WYCKOFF, N.J. — It isn’t by accident that Cheryl Demartini of Ramsey, otherwise known as the “Junk Chick,” finds, restores, and transforms old wood furniture and vintage pieces.
Woodworking is in her genes.
In 1938, her great-grandfather founded Demartini Coal and Lumber, which was an institution on West Prospect Street in Waldwick through three generations of the family.
“I grew up around the tools and the wood,” said Demartini, 36. “Not that my family built furniture. I just took it to a different level.”
For her business — Junk Chick Designs on Goffle Road in Wyckoff — Demartini is always looking at barn sales and in homes about to be demolished for great wood and awesome vintage items.
Examples: antique cash registers, 1930s fans, wall hangings.
Demartini, who has a degree in fine arts from Ramapo College, takes that reclaimed wood and builds benches, farm tables, vanities, cabinets, and more.
She’ll transform the items, too.
In her shop, she assembles vignettes of creations that go well together, many of which feature various uses for barn doors – a huge trend.
“I like what I do because there’s a story about every piece,” she said. “You can’t get that at Pottery Barn.”
Her services are personalized as well. She loves making a client’s room or lakehouse into something new.
Though her customers span all ages and life situations, many are first-time homebuyers and millennials.
Demartini’s work appeals to their bank accounts as well as their cultural sensibilities about green living and recycling.
Do a room with her, she said, and it could cost $200 – not $2,000 – to give it new life.
People like that the wood she uses is real, she said, and they like making old things, even heirlooms, into something new and relevant.
“In my generation, no one wants their grandmother’s stuff,” she said. “But when they see it transformed, they want it.”
Demartini’s art and business also ride a cultural wave buoyed by HGTV shows such as “Fixer Upper” and magazines such as This Old House and Country Living, both of which featured her work in recent years.
Junk Chick Designs also creates furniture for other business that accentuate the natural, namely breweries and farm-to-table restaurants.
She has designed for Magnify Brewing Company in Fairfield, Viaggio Ristorante in Wayne, and 29 Chestnut and the White Maple Café in Ridgewood.
Restaurant owners, like homeowners, like that they can see the colors and feel the wood, she said.