Meet Cindy Pennybacker. Artist extraordinaire and owner of Virginia Beach’s fabulous new home store, CHARTREUSE. Cindy has an absolutely amazing eye for all things beautiful. She sees an old sideboard, vanity, bed frame, chandelier, armoire… you name it, she transforms them into one-of-a-kind pieces for the home and garden. I absolutely love using her pieces for kids’ rooms and nurseries, never mind the more obvious locations. I also happen to adore her amazing wood signs and frames.
I commissioned Cindy to put together a sign for my husband’s 40th birthday gift. She made the piece out of reclaimed wood, hand painted, distressed, and added my words (my take on a traditional blessing for the home) all by hand….
Now I have the most unique piece of personal art displayed in the foyer of our home.
CHARTREUSE, located at 1703 Mediterranean Ave. in Virginia Beach, offers a large showroom floor where Cindy’s pieces and objets d’art take center stage. She has turned the backstage into a dreamy studio and storage space and in true Cindy-style, she has named it “The Vault”. She gets a twinkle in her eye when she talks about it, “Everyone is so curious about what’s behind the french doors… There is something about it that is quite alluring for my clients and customers. They love to shop in the main store no doubt, but when they look inside ‘the vault’, something magical happens. They feel they’ve discovered uncharted territory and there’s valuable treasure to be found.” The trick is being in the right place at the right time, because the items in both the front and the back seem to fly right out the door.
When I met Cindy, I was immediately struck by her energy (I finally met my match!). She was refreshingly genuine, extremely passionate, and gifted in so many ways. I told her she was living a life that so many people wish they could, in that she followed her dream and is making a living doing it. I’ve nicknamed her “Triple Threat”. Why? Certainly not because she is threatening in any way. This is why: There are stores with antiques. There are stores with distressed furniture, art and interesting finds. But how about a store where the antiques, art, and interesting finds were found, redesigned and reinvented 100% by the artist who also just so happens to run and own the beautiful store.
Here is my interview with Cindy:
FIRST, TELL US ABOUT YOUR STYLE…
My style is easy with a hint of refinement. It’s whimsical with a dash of tradition. It’s whatever I happen to be in the mood for. It changes but it is always comfortable.
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO TAKE YOUR NAME, FORMERLY KNOWN AS “BEACH CHICK ART”, AND CHANGE IT TO “CHARTREUSE”? (which I happen to LOVE, LOVE, LOVE… BTW)
I was named “Beach Chick Art” by the locals. It stuck, it worked and I liked it. However, when looking to open my storefront, I realized that there are so many facets to my work that cannot be defined under the name Beach Chick Art. I love so many different kinds of art, so many styles. I love antiques, photography, interior design, home decor, and of course other artist’s work. I love shabby chic, French, beach-y, mod, vintage, Moroccan, Asian… I feel a lot of symbolic meaning in the name CHARTREUSE. Some of it perhaps obvious, some perhaps not. I think it is the perfect name for my store, but at the core, I am really a ‘beach chick’ doing art.
It’s true and I have scars to prove it! LOL! I would paint madly for days and then have a tag sale. I just posted the sale on my Facebook page, and then between the random passerby, my regular clients, and the boutique owners, I would sell it ALL. The cycle would begin again: find more furniture, build more, paint more and sell it all.
WHEN YOU SEE A PIECE OF FURNITURE THAT NEEDS YOUR SPECIAL TOUCH, DO YOU IMMEDIATELY KNOW WHAT YOU WANT TO DO WITH IT OR DO YOU DEVELOP YOUR IDEAS OVER TIME?
Most of the time I immediately know what I want to do to a piece. Sometimes I think of multiple ideas and then I let them simmer and I sit back and wait. I’ve held onto special pieces for 6+years just waiting for the right pairing or opportunity. And when the magic happens it’s so beautiful. For instance I had this beautiful Gothic piece that came out of a Victorian home. I loved it. I didn’t touch it though, because I just knew it needed something beyond paint. Six years later, I found an alter that came out of a Williamsburg church and I noticed they were similar. I joined the two pieces together and everyone thought they had always been together as one piece. It sold in less than 24 hours!
