BOSTON — Nancy Covino of Boston brings her creative flair to homes and festivals all over Western New York, in the form of hand-painted murals and repurposed furniture.
Covino credited much of her early interest in all things artistic to her parents, who both encouraged their daughter in what soon became more than her hobby.
While she spent approximately 13 years in the retail business, 10 years as owner of her own clothing store, Covino brought the painting she said she had enjoyed her whole life to a new level, in her business, Nancy’s Fancies. “I prefer working for myself,” she added. “Here, I paint every day,” she said, gesturing to her Boston farmhouse and horse barn. “It’s not just a hobby. It’s a business.”
Covino has been a decorative painter for almost 14 years, using her paintbrushes and imagination to bring landscapes, animals, flowers and other designs to life, on her customers’ walls and ceilings. While she grew up painting, she said that she has been mostly self-taught, with “lots and lots of practice.”
She does mural consultations at individuals’ homes and uses acrylic paint to take their walls from bare to unique. “A lot are my own designs, but people can ask for something specific,” she said. “It’s easier when they tell me their ideas about what they want.”
Covino does a lot of children’s rooms and nurseries and said that she most enjoys painting animals, allowing her creativity to flow in the details.
Because she said that she wants to do her murals justice without limiting herself, time-wise, Covino does not work by the hour. Rather, she quotes customers for the full job. “People buy me as gifts,” she said, with a laugh, of her mural work. “I’ve been given as a gift at showers.”
Four years ago, Covino’s business transitioned, as she and her husband took up furniture repurposing, on a larger level. The former North Evans residents “stumbled on” their current home three years ago and spent 11 months refurbishing it to their liking. “We like land,” Covino said, adding that she enjoys taking one of her three horses trail riding on the property’s 20 acres.
After replacing windows, demolishing walls, rebuilding porches, completing wall treatments, installing new bathrooms and more, the Covinos took up residence in the Boston hills.
The large barn and artist studio provide locations for Covino and her husband to work in together. They scour yard sales and auctions, picking up “whatever speaks to me” for future projects. “We have to find the right things,” Nancy Covino said. “A lot goes into it.”
Covino’s practice of picking up used treasures began with her late father, when she was young. “We would go to the junk yard and he would find things and fix them up,” she said. Today, she and her husband still use two of her father’s work benches, his saw and many of the materials he accumulated.
A PERSONAL TOUCH — Nancy’s Fancies offerings include repurposed furniture, seasonal decor and furniture reupholstered with handmade quilts.
“We buy pieces and turn them into something else,” she said. “I’ve always loved to paint and decorate.”
Ed Covino repairs and cleans the furniture. He will often take an old door or window and build a cabinet around it. Then, the pieces are passed to Nancy Covino, for her artistic touch. She uses many different types of treatments, when refurbishing furniture, often hand painting details and designs on them.
“We never buy a piece and sell it as-is,” she said. “Every piece is different.” While she said she especially enjoys working on vintage wood items, and described her style as “romantic farmhouse,” Covino said she will do all styles.
Photos by Nancy Covino and Jessie Owen.
Individuals who see Covino’s work for sale at shows will often bring their own furniture to her, to work her magic on, and she is able to create pieces on commission.
Nancy’s Fancies sets up booths at more than half a dozen shows around the area every year, and the Covinos host annual fall and spring shows in their barn. “Every show is different,” Nancy Covino said. “I always have furniture, but then I will add other items, like wreaths, instant mantels and items created from old ironing boards.” She said that her painted boxes, trunks and small tables are very popular with customers, although “they seem to buy everything I have,” she said, with a laugh. All of the items she brings with her to events are available for sale.
Covino said that the Nancy’s Fancies’ fall show held last weekend “went very well. There were a lot of people.” She sends out a mailing list, prior to shows, to alert her customers to upcoming events.
Covino will also repurpose old quilts for her customers, giving the heirlooms new life as throw pillows or chair upholstery.
“It’s all in my head,” she said, of her artistic inspiration. She said she scours “all the country magazines” and checks out offerings at various shows for ideas, and makes them hers.
“I feel blessed to have this God-given talent to share,” she said. “I have fun meeting so many people. I always get to do something different.
“People get very excited about [commissioned work],” she added. “Most people say it’s better than they expected, and that’s very gratifying.”
To be placed on the Nancy’s Fancies mailing list, email firstname.lastname@example.org
. For more information on upcoming shows or to commission a mural or piece of repurposed furniture, call 480-5124.
Nancy’s Fancies’ work can be viewed at the upcoming Springville Gathering primitive show, which will be held at the Springville Fire Hall on Nov. 17 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.