Tuesday, October 4, 2011


I get a lot of questions from fellow furniture refinishers - some wanting to start a business and some already established.  Here are my responses to a few that I get regularly.

Q.  The question that lands in my inbox the most often is some form of "How did you get started refinishing as a business and how did you start your blog?"

A.  We were new home owners who, like a lot of people were feeling the effects of the down economy.  We'd planned for Zac to start his MBA, but the idea of paying for it when money was already tight seemed a little overwhelming.

One night the thought occurred to me that I should be doing what I could to help out financially.  I also knew leaving home wouldn't work for me, so I ran through a list of things that I could do from home.  I can sew…no, not so appealing.  I could watch other people's kids…no, even less appealing…and on and on.  Then inspiration hit: I have a spray gun.  I like to paint.  I'm good at it.  Ahah!  I'll refinish furniture and sell it!

Two days later my garage was full of vintage furniture and I was repeatedly staying up into the wee hours of the morning trying to teach myself html and watching youtube videos on Illustrator so that I could start a blog.  (The blog was intended to be a place to link to from craigslist so potential buyers could see my past work and possibly find me legitimate).

One week after my "I need a job" realization, Natty by Design was born and Zac lost his spot in the garage indefinitely.

Q.  What do you use to paint your furniture?

A.  As of this week, I use a SATAjet 1000 B RP gravity feed spray gun.  Previously, I used a discontinued Porter Cable spray gun.

Q.  Where do you refinish?

A.  In my garage.  My new gun has more overspray than my previous gun, so Zac's thinking he's going to build me a spray booth in the third garage.  That might make me feel a little more official.

Q.  How do you stay motivated?

A.  Uh…I don't.  This is a constant battle for me.  Some days I just want to be a mom and so I do nothing, some days I'm tired and I sluggishly go through my to-do list and some days I feel like I can conquer the world and get tons done.  Ultimately I know that my family is depending on me to help out, so this helps me to stay motivated when I don't want to be.

Occasionally, I feel overly motivated and I have to talk myself down from there.  Sometimes I get caught up in wanting to grow my blog and do more and be more…but then I remember that that's not my main purpose and I go jump on the trampoline with my kids instead.

Q.  Do you schedule or do you fly by the seat of your pants?

A.  I loosely schedule.  I'm a wife and a mom first, so sometimes playtime, doctors appointments, grocery shopping and homework keep me from getting done what I'd planned for the day.  Sometimes I'd planned to get a bunch done after the kids go to bed, but Zac has a free night, so I spend time with him instead.  I've found if I schedule too rigidly, I don't allow enough flexibility for my family and they end up last.

Q.  Do you have an assistant?

A.  No.  Unless you count a 2 and 4 year old who are home with me during the day :)  I guess Zac is an assistant of sorts.  He helps me move things and fixes drawers that are not structurally sound.

Thanks for all your questions and emails.  If you have something else to ask, email me at nattycox@gmail.com.


  1. I a a huge fan of all of your refinished projects. I know it cant get pretty overwhelming, but you certainly inspire me and

    That's GOOD stuff.

    Rashon aka Mr. Goodwill Hunting

  2. Thanks Natalie! You have to do what's best for your beautiful family. It looks like everything is going according to plan. Wouldn't you just love an assistant oh the things you could get done! Thanks for sharing.

  3. wow, sounds a lot like my life right now! Except for the spray gun, gotta get me one of those.

  4. I am enjoying your blog and all of your re-dos! Thanks for the FAQ's. I just nominated you for The Versatile Blogger award!

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