Goodbye Brass, Hello Class

June 3, 2009

Earlier I hinted at the stash of exceptionally tacky brass objects I picked up at the Goodwill yesterday.  I had been looking for the perfect little table to sit next to my master bathtub for keeping soaps, washcloths and other bath products handy.  Then I spotted a hideously shiny metal table that I knew I could transform with just a bit of spray paint.

Here are the items before the transformation.  They consist of a shiny brass table and candlesticks, rusty planter, tarnished mint julep cup and brassy framed mirror.  Total rejects right?  Wrong.

Here’s my transformation:

First things first.  In order to shout “Be gone, vile brass!” you must arm yourself with spray paint.  I wanted to give the candlesticks an antiqued look, so I sprayed the first layer with an espresso color:

Then I gave the candlesticks a second layer of Rustoleum’s ‘Heirloom White’ (a favorite) and wiped away a bit of paint with moist wipes to expose the brown underneath.

Next, I spray painted the $2 mirror and $1 rusty bucket with the same paint.  I wiped away a bit of paint on the frame to expose the beaded trim underneath.

I spray painted the $5 brass metal table with the same Heirloom White paint.  And I cleaned up this silver mint julep cup with a bit of silver polish.  I added some candles and towels from Kohls, some soaps and hydrangea buds, and now I have my lovely bath side table, equipped for all things relaxing.  I love the harlequin pattern on the base of this little table.

Now it’s time to order that Oceanside glass tile this week to trim out my next big home improvement project:  my dream master shower, wahoo!




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69 Responses to “Goodbye Brass, Hello Class”

  1. Karen says:

    OMGosh! Love the "after" photos. I'm not sure if I would have seen the potentional like you did. Love the litte bucket with the lotions and such. Thanks for the great idea!

  2. Amber says:

    This is GOREOUS! What a fabulous "set" you created. Spray painting things like this always gives me a high, and no, it's not from the paint can fumes! LOL I love the pattern on the table. You have such fantastic vision. Thanks for the insperation.

  3. Emily from says:

    What a transformation! You could be a retail stylist. Nice eye for collections.

  4. Beverly says:

    Wow! What a transformation! It's beautiful.

  5. Dawn says:

    Absolutely amazing!!!! All of it!!!!

    Now I have to be on the lookout for tacky brass stuff at Goodwill!

  6. mrosev14 says:

    That looks awesome! Great job as always.

  7. Jamie says:

    Wow! Everything looks great! What a person can do with spray paint never ceases to amaze me!

  8. Sandy says:

    It is amazing that you can see the potential of all of those things. Together, after all of your touches, they look like they were all made to go together. Beautiful.

    I need to go get me some spray paint!

  9. Simply Susan says:

    I do not know what I was expecting, except that I knew it would be lovely :o) What you did it just gorgeous! I have got to get myself back to the Goodwill store and get me some paint!!!

  10. Stephanie says:

    WOW! I am speechless, It's BEEYOUTIFULL! :)

  11. Megan Lee says:

    Wow- I love them all! I guess I'll have to look more closely for the potential in thrift shop/vintage items. I never knew you could do this! Thanks!

  12. Kim says:

    How did you already get all that done when you got the stuff YESTERDAY? I'm beginning to think that in addition to not sleeping, you may have superhuman powers.

    That mint julep cup… *swoon*. I'm officially on a mission to find tarnished items to make them look that nice.

    Your posts make me feel grossly inadequate. But, I still love them.

  13. Amanda @ Serenity Now says:

    Wowee! That little table was monstrously ugly…talk about a makeover! :) I really love the technique you used on the candlesticks. I might have to try that! ;)

  14. Giggles says:

    Another success, and inspiration for those who'd never thought of recycling!! Well done, so pretty!

  15. Robin Thomas: A Nest With a View says:

    Yowza, are you kidding me? Brilliant!

  16. Me & My House says:

    Hey! I just sent you a message girlie but this redo is worth more than one comment…you did a great job! I LOVE it…worth the wait…way to go on building the anticipation, BTW…LOL! Love it! Fabulous! Gorgeous! Aaaaaahhhhh…

  17. A Touch of Country says:

    Dang girl…you have definitely got an eye for transformations. WOW! I would've passed by these shiny brass uglies. You created a beautiful vignette.

    Great Job!

  18. Kimba says:

    That is fantastic! You rawk!

    I've never tried the double layer spray paint technique before. Something new to try!


  19. Chrissie Grace says:

    Looks like a lovely spa set-up.
    Awesome job, it's all beautiful.
    Thanks for trick with brown underneath…never knew that!

  20. motherof3fellows says:

    LOVE it…. yuor blog is so amazing, I get so many ideas!!! Thanks a lot :)

  21. Rebekah says:

    Gasp! Good eye, Kate. Good eye.

  22. southerninspiration says:

    Wow, how fabulous it looks now!!! I love your ideas!


  23. Sa-Sea Boutique says:


  24. Frugal Jen says:

    I've been on this black spray painting kick now I am loving that white color!

  25. Jen says:

    You have vision – and patience! Three years with no master shower? I would go insane using the kids' bath for that long. But Oceanside glass tile may be worth the wait :-) I love the tile around the tub – so pretty.

  26. Nikki says:

    spray paint does wonders! Can't wait to see your new master shower.

  27. Living With Lindsay says:

    1. Gorgeous!

    2. When do you sleep? :)

  28. Lisa says:

    Totally impressive. I guess I just lack vision. It never occurred to me to paint brass things…

  29. Katie says:

    Yet again, a truly fantastic transformation! Looks like I really need to get into the habit of goodwill shopping.

