Melissa Wood, owner of Adourn, and her dog Bo, welcome visitors to their new shop in Chatfield.
Melissa Wood, owner of Adourn, and her dog Bo, welcome visitors to their new shop in Chatfield.
Melissa Wood can see if it's chippy and she hangs out the bygones on a brick wall. It's all part of her grand design for her new store in Chatfield.

"If I'm shopping, I look for pieces with pretty lines. I can kind of see what I want to do with a piece of furniture - whether it's going to be chippy, distressed or cleanly painted," said Dover resident Wood, proprietor of Adourn, the new furniture re-groove shop on Chatfield's Main Street. The store is located in the former Ruskell Hardware Store and offers a variety of vintage furniture as well as textiles, accessories, old suitcases, jewelry, lamps, pillows, candles and aprons.

"Everything in here is pretty much handmade," said Wood "I design the jewelry and make the lamps, and my friend makes the aprons."

Her fascination with salvaged furniture finds began when she lived in the Twin Cities and worked as an interior designer.

"I lived in the Cities for 12 years doing mostly residential interior design work, and did a little contract work," she explained. "I've always been interested in interior design and furniture. For some reason, I love all things old. When I lived in the Cities, a lot of people would throw beautiful things away, and I found a lot of things on the curb, and I'd also find cool stuff in thrift stores."

Wood elaborated, "I've always liked furniture and interior design, but I tend to gravitate toward older furniture because it's built so much better than newer furniture, it has character and a history."

She described how she thinks about how many hands a piece of furniture has passed through before she has found it and given it a new look.

"I want to be able to find something and reuse it, because that's better than filling landfills, and it saves history while I'm redoing these pieces and appropriating them into modern interior design," Wood said. "I really didn't start collecting until I moved back here and started doing custom things for people. I started doing furniture work out of my house, and it got kind of overwhelming because the space was too small. That led me to start this."

Wood began shopping for more than furniture with pretty lines - she was in search of a building with good bones and a sage demeanor. The former hardware store building held the most appeal for her, who had a vision for the boutique it could become.

"I love old buildings. This one was built in 1872 and I wanted to restore it to some of its original beauty," she said. "I had been looking at places since May and deciding which I liked, and this was the last one I looked at, and I loved it...the wide open space, the high ceilings. I knew that old buildings have to have original wood floors under the layers and layers, and this space is large enough for me to have storage and work here."

Wood also said she wanted someplace with a brick wall, and thought there might be one in the hardware store. She also wanted a building that did not have apartments above the store so she wouldn't have to worry about being a landlord.

Chatfield's proximity to both Rochester and Bluff Country's heart sold her on the town itself.

"The reason I chose Chatfield is that I love old small towns. I love the downtown and the town has been really supportive. I chose Chatfield for its small-town feel - it feels like my shop fits in. It's also directly on the way to Lanesboro," she said. "I didn't feel Rochester would be a good fit. And it's like a destination because a lot of people come down from Rochester on a Sunday trip, so this is a destination for them to do their shopping."

According to Wood, completing renovation of the hardware store and opening on Nov. 1, with the invaluable assistance of her boyfriend, Tony Klema, and her friends and family was awesome and amazing.

"I had a vision of what I wanted it to look like, and I love the character of the floors and the brick wall, and I'm very happy with the way it turned out," she said. "It's lovely. I have space to expand if I need to, and there's a lot of room for my inventory, which changes daily, or I'm working on more. I try to get a new piece out every day."

Collector, junker and antiques enthusiast - the words bring Wood to describe herself as "all of the above." She appreciates the lifestyle of bygone years and embraces the character of the furniture that others have either cast off or passed on as family heirlooms.

"I just love the whole lifestyle. It's quaint and different than all the busyness we deal with. I go to auctions, estate sales and people are awesome about letting me come to their houses to see what they have," Wood shared. "I've met so many people that way and I love going into old barns and looking at what people have collected, bringing a few things back with me. I love old hardware and try to reuse it if I can, if it's in decent shape."

She admits to becoming attached to the pieces she's rejuvenated. "Almost every piece I paint, I don't want to sell, but it should be that way if I'm doing what I love. A lot of pieces, I can justify a way to use them at home, but they're hard to part with once I'm done painting them and have them ready to sell. I've kept only a couple pieces."

Wood also works at the Mayo Clinic's Healthy Living Center part-time. "I'm busy, but I absolutely love what I do. I love doing custom furniture for everybody, and people have started bringing their furniture to me to redo."

The more often she ventures out to find more furniture to adorn, the bigger her ideas for Adourn become. "I get my inspiration everywhere," she said. "One big thing that inspires me is color. Since I've been doing interior design, color attracts me. There's a lot of awesome design magazines that give me inspiration, and flea markets, going to market."

Wood said she plans to go to market this winter, probably in New York. "I want to get inspiration and new merchandise," she added. "I want to try to mix vintage things with new gift items...I want to have a mix between vintage and more modern style - not new furniture, but new accessories and things like that."

She concluded, "I feel inspired and creative every day. I feel very grateful and lucky to be able to do this every day.

Her hours will "vary between the spring, summer and fall, my hours will be different." Presently, Adourn is closed Monday and Tuesday and open Wednesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.