Local Focus: The Altered Rose takes upcycling to the next level

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For Ōmanawa resident Hazel Jamieson, a simple restoration hobby that began in her garage three years ago has taken on a life of its own.

“There’s a lot of people starting to do what I do, but I like to think that my product is a premium, as opposed to what is out there,” the Altered Rose owner said.

“I sometimes won’t know what I’m going to do to a piece until I start to sand it and see what’s under years of wax, or stain, or polyurethane or old paint.”

Upcycling gives old items a second chance at life, rather than them being condemned to rot in the landfill. Sometimes, Jamieson finds gold hiding beneath decades-old layers of paint.

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“I did an old trunk a while back, and it tells you a story as you unravel it,” she said. “At some point, that trunk had been green and blue and pink and yellow.

“By the time I finished it, it was just beautiful rimu, all-natural and stunning. It was back to what had originally been built. It had been through five life cycles, but it was still going because it was solid wood.”

The inspiration to turn her hobby into a business came after she lost the most precious thing in her life.

“My mum was my best friend,” Jamieson said. “She was my partner in life, we were extremely close.”

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“I was recovering from my mum dying, and I was starting to wonder, ‘What am I going to do, how am I going to live my life, what do I want to achieve?’ And that was back in 2019.

“I needed to do something that was productive, but wasn’t ready to go back into working a 70-hour week running a hotel.

“So in a garage in Pāpāmoa, I started, and two and a half years later we started building a shed.

“I literally just had to be brave.”

Thanks to some hard work and the power of social media, business at the Altered Rose is now blooming.

“I started promoting the business on local pages, asking friends to share my page, and people would just message me.”

After hearing about the Altered Rose from a work colleague, Pāpāmoa resident Christine Kovaleski thought of two items she couldn’t bear to throw away.

“They’re two solid rimu chests that I bought as toy chests for my boys when they were little. They’ve had them for years and they got put into storage,” she said.

“But I don’t want to get rid of them – they’ve got such fond memories for me of when the boys were little. Eventually, I’d like to have something nice that’s a legacy to pass down to them for their children to use or another purpose.

“I’m pretty excited about them being re-done.”

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Upcycling was Kovaleski’s preferred option: “We’ve gone into such a disposable world that we don’t treasure the things that are really well-made. In the long run, I’ll probably never have to replace them.”

Jamieson said the timeframe for turning something old into something new is primarily down to Mother Nature.

“I use a professional spray gun which gives a great factory finish, but I can’t spray when it rains.

“Anything can take from a few days to a few weeks. It also depends on what state the furniture is in; are there repairs, does it need borer treatment?

“But it’s always a full finish in that pieces are prepped, repaired, primed, painted and sealed.”

As the Altered Rose grows, Jamieson has a few novel ideas up her sleeve to take the service to another level.

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“I have my first collab coming up,” she said. “It was an artist I followed on Facebook and I really loved her stuff.

“Hopefully, that will be the first of many.”

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