By Kathryn Millhorn
“Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside them was superior to circumstance,” said author and politician Bruce Fairchild Barton. This philosophy is embodied in the skilled artistry and craftsmanship of Alabama transplant Wendy Bayer, proprietor and artist behind All Things Splendid.
Bayer and her family moved to our region in August 2013 as part of her husband’s business transfer. Despite the miles, “This was a part of the country that neither of us had visited before, so it seemed like a perfect opportunity to experience a different environment and culture. We said ‘yes,’ packed up our family and our animals and headed across the country. It’s been the best decision we ever made.”
All Things Splendid is Wendy’s way of bringing new life to “poor neglected pieces that most people say ‘no way’ to. I love the character of ‘beat to heck and back’ furniture.” She began customizing pieces more than 25 years ago but fully-developed the business once her daughters reached school age. Restoration and painting are in her blood, though, as “my grandmother and my two great-aunts were all house painters until their 80s.”
Bayer discovers her stock of neglected furniture at estate sales, through Craigslist, or local rummage sale events. She recently paired up with the downtown Olympia boutique The Red Door to sell completed pieces from their gorgeous Washington Street location. “My style and the style of the shop work perfectly together. I fell in the love with The Red Door the first time I walked in—it was such a mix of trendy and classic items for the home—that I was just smitten.”
“I feel very honored to have my work displayed in one of my favorite shops in the downtown area that I love and am excited to be their featured artist during the Spring Arts Walk this year,” adds Bayer.
Spring Arts Walk takes place annually on the fourth Friday and Saturday in April and first Friday and Saturday in October. The Bayer family attended for the first time last year and “never in my wildest dreams did I imagine in just one year I would actually be a participant! I’m humbled and excited to display my art among the outrageously talented artists of Olympia. I’m thankful The Red Door is sponsoring me, and I can’t wait to meet lots of new people that share our love of rustic, funky, uniquely created one-of-a kind furnishings!”
“As a small business owner, I appreciate the fact that Olympia consumers seem to be very mindful and purposeful in their shopping,” adds Bayer. “The people I’ve met seem to prefer shopping locally and supporting artists and businesses in their own community. I think the downtown business owners do a wonderful job of supporting each other and creating fun events that bring people into the beautiful downtown core to explore. As a consumer myself, I love all the unique items that are available downtown—it’s definitely my preferred place to shop.”
For those unable to attend Spring Arts Walk or looking for restoration instead of a new purchase, All Things Splendid is able to completely freshen up or repurpose an heirloom or favorite piece. Interested clients can contact Bayer for custom orders and most are completed in one week. Her goal on restoration is simple; she wants to help refashion items “so they can be used instead of molding away in a basement. It’s a huge compliment to be trusted with pieces that mean so much to people and make them beautiful and exciting again.”
The furniture we choose is often a reflection of our personality. We want to surround ourselves with comfort, beauty, and style and Wendy Bayer can help you make that dream a reality. Her goal, passion, and skill-set is to transform neglected pieces into beloved focal points. She can see beyond the wear from a lifetime of use because “just like in people, I find the most beautiful pieces furniture are the ones that have really lived and have an interesting story to tell.”
Visit Bayer’s Facebook page for amazing photos of past and present jobs. Can’t wait for Spring Arts Walk to browse in person? Drop by The Red Door for a full showroom experience. Questions about restoration projects, upcoming exhibitions, or All Things Splendid projects can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or 205-617-2785.