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Antiques find new life in B Inspired

Often with just a few small changes, Jo Buchholz can transform discarded furniture into brand new pieces at B Inspired, her Beach, ND shop. Iain Woessner / The Dickinson Press1 / 2
Jo Buchholz showcases her unusual and handmade furniture in her shop, B Inspired. Buchholz makes art to help those in need. Iain Woessner / The Dickinson Press2 / 2

From something old into something new—that's what Jo Buchholz, owner of B Inspired in Beach, does in her spare time, taking discarded or broken furniture and breathing new life into it.

"I just call it recycling," she said as she walked about her shop on the corner of Main Street in Beach. The storefront is full of Buchholz's art—vanity tables turned into benches, beds turned into tables. Going through the store, Buchholz can point at the various pieces of furniture and explain what they used to be.

"This was a piano, this was a phonograph," she said, pointing to what is now a liquor cabinet, the suggestion of the phonograph it once was still there. "I like to go more into preserving the old pieces of furniture that people discard because it's not functional anymore. Like these vanities. But it's all good wood. It was real wood. You could chop it up and take it apart and put it back together."

Buchholz has been running B Inspired since 2013, but her passion for tinkering with the world's discarded treasures began during her childhood on a farm with plenty of siblings and curiosity.

""I grew up on a farm with 8 kids and we didn't get to town. I've always had a love for design and so, yeah, we pretty much just made do with what we could find at home," Buchholz said. "It's a product of A) your imagination and B) what's available."

She said her father helped encourage her art, in a way.

"My dad would take us out Sundays and we'd go out through old houses," Buchholz said. "My dad was a tractor dealer so he'd go out to see the farmers and they might have an old house on the place and he'd ask 'can the kids go through your old house?' and I just...I've always had a love for old things."

That love is shared by the Beach community. Buchholz said she gets a decent amount of support and interest, and customers come in looking for things truly unique and authentically antiquated.

"There are people who don't like it, but there are people who love it. What's really good now, if it's got rust on it, putina, barnwood ... it'll sell. They're not looking for pristine, like a vanity."

Buchholz works another job in Beach, and the hours sometimes intersect. The best way to ensure she'll be present at B Inspired is to call ahead at 701-872-6766.

While the store helps her pursue her passion for the craft, she's equally passionate about doing good with her art.

"I've been to Guatemala and people there literally live in the dump. It made me feel so bad because we throw so much away that is still so valuable," Buchholz said. "So that's pretty much why I do this, I gather old things throughout the year and then right around Christmas I have an online auction ... I sell the items in kind of an auction form and that money goes to Guatemala."

Auction proceeds go to BuildinGUATE Inc. a nonprofit charitable organization that seeks to help the people in an impoverished part of the nation. Guatemala is a Central American nation south of Mexico.

People are encouraged to bring items in—Buchholz favors older, wooden furnishings—and to visit the store in Beach. She said she doesn't like to remake something broken, but rather turn it into something wholly new again.