Driving along Olathe’s main drag, Santa Fe Street, it would be easy to miss Reused Furniture. The consignment store is tucked in between a Great Clips and an insurance agency in a strip mall on the northeast corner of Kansas 7 and Santa Fe where the old and new halves of the city meet.
But interior designers and savvy shoppers are onto Reused Furniture, commonly called Zip’s after owner Zip Iams. Peek into the store windows and you’ll see midcentury modern credenzas, lamps and tables that look straight off a 1958 film set.
Equally as colorful as the furnishings is Iams, who’s usually wearing a smile and a beret. He approaches customers and discreetly asks if they know how consignment works. At Reused Furniture, typical of others, the piece someone wants to sell must be in good condition, and a price will be agreed upon. If it sells, the store gets a percentage, the consignor gets the rest. If it doesn’t sell within 60 days, the piece has to be picked up within 10 days or get relisted for sales at a reduced rate.
Iams offers shoppers ideas on how to use different purchases. Stumped about how to use an old china cabinet — especially if you don’t own any china? With paint and a little imagination, it could become a liquor cabinet or media storage. Even if your tastes are more minimal/less musty-fusty, Iams is apt to dig up a recent shelter magazine such as House Beautiful or Elle Decor to demonstrate how divergent styles can co-mingle successfully, how “The Mix” is the hot new thing yet chic and timeless.
Iams, whose mantra is “recycle, resell, reuse, redecorate,” works with refinishers and upholsterers to update old furniture. He conducts in-home consultations, interviewing people about what they love. He sends out e-mail alerts when something comes up from their wish lists.
Reused Furniture also sells restyled furniture by Abbie Marshall of Ecolectic, a local company that paints and adds new hardware to existing furniture. Marshall brightened a midcentury desk with canary-yellow drawers. She transformed a credenza with gold-and-white Mondrian-inspired color blocks on a noir background.
Iams grew up around furniture. His family ran a department store called State Street Store in Quincy, Ill., and there was a neighborhood used furniture store where interesting people congregated. When he retired, he decided to open his own consignment store. Like his parents, he’s keeping the furniture business in the family. His daughter, Lyndsey Torneden, helps, especially with the social media and website aspects.
“She has a gift for bohemian chic,” Iams says. “It’s just all amazing fun. These are good times.”
Stacy Downs is the Star’s House + Home editor and can be reached at 816-234-4780 and email@example.com. Check out House + Home’s Pinterest page at pinterest.com/HouseandHomeKC.