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Made in Hampshire - Jodine Barnes from Once Was

PUBLISHED: 11:06 17 December 2013 | UPDATED: 11:06 17 December 2013

Jodine Barnes

Jodine Barnes


Not content with a world full of drab, tired looking furniture, Jodine Barnes is taking on the flat pack giants one paint stroke at a time

Two years ago Jodine started making little wooden signs from old crates that were dumped; transforming them with inspirational quotes and a lick of paint. She moved on to creating pin boards from kitchen cupboards and before long her designs were selling like hot cakes at her local car boot. On a visit to the tip to look for her next project, Jodine was astounded by the amount of quality furniture that people were throwing away. She took some pieces home, gave them a new lease of life and sold them on for a profit – her business was born.

Since then she has taken some day courses to learn the basic skills and is constantly learning about colours, wood, textures and styles with each piece she works on. She says: “Sometimes an old piece of furniture may react to the paints and I have to deal with certain situations. Often I don’t know exactly how something will turn out, which is both challenging and exciting.”

Taking inspiration from her travels to Rome, Venice and Paris as well as the natural world, Jodine can often see potential in even the tattiest bits of furniture and especially loves creating items for children; exploring different colours to create a fun piece.

For something very creative, Jodine has a very set structure to her work, she explains: “Music always goes on first! I like to work listening to music.

“Despite every item being so different, the basic process is the same. I clean the piece with warm water, sometimes I may need to give it a light sanding, and then I paint and wax. Depending on the look that is being created, I have to consider the thickness of the paint and if it will need any distressing! Sometimes an undercoat is needed and often some stages will need to be repeated, but more often than not it is a four step process.”

Current fans of Jodine’s work include many local parents of small children and those who may have inherited older, darker furniture that they don’t want to throw away. She once worked with a family who intended on her upcycling two pieces, but she ended up transforming the whole house. In her own words: “Today, most people do not want dark, heavy, dated furniture in their homes. I am one of those people myself! My work allows people who have their own furniture to be creative. We work together and share ideas and colours to come up with a vision of what they want. This is such a wonderful feeling to give people. The furniture then becomes a bespoke piece, a one off, for that person which they helped create. It’s very personal.”

Jodine has now started offering workshops in her own home and she dreams of owning her own shop to show off her wares. Until then you can view her work on

The Facts
Business name: Once Was
Length of time in business: 2 years
Number of employees: Just me
Ethos: To create, transform and up-cycle furniture to create an environmental awareness.
Location: Bedhampton
Contact: 07729 142389

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