Reuse, recycle, repurpose

The owners of Hamilton Two Twelve, recently opened near the corner of Foothill and Harvard, are redefining recyclables.

The upscale consignment shop—which features repurposed home furnishings at reasonable prices—turns gently used items into reprocessed treasures. There is no bookshelf, bicycle or boudoir that friends Jean Hamilton and Pam Wolfe can’t find a new use for. With a little paint and elbow grease, they hope their eclectic collection inspires creative possibilities.

“It’s all about making what you like work,” Ms. Hamilton said. “That’s the beauty of repurposing. Anything goes.”

Their talents, however, are not limited to repurposing. Plenty of items in the shop remain as is, brand new or previously owned pieces ready for the picking. And while the pair is known for their skills with the paintbrush, they also lend their creative know-how to those looking to liven up their living spaces. The Hamilton Two Twelve team offers personal design consultations, helping clients set up and manage estate sales, hunting for new or used pieces for their customers and, when space becomes limited in their store and warehouse, displaying a “lookbook” showcasing high-resolution photos of their customers’ for-sale furnishings.

“We like to feel we are giving our clients an alternative to selling their furniture rather than turning to yard sales, Ebay and Amazon. We are showcasing their items to get the best price, best value that we can for them,” Ms. Hamilton said.

That combination, along with the help of established neighboring businesses like the Ivy House antique emporium, is proving prosperous for the designers. They hope their addition will help build the little stretch of Foothill Boulevard into Claremont’s very own home design center. So far, it’s an idea that seems to be latching on with the community. The store has only been open 5 weeks and the showroom has already been re-arranged 4 times as chairs and china cabinets sell like hot cakes. But the eager owners don’t mind the constant re-design.

“We love the turnover,” Ms. Wolfe said. “It keeps the store new and interesting.”

Ms. Hamilton, a longtime entrepreneur with a former catering business, is happy to be busy in business once more, having realized not long after closing her catering company that retirement was not fitting with her active spirit. It took little prodding from her friends at the Ivy House for her to return into the working realm once more, taking over their shop as the Ivy House moved to a smaller abode next door.

In keeping with the consignment element that worked so well for the Ivy House, Ms. Hamilton and Ms. Wolfe thought a home furnishings business seemed the perfect solution. They met 8 years ago, over paint and pedestals as Ms. Wolfe, a landscape and interior designer, was commissioned to do a redesign on Ms. Hamilton’s Claremont home. A friendship soon developed over a mutual love for design and home embellishments. When it came to opening up Hamilton Two Twelve, it was only natural that Ms. Wolfe would be a part of the mix.

“She has a great design sense and is a natural at knowing what works together, and can get it done fast,” Ms. Hamilton said. “I know what I like, and Pam has the eye.”

Hamilton Two Twelve opened on August 1, and their growing business thrived off their friends’ desire to downsize. Just weeks after committing to opening their shop— thanks to the encouragement of their neighbors at the Ivy House—Ms. Hamilton and Ms. Wolfe were inundated with their cohorts’ former furnishings. Incoming inventory has hardly slowed down since, and the owners, along with sales consultant Katina Pou, are having a great time getting crafty. Pinterest, a pinboard-style social media platform allowing users to share crafts and shared interests, has helped inspire projects like transforming an old bicycle into their welcome sign, converting old picture frames and mirrors into chalkboards and repurposing an old china cabinet to serve as a bookshelf or other storage space.

Instead of seeing furnishings go to waste, Hamilton Two Twelve is jumping at the chance to turn customers’ discards into new delights.  

“There are a lot of people that are selling, moving, downsizing, and young couples that are moving into town. We want to cater to them,” Ms. Hamilton said. “We are encouraging others to clean out their storage space, turn over their old items and find a new piece to love and enjoy.”

Check out the offerings at Hamilton Two Twelve, located at 212 Foothill Boulevard. The store is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. For more information, visit them at

—Beth Hartnett


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