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Media Center Becomes Home Office

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Remember those giant televisions from the late 80’s and early 90’s? The tube type televisions were thick, wide and heavy. Oh… and UGLY! Smart women figured out a way to keep them from being the center of all things in the family room.
The solution was usually some sort of media center. Ours was a big open shelving oak unit. Long gone.

Before we even moved into our new house I knew we needed a place to put the computer modem, charge the laptops and phones, put the bills and keep up with paperwork. We had a place in our city house to keep up with everything but there was no space in our new house. Before we even closed on the house I found an armoire style media center that would do the job and would be able to be closed up when we don’t want to see everything. It was designed to have a pull out shelf for a big television that swivels. It was an $80.00 cabinet that was solid wood (knotty pine), and was made in 1987 according to the information on the back of the piece. It is 7 feet tall and 40 inches wide.

knotty pine

missing trim- fixed by Hubby

\pine media center

 

knotty pine cabinet door

 

knotty pine media TV

The media center was bought and put into the storage unit the week we moved out of the city house. Once we moved into our new house it moved into the garage. The mail started piling up on the kitchen counter, the electronics started to be scattered around the house and my aggregation grew. Time to get after the home office.

I wanted the piece to be the color scheme of the Roadside Credenza. I knew that I wanted to paint the crown moulding and base moulding Behr Revival Mahogany and the body Behr Powdered Snow. Because it was knotty pine it actually took two coats of Kiltz primer to keep the knots from coming through. It was a workout to paint and took three weekends. Weekend one- primer coats, weekend two- two coats of paint on everything and weekend three- three coats of Kona floor poly.

behr powdered snow and revival mahogany

 

painting and glazing

glazing supplies

Essentials for glazing. Cheap brush, damp rag, glazing mix.

glazing up close

The glaze is Behr Faux Effects mixed with a little revival mahogany

using glaze to look like wood grain

I left the inside raw wood as a nod to my husband’s love of wood. It is going to have a bulletin board inside the back, a magnetic blackboard inside the door and some pockets to hold the bills and cell phones, but that is not ready yet. It is so tall that Hubby is going to have to use a bar stool when he is writing lesson plans or paying bills. Right now one from the lake house will work, but I have my eye on a great bar stool that is upholstered in teal. It may have to come home with me soon.

home office from media center

This picture is the best at showing the color. Color is tricky in our new house. I need to go back to class to figure it out.

painted and glazed home office

I still have not finished the curtains and it shows up here. Darn.

Home Office painted

 

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inside of home office

 

Home office pull out

 

printer spot in home office

 

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What do you think about this beauty?

Decorating a New Home on the Cheap

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Before this very LOOOONNNGGG post begins ( sorry about that, I have missed you!), I have to show you my anniversary card from Hubby.

Here is the front of the card:

anniversary card

and here is the inside.

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I thought it was the PERFECT anniversary card from a dude who had moved my stuff around for two weeks now while I try to settle in.

Unpacking is 99% complete and decorating has begun in earnest. Because I am way more savvy than my last move about bargain shopping I decided to challenge myself for decorating our new home:

  • Use as many of the things I currently own to decorate my new house as possible. If I loved them enough to lug them across south-east Texas, the least I can do is find a spot for them!

 

  • Incorporate elements from the color scheme I have chosen in the main rooms. Bedrooms will have their own personality.
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  • Keep the decorating budget to $200 per room. I love a challenge.

When we started this adventure of moving into a new home, it was our plan to downsize. That did not happen. We found a great home, on a cul de sac, near our jobs that was 60 square feet bigger than our City House. Because we planned on downsizing I cleaned house. I sold, gifted and donated a ton. If I did not love it or need it- out it went. I must tell you folks, it was a little liberating. What we kept for in the house fit in a 16 foot Pods Container and a 16 foot storage unit.

For the first time in my life we have empty drawers in the kitchen, and space in the closet. We are still working through a lack of storage in the bathrooms but I have a plan for that. Additional cabinets are in our future.

Before we moved in I worked feverishly on getting some unique furniture pieces ready and we will continue to add. If you click on the links it will take you to the projects we have been working on. We got a French Provincial dresser and headboard ready, and coral colored end tables

French Provincial Dresser

a buffet table,

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a beverage station for the back porch,

sewing machine

recovered dining room chairs, and found some awesome yellow chairs at a garage sale. My favorite pieces have made the move. My mudroom bench is in, although it is a little worse for the wear- it will need some touch up paint.
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My farmhouse table made the trip too. In the near future there will be a bench at the foot of our bed, a back porch that my son says is going to look like the inside of a bag of Skittles, a unique kitchen island using this beauty below,

Serpentine oak dresser

a home office and a media center for the TV. (wait until you see the dresser Hubby found for me on Craig’s List!

