House of Grove Studio combines love of building, teaching

 In Business

There is more than meets the eye at House of Grove Studio.
It is, as it appears, an on-trend home décor store, but it is also a creative space where people can get inspired and learn how to make things for themselves.
Maker Nikki Sarris has opened the new space, part retail and part studio, with the intention of sharing knowledge and creativity.
The Kawartha Lakes resident has a long-time family connection to Creemore. Her late grandmother Helen Sarris, was a local resident. Her granddaughter now owns the family cottage on the Noisy River, which she rents out. Sarris said she was spending a lot of time in the area taking care of the rental property. When she saw a space for rent on Creemore’s main street, she decided to open her first shop.
Sarris has a lot of experience running various workshops through Build Like a Girl Canada, her other brand.
She came to construction in a roundabout way. She said as a young woman she started out in banking in Toronto but hated it so she left that field to work in health care.
She started painting furniture eight years ago. Initially, a break-up motivated her to want to personalize her furniture into something she loved.
“I didn’t like it,” said Sarris. “I wanted to give it all a new life.”
She said she bought paint from the dollar store and painted everything from armoires to lampshades and picture frames.
It was therapeutic for her. She had struggled with anxiety and had been experiencing panic attacks and by keeping her mind busy, the activity of painting gave her something to focus on and she would emerge feeling very relaxed.
At one point her anxiety became so bad that she became agoraphobic so she and her husband moved out of the city and relocated near a horse farm. Her long walks in the field led her to discover piles of barnboard. She sought permission to use them and she started making signs, blanket ladders and a still-cherished chalkboard spice rack. She then started making her own chalk paint, creating faux finishes. She was selling the paint and taking custom furniture orders. She was developing quite a following.
“People were buying it. It just kind of blew up,” said Sarris.
She said she was at the National Home Show and was featured on television and in magazines. “People liked what I was doing but then they tried to fit me into a box,” she said.
Part of the plan with House of Grove Studio, is to showcase her own work while only taking very select custom orders. She’s rather be free to create, and not just with wood and paint.
She has incorporated the work of her friend and macramé artist Jenn Olivera of The Knotted Cord, and long time student Jessica Morris-Frebourg does the geometric wall art.
Sarris also makes artisanal soaps with all natural ingredients, bath bombs, candles, and clay facial masks.
She also sells Van Gogh paints (which is rebranding to Mango). Free chalk paint demos are scheduled for Jan. 3, Feb. 7, and March 20. Other paid weekend workshops including soap making, furniture painting, candle making, building, macramé and more. Visit houseofgrove.com.
There will be a grand opening on Saturday, Dec. 7, beginning at 10 a.m.

House of Grove Studio is located at 151 Mill Street, Creemore.

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