Giving Office Furniture a Second Life

By Michelle Johnson | GFDA Contributor.

As the self-proclaimed Queen of Crap, Kathey Pear is on a mission to extend the lifespan of unwanted office furniture. After a 40-year career in furniture sales and marketing, the Boulder-based entrepreneur created Pear Project Services, a Denver company that saves unwanted office furniture from the landfill by redistributing them to workplaces around Colorado. PPS offers new, used, and rental furniture, too. Plus, they have design, installation and decommission services to make it that much easier.

We caught up with Kathey about the best advice she’s received, her influential role models, her hope for the future of design, and more. 

The last vintage thing I bought and love: 

I didn’t buy it, but I am still using my father’s antique desk. It was already antique when he used it in the 1960s and ’70s and it’s still a beautiful piece of furniture with dovetailed drawers and inlaid leather.

I have a collection of:

Pear-aphenalia. I lay claim to having the largest (and possibly only) collection of random pear objects and images in the world. 

A place or experience that made me care the most about the environment:

Growing up in South Jersey in the mid-20th century, I watched orchards, fields, and forests get replaced by housing developments, roads, and cement. I mourned each time the tractors came along to rip out the trees and native vegetation. It makes me sad to go back there now.

My hope for the future of design:

That the most creative people will be most appreciated for their talent and unique perspectives. Design “artists” are too often encouraged to play it safe, which leads to mediocre results. It’s good to be a little wild and crazy!

My favorite building: 

Nearly any art or natural history museum! I love browsing through random collections and finding unexpected treasures. One of my earliest memories is of walking through the Brooklyn Museum at about age four. My father bought me a little enameled violin pin that I still have.

An indulgence I would never forego: 

Visiting the gift shop at any museum or botanic garden. Cats and flowers are my not-so-secret indulgences.

The best advice I’ve ever received: 

“It’s quality, not quantity, that matters.” I learned this lesson after I received the only D grade of my life from a passionate Life Drawing teacher at the University of Connecticut. As I lamented to him that I had worked so long and hard on my final project, he chuckled and simply said, “Honey, it’s quality not quantity that matters in life.” This simple piece of advice has affected so many aspects of my life since then.

The person who had the most influence on me: 

Georgia O’Keeffe as an artist; Gloria Steinem and Ruth Bader Ginsburg as feminist role models.

If I could invent something, it would be: 

Bulletproof “shields” for children, teachers, and concert attendees.

Which skill would you most like to have? 

Patience and the ability to keep my mouth shut when I feel passionate.

What color do you identify with most? 

I’ve always loved yellow, the color of the sun and sunflowers. To me, yellow is the happiest color. 

(Editor’s note: Really? Pear-green is not her favorite color? ????)

Interviewed by Michelle Johnson, our GFDA Contributor who lives in Denver, CO. Michelle is currently the home editor at 5280, Denver’s leading city magazine, curating content that highlights the most stylish spaces in Denver.

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