Published on Nov 11, 2021

Sophie Gélinas, Recycle & Distingué’s Creator

Dashing colours, graphic or floral designs, the creations of this Shefford artist breathe life into any decor. She lets her imagination flow and adds a new vibrant touch to old and faded furniture.

By Natalie Sicard

For as long as she can remember, she has seen little or no new furniture enter her childhood home. Furniture given to her by her grandmother, who had a lot of it, was added to other pieces she collected here or there. “My mother would strip them and sometimes change the colour to suit the decor. These reclaiming operations were part of my daily life.” A great source of inspiration that grew and developed in the mind of this future creator for years to come when she was looking for her professional path. After she obtained a DEC in restaurant services, she completed an internship at the restaurant Archibald in Granby. During this time, she was always working on some creative project or another, and a close friend encouraged her to start refurbishing furniture. Hesitant at first, she finally decided to go for it and her signature pieces quickly attracted several clients. She has transformed nearly 500 pieces of furniture since 2008!

“Sky is the limit”

Garage sales, ecocentres, Marketplace and other such websites, quickly became her primary collecting spots. “Recuperating, reusing and local purchasing are strong values in my business. I like the idea of reducing our ecological footprint by recycling what we already have lying around, or by using second-hand items.” This statement says it all about the philosophy guiding this bargain-hunter and multi-talented designer, who transforms her finds through a variety of techniques. The results include original pieces adorned with vibrant colours, stencils or decals of wallpaper and fabrics with beautiful motifs. She has a weakness for bright, saturated hues and geometric patterns. “Decorating is all about having fun,” she says. Blending styles, adding a modern touch to antiques, incorporating a minimalist style to a flea market find; she is not afraid of eclecticism. On the contrary! When it comes to furniture refurbishing, the expression that makes the most sense to her is “The sky’s the limit!”

She uses VOC-free products, water-based varnishes, natural oils and waxes, and Upcycle paint made by Atelier Ulric & Associés in Waterloo. She also sells a few pieces there, as well as at the C’est Belge restaurant on rue Robinson Sud in Granby.

She creates pieces that she immediately puts on sale on her online boutique. However, 80% of her creations come from custom orders, from clients who bring her a piece of furniture to be transformed. Most of them are from the Eastern Townships and Montréal’s South Shore. But orders are starting to come from further away. People will drive two hours to retrieve their precious item in her workshop attached to her Shefford home, where she’s based for the past year. Originally from the Montérégie region, she appreciates her time in the country, which allows her to enjoy nature while still remaining close to several urban centres.

To find her beautiful creations visit her website: https://www.recycleetdistingue.com/


Her Address Book

  • La Ferme Brasserie rurale à Shefford . « Established on a hillside, the view overlooking the surrounding country landscape is superb. The beer is excellent, and the ambiance is friendly. » These terroir beers are made from locally grown cereal grains and hops, fruit and herbs produced by a multitude of farmers in the region.

  • Le parc écologique Jean-Paul-Forand , on the east slope of Mount Shefford, at an altitude of 250 metres, is part of the Canton-de-Shefford nature reserve. The Park offers a network of trails totalling 6.3 kilometres spread over 152 acres of land, accessible daily from 8 a.m. to sunset.

  • Boutique Ulric & associés in Waterloo where she buys her materials, exhibits and sells some of her pieces: “An inspiring home decor boutique!”

  • La boutique Les boules à mites « It’s a great thrift shop also offering refurbished furniture created by the owner and beautiful decorative accessories created with recycled materials. »

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