Thursday, December 5, 2013

Rustic Tins

Since I'm taking a mini break from rehabbing furniture (just until Christmas is over), I've been working on some smaller projects.  I've accumulated quite a few tins over the years and they're great for storage so I couldn't bring myself to throw them out.  So, what do you do when you want to give new life to something that's seen better days?  Upcycle!

I gave them a couple of coats of primer, then used a dark wax to antique them.  I was able to print some graphics in black from thegraphicsfairy directly onto the burlap.  Then I used Mod Podge to adhere the burlap to the tin and hot glue for the jute tie.

For some reason, my inkjet printer didn't like the red burlap - maybe because it's more loosely woven - and the graphics in white just wouldn't print.  It's times like this that my Silhouette Cameo comes in handy, so I used it to cut stencils to use on the red burlap.

It was a fun project and I loved the challenge!  The tins are available in my space at Fortunato Court, 21 Main St., Sturbridge MA.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Bonne Nuit Chest

My son recently sent me a text that there was some "old furniture" at a yard sale.  Since "old furniture" is the magic word, I was on my way!

There were two pieces - a matching dresser & chest of drawers.  The finish was a mess on both of them but they were definitely salvageable - and the price was right.  In my haste to get started, I forgot to take a "before" picture of the chest but it was in the same condition as this matching dresser.

Here's the rehabbed chest of drawers.

I wanted to have some fun with this one and bring out all of the great detail and even add a "Good Night" from

After sanding I put two coats of Zinsser latex primer on to prevent any bleed through.  It was painted with homemade chalk paint in Behr Flint Smoke and the detail was painted with Behr River Rock and Valspar Transit Pass.  It is lightly distressed and antiqued with glaze tinted with Graphite craft paint.  The finish on the body is waxed and the top is protected with two coats of Wipe-On Poly after a stain of MinWax Dark Walnut.

I kept the original hardware but painted it with Martha Stewart's Pewter Metallic Paint, then dry brushed with MS Silver Metallic Paint.

There's definitely nothing boring about this chest - not even inside the drawers!


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Burlap & Black

Recently a dear friend gave me a pair of these end tables that she no longer had any use for.  They're nice tables - just needed an updated look and some joints reglued to tighten up the "wobbles."
I don't plan to finish them as a matching pair - so here's the updated look for Table No. 1.  I really like the combination of burlap & black but I suspect that the update for Table No. 2 will look totally different.

(Thanks, Carol!)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

French End Table

I found this cute little end table at a yard sale.  I think it was a record cabinet in a former life because of the slats on the bottom shelf - there are corresponding slats on the under side of the top shelf but the slats were missing.  I know some really like the chippy look but this table had stains and paint had been spilled on it.  So a rehab was definitely needed.

After some cleaning, sanding, and a couple of coats of homemade chalk paint made from Valspar's "Transit Pass," the finish was antiqued with Minwax "Early American" stain.  The transformation was almost complete.

The top of the cabinet definitely needed something to make it a little more interesting, so I visited and found the perfect typography.  Much better!

End tables and night stands seem to be interchangeable now, so this cute little table works for either!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Go Retro!

I found this magazine table at an estate sale.  It was a disgusting color that I'll just call Dijon Mustard.  I thought I had a "before" photo but for now it's MIA.  It's called a magazine table because of the magazine rack on each end and it could easily sit between two chairs as the drawer opens from either side for easy access.

It's a great, solid table most likely from the 50's, so it's gone retro!

I wanted to add to the funky vibe, so I decoupaged the top and bottom of the drawer with ads from a vintage (1942) magazine.  To protect the top, I sprayed it with 2 coats of acrylic sealer and then brushed on 3 coats of Polycrylic.  Sure wish I had that "before" photo!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Out of Rehab

Sadly, four dining room chairs were no longer loved and were discarded by their owners.  Luckily, they were rescued shortly after and entered rehab.

I'm happy to report that following several days of intensive therapy, they have been released!

The first step in therapy was a good cleaning and sanding to remove most of the old varnish, then they were whitewashed and received a good coating of natural wax for protection.  I love the way the wood feels after that coat of wax!  Finally, they're sporting new upholstery (stenciled drop cloth) and are ready to be loved again!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Mystery Table

Found this little table at a yard sale.  Nice size, sturdy little table - nothing odd about it until you look at its profile.  Yep, the top is slanted.

