Shop Around

‘Fixer Upper’ style create-your-own home decor shop opens in Lexington

Lexington couple Ashley and Matt Bonte in their AR Workshop on Sunset Boulevard.
Lexington couple Ashley and Matt Bonte in their AR Workshop on Sunset Boulevard. Amanda Oswalt

Chip and Joanna Gaines have created a lot of wanna-be do-it-yourselfers through their HGTV hit show Fixer Upper. But for those who aren't sure they can actually do it all themselves, Lexington couple Ashley and Matt Bonte have opened a business that can help.

On Thursday, the former school teachers opened an Anders Ruff Co. AR Workshop in Lexington--a creative space at 5076 Sunset Blvd. in the shopping center anchored by restaurants Travinia Italian and Momma Rabbit’s and located across from Target. At AR Workshop, folks can participate in DIY workshops that feature step-by-step instruction for creating personal, trendy home decor pieces.

“When we heard about this (franchise) opportunity where we could build everything by hand and purchase every little detail on our own, we knew it would be fun to tackle,” Ashley told The State. “We love DIY projects and were praying for the right business opportunity to come along. We knew the Lexington community would receive it well and it has shown as we had an overwhelming response to our grand opening.”

AR Workshop originated in 2010 when Maureen Anders and Adria Ruff founded the North Carolina company as a graphic design, party styling, DIY blog and online shop. The company now operates multiple locations across 15 states. The shop’s DIY workshops--which are accompanied by music, beer and wine--teach how to make customizable projects from custom wood signs, wood pallet signs, canvas pillows, lazy Susans, centerpieces and more. While individuals can sign up for classes on their own, the shop also books parties for kids, girls’ nights out, date nights and team-building classes for companies and businesses.

For the Bontes, the Lexington shop came to be when the right space came available. Matt’s love for power tools and Ashley’s love of crafting made the decision easy since the business gives them the opportunity to engage in both.

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