Country Sampler's Prairie Style - - Modern Pioneer -

Rhonda didn’t al­ways love an­tiques. Her pas­sion for them evolved over time. “My brother and I were raised on a sprawl­ing farm in Ok­la­homa,” she says. “My grand­mother loved yard sales and thrift shops, and she liked to take me along with her.”

While fur­nish­ing their home, Rhonda and Justin vis­ited end­less an­tiques shops and flea mar­kets. Many of the items they pur­chased needed to be “res­cued and re­pur­posed,” as Rhonda puts it. She used her artis­tic knowl­edge, and Justin used his skills as a jack-of-all-trades to turn in­ex­pen­sive and bro­ken items into trea­sures they now proudly dis­play in their house.

Once their home was fully fur­nished, they didn’t stop vis­it­ing an­tiques shops and turn­ing old, unloved items into use­ful dec­o­ra­tions. In­stead of plac­ing the items in their rooms, how­ever, they be­gan to of­fer them for sale for oth­ers to en­joy.

“We started out sell­ing small projects at yard sales,” Rhonda ex­plains. Then, four years ago in Mil­ford, New Hamp­shire, Robin, the owner of an eclec­tic shop called Robin’s Egg, of­fered Rhonda a small space to sell her cre­ations. The busi­ness has done so well that Rhonda re­cently opened a se­cond lo­ca­tion in a sim­i­lar shop, Twin Elm Farm in Peter­bor­ough.

One piece that was orig­i­nally des­tined for sale still hangs on the wall of the Gatcheks’ liv­ing room. It’s a small cabi­net door with three an­tique door­knobs on it. “It was one of my very first projects,” Rhonda says. “The col­ors were so beau­ti­ful, I couldn’t part with it.”

The beauty of the door is real, but it’s also sym­bolic of the truth of Alexan­der Graham Bell’s words. When the door of Justin’s ac­tive-duty mil­i­tary ca­reer closed, an­other opened—not only for him, but also for Rhonda.

Rhonda is thrilled with her new life. “It’s amaz­ing,” she con­cludes. “What I rolled my eyes at as a child is now my pas­sion—and my job!”

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