Let me set the scene: It was 2006, and I was working as Development Coordinator for the Austin Symphony. Although surrounded by the arts and creative individuals, I knew I needed more than the occasional symphonic concert to keep my interest.

Through college and adulthood, I have always picked up old furniture, refinished, and reused it. I suppose my deep interest in history lent itself to collecting old furnishings, each one with its markings and layers of paint that told the story of its past owners. This combined with my need for a more creative job led to my enrollment in upholstery classes at Austin Community College, which led to the creation of Spruce in 2007.

Since then, I’ve combined design and upholstery to create a fresh aesthetic for interiors and helped hundreds of clients re-imagine their furniture headed for the trash. In 2011, I set out to spread the education of upholstery even further than Austin by introducing the first in a series of six instructional DVDs, and I joined Design*Sponge as a contributing writer and author of the monthly Upholstery Basics column. In October 2013, I’m excited to present The Spruce Guide to Upholstery and Design (Storey Publishing), a labor of love and comprehensive book for all things upholstery.

My life couldn’t have taken this turn without my handsome husband, Keith, my supportive family, and staff.

Thank you all!   — Amanda Brown, Owner

The Sprucettes



Frank Barnhouse,

Sprucester since January 2011

I found Spruce while looking through the Los Angeles Craigslist. I learned the upholstery trade as a teenager between 1972 and 1975 in West Germany and have been doing upholstery ever since. For many years, I have owned my own upholstery business but decided to move to Austin for the opportunity at Spruce.

I was born in a military hospital in Germany to an American father and German mother and am fluent in German and Spanish. I have a wife named Waldina, a son named Brian, and a daughter named Brigitte, as well as a white German Shepherd and three cats!

I have a positive outlook in all that I do and believe in persevering through any setback and to always keep learning. My goals are to love my family and be happy in the things I do.


Katherine Baronet,

Sprucette since January 2011

I was born and bred in the small town of Crowley, Louisiana. My father was, and still is, a farmer of rice, soy beans, and crawfish, and my mother is a jack of all trades. My early interest in woodcrafts and fabrics is easily attributed to the countless hours I have spent in fabric stores, lumber yards, and in my mother’s woodshop. After graduating from Louisiana State University, I had the fantasy of becoming an upholsterer but never thought it was attainable for a young twenty-something girl. I searched and searched for ANYONE who would be willing to take me under their wing and stumbled upon Spruce. Long story short, I moved to Austin and started stripping furniture at Spruce in January of 2011, later to graduate to apprentice and upholsterer. They say, “You learn something new every day.” Well, I probably learn fifty new things every day. I’ve always enjoyed getting my hands dirty and playing with tools, so it seems I will live happily ever after!