My best guess is that it was a child's writing table (wouldn't call it a desk as there's no drawer).  So....  I got rid of the pink, then painted black & distressed, stripped & stained the top with Minwax Dark Walnut.  Added some typography (courtesy of to add some interest to the top.

 Anyone have a guess or know what the original use was?

Footstool Redux

I stepped out of my comfort zone when I painted this footstool pink several weeks ago.  I did like it with the vintage barkcloth I used for the upholstery but after looking at it for a few weeks, decided it was a little too "coastal" for this area of New England.

So... it's now black.  What do you think... like the black better?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Zinc Finish Table

Several days ago I tried out the zinc finish on a small mirror frame.  I liked how it came out so tried it on a larger piece.  This end table would have been a challenge to paint with anything other than a sprayed-on finish because of limited access to the two shelves but I had to be a contortionist to get at them with a paint brush. 

Here's the "before"

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Upcycled End Table

Seems like I've been drawn to end tables lately - maybe because they're frequently "orphaned?"  This sturdy end table is all dressed up in Teal Zeal by Behr, lightly distressed and then antiqued with a Graphite glaze.

Here's what it looked like before it was saved and "dressed."

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Zinc Mirror

I've been wanting to try a zinc finish so decided to start small.  No before photo but this mirror has a wood frame that was in a dark finish - think mahogany.

Now that I've tried it, I can see it on a small piece of furniture - I think I have just the table in my warehouse (still my living room!).

Monday, October 14, 2013

Maple Leaf Mirror

Here's a mirror from the 40's with a maple leaf engraved - I guess that's because the frame is made of maple?  It's a nice, solid piece and the mirror is in good shape but it could definitely use a facelift.

Here's the "after," painted with Crocodile Smile by Valspar (a green I've used before) and waxed with Fiddes Antique Brown.  It's lightly distressed and the maple leaf is a little more subtle now.  Hope you like it.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Drawer Without a Desk - Part 2

The up-cycle of the drawer without a desk is complete.  

It's now a chalkboard - with character!

I kept the pen/clip holder and repositioned it to hold chalk, eraser, etc.

Love the dovetailed corners & the manufacturer's stamp on the inside.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Drawer Without a Desk

Several months ago when I was just getting back into rehabbing furniture after putting my hobby on hold for many years, I found an office desk curbside.  It was big and it was free!  It barely fit into the back of my SUV but I just knew I could give it a second life.  So... it sat in my warehouse (living room) for months while I worked on other projects and tried to ignore the elephant in the room.

I just couldn't wrap my brain around what to do with it.  Finally, I decided that even though it was a good, solid wood office desk that it was nothing special and that it just didn't make sense to spend any time or money to rehab it, as big office desks just don't seem to be a marketable piece anymore.

So.... I enlisted the help of my assistant (boyfriend) and we cut it up.  I now have two separate 3-drawer units that I do plan to rehab.  I also kept the large middle drawer, which I also have plans for.

I liked that the middle drawer had the wooden holder for pencils, clips, etc., the original manufacturing tag (Jasper Office Furniture, 1952) on the back and manufacturing stamp on the inside of the drawer.  I intend to preserve all of this and will have the up-cycled drawer to show you within the next few days.

Here's the "before" of the drawer and some of the details that I liked:

Mismatched Pair

I've been MIA for a few days - some time away and now back to working on some projects!  I don't have a before photo of this mismatched pair but there are lots of them around, so use your imagination.  I found these two at an estate sale a couple of months ago in my favorite spot - the cellar/basement.  They are both oak, solid and no "wobbles" needed to be dealt with so I could concentrate on how to finish them.  Of course, they were missing the seats, but in the world of rehabbing furniture, that's a minor issue - right?

Since despite their differences they did have some basics in common (oak, size, seat type), I decided to finish them as a pair and I think they work well together.

This was the first time I've used a fiber seat to replace cane.  It's a quick project, though not inexpensive as I could only find them online.   I'll have to keep my eyes and ears open for an alternative.

Friday, September 20, 2013


This sad little footstool was begging to be rescued from the thrift store.  In a previous life it had been loved - someone put hours into the needlepoint cover.  Sadly, the cover was now moth eaten.

Pink is not one of my go-to colors but I was inspired by a piece of vintage bark cloth that I recently found.  I think the cloth is perfect for this little footstool's new life, so pink it is!