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Posted: Friday, October 24, 2008 10:00 pm

Tucked away in an old shopping center on Lower Sacramento Road is The Framer's Cottage, where Patricia Pinnell Bohnak and her husband, Stephen Bohnak, put the finishing touch on both art and memories. Since opening in 1996, The Framer's Cottage has offered custom framing at half off what retail stores charge. When it comes to wall decor, it's not just paintings that look good framed. Shadow boxes are popular. They add depth and character to a room preserving collections of photographs, newspaper clippings, military awards and even baby booties.

Patricia Pinnell Bohnak talks about owning her store and how she went from doing interior design to a framing pro.

Q: How did you get into framing?

A: I was an interior designer and I just saw a need to do affordable picture frames and pictures.

Q: When it comes to framing, it seems there is so much to know. How to do you go from knowing only framing basics to professional framing? Did you have to go to school?

A: I purchased the equipment from a shop that closed in Fresno and they taught me everything. You're continuously learning. You have to figure out what to do with what they give you. You have to secure it in a frame, keep it in original condition and display it.

Q: Pricing varies with each project, but is there a way to explain pricing in general?

A: Our prices are 50 percent below retail stores.

Q: Do you have a favorite piece you've framed?

A: This is the biggest treasure I've ever done (points to gold heart in military frame). At Christmastime, we also get a lot of stitcheries that grandma's have made.

Q: Do people walk in and choose their own frames?

A: No, we help them. We all have an interior design background. We ask a lot of questions about their home design and style.

Q: Do customers appreciate that your a local, mom-and-pop kind of business?

A: Absolutely. Plus, I'm a native Lodian. I went to Lodi High School.

Q: What do you do for fun, outside of framing?

A: I have many grandkids. I have a brand new granddaughters, named Kara. She 7 months old and spends half the year in Hawaii and the other half in Argentina.

Stephen is a cook by love. We also like to go to a lot of food festivals.

Q: Do you travel a lot? Where do you go?

A: I do. I've gone to Europe, Greece, Thailand and South America.

Q: Does traveling inspire you?

A: Yes, I always go to art museums when I'm traveling. I also collect (object) from the natural environment and I only buy from street artists.

Q: Are there local galleries or museums that inspire you?

A: We have a charm called The Haggin. In Los Angeles, there are three that I love to go through, including the Huntington.

Q: What's been the most difficult framing challenge?

A: A 25-foot-long canvas painting that was brought from Europe. It sat wrinkled for a year. We had to restretch it and contact the artist to see what paint he used so we could iron it.

Q: Who are your biggest clients?

A: We work with a lot of artists. We are doing work for Rick Turner, whose art will be displayed in Lodi Memorial Hospital.

Q: What's something people don't always know?

A: We tell a lot of artists to buy a standard frame and if they bring it in we'll do their matting. That can be as cheap as $4.

The Framer's Cottage is located at 10126 Lower Sacramento Road. Contact them at 957-9545.

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