Strawberry Hill Upcycling Boutique: Mother and daughter turn trash into treasures

Sandra Kelly (left) and daughter Melissa Loe have owned Strawberry Hill Upcycling Boutique since 2014. (Jake Magee/Community Impact Newspaper)
Sandra Kelly (left) and daughter Melissa Loe have owned Strawberry Hill Upcycling Boutique since 2014. (Jake Magee/Community Impact Newspaper)

Sandra Kelly (left) and daughter Melissa Loe have owned Strawberry Hill Upcycling Boutique since 2014. (Jake Magee/Community Impact Newspaper)

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Coastal-themed items are painted turquoise, coral and other sea-related colors. (Jake Magee/Community Impact Newspaper)
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By organizing the store by color, customers can easily see which items would complement each other, Kelly said. (Jake Magee/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Kelly and Loe described many of their upcycled items as rustic and chic. (Jake Magee/Community Impact Newspaper)
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A popular design trend is farmhouse themed and primarily features white wooden items with black accents. (Jake Magee/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Kelly likes to take picture frames and other small items and refurbish them with paint and wood. (Jake Magee/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Strawberry Hill's decor is organized by color and style. (Jake Magee/Community Impact Newspaper)
They call it “hunting for treasure.”

It begins with Sandra Kelly and her daughter, Melissa Loe, finding a piece of junk at a rummage sale or an auction, and it ends with them turning it into a rustic or chic decoration they display at their local business, Strawberry Hill Upcycling Boutique.

As the name implies, the business is a retail shop home to hundreds of unique picture frames, wine bottle, candle holders, furniture and other knick knacks big and small that started as worthless items Kelly and Loe “upcycled” into unique home decor, they said.

As a child, Kelly would see lawn decorations and furniture and wonder to herself how she might improve them. Now she runs a store that allows her to explore that creative outlet, she said.

“I have a wide variety of talent and interest in crafts,” Kelly said.

For Loe, owning the upcycling boutique was not an initial dream of hers. She suffered life-threatening immune disorders in college, and even though she had a journalism degree, Kelly pushed her to help with upcycling projects. Reluctantly, Melissa gave it a shot.

“I went through six months of chemo, and I was a zombie. I needed a purpose,” Melissa said.

At first, Melissa’s paint jobs and other work to retouch antiques were not impressive, but her mother kept encouraging her. Now, Melissa handles most of the store’s bigger pieces, such as furniture, on her own, she said.

“People say we will pick anything up and paint it,” Loe said.

Kelly and Loe said it is a joy to help customers learn how to upcycle on their own. They encourage the store’s patrons at do-it-yourself nights to try repainting and repurposing old items, and many find success and share photos of their work with Kelly and Loe, they said.

But the best part of the job for them both is working with family.

Kelly’s father was a salesman who opened a themed retail shop called Strawberry Hill in Missouri. When opening the boutique in League City, Kelly and Loe simultaneously came to the decision to carry on that legacy by giving their own shop the same name.

Ever since, the women have enjoyed working with each other daily.

“It’s a great collaboration,” Kelly said. “It’s a dream come true.”

Strawberry Hill Upcycling Boutique

240 Park Ave., Ste. 2, League City


Hours: Tue.-Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m., closed Sun.-Mon.
By Jake Magee
Jake Magee has been a print journalist for several years, covering numerous beats including city government, education, business and more. Starting off at a daily newspaper in southern Wisconsin, Magee covered two small cities before being promoted to covering city government in the heart of newspaper's coverage area. He moved to Houston in mid-2018 to be the editor for and launch the Bay Area edition of Community Impact Newspaper.



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