There I Go Again

April 14, 2010

There’s really very little reason for me to stalk the furniture department at the local thrift store since my house is already full of pieces I’ve dragged home and refinished.  But I can’t stay away, much to the chagrin of my poor husband.  He can’t even park in our garage because of the half dozen pieces I have yet to turn my attention to.  I can’t help it !  I have some sort of addiction – a crazy soft spot in my heart for rejected objects.  

Today, I couldn’t drive past the parking lot, I just had to pull in.  Some people window shop high end boutiques.  Me?  I get my kicks exploring the furniture department at the thrift store, and dreaming of what things could become.   

Like this headboard.  I would pop out the four inside frames, they are a little too busy for me.  Then I’d do one of two things.  I’d add pretty appliqués to the four remaining sections and paint it distressed cream with a hint of the dark wood showing through in spots.  Or I’d skip the appliqués and go in a different, bolder direction.  Perhaps paint this baby in a semi gloss indigo shade, then attach nailhead trim to the outer framing and place it in a master bedroom up against a wallpapered accent wall and hang a bold metallic starburst mirror above.  So glam !

king headboard


Or this little cabinet.  Someone emailed me the other day about making a wine cabinet, and this is the perfect little candidate.  I would retrofit the bottom with diagonal shelving to hold wine bottles, then attach chrome hanging glass racks to the top.  I’d repaint its damaged surface in black, replace the hardware with some blingy crystal knobs, then add a mirrored tray to the top.  Ready for entertaining !  Trés chic. 

bar cabinet conversion

future bakers rack

Revamped, this skinny cabinet and hutch belongs in a cottage breakfast nook or dining room. 

Look at the paneling along the back, the dentil molding on the top, and the little drawers for silverware. 

Love ! 

I’d remove the shutter doors to create open shelving, then paint the entire piece white or a complimentary color for wherever it was destined.  Perhaps paint the back a different color than the piece itself. 

Or leave it the deep walnut color, the wood tone is nice too ! 

Some modern knobs and lined drawers, and this is a great showcase for ceramic plates or other pottery, objets d’art, or even silver platters.    


This mid century piece is totally fabulous for a modern space.  I might just change the hardware, but I dig the pencil legs, drawers, and mini cabinet in the middle. 

mid century dresser


This is a gorgeous sturdy dresser that would look great in a bedroom.  You could leave it this walnut color and just replace the somewhat dated pulls.  Or go bold and paint it – the paneling is just wonderful. 

paneled dresser


If I brought this home, my husband would first gag, then laugh, then say “What were you thinking?”  Perhaps you’re doing the same.  :-)  First, can I get a collective ‘Eeeewwwww’ on these cushions?  Amen.  Now breathe.  And imagine this.  Toss those cushions out – the faster, the better.  Then paint the frame soft green, bright turquoise, or even crisp navy blue, and replace the cushions with some Dacron wrapped foam and your choice of one of these stylish outdoor fabrics, and guess what?   This would be completely wonderful on a screened porch or in a sunroom. 



I love the sleek legs on this end table – it’s so perfect for magazine storage on the bottom shelf and a stylish lamp on top.  Paint it silver and have a mirror made for the top – you go girl. 

end table


This sassy pair is so fabulous.  I love the bamboo style detail on the wooden legs.  Again, paint those legs and the tray top a high gloss black or a vivid color, then have a mirror made for the tray top, and flank your tailored sofa with them.  

tray tables duet 

Now these are the kinds of pieces that stop me in my tracks.  Oh my word, I love the shape of this desk.  Well, it’s actually a sewing table but it’s hard to tell unless you lift the top.  You could leave it a sewing table or  it could easily be retrofitted into a desk.   Repair the tiny break in the trim and paint it a fabulous off white or buttery cream, and it’s perfect as an office space or as a vanity in a bedroom.  Spray paint the hardware dark bronze, or be brave and paint those pulls antique gold.  

 sewing table desk


So there I go again, scheming what could be done with these sad little rejects on display at the thrift store.  I happen to think they have so much potential.   Thanks for indulging me yet again.  I’m doomed with my addiction.     :-)



111 Responses to “There I Go Again”

  1. Lori says:

    are we long lost sisters?
    LOL I absolutely love browsing thrift stores too, and furniture in particular (although my husband is not NEARLY as easygoing as yours – I can’t bring home the things “I” love to refinish, there is simply no room to do so.
    I stick to smaller pieces – end tables, lamps, etc, but in an ideal world, I’d be busy sanding and painting big pieces too!

