As of today, Middletown has a new creative outlet. Unika Custom Creations specializes in the upcycling trend that's been sweeping the nation with repurposed, reycyled and repainted furniture and accessories. Want to more? Ask about the classes starting in June.

Nika Hipsher’s birthday is Monday but she started celebrating today with the opening of her new business Unika Custom Creations on Green Street.

“It’s an eclectic collection of things that make me feel good,” Hipsher said when asked to describe her little boutique that has taken over the old Bing’s Bakery storefront at 10 W. Green Street. “I love anything and everything that’s really rustic, pieces that have a history and pieces that can be loved into a new life.”

Her eclectic collection began 20 years ago when she had her first child. She needed an outlet, something she could call her own. She began dabbling in crafts—not her mother’s version of crafts, she says with a smile—but found herself drawn to the restorative power of a good paint job. A cycle emerged: the more she did, the more ideas she got.

She began combing yard sales, estate sales and auctions, looking for one-of-a-kind pieces she could put her stamp on.

“They just don’t make furniture like they used to,” she said. “The quality and utility is just not the same. It makes me so happy when I can just repaint a piece, maybe add new knobs or some other touch and all of a sudden you can see it in a new light. You’d be surprised at how much stuff we all have in our homes that just need to be loved back to life.”

Much of her business over the years has been repurposing pieces for herself or for others. But, she doesn’t see the point in trying to have a monopoly on it. What she really wants to do is show people how they can do it themselves. She plans to start offering classes in June that will illustrate the techniques that can give furniture and accessories new life.

“I want people to see that they don’t have to throw out the pieces that aren’t working in their homes anymore,” said Hipsher. “Let me show you how you can save them and save yourself some money in the long run.”

As much as she’s always wanted to offer classes, she didn’t feel confident enough about it until she finally found the paint the American Paint Company’s line of products, which she is selling in her store as well.

“You can smell the difference as soon as you open the can,” she said. “It’s all-natural and a little goes a long way. It’s the best paint I’ve ever used. As soon as I tried it, I knew this was the product for my store. It’s American made and the most user-friendly stuff on the market. I just can’t say enough about it.”

Classes will cost $45 to $125. Right now, her curriculum will likely include an introductory class as well as specific project classes. Students will be able to come in, have some wine and cheese, learn a new skill and leave with a whole new piece. She’s also open to ideas.

“I want people to stop by and tell me about their projects or projects they’ve always wanted to try,” she said. “Let’s talk about what you saw on Pinterest and how we can make that a reality. That’s what I want. I like to think I’m adding a place in town where people can come in, have a cup of coffee and talk about projects. I can do it or maybe I can show you how. We have a lot of options.”