Business Jan '18

Buster’s Antiques: Giving Vintage Style New Life

Owner Keith Gilbert with his loyal friend/brand ambassador, Buster (Buster's Antiques. By Kelly Nash Photography.)
Owner Keith Gilbert with his loyal friend/brand ambassador, Buster. By Kelly Nash Photography.

You may find yourself wanting a new look for your home in the New Year. Instead of revamping your living space with generic department store furniture, Buster’s Antique’s offers a unique twist on vintage furniture. Owner Keith Gilbert opened Buster’s four years ago with a specific purpose in mind.

“When I bought the shop, the previous owner was selling a lot of lamps, it was sort of their specialty. I took it a different direction,” Gilbert said. “What appealed to me is making something more modern-looking out of vintage furniture, so that the shop would be more reflective of my own interests and personality.”

Buster's Antiques. By Kelly Nash Photography.
Buster’s Antiques. By Kelly Nash Photography.

Repurposing and Upcycling

Buster’s is more than the typical antique shop, specializing in breathing new life into classic pieces. “People will bring me their furniture, and I will update the look of it. There’s a lot of different looks that can be made from them, it all depends on what the customer wants,” Gilbert said.

Buster’s Antiques is accustomed to serving a diverse clientele in St. Petersburg. “I get older customers interested in the smaller decor, but also lots of younger people establishing homes. Instead of buying something new and putting it together, the quality is often better with older furniture, especially since they can update the look,” Gilbert said.

Buster’s Antiques. By Kelly Nash Photography.
Buster’s Antiques. By Kelly Nash Photography.

He mentioned that many customers opt for vintage decor due to its superior quality, as well as out of concern for the environment. The shop has a focus on the 50s and 60s, mostly midcentury.

“Modern generic furniture, the build quality of it, sometimes it’s not even solid wood,” he said. “This is a green thing, too. You’re not stuffing a landfill with a thrown-out piece of furniture; you’re instead repurposing and upcycling.”

Only the Best Paint

Gilbert exclusively uses Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® on the pieces he upcycles and sells at Buster’s. Designed for easy application and sealed with soft wax, Chalk Paint® offers superior versatility and durability. Right from the start, Gilbert knew the Chalk Paint® was the only choice to use in his work at Buster’s Antiques. Once his application to become a Stockist was accepted he went through a training process to learn the Annie Sloan Method.

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® Available at Buster's Antiques. By Kelly Nash Photography.
Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® Available at Buster’s Antiques. By Kelly Nash Photography.

“I learned the standard methods for working with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint®, how to properly use and seal it. What’s nice about her paint is that you don’t have to sand or prime, it can go right on the furniture and it adheres beautifully to most surfaces without much prep work,” he said.

His restyled furniture with Chalk Paint® is so popular that Gilbert decided to host Annie Sloan training sessions at Buster’s. Registration is open to the public so that anyone interested in DIY renovations using the versatile paint can purchase a spot in the workshop.

Annie Sloan and Keith Gilbert
Keith (pictured here with Annie Sloan) went through a training process to learn the Annie Sloan Method of Chalk Painting.

“I host three-hour workshops, which cover the most popular techniques with the paint. People can learn the specific methods to achieve a look, and how to use the paints to give a distressed look, a modern look or a rustic one. I also sell what I make in the workshops,” Gilbert said.

Building upon the success of Buster’s Antiques and the current workshops, Gilbert is looking to offer even more workshop options in the future. He said: “I want to expand the workshops to include make-and-take, where people complete small projects to take and use in their own homes. Perhaps also bring-your-own-piece (BYOP) where people can bring in a piece from home and they use my workshop to complete their projects. Expanding the workshops to offer more techniques so more people can enjoy what vintage furniture has to offer.”

Come out and see how beautiful repurposed furniture can be at Buster’s Antiques. The shop is located at 2536 Central Avenue. They are open Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and closed on Mondays. Call 727-202-8961 with any questions. For more information on Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® and the workshops offered, please visit

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