  2. Sheila says:

    Oh my gosh…you sound just like me…I LOVE thift stores of all kinds and I am also a self professed, notorious trashpicker. The ols woman down the road is moving out and I am pulling my van up every other day filling my garage with projects. So far I have small cottage hutch, secratary desk (sort of French) looking and a fabulous tall cabinet with lots of glass and oodles of potential. Now I have to wait for Spring to refurbish it’s too cold here in the Northeast to paint and I can’t take the fumes indoors! Just found your blog today while perusing kitchen ideas for a Spring renovation…love it…And I envy your massive kitchen!!

  3. Crystal says:

    I adore these pieces. I wish my local thrift stores had such lovely pieces and at GREAT prices you mention. I bought this little bookshelf($19.99-Goodwill-3ft tall), and going to follow your instructions on “how to paint furniture”. I took it in as my first project. By the way, I just recently purchased alot of decor from Kirklands and all pieces have the dark blue, browns, maroon, yellow colors. But now I want to redo everything. I love the fresh color look you carry on in your home.

  4. Rosie says:

    The walnut cabinet with the shutter doors is an Ethan Allen piece….I have some like it.

  5. Lisa Ornelas says:

    You have got some amazing finds in the Sonoma area! I live in the East Bay. Pleasant Hill/Walnut Creek area and it’s slim pickins!

  6. Laura says:

    Centsational, you are SENSATIONAL. Your ideas inspire me. Another poster is right, the cabinet is Ethan Allen, likely Bennington Pine, as is the sofa. I live for Bennington Pine. Solid construction, dovetailed pieces, lasted 40 years and will last 40 more, sometimes good as gold, sometimes ideal to refinish. And your idea for the sofa, is exatly what I have in mind for my 30×12 enclosed porch, refinish some Bennington tables and chairs in a lovely fun color (teal? turquoise? even purple! with crisp white or beige outdoor covered cushions!

  7. Annie says:

    Rose, I too have been gifted several pieces from the same ’70s Ethan Allen collection…I am looking for inspiration for a way to update them

  8. Genevieve says:

    Your ideas are so inspiring! I want that desk!! As a military wife, I have to be careful what (and how much) I bring home from the thrift store since we move every few years and there is actually a weight limit to how much we can move (DARN!) But I LONG for the day that we are in one place if for not other reason that to buy these fun pieces and clutter my house with the art I have created! ha ha ha Thank you for such a fun blog on IDEAS for thrift store pieces. I’d love to see more like this! Genevieve

  9. Melody says:

    This post was so inspiring to read! Normally I’m drawn to dressers and desks, but you gave me many ideas for other pieces & color combos. I’m ready to hire a sitter and go thrifting for the day! (:

  10. Sandi says:

    You obviously have much better thrift stores in your area than we do in eastern WA. I’m jealous!

  11. Mary Ruth says:

    You are not the only one with the ‘affliction’! I love looking at thrift stores, the treasures are still out there! I peruse Craigslist too and have found a few ‘hidden potential’ pieces for my daughter, she is now addicted to thrift stores and CL. I am trying my hand at upholstering a few chairs and later on doing more with my existing collection of furnishings. I am one to gather my pieces first to make sure I have what I need, then the style, line and scale are all what I like, then I refinish to make surfaces somehow talk to one another.

    I used to blog more, but took some time out, now getting back into the swing of things after our big, downsizing, to another state move.

    LOVE your blog and I have your email notifications and love your style and approach to decorating and repurposing ideas and professional results.

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