I have such an appreciation for fine artists. It takes a tremendous amount of skill, focus and an eye for details. Nicole Birimcombe applies those talents – literally – to the high-quality drawer pulls and doorknobs she paints for her small shop, Knobby Ni’s. “I do not use stencils. All knobs are made to order and are hand painted by yours truly,” she shared proudly. “Many knob crafters will use decals or decoupage, but I prefer painting directly on the knob to give it a sleek look. This way, my customers can customize to their heart’s content.”
Birimcombe launched Knobby Ni’s in 2013 after searching for a job in the education field. “I was working with my parents in their second hand store and starting to restore some old furniture. One of the desks I did had a knob on the drawer, so I thought it would be neat to paint a design on it,” she recalled. “I enjoy painting, so I looked online and, lo and behold, people actually sold painted drawer knobs. The name actually came to me in a dream, as cliché as that sounds. I have always liked play-on-words, and I thought the name was perfect. I do not think I have particularly knobby knees, but hey, it works!” Birimcombe later took an 18-month sabbatical from the shop to travel and live in England. “I met my wonderful husband there, and now he supports the business 110% by making my painting racks, creating display cases, and looking after our son while I hide out in my paint room,” she laughed.
Knobby Ni’s “furniture bling,” as Birimcombe calls it, is a cost-effective and functional way to update a dated dresser, desk or closet door. The small shop offers a myriad of different themes, like galaxy splatter, mandalas, mermaids, dinosaurs, sports balls, animal prints, or Birimcombe’s current favorite, the rainbow polka dot knobs. “They have been quite popular recently, along with my mountain designs,” she said. Birimcombe’s friends and family provide an endless source of inspiration for the painter. Knobby Ni’s colorful mountain designs, for example, “were created after my sister decided to move to British Columbia,” she added. “I love the freedom that painting knobs gives me. I can be my creative self and express my ideas through my art. It also puts a smile on my face knowing that people across North America are able to enjoy my art in their home every day in a practical way.”
Over the last six years, she has continued to develop her artistic skills. “I look back sometimes and think, ‘I can’t believe someone bought that,’” Birimcombe joked. “My process has also evolved, so I am able to paint more efficiently. I am very proud how far it has come.” This fall, Knobby Ni’s is moving into hand painted Christmas ornaments. “It is very exciting! I will also be spending more time on my canvas paintings, which I am hoping to sell in the new year.” Pick out your own furniture bling (or ask Birimcombe to create a custom set for you) on the Knobby Ni’s Etsy shop or Facebook page here.