Resident uses extra time to acquire new skills

Julie Schmitt moved into her home in the Village of Marsh Bend right before everything shut down due to coronavirus, so she used the time to teach herself how to upholster furniture.

When Julie Schmitt left cold and slushy Ohio, she envisioned meeting neighbors in the sunny and warm Village of Marsh Bend, enjoying live music at a town square, playing some golf and finding volunteer opportunities.

But those plans were paused before all the boxes were unpacked.

“I was here one week and then everything shut down,” Schmitt said of the pandemic.

The groundhog days of quarantine set in fairly quickly for this retired CPA.

Suddenly, Schmitt started eyeing the color of two living room chairs she brought from Ohio. Both chairs were orange, which fit her southwest theme up north.

But the chairs didn’t fit in her retirement home now.

Her eyes scanned to the left, landing on the four dining room chairs tucked around a glass table.

Those chairs also looked very Ohio, meaning the colors were dark, drab and heavy like winter.

She didn’t want to look at so much Ohio now that she was in Florida.

“I decided to learn how to upholster my furniture,” she said.

After looking up videos and watching a few step-by-step ways to strip the Ohio off the chairs, Schmitt found herself exploring fabrics online.

“Sometimes it’s the fabric that inspires you,” she said.

Feeling motivated and confident in the project, Schmitt ordered brightly colored fabrics with splashes of turquoise, pink and green.

While she waited for the fabrics to arrive, she attacked a living room chair, right there on the living room floor.

“When I was tearing down that chair, I saw that it had a million staples,” Schmitt said. “Tearing them down takes longer than redoing them.”

Many hours were spent wrapping and stapling some Florida around all six chairs.

When she declared them completed, Schmitt returned to YouTube.

Next, she learned how to make cornices.

As with the upholstery, when Schmitt felt that she understood the how-to, she dived right into the project.

For her bedroom, she ordered two bedspreads. One is neatly stretched across her bed. Using the extra bedspread, she covered yet another Ohio-colored chair which she now refers to as “the diva chair.” She also created a matching cornice for the window and added some pillows.

In the second bedroom, Schmitt repeated the same approach.  

Using scraps of extra material and the rod the fabric was packed around, she created a palm tree for the sunroom.

At some point, she turned from YouTube to Netflix.

“This is what I did during the pandemic,” Schmitt said with a laugh as she showed off the happy colors. “Netflix was my roommate.”

Staff writer Sherri Coner can be reached at 352-753-1119, ext. 5400, or​