By Lauren Avellino Turton
Photos by Stef Godfrey
Spring’s finally sprung, much to the delight of Ocean City artist, Tina Marshello. As the weather warms up, the wife and mom of three can spend more time in her home workshop. Since her studio is set up in the garage, it can get pretty chilly in the winter.
Through her unique painting techniques and creative eye, Tina gives new life to wooden furniture that needs some TLC. As her company name notes, her goal is to “Make It A Masterpiece.”
“I spend hours online, and shopping in the tri-state area looking for pieces to upcycle. I don’t restore antiques,” she says. “I renew and recycle vintage furniture to make it a unique masterpiece. Each piece is one of a kind.”
Like her work, building her business has been a one of a kind experience, and quite a journey.
Tina grew up in Plymouth Meeting, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, but since 1990, has called the Jersey Shore her home. After a decade and a half as a certified court reporter, Tina says it was time for a change.
“It just didn’t feel like me.”
Tina worked part-time at Borgata, then at Revel casino doing special events. When Revel closed, she was out of a job.
“I prayed that God would take care of me and make me happy,” she recalls. “I didn’t pray for money. I prayed for something that would make me satisfied and fulfilled.”
Tina’s dream came true.
“I always loved arts and crafts, and being creative. I love home decor,” she says. “I painted an armoire for my daughter and posted a picture on Facebook. Then, a friend asked me to paint a dresser. My business took off, one person after another. I haven’t been out of work since 2014.”
The busy entrepreneur gets help from her husband and kids, but for the most part, she’s a one-woman band. She shops, travels, hauls, cleans, repairs, paints, and sells.
Once she’s chosen the piece, Tina says there’s a method to her creative process.
“I wait for the piece to talk to me,” she says. “If I’m not 100% sure, I won’t start it. It has to give me inspiration. I let it resonate and sit, then the idea pops up like a lightbulb. It’s like a labor of love.”
Most of Tina’s sales are pieces she picks out herself, paints, and posts, but a small part of her business is custom work.
“I had a client who had his grandmother’s hutch, and didn’t want to throw it away. There were initials carved into it and it was a family heirloom,” she says. “I restored it. I have a duty and an obligation to make people happy. Color makes me so happy, and so does the moment a customer picks up their piece. Seeing someone’s face is priceless.”
Tina says another one of her favorite pieces is a tall chest she painted for her husband for Christmas.
While furniture is her primary palate, she’s had quite a few interesting interior design projects too.
“I’ve refinished banisters and kitchen cabinets, and hung tons of wallpaper. I once faux-painted an 18 foot foyer by hand, top to bottom. One of the coolest things I did was a wallpaper ceiling!”
The 1830’s barn renovated into a home is pretty cool too. Tina consulted on interior design, and went to estate sales to choose items that would compliment the home and the clients’ personal styles.
Then there’s the staging wall in her studio.
“It’s a cool story,” she shares. “I was walking my dogs one day and noticed the Ocean Manor was under renovation. There was a huge heap of wood outside. I asked the owners if I could take it, and they said yes. I ran over with my truck, and immediately brought it home and put it up on the wall. There was not one piece of wood left. It was meant to be, and has become my trademark. Plus, now I have a piece of the island in my art space.”
While working tirelessly in her studio, Tina says she loves listening to tunes.
“I can’t paint without music! I love James Taylor, he’s my number one, but also like country, ’70s soft rock, The Eagles, Rob Thomas, Stevie Wonder, and pop hits too,” she says.
Though she spends most of her days painting and creating, in her free time she likes going to concerts.
“I’ve been to more than 350 shows! I’m also an avid reader,” she says.
Tina spends time in the kitchen, and enjoys dining out at local eateries too, like Jon & Patty’s Coffee Bar & Bistro, Ready’s Coffee Shop, Piccini,The Crab Trap, Charlie’s and Diorio’s.
“We’re also huge RV fans, and take a three week RV vacation to Myrtle Beach every year when the ocean is warm there, but still too cold here. We love the beach,” she says. “When we get back here, this island is jumping! Then, I dive right back into my work, but still make time here and there for the beach at 10th Street. I also love riding my cruiser on the Boardwalk.”
If you see Tina cruising by, give her a wave, or stop and say “Hi” on her social media sites. To see her work, visit facebook.com/makeitamasterpiece or instagram.com/makeitamasterpiece. If you’d like to purchase a piece, Tina says “You have to be quick. Most of them sell the same day, or within a day or two. The longest a piece has ever sat was a week and a half.”
If you have a piece of wood furniture that needs sprucing up or a pop of color, send a photo or two, let her know what you’d like done, and she’ll consider the custom request and provide a quote. A piece takes about a week, weather permitting, and requires a 20 percent down payment.
Tina offers a 30-day warranty within reason, and also provides the customer with touch-up paint and home care instructions.
Contact Tina at 609-703-3021 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.