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The Woodshop 'Blooms' in McHenry

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(Monica Maschak - mmaschak@shawmedia.com)
The Woodshop owner Robert Novak paints a seasonal Christmas sign on old barn wood in his McHenry store.
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(Monica Maschak - mmaschak@shawmedia.com)
Blooms & Rooms owner Joyce Miller-Konstantinow adds ornaments and decorations to a Christmas tree in the store she shares with The Woodshop in McHenry.
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(Monica Maschak - mmaschak@shawmedia.com)
Bob Novak's workbench in The Woodshop.

McHENRY – It's hard to tell where The Woodshop ends and Blooms & Rooms begins.

The two businesses have been sharing space at 3301 W. Elm St. the past three months.

The 1928 building overlooking the Fox River was home to Petals & Stems Flower Shop for 38 years, operated by Bob Novak, who opened The Woodshop in the space four years ago.

The greenhouse is still there. You can't miss it as you enter the building, with a potting bench made out of an old kitchen sink as the centerpiece. There's a sign that says "This ain't no museum, this junk's for sale."

"I'm a picker, just like on the TV show," Novak said. He pointed out a recent purchase – a cigar-store statue made of cedar. His other acquisitions "are spread out everywhere' in the building, which features four rooms upstairs and four downstairs. "Each room tells a story," he said.

Novak also makes furniture to order, mostly out of old barn wood, with the help of his friend and cabinet maker Lou Merci.

"We recycle everything," Novak said.

Joyce Miller-Konstantinow has brought her interior design skills to shop, with accent pieces, crafts and silk florals.

"I like reblending and repurposing for interior designs," Miller-Konstantinow said.

"I always knew of Petals & Stems all these years," she said. "I passed by here all the time. I just loved this place."

One day she stopped in the shop to talk to Novak. "I just knew our businesses would blend. It took him being open-minded for it to work, letting a complete stranger come and taking over over a lot of his space."

Blooms & Rooms Design Studio officially joined The Woodshop on Sept. 9.

She said The Woodshop is much more than a resale shop. "It has a lot of character. That's what I really like."

"Blending old and new, my designs and her flowers complement each other," Novak said.

They have similar tastes.

"The look right now is shabby chic," Novak said.

"Rustic redefined is the new look," Miller-Konstantinow said separately.

This time of year, the store pops with decorative items for the holidays. Throughout the store are unique Christmas ornaments, custom florals and greenery to decorate a home inside and out.

In a small studio, McHenry artist Liz Waddington was making an Advent calendar using clothespins and barn wood. Some of her watercolor paintings of colorful flowers are on the walls.

Miller-Konstantinow is busy decorating home interiors for Christmas. She has been decorating Donna Skala's house in Long Grove for at least a decade.

"She has a special knack for design," Skala said. "She has a unique style and keeps up with the trends. It comes naturally to her."

Skala said Miller-Konstantinow decorates her two 9-foot Christmas trees and rooms – from the armoire to the staircase. "She does everything. She's a special person who always has new ideas. She finds products that other people don't. She's classy and unique.

"I get a lot of compliments every year," Skala said.

Lately, Novak has been painting holiday signs featuring snowmen on manageable pieces of 100-year-old barn wood.

He painted a huge, smiling Santa carrying a bag full of toys on a 4-by-8-foot piece of wood that hangs on a wall in the store.

"If it's flat, I'll paint on it,' he said.

Novak, who turns 75 next year, still works seven days a week. "I love coming to work every day and speaking with the public," he said.

About Blooms & Rooms Design Studio: What: Services include interior design planning and selection, custom silk flowers, home decor styling, color consultations, reclaimed, repurposed furnishings and workshops of inspiration. Information: Call 815-759-5959, or visit www.bloomsandrooms.com.

About The Woodshop: What: Furniture and signs made out of repurposed wood; antiques and collectables. Information: Call 815-354-5363.

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