Michelle Bergamasco Tither originally hails from Melbourne, but moved to the Bellarine Peninsula approximately five years ago. The single mum of two boys aged nine and twelve, had been feeling exhausted as she worked tirelessly to care and support them. Prior to starting her business, she was their sole carer for eight years and felt unfulfilled in her previous jobs. When she was met the prospect of her own mortality, she decided to pursue her love of the creative, and follow her dreams.
Words: Catherine Falalis
“I decided that if I didn’t take a chance to change my life then I’d look back with regret – I wanted to be my own boss and to create things and follow my passions and the worst that could happen is that I fail – big deal!” explains Michelle.
Upon Michelle’s epiphany, she quit her job and began her own business – Mint Furniture Revamped. The tagline best describes the business’s values – ‘where furniture and art collide.’
“It is what my business is to me. It means that furniture and art are not mutually exclusive, they are one in the same,” she says.“Furniture and design is an incredible way to express what is beautiful. The work-person-ship, detail and absolute beauty of it still blows me away, particularly in the older furniture. I feel the same way about art – in all of its guises; painting, sculpture and music. These are all beautiful forms of expression that make us feel something and I want my furniture to speak to people in the same way. A functional piece of art.”
Turning trash into treasure is what Michelle does best, her functional and artistic furnishings inspired by her clients, their homes, their likes, dislikes, styles and colours that are most appealing to them. As Michelle describes it, she loves working with colours that make her clients ‘feel warm and fuzzy’ inside.
“With this information in mind, I think about the piece of furniture and I let it speak for itself. Not every piece can be anything. My goal is to make each piece its best self – not to change it. Only to make it its best,” explains Michelle.
“I think that comes across in my furniture, my genuine love for every piece that I do and for the job that I do. My ideas are endless and inspirations everywhere – colours and nature and feeling. The only thing that I struggle with sometimes is trying to narrow down the ideas because the possibilities of what can be done are endless!”
“We do a number of things which include refurbishing a client’s existing furniture or sourcing a piece of furniture that the client wants and then refurbishing it. The refurbishing includes restoration, upholstering, timber refinishing, furniture painting, image transfers and printing and custom printing fabrics,” she says.
“It is all highly customised to suit our clients which is why no two pieces are ever the same. Every client is different and every piece is different and we take great pains to offer a service that reflects this. We assist people at every turn, throughout each stage of the process.”
Michelle also teaches furniture refurb workshops and courses which offer a great means of connecting with likeminded people, to learn and have fun along the way.
“I honestly wish that every single person could come to one so that they could experience how fantastically fun they are! We always have people travel from very long distances, including interstate, to attend and 50% of all those who attend book in for another session.”
“We teach about every single type of paint and style of painting, timber refurbishing, sanding, recovering and reupholstering (within time limits), and all finishes. And what one person isn’t actively working on, we can almost guarantee somebody else is working on, so everybody gets to learn from everybody else!”
Just like Michelle embarking on her new lease on life through starting her own business, the old pieces of furniture that she is now working with, are also offered a second chase at life. What a beautiful way to pay it forward.