Winchester Resident Opens Business in Arlington

Winchester resident Bill Phaneuf opened Frames...with a history Jan. 17 at the former Jeans Dirt Cheap space in Arlington Center.

A Winchester resident recently opened a business at the former Jeans Dirt Cheap location in Arlington Center.

Frames…with a history opened at 21 Mystic St., Arlington, one of the storefronts along the path to the right of the Cyrus E. Dallin Art Museum, Jan. 17, according to its owner Bill Phaneuf.

Phaneuf, of Winchester, has made and sold picture frames, mirrors, small furniture and home décor accessories with antique and reclaimed wood for about five years at various art shows, craft fairs and artisan markets, most notably the SoWa Vintage Market every Sunday in Boston’s South End. The Arlington store, however, is his first retail spot.

“It allows me to stay in one place and be available, be consistent,” he said Wednesday afternoon.

Phaneuf’s new store not only contains a small gallery of his work, it also has a window to his workshop in the back. “I think people like to see the artist or artisan at work,” he said.

Phaneuf credits his grandfather, a carpenter, with inspiring him to make frames.

“He always used to make frames for the family,” he said. “My very first frames were frames that I got from him.”

Phaneuf, a Winchester resident, buys his wood from restoration and salvage companies all over New England. Two of his current pieces were made with wood from Norwich State Hospital, an old mental health facility in Connecticut.

Phaneuf said he has always had an interest in antiques as well. “That interest, along with the frames, turned into the primitive style, the rustic style, I do now,” he said.

Phaneuf, who also owns a golf driving range in Connecticut, renovated his new space himself, along with some help from his wife Julie Babson, a Belmont school teacher who also helps him sell his products. He said he’s planning to hold a “grand opening” in late February and is excited about having the Arlington Farmers’ Market so close by in the summer and fall.

For more on Frames…with a history, visit the store’s website and Facebook page.


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