One fateful night, a combination of insomnia and an inherent desire to findtime-saving shortcuts led Laurie Cooper to her current success as owner of Charleston Revisions. After a long career at the National Geographic Society, Cooper focused on nurturing her love of fine midcentury modern furniture. Selling refurbished pieces at an antiques mall, Cooper needed to refinish some dark wax Chippendale chairs, but didn’t want the labor of stripping them first. Unable to sleep one night, she searched the web for “best paint to cover dark wax without stripping” and found the answer: Chalk Paint. Offered in more than 30 colors with a matte, velvety finish inspired by 18th-century styles, the product impressed her so much that she insisted on becoming the exclusive seller of Chalk Paint in the Lowcountry, and Charleston Revisions was born.
Today Charleston Revisions is located in two buildings, side by side, filled with midcentury modern and French country furniture, barware and replacement parts. Cooper finds beautiful, unique pieces all around the Southeast, and her inventory, including the very popular Chalk Paint, is shipped throughout the country. “Chalk Paint has a very loyal customer base. Separately, there is definitely a diehard group in Charleston who love midcentury furniture.”
Sometimes Cooper can get attached to a favorite item. Recently a customer bought a Herman Miller bench signed by Charles and Ray Eames, famous American designers who made major contributions to modern architecture and furniture. “It was a bit heartbreaking that I had to let it go. I might go visit the piece in her home, actually.”
While the joy of refurbishing historical pieces is motivation enough, there’s a green angle to it all, too, says Cooper. “There’s so much fantastic furniture out there, we don’t ever have to cut down another tree. Good furniture stands the test of time.”