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Let me set the scene: It was 2006, and I was working as Development Coordinator for the Austin Symphony. Although surrounded by the arts and creative individuals, I knew I needed more than the occasional symphonic concert to keep my interest.

Through college and adulthood, I have always picked up old furniture, refinished, and reused it. I suppose my deep interest in history lent itself to collecting old furnishings, each one with its markings and layers of paint that told the story of its past owners. This combined with my need for a more creative job led to my enrollment in upholstery classes at Austin Community College, which led to the creation of Spruce in 2007.

Since then, I’ve combined design and upholstery to create a fresh aesthetic for interiors and helped hundreds of clients re-imagine their furniture headed for the trash. In 2011, I set out to spread the education of upholstery even further than Austin by introducing the first in a series of six instructional DVDs, and I joined Design*Sponge as a contributing writer and author of the monthly Upholstery Basics column. In October 2013, I’m excited to present The Spruce Guide to Upholstery and Design (Storey Publishing), a labor of love and comprehensive book for all things upholstery.

My life couldn’t have taken this turn without my handsome husband, Keith, my supportive family, and staff.

Thank you all!   — Amanda Brown, Owner


The Sprucettes

 

Frank

Frank Barnhouse,
Production

Sprucester since January 2011

I found Spruce while looking through the Los Angeles Craigslist. I learned the upholstery trade as a teenager between 1972 and 1975 in West Germany and have been doing upholstery ever since. For many years, I have owned my own upholstery business but decided to move to Austin for the opportunity at Spruce.

I was born in a military hospital in Germany to an American father and German mother and am fluent in German and Spanish. I have a wife named Waldina, a son named Brian, and a daughter named Brigitte, as well as a white German Shepherd and three cats!

I have a positive outlook in all that I do and believe in persevering through any setback and to always keep learning. My goals are to love my family and be happy in the things I do.

Katherine

Katherine Baronet,
Production

Sprucette since January 2011

I was born and bred in the small town of Crowley, Louisiana. My father was, and still is, a farmer of rice, soy beans, and crawfish, and my mother is a jack of all trades. My early interest in woodcrafts and fabrics is easily attributed to the countless hours I have spent in fabric stores, lumber yards, and in my mother’s woodshop. After graduating from Louisiana State University, I had the fantasy of becoming an upholsterer but never thought it was attainable for a young twenty-something girl. I searched and searched for ANYONE who would be willing to take me under their wing and stumbled upon Spruce. Long story short, I moved to Austin and started stripping furniture at Spruce in January of 2011, later to graduate to apprentice and upholsterer. They say, “You learn something new every day.” Well, I probably learn fifty new things every day. I’ve always enjoyed getting my hands dirty and playing with tools, so it seems I will live happily ever after!

Allie

Allie Porter,
Design Team

Sprucette since February 2015

I have always loved furniture and interior design. As a child, you could frequently find me drowning in design books and magazines studying trends (good and bad!) and dissecting furniture placement. To me, there’s nothing like the hunt for the perfect furniture piece or unique art object. It’s funny how life aligns itself to prepare you for what’s ahead. For me, that meant growing my professional experience in project management at GSD&M, then moving on to event production and fundraising at various Austin organizations. While I enjoyed all of my past experiences, my love for interior design never faded, so in 2014, I turned my focus back to interiors and met Amanda to discuss joining her team and growing Spruce’s design business. Now I get to spend my days collaborating with the best people and “playing” with an array of beautiful furniture, fabrics, and materials. When I am not at Spruce, you can find me at a multitude of parks with my two wonderful kids Jackson and Josephine, my husband Ben, and our labradoodle Maggie Mae.

Emily

Emily Whittenburg,
Design Team

Sprucette since October 2015

I was born and raised in Louisiana where my grandmother – a set design contributor for the southern classic film Steel Magnolias – planted artistic roots in me from a young age. After attending Parsons for Interior Design and graduating from LSU with a degree in Art History, I was ready to explore, so across the ocean I went with my husband to live in Prague. While living abroad, my eyes were opened to old world charm, vintage markets, and getting lost in design blogs. It was from a tiny flat in the Czech Republic that I first found Spruce on Design*Sponge, never dreaming that I would one day find myself here. My husband and I eventually landed in Austin where I opened a small business curating curiosities from around the world. It was a wild ride that led me to connect with that same design studio that I had discovered several years prior. Who would have known that I would make it full circle to be a part of the amazing design team here at Spruce. I’m beyond thankful.

Sarah

Sarah Reichardt,
Client Services

Sprucette since March 2017

Growing up in sunny California, my father instilled in me a love for working with my hands. He would let me tinker around his workshop with scraps of wood, building little birdhouses and doll beds. I quickly fell in love with the idea of transformation and creating something out of nothing, which has stuck with me throughout the years. Fast forward to 2011, I recently graduated from design school and was eager for change. I had heard great things about Austin, so I packed up my belongings and moved on a whim! I began connecting with other creative ladies in town and one thing lead to another I found myself in the floral industry. After 4 thrilling years of floral design and lots of literal blood, sweat, and tears, I made the decision to leave flowers in pursuit of the next adventure, which is how I landed at Spruce! Textiles and furniture have always intrigued me, and now I spend my days surrounded by an endless library of beautiful fabric. I’m inspired on a daily basis by the transformations we’re a part of and honored I get to help guide our clients through the process!