If the SPCA had a profile for their "perfect" adopting family, we most probably would be at the top of their list. Molly and I love strays! Furniture that is... We have furnished our home with a wide variety of castoffs, rescued from the jaws of death and given a facelift for continued use. Oh, we have the resources to go buy an entire home of new furniture if we wanted to. But we would lose the sense of family that typically goes with re-using old (and re-built) furnishings. Often we have spent more by being socially conscious and re-furbishing old pieces. We just like the look and durability of old furniture!
This mantle came out of Molly's father's old childhood home in Bernice, Louisiana. When we received it it was covered with years of old sooted varnish. Because it was virtually black I told Molly that it was going straight to the trash dump... Wrong! After Thanksgiving dinner one year I wandered out to my workshop (under my father-in-law's watchful eye!) just to see if it would clean up. With a little Klean Strip Stripper, some single "0" steel wool, and a little elbow grease this absolutely gorgeous oak mantle came back to life! I used a Minwax wax finish to complete the process. We have enjoyed the mantle every day we have been in our home.
Before Shelby came along Molly was in complete denial about having a baby. So much in denial that she had me do the entire first nursery (that will NEVER happen again!). Anyway, I bought this crib which started life with slats on both headboard and footboard. After our kids grew out of it, that crib took up almost permanent residency in our attic - until grandbaby #1 came along. Thinking that we would get something completely new to spoil all grandkids rotten I suggested that we clean out the attic and get rid of the baby bed. Wrong again! Molly had my trim crew remove the old slats from the ends of the bed and add panels. Once completed she hired Debbie Cole of La Foofaraw in Plano to dress up what used to be a very boring blond baby bed. As you can see, Debbie did a phenomenal job!
Shortly after we married Molly and I were in Monroe, Louisiana visiting family when we happened in to a wonderful antique store. This table caught our eye. We bought it and used it for many years with the old carmel finish that was original to the piece. The table was incredibly well built but really did not go in our new home. Molly loves black and white! So I stole a page out of our painter's book and used a finish that we have done in many of our homes. First, I stripped the table. Because the stain was so well impregnated into the old wood I did not need to stain the table again and could proceed to the next step which was to paint the table with Sherwin Williams flat latex black paint. Once dry I then sanded that amount of stain that I wanted to show through the finished product. After cleaning up the dust I coated it with Dura Seal Polyurethane - a product we typically will use on floors. I like how thin it goes on and how evenly it dries. Two coats later we have a beautiful finish that wears like iron!
When we talk about "rescued from the jaws of death" we really mean RESCUED! This walnut armoire now sits in our bedroom, the top crown after having been used at one point as a chicken feeding trough! We found it way in the back of an antique store (where all the really good stuff is!). I think I paid $400 for it maybe fifteen years ago. Same program as we detailed above, a lot of love and a ton of elbow grease makes things clean up pretty well!
This is next... Molly told me to take her old "hope chest" from when she was a girl to the Goodwill. I saw it as a toy chest for the newly completed Playroom that was detailed a few blogs ago. As this is being written the chest sits on my work bench partially stripped. At some point we will try to show the progression to completion.
Look around - I bet you have things which could be re-used. Each has a story: all will continue to bring you pleasure if you will rescue them!