For many, the terms luxury and repurposed don’t have the most obvious relation to each other. However, when Jacqueline Sharp sees a discarded piece of furniture, luxury is the first word that comes to her mind as she works to turn a run-down piece of garbage into a spectacular work of art.
Sharp is a furniture builder and chief executive of FORT, a wondrous collection of reclaimed and repurposed furniture located just south of Los Angeles’ downtown arts district. Named after the popular manifestation of a childhood game based around imagination and ingenuity, Sharp has sought to create a business that brings unique and imaginative pieces of furniture into every day use for Los Angeles home owners.
“I grew up in the Midwest from humble beginnings. My parents didn’t always have money to give me the latest and greatest, so I was constantly finding things to make something from,” Sharp said to the Los Angeles Times. “We would run up and down stairs, foraging for stuff so we can build our own environment.”
Sharp and her colleagues collect discarded pieces of furniture through estate sales as well as partnerships with Habitat for Humanity and a Hollywood set design company. They then set to refurbishing them into beautiful pieces that function as much as a practical piece of furniture as a conversation piece for home owners who become another chapter in the story of a particular item.
Furniture Builder Helps To Build Los Angeles’ Sense of Community
Sharp’s finished pieces range from classy to quirky, but all are conscientiously created with an eye for the health and well-being of the Los Angeles community.
“I’m not the greatest craftsman or the best educated business person. My greatest skill is seeing potential. When I look at something, see the body and bones, my mind just starts to race. I also look for things I haven’t seen before,” Sharp said to the Los Angeles Times. “No particleboard or MDF [medium-density fiberboard], though. Those things just aren’t healthy for you.”
In addition to reducing trash in Los Angeles and providing environmentally-responsible items, Sharp has also helped local interior decorators restore historic homes, furnish restaurants and uniquely outfit boutique hotels. Through her own network of artists, designers, builders and visionaries, Sharp is working to create a community where these like-minded people can get together and trade visions and inspiration.
“I feel like there are so many people in our world that are overlooked. I want to give them a space to blossom and shine a light on their creativity,” Sharp said.
In addition to dinners and events where Sharp invites the Los Angeles arts community to come and share ideas, Sharp also holds Fortnight workshops, where anyone can come and learn a new skill related to arts, crafts and furniture making.
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