With a single glance, the potential shines through.

The battered metal box, beat-up wooden table or faded piece of vintage furniture may look past its prime. Rusty bins and unused tools would normally be headed for a landfill.

But with a touch of creativity, old can become new again. Dianne Colquitt feels the excitement in that potential whenever she starts picking through antiques.

“I can just envision what it will look like if I do repurpose it,” she said. “People like the idea of thrifting. They like the idea of the hunt. Most of the time, it’s less expensive to do things for your home this way.”

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Colquitt is the owner of Junkey Monkeys, a venture focusing on refurbishing items for the home. What started as a chance for her and her friend, Lisa Inderhees, to scour local antique parlors and yard sales for forgotten decor has turned into a flourishing business.

Colquitt and Inderhees are teaming with Julie Stewart, owner of Franklin’s unique antique market Salvage Sisters, as featured designers and presenters at this year’s Indianapolis Home Show. Their message to homeowners is simple: reuse, relove and redo.

“Everybody is so interested in that right now. That is what’s hot, taking vintage things and making them look new again,” said Laura Groninger, manager of the Indianapolis Home Show. “They’re experts in that field.”

Colquitt and Inderhees formed Junkey Monkeys out of their shared passion for making old new again.

The pair were neighbors and worked together as paralegals for the same law firm. Talking with each other, they both decided it was time to find a different profession to work in.

They loved to go vintage shopping and antiquing on weekends, so they figured they’d turn that hobby into a small business. Starting at markets around the area, they eventually grew their stock enough to have a booth at Salvage Sisters.

For a short time, the duo also had operated their own shop in Franklin.

Colquitt’s focus is rescuing and transforming industrial-type items — metal bins, old lighting fixtures, iron shop implements. In the Salvage Sisters booth, rusted metal bins are billed as planters for the patio.

Old mattress springs have been combined with a strand of outdoor lights to create funky-looking lighting. A pair of antique ice skates could become part of a fresh winter wall hanging.

Most items are at least 50 years old, offering that retro look that offers a unique aesthetic.

“I won’t pick up just anything. Typically, I won’t pick up anything that I wouldn’t use in my own home,” Colquitt said.

Old wallpapering tables are some of Colquitt’s favorite items to find. The pieces are hard to find, but when she comes across them, it offers a wide variety of options for home decor.

“Anything that comes from an industrial setting — an old print shop, a machinist’s workshop, an old gas station. Not necessarily signs, but their containers or organizational bins,” she said. “They don’t take a whole lot of work, but you can make them look so cool and polished that people drool over them.”

The potential has a way of getting out of control, Colquitt said. She has filled her garage, as well as a 900-square-foot storage unit, with salvaged items.

“A lot of the things I do are hard to sell, just because I want to keep them. I wish I could keep everything, but that’s not a possibility,” she said.

Inderhees is no longer part of the day-to-day business of Junkey Monkeys, but she wanted to help with the home show presentation. As featured designers at the Indianapolis Home Show, Colquitt, Inderhees and Stewart worked together and fittingly created a craft room to showcase.

Using a refurbished drafting table from a shop in Richmond as a centerpiece, they will have a variety of their projects available for people to see. The items will all be authentic, not reproductions, to show people what can be done salvaging vintage items for their homes.

“You think at the home show, everyone is looking for things to improve their homes, and the other three designers are doing typical rooms,” Colquitt said. “But we wanted to do something off the beaten path, and crafting and repurposing is so big these days.”

As part of a series of presentations, the pair also will be showing people how to take basic items such as old picture frames, coffee cans and jars to create unique decor.

“We want to show them how they can use them in their homes, how they can redo, reuse and relove the pieces that they have laying around,” Colquitt said. “We want to give them ideas on what to do instead of throwing them away.”

If you go

Indianapolis Home Show

When: Friday through Jan. 29

Where: Indiana State Fairgrounds, West Pavilion, Exposition Hall & South Pavilion, 1202 E. 38th St., Indianapolis

Hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Jan. 28; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday and Jan. 29; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. all other days.

Tickets: $14 for adults, $3 for children ages 6 to 12, kids under 5 free. Online tickets for adults $12 at indianapolishomeshow.com

Home show highlights

Dianne Colquitt, Lisa Inderhees and Julie Stewart

When: 5 and 7 p.m. Saturday, 1 and 3 p.m. Sunday

What: The trio will focus on salvaging and refurbishing vintage items, and will teach people how to implement reuse into their own decor.

Hilary Farr

When: 2 p.m. Jan. 28

What: The internationally renowned designer, co-host of “Love It or List It,” which airs on HGTV, and president of Hilary Farr Design will share tips during a presentation.

Kevin O’Connor

When: 3 p.m. Friday, and 1 and 3 p.m. Saturday.

What: As host of the award winning PBS series “This Old House” and “Ask This Old House,” O’Connor can offer ideas about refurbishing and restoring older properties.

Designer Room Showcase

When: Throughout the home show

What: Four local designers, including Dianne Colquitt and Lisa Inderhees of Franklin-based Junkey Monkeys, bring their inventive and imaginative ideas to the forefront in this special presentation. Each designer is asked to show off a unique look for different rooms throughout the home.

Cherie Lowe

When: 1 and 4 p.m. Jan. 29

What: The Greenwood resident, better known as “The Queen of Free,” has built a media kingdom around helping others manage their finances and “slay the debt dragon,” as she says. Lowe will share some of her insight during presentations at the home show.

Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp

When: 2 and 4 p.m. Monday and 1 and 4 p.m. Friday

What: The longtime Indianapolis garden writer will share ideas and strategies for planting this spring, as well as answering questions about all different types of gardening.

Centerpiece Home

When: Throughout the entire show

What: Fischer Homes presents this year’s centerpiece home, a full-scale ranch design house built entirely indoors. The structure features nearly 6,000 square feet of space, and includes a spacious kitchen, a refined study, four bedrooms and a walk-out basement.

Author photo
Ryan Trares is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at rtrares@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2727.