I think bedrooms are so special. The bedroom is where you start and end the day. We sleep in them. We read stories to our children in them. We escape to them. But most importantly WE WAKE UP in them! Our surroundings have the power to start the day in an immediate way. When you open your eyes and greet the sun you should feel happy, refreshed, privileged… and of course thankful.
WHEN YOU ARE NOT WORKING (YEAH, RIGHT!) WHERE CAN WE FIND YOU?
My time away from work is spent with family and friends at either church or the beach. If I am lucky, I get to eat food…. sitting down…while drinking a glass of wine!
WHAT OR WHO INSPIRES YOU?
I’m a dork who loves me some Martha Stewart! She was my original inspiration for turning what I do into a business. She’s brilliant and creative. She has taken everyday common sense ideas and turned them into a fortune. I’ve actually had people tell me there is no way that I can make a living doing what I (love to) do… I say don’t be ridiculous. Ppppfffttttt! (that’s me laughing)!
FAVORITE ITEM OR PIECE OF FURNITURE IN YOUR OWN HOME?
My favorite piece in my home, right now (because it is always changing), is a small cabinet from Turkey. It’s an antique with simple details and a black & white marble top… and, of course, I painted the wood… white. It makes a quiet statement and it’s functional.
WHAT IS YOUR SECRET INDULGENCE?
Fabric! I am such a brat when it comes to sheets and mattresses! I’m not going to tell you my thread-count requirements… but I have them… and they are high.
IF YOU WEREN’T AN ARTIST, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?
I would be a professional surfer… ha- I wish!
TELL US ABOUT THE NEW VOLUNTEER PROGRAM YOU CREATED.
It is part of a larger program called Wave City Care through the WAVE church. I had an idea to give underprivileged kids the opportunity to take art classes. The program is called City Color. They will actually bring the children to CHARTREUSE, where I have a special studio space designated for art classes. I will have all of the art supplies and a spread of food for them to enjoy while they explore the magical world of art. I want it to be an extremely happy experience.
DO YOU HAVE A COUPLE FAVORITE BLOGS THAT YOU CAN SHARE WITH US?
Cindy has been generous enough donate this sign (normally sells for $275) to this Sweet People Photography® Giveaway!
TO ENTER: Leave a comment answering the following question: WHAT COMES TO MIND WHEN YOU HEAR THE WORD “CHARTREUSE”? For additional chances to win (WHY NOT??), leave a SEPARATE comment for each additional step taken below. There are 7 opportunities for each person to win. ENTRIES MUST BE ENTERED HERE, NOT ON FACEBOOK. This giveaway is not affiliated AT ALL in ANY WAY affiliated with Facebook.
1. Go to Chartreuse’s Facebook page and become a fan – click “like”.
2. Click “like” and become a fan of Elyse Cardon Photography/Sweet People Photography®. (It is still known as Elyse Cardon Photography on Facebook cause you know Facebook has some silly rules)
3. After you are a fan of Elyse, leave a comment on Chartreuse’s Facebook wall by actually typing (not copy and pasting) the following: Newest fan from @Elyse Cardon Photography (click on the FB link that will pop up while you are typing, and then it will be highlighted) …and feel free to tell Cindy how much you love CHARTREUSE!
4. If you have a twitter account, please tweet @ecphotography09 and @VB_House of Style have an awesome giveaway! Have you entered yet? http://yougetthepicture.net/?p=1360
5. Subscribe to receive email updates, news and sales from Sweet People Photography® blog. (tab is right over there on the pink LEFT-HAND sliding sidebar)
6. Subscribe to receive email updates, news and sales from Chartreuse’s blog.
THIS CONTEST ENDED JULY 31, 2011. YOU ARE WELCOME TO LEAVE A COMMENT (WE LOVE IT! BUT IT WILL NOT BE ENTERED INTO A CONTEST/GIVEAWAY) I will be highlighting other local stores in the next few weeks that have something relating to children, babies, maternity and family… so if you know any stores that might like to participate in this giveaway, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, we are coming into the busiest season for Sweet People Photography®. If you are thinking about a session for your children, please don’t wait to schedule at the last minute. (*Exceptions will always try to be made for newborns!!) I am booking NOW for the Autumn and Winter. Thank you!