  30. Infarrantly Creative says:

    Kate another gorgeous transformation…I am in love with American Accents spray paint. I am cheap but I prefer the nice spray paint…the colors are just richer.

  31. Jenny says:

    This has to be the most awesome transformation I've ever seen! Everything is gorgeous!

  32. Christy says:

    What an amazing transformation! I'm an avid Goodwiller and spray painter and even *I* would have walked past most of the items you purchased. (Except for the julep cup *swoon*.) Love the brown paint technique for adding depth!

  33. Katie says:

    What an amazing transformation! I honestly don't know if I would have seen the potential of those things right away at a garage sale. You have the best eye! I'm curious where you buy your spray paint? I tried to find the Heirloom White at both Lowes and Home Depot and couldn't find it.

  34. ALVN of WhisperWood Cottage and Junkologie says:

    Okay, you won me over. I thought, "there is no way that brass stuff could look remotely good painted." I was wrong! {insert standing ovation here} Kudos to you!


  35. Terry says:

    I love what you've done with everything! I've never thought to rub off around the edges – I'll have to try that! You've got a great little table and accessories now!

  36. Tara says:

    This is my first visit here! Love your common sense approach adn the makeover came out great…I appreciated the tutorial, you made it seem simple and I may be willing to give something like this a try!

    So nice to meet you–hope you can hop over to my blog for a visit! I'm in NY, between Manhattan and the Hamptons and love to thrift in both!

  37. FrugalChick says:


  38. Suzann @ Lavender and Roses says:

    LOVE it!

  39. Gordostyle says:

    Unbelievable! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it all!

  40. Anonymous says:


  41. Erin says:

    You never cease to blow my mind. (cue instrumental music) Because of your creativity and style, I feel inspired and confident that I can make my home into a comforting, beautiful refuge on a budget. (cut instrumental music)

  42. Kristina with a K says:

    My spray painting sister! I love this!! Don't you just love some Goodwill finds that you can make pretty again. What a great feeling :)

  43. Beth says:

    I cannot get over the transformation! I simply love it all. Nicely done.

  44. Karen says:

    Anybody can go into a 'regular' store and buy these things. To me the real talent is seeing the possibilities of discarded objects – recycling to the max:) And how so very beautiful they turned out! You remind me of Eddie Ross. I don't know you – but WELL DONE missy!!

  45. Alicia says:

    Wow! I cannot believe how you turned those tossed-away things into beautiful treasures! I am ready to go get some spray paint and start spraying!

  46. Rose - The Center of My Self says:

    Reduce, reuse, recyle – beautiful results for you and for the planet!

  47. Kimm at Reinvented says:

    Beautiful, I LOVE the transformations. I have gone through many many cans of Heirloom White in my quest to lighten up my decor. Love that color!

  48. Miss(ing) Shakespeare says:

    Oooooh love it! It's like your own private spa! All you need are a good book, some chocolate, and some relaxing music! (And a babysitter!)

  49. Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality says:

    Kate, you've done it again, another wonderful transformation. Told you I love your blog & projects!

  50. Anna Lindsey Sailer O'Reilly says:

    It's gorgeous, you did a great job!

  51. Susie Q says:

    Beautiful! And I wish there was room in our master bathroom for a pretty little table like that. Our master bath is smaller than the kids' bath…sigh. And not much bigger than the half bath downstairs…double sigh.

  52. janae says:

    FAB is right! They look great! I love when other people can see the Beauty while it still looks like the beast :)

  53. hurdlereb says:

    Absolutely love this and love Rustoleum!! :)

  54. […] Read all about the spa shelf transformation right here.  […]

  55. […] This spa shelf was one of my transformations from a few months back where some tacky thrift store brass objects met up with my can of spray paint.  Read all about it here.   […]

  56. Rosemary Vontran says:

    Could you please tell me the color blue you painted? It is absolutely beautiful!

    Thank you.

  57. I am so enjoying your blog. I love all of your transformations, pretty and high class all the way!

  58. Pink Inc. says:

    Wow that does look Fab! You go girl

  59. Heather says:

    You are so amazingly creative! I have enjoyed reading your posts about revamping furniture and thrift store finds.. Thanks for sharing your creativity and inspiring me to try as well!!

  60. This is one of my favorite posts! I love it and I love your blog. You really ARE sensational!

    Warmly, Michelle

  61. MostlySunny says:

    I giggled when I saw this post….before I ever read it–I bought myself the EXACT same candlesticks at a thrift store!! I sprayed them black and used E6000 to adhere a super cute plate to the top–as my little dessert stands!

  62. Jennifer says:

    Someone really got rid of that tarnished mint julep cup! Wow, well great find for yourself! Also, I am really enjoying ;your blog and what you do. Just signed up to follow too! :)

  63. Kristin says:

    Sometimes you sand before you spray paint and sometimes you don’t? I’m a beginner…can you explain to me if you sanded these items before spray painting or was it not necessary?

  64. Christina says:

    Just found your website. :) Its a joy. I am sure I will spend many more hours going through your projects! I am a thrift store, yard sale junkie :) Anyway, great job!

  65. Brandy~Lyn says:

    That is really cute! I would have room in the main bathroom for something like that, but I’m sure my 2 boys would just throw a bath towel over the whole thing! Btw, what is a mint julep cup for? It is a cute little cup.

  66. Cyrie says:

    Today I found some brass candle holders at a local thrift store and found this post about your brass transformations. But I can’t see any of the pics!! They are all black with triangles and exclamation points. Is there something I need to do to see the pics? The descriptions sound amazing and I am feeling so cheated :) Please help!

  67. CentsationalGirl says:

    All fixed now Cyrie!

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