Freddie Graves is the owner of The Recovery Room, a professional window covering and upholstery studio in Fayston. “We redo your furniture, we redo your window treatments and make your home beautiful,” said Graves.
Lately, Graves has been working 20-hour solo days. “Right now because of COVID, I’m working 20 hours a day. The phone doesn’t stop ringing,” said Graves. Graves has one employee who helps her strip furniture, taking out every single tack and staple. Besides that, she’s on her own, and the projects are adding up.
“Some people are looking to do a full house and full room, while others are looking to do a bank of windows or one chair,” she said. “Right now, I’m doing a whole house in Stowe, a whole restaurant.”
Interruptions in the supply chain have thrown off her project timelines. “There was a nationwide foam shortage,” she told The Valley Reporter. “My whole year’s worth of foam came in at once.” This forced Graves to ask herself: What project do I do first?
On top of a supply shortage, Graves has had difficulty finding workers to help her.
“People aren’t working,” she said. “There’s no skilled help.”
When asked why she thinks more people are refurbishing their furniture and windows these days, Graves had a few COVID-related theories. “People are spending all this time in their homes,” she said. “And more people are moving here.”
Regarding restaurants, Graves noted that restaurants are adding more outdoor seating spaces and intermediate spaces that serve as a bridge from indoors to outdoors.
Most people who hire Graves are looking for high-end renovations. The Recovery Room installs high-end shades and blinds. “We do motorization with light-controlling, multi-layered shades,” said Graves. “ And we sell beautiful fabrics. We are exacting in our specification in making the product.”
However, her products have more than just an aesthetic appeal: they are also safer. “The biggest deal with windows is child safety,” said Graves. “If you sell your house and your windows have cords, you’re liable.”
Graves is president of the northeast chapter of the Window Coverings Association of America, which advocates for motorized and cordless shades. “In this country, we lose one child a month to cords, and many cats.”
Regardless of her client’s reasons to install new window treatments, Graves is eager to get help. However, she doesn’t know how much longer she can keep doing 20-hour days. “I don’t bounce back like I used to,” she said with a chuckle.