiration behind the name of her business.

“They’re drab and brown, but they’re better made than anything you could buy in furniture stores today.”

She says she paints and stains furniture.

Garrelts will sell General Finishes products, which she says are high-end and popular and are already bringing her more business.

With the new business, Garrelts says, there’s an added bonus at home.

“We’re actually parking in our garage like normal people.”

Carrie Rengers: 316-268-6340, @CarrieRengers