Who, What, Where Wednesday – Youngest of Nine Designs

I’m Maria and my story may be a little different than the others you have read.  I’ll call it a Lincoln’s Hat cloud with a Silver Mica lining.  This is a story about addiction, but I promise there is a happy ending.  who what where pic of maria[1]

People often ask if I really am the youngest of nine, the name of my business.  I really am.  There are 25 years between myself and my oldest sister.  My father died suddenly, when my Mom was six months pregnant with me.  So, it’s easy to understand that the dynamics and ties in our family may be a little different than most.  When I came home from the hospital, my mother put me in the arms of my sister, Liz, who was 13 years older than me.  A bond was born that day and she became my second mother.  We were basically inseparable.

Liz was my hero and my dearest friend.  She was the maid of honor in my wedding.  For most of my life we were nearly joined at the hip.  As it always does, life went on and moved forward.  Unfortunately for Liz, it took a dark turn.  Addiction is an ugly word with a complicated story.  Liz fell into that life.  Time and time again, I was there to pick up the pieces.  Sadly after many years, there were too many pieces to pick up and addiction consumed her. She passed away two years ago.

Liz and Maria. Wedding

Liz also loved “stuff.”  She was a bit of a hoarder, but in the best possible way, and meticulously organized.  She collected everything.  When it was time to liquidate the contents of her home, I was at a loss.  After two 5-day estate sales, there was still so much!  A friend who had an antique booth suggested I get one to help sell off the remainder.  I took her suggestion and ran with it.  However, with all that was going on, I was struggling with insomnia.  Every night, I’d wake up unable to sleep.  I would get on line for hours and devour home decorating blogs.  I was in love with all the painted furniture!

Last May, my husband and son took me to Virginia to a huge Antique and Home Decorating Fair. I was in heaven!  There was so much painted furniture!  While there, my husband and son met an American Paint Company retailer.  They talked with her and bought a few sample pots of paint and a tin of wax.  When we got back home they surprised me with the supplies and an old end table.

I painted that table and delivered it to my booth, and it sold the same day.  By July, I was an American Paint Company retailer.  Since then, I have been unstoppable.  I have two booths upstairs in the Berlin Village Antique Mall in Berlin, Ohio.  Usually, it takes many years to get a first floor spot in the mall, but just last week the owners opened a spot for me on the first floor. This is because of the success of American Paint Company paint and the furniture!  I specialize in antiques, vintage, funky, salvage, repurposed, and of course American Paint Company products.

who what where pic of Berlin

I have had a few careers and many jobs, but I have never been as happy, motivated, or focused as I have been since starting this business.  It’s amazing how something as ugly as my sister’s addiction brought about such miraculous changes in my own life.  Every dark cloud really does have a silver lining.  Liz would be so proud.

who what where i

Frame painted in Orange Grove and Coral Reef

who what where b

Desk painted in a custom mix made from Surfboard and Liberty

who what where d

Salvage window frame painted in a custom mix of Blue Jeans and Navajo White

who what where f

Dresser painted in Home Turf

who what where c

Blanket chest painted in Liberty

who what where a

Dresser painted in a custom mix of Surfboard and Born on the 4th with Clear Wax and Gold Mica

who what where h[2]

Buffet painted in Dollar Bill

who what where g

Sign painted in Surfboard


Youngest of Nine Designs


  1. Hi Maria, I had no idea. I’m so sorry for your loss and am blown away with how you took such a tragedy and turned it into such a wonderful art that you can bless so many others with. I’m sure Liz is smiling and very proud of everything you’re doing! Rock on girlfriend!!

  2. paint lover says

    What a lovely way to honor your sister. Your talent is truly amazing. Thank you for sharing your story.

  3. Janet Whittet says

    Maria, As your framed art says > YOU do live by your own rule and are a wild, courageous, brilliant soul. However, you forgot that you are also so very talented and a beautiful woman inside and out. You know I love your work and admired your talent of taking a piece of old furniture and turning it into a work of art. Success has come your way! Liz is smiling down on you always. I am so proud of you !!!

  4. I know the pain of having a Sister pass away. Especially a Sister that you are very close to. I had the same experience just one year ago. My Sister died from cancer. You have found something good out of what she left for you. I am happy for you that you have a career that is enjoyable, and a chance to express your creativity. In the mean time others are buying and enjoying your creative

  5. What a wonderfully inspiring and encouraging story!!! So sorry for your loss! It is awesome to see how you have turned the grief for you sister into something so positive. Best wishes and congratulations on the success of your business… I’m sure your sister is smiling down on you!!

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