The Male Perspective

About a month or so ago I was in the shop over the weekend bringing in some new furniture and trying to stay under the radar.  I was trying to just get in and out of the shop and back to my kids.  I had my bestie Yvette from Foundry with me and we couldn’t help but notice this adorable father and his 3 kids (2 girls elementary/middle school + 1 boy in a car seat, yes he deserved father of the year for that alone!).  Usually when guys come in the shop they have a list of DIY products they need to purchase for their wife.


This guy was different I could hear him talking with his girls about colors and the project they were going to do.  I walked up to him and asked him if he needed any help.  He said no thank you that he was just deciding on colors for his project.  I walked away and went about my business of trying to get out of the shop in under 2 hours (if I think it’s going to take 30 minutes it usually really ends up being 2 hours).  The whole time Yvette and I were watching this cute family and she and I were thinking the same thing “How cool is this guy all into using the paint and DIY thing!”.  Yvette was like you need to interview him for the blog and she was right but I was trying to get out of the shop.  So I brushed it off until she was like I’m going to go ask him if you can interview him for the blog!  So she did and here we are… I ended up chatting with Joshua for about 45 more minutes after he agreed to be interviewed.  He and I spend tons of time in our DIY section and I showed him some other cool products like General Finishes Gel Stains and the High Performance Poly that I think are awesome.

I hope you enjoy this fun little interview with Joshua!

Joshua Symonette - bio.pic

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am a native of Miami, FL. I came to the DC area after college in 2000. I met my wife Ericka a year later. She was a senior at Howard University. We have been married for 13 years and we have 3 kids (Jaylah – 12, Joslyn – 9, Isaiah – 9 months). We currently live in Alexandria, VA. Our family has an affinity for the arts. Jaylah has been a performing dancer since she was 3. Joslyn is a drummer. Ericka is a fashion marketing teacher at a high school in Fairfax County and started an online clothing boutique. And I paint furniture and love pretty much all things home decor (and sports). That’s probably not a typical combination.

How did you start repurposing furniture and where do you find your pieces?

I stumbled into repurposing when my dad told me that I needed a hobby. Since I could remember, I could always recognize potential. One day I came across a home DIY magazine and decided to try my hand at replicating a featured project. It was terrible. But I took it as a challenge to see if I could become good at it. Over time I just kept practicing until I gained confidence. It probably took me 3-4 pieces before I started to figure it out. I was hooked. I started reading blogs, watching more HGTV, studying You Tube videos, etc. Then I came across the blog of Miss Mustard Seed. Her story really inspired me. Since then, I have entertained the thought of owning a furniture boutique. (That’s why I love Stylish Patina so much. It’s like seeing my dream every time I go there.)

As for how I find my pieces, it depends. But I look on Craigslist and local auction sites to see what someone is basically giving away. But some of my best pieces have been stuff I found on the side of the road. I actually get more excited about those pieces. It’s like finding a hidden treasure. Once the spring comes, people in this area are always putting things on the curb. So, sometimes I will do a drive by on trash days.

Do you have a favorite Chalk Paint® color?

I have not used all of the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint colors. But I think Barcelona Orange has been my favorite one so far. I thought it would be fun to use a bright color that was outside of the box for me. It did not disappoint. 

Do you have a favorite project you have done? 

I think my favorite project was working on a matching dresser and chest that I got for free from a man who bought an old row home for his daughter in DC. The pieces were beautiful antiques that needed a little TLC to be brought back to life. I used the Paris Grey Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in combination with the dark wax. It was my first time using the dark wax and it was amazing!

Do you get teased by your guy friends about your new hobby?

Several weeks ago I was having a lunch meeting with a couple of guys I was just meeting for the first time. When I was asked about my hobbies, I said I loved home decor and I restoring furniture. He laughed very loudly. I think the look I had on my face made him realize that he should probably stop laughing. That type of response among guys is actually not the norm. Most are surprised because they know I love sports and have an athletic background. But most think it is cool and odd at the same time. 

If is true you were a football player?

Yes, in my past life I did play a little football. I rarely lead with that because I want people to get to know me as a regular guy because that’s what I am. Back in 2000, I was fortunate to sign with the Redskins as an undrafted free agent from Tennessee Technological University. It was always a dream of mine to play in the National Football League. I was able to do that for a short time. I spent time with the Redskins, Dolphins, and played a season in the now defunct NFL Europe. 

Any tips for a newbie just getting into repurposing? 

I always encourage people to just go for it. You never know until you try. Find something around the house (that you wouldn’t be too upset about if you messed it up) or go to the “free” section on Craigslist and experiment a little bit. Annie Sloan Chalk paint is a great product to practice with because it is so easy to use. You can usually cover a piece in a couple of coats of paint. Also, use You Tube and DIY blogs for tips. Most of those people have already made all the mistakes you can make. So follow their tips until you develop your own experience. I think you will find that it is fun and not that difficult. 

Here are a few of my favorite Before + After projects from Joshua!  I love his look it’s very chic + stylish.

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Are you local and buy your DIY products from us at Stylish Patina?  If you have a fun story on how you got involved in DIY projects and refurbishing furniture then contact us at

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6 Responses to The Male Perspective

  1. Lisa Dry says:

    Kelly, “The Male Perspective” is one of your best ever blogs. Extremely interesting, thanks to your bestie Yvette for prodding you to do the interview!

  2. linda henderson says:

    As soon as he said his wife’s name, I knew my son had had her for marketing…and confirmed when I saw his last name). Awesome teacher, and clearly, an awesome family. Great article.

  3. Michele Flynn says:

    What a nice surprise on your blog and such a great story!! Thoroughly enjoyed it.

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