Page 2 of 2 Previous

Continued: Picking, painting and passing it on: Apple Valley sisters renew old furniture

  • Article by: LIALA HELAL , Star Tribune
  • Last update: August 3, 2013 - 6:41 PM

The two went from separate careers to painting and picking together for more than 12 hours each day. “We pretty much live here,” Donahue said. “Since [the store opened], it’s been nonstop.”

Donahue-Peltz used to own an Apple Valley quilt shop, and Donahue worked in human resources. “My sister and I both ended careers to give this dream a shot,” Donahue-Peltz said.

Other family members have gotten involved, too. Donahue-Peltz’s husband, Jeffrey Peltz, mainly does repairs and woodworking on pieces. Donahue’s husband, Kevin Johnson, does occasional painting and is the “upholstery person.”

“I haven’t worked retail since 1975. I lived a very structured life — it was always corporate,” Donahue said, then lit up with a smile. “I like that I can wear flippers and shorts to work and nobody is going to yell at me.”

The sisters pride themselves on the fact that they allow others, some do-it-yourselfers who learned from Donahue-Peltz, to sell items in their store as consignment pieces.

“We’re helping 20 other families by them being vendors,” Donahue-Peltz said. And helping families is a priority for the sisters — Donahue started a nonprofit organization called Birthday Buddies that so far has provided more than 6,000 local families with birthday parties in a bag for those struggling.

At the store, they want to help others too. Donahue-Peltz loves to see someone take a sentimental family piece and transform it themselves, giving it their own personal touch, she said.

Sandy Pastucha of Farmington attends the shop’s advanced painting class. She and her husband also sell their own pieces at the shop, paying a 25 percent commission to the sisters.

“You get so many ideas when you come here,” Pastucha said. “You can paint it and give it a face-lift. That’s what’s fun about it.”

Sharon Brunet of Burnsville and Denise Hall of Eagan also attend the workshops at Next Act, at 7635 W. 148th St. With baby wipes, Brunet has become more comfortable distressing paint. “The worst thing that happens is you sand it and repaint it. You can’t go wrong.”

Donahue-Peltz aims to equip people with the skills to paint their own furniture in just one workshop.

“Patti is very free with her knowledge,” Pastucha said. “It’s her passion, and she shares it with us so openly.”

Donahue-Peltz says she loves to see what people accomplish on their own while keeping furniture out of landfills.

“I have never enjoyed anything like I do this,” she said. “I love it when a piece of furniture arrives and is in need of some serious help.”

For more information about the store or workshops, visit or call the shop at 952-432-5001.

Liala Helal • 952-746-3286

  • related content

  • Patti Donahue-Peltz, known as “the painter sister,” demonstrated how to refinish furniture to a class at the Next Act furniture store that she runs in Apple Valley.

  • Nancy Donahue, Patti’s younger sister, is known as “the picker sister” and owns the shop, which opened nine months ago in the Time Square Shopping Center. Nancy looks for pieces at garage sales, flea markets and estate sales.

  • From left, Sharon Brunet of Burnsville, Sandy Pastucha of Farmington and Denise Hall of Eagan listened to Donahue-Peltz at a workshop on repainting and refurbishing furniture. “You get so many ideas when you come here,” Pastucha said about the store.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters