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Despite cancellation because of rain, items still available from the annual Barn Sale in Greensburg

November 15, 2018

Jeannie Oberdorf and Sharon Mitolo rented a van in Nashville, Tenn., and the search for treasures began anew.

The women -- from Greensburg and Plum, respectively -- are proficient at sorting through piles of old furniture, household items and pieces of wood which they turn into tables, light fixtures and inspirational signs.

On the trip they visited flea markets, thrift stores, estate sales, junk yards and sorted through piles of what others might think of as “trash.”

The trip began in Texas, where they went to look for materials that they found and had sent back to Pennsylvania. They then visited Nashville, before renting the van to fill along the way back home.

Their business, S&J Decorative Finishes, specializes in custom-designed residential and commercial faux anddecorative finishes, murals, cabinetry, architectural elements and concrete countertops, as well as custom reclaimed furniture pieces and custom pillows for purchase.

They went on this recent adventure to stock the fifth annual Barn Sale that was supposed to be held Oct. 27-28. The barn is located on Harvey Avenue in Greensburg. But because of steady rain, both days were cancelled. The women decided to take more of the inventory to Simplicity Boutique in Murrysville, where they currently sell items, and have also created an online store.

The Barn Sale was to allow them to share a collection of unique, handmade furniture, home accessories and holiday decorations created with materials they’ve gathered and collected over the year. “The barn will be full of repurposed furniture, handmade signs, handmade pillows, original artwork and so much more,” Mitolo says before the event had to cancelled.

Working well together

Mitolo and Oberdorf share a vision of what they want to make and how they want to make it. One might start a project and the other finishes it.

“We are both passionate about this work,” Mitolo says. “There is no ego here. We collaborate well together.”

They created a centerpiece of old beer bottles in a piece of wood that the owner can place flowers in and create a colorful look for any special occasion. They do upholstery work. They make ornaments for the holiday season. They turn table legs into lamps and make their own fabric. Items start at $20.

“We love Pittsburgh, and we are hometown proud, which is reflected in some of our items,” Oberdorf says.

“We know the minute we walk into a place what we want,” Mitolo says. “Or if we are driving along and see items marked ‘free’ on the side of the road, we grab them. We look for really raw materials and then put our own spin on them.”

A family interest

Oberdorf and Mitolo can’t do all of this alone. They enlist the help of Kathy Constantin, Mitolo’s mom, who is an accomplished seamstress who aids in the creation of pillows and textile items. Oberdorf’s mother, Jackie Alcorn, is also a talented seamstress and textile art creator; and Oberdorf’s daughter Jayne Oberdorf helps with painting and decorating the barn.

For a good cause

Even though the Barn Sale was cancelled, Mitolo and Orberdorf will make a donation to the Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness and funding research for rare inoperable brain tumors.

Funds will be in memory of Chase Balay. He was the son of Oberdorf’s cousin, Julie Lichty Balay of Creskill, N.J.. Chase died two years ago from brain cancer at age 10. His cells are living on in search for a cure.

The owners will also make donations through sales at Simplicity, which gives back to a charity each month.

Details: https://sjdecor.shop

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