All that being said… I am WAAY short on accessories. I just don’t have enough unique items to make the home feel lived in. I have focused so much on the furniture that I just didn’t think about the little things that make a home unique. I have not been buying those items. A visit from my friend Shahana confirmed that we just don’t have enough “stuff”. She came over to help me decorate the top of the pie safe and cabinets but we were just stumped.

Right now it looks so…generic. new. mass produced. NOT ME AT ALL

The best option for me to decorate is also earth friendly. Resale, re-purpose and create. Oh, and clearance/sale shopping. Yes there are going to be some new things too.

life is growth

This painting is in our family room.

 

A quick trip with Shahana to Goodwill and $69.00 later I got everything below including this awesome huge basket,

goodwill basket

this jug (It had a light kit in it, but they had not damaged the jug- I think it is old for real, which I love),

goodwill jug

these matching lamps that are going to be worked over ( Hubby is being a little resistant to my painting the glass- so I think the shades are getting painted along with all the metal on them…for now…in the spirit of world home peace),

goodwill lamps

goodwill crystal lamps

this ornate frame with a print in it that is going to be an art project ( think herringbone and check out one of my pages on Pinterest- New Home Pinterest Page),

ornate frame

a chicken plate to hang, ( I have a shelf project in store for above the buffet that will incorporate the chicken plate.) these three platters that will look awesome on the Skittle porch,

this woven greenish tray,

goodwill woven basket

and this huge metal can of some sort. I love the can but am just not sure what it was for. Right now it has a barn painted on it but that is only temporary. It is going to get stripped, a paint job, a big sanding and hopefully it will look it’s rustic aged self again.

oil can

goodwill oil can

Here is the running total for the bedrooms: (I will have previews of the kitchen, breakfast room and den on Sunday)

Master Bedroom

$20.00 for two new lamps and shades

$10.00 for I Love You More PillowYay Kirkland’s one day deal sales- get on their email list if you have one near by. They send out alerts when they put items on sale for 24 hours only.
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$92.00 for Burlap Curtains- I found these 96″ curtains on sale for $23.00 a panel at Hancock Fabrics- lined natural burlap, so they had to come to our house. I am making curtains for the den/dining/family room but they will not be lined.

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More to come. The bench needs nail head trim so there will be an additional cost and we desperately need artwork. i think there is a project in my future.

Green Bedroom

The dresser and headboard were purchased for $80.00 and painted for $15.00.

The curtains were $30.00.

A $20.00 World Market shade and a 12.00 accent pillow.

Front Bedroom

Wow this room is going to be a beauty! No hints on this one because I am so excited for you to see the before and after of this room. The only thing I am showing you that is finished for the room is this awesome lamp.

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painted lamp3

painted lamp4

Purchased for $2.00 at a resale shop, I spray painted the nasty amber glass and metal ($4.00 for a can of spray paint- new avacado). The shade was $1.00 at a church garage sale. Love it. Love it more that the whole lamp cost $7.00. I am planning a DIY on lamps soon. They are not hard to take apart and re-do.

I have also purchased some fabric for pillow shams- $6.00

Art work $29.00

Oops paint for the furniture I will be painting- $2.00

Not too bad huh? I made a haul! I am working feverishly on getting the items settled in to their new homes.

I will be updating the rooms and will be adding pictures to the cul de sac page on the blog. The fun is beginning.

The Southern Belle is scheduled to arrive this evening! We are so very excited to have her come visit and I have all the items required for a burlap pillow project lined up. She requested it, I promise!


Turning a Headboard Into a Faux Mantle

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A young friend Elizabeth, and former student, of mine posted on Facebook a while back that she was looking for a mantle. She and a friend have moved into an apartment in Kemah, Texas. One of my favorite Texas cities. Elizabeth has a vintage, shabby, once grand now aged style.

I started looking for a mantle for her on my expeditions but wow! Even at the ReStore the small not so great mantles were north of $250.00.

I got a text from a friend asking if I wanted some furniture. The text picture looked like the furniture was wood so I jumped on it. A dresser with a mirror, night stand, and headboard. Hubby went to pick up the furniture and when it came home I realized it was not solid wood. It was particle board with a laminate over the tope that looked like wood. Even worse, the top of both the dresser and night stand had gotten wet and was swelling. I knew it would not be a project for me, but I loved the detail on the headboard. I thought immediately that it looked like a mantle.

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This is one of those projects that as soon as I drew for Hubby what I wanted he ran with it. He bought some trim, used some from the hoard, and got it done in a matter of an afternoon.

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I did not get my part done, until today.

Basically Hubby cut out a section from the headboard then divided what he cut out to use on either side to make the sides longer. He purchased some cheap pine to make a wider mantle top and fill in where the trim ended.

After a coat of Zinzer bonding primer and filling the holes with wood filler it was on to paint. I love, love, love Behr Revival Mahogany. It is the perfect vintage color of brown. I panted it several times and in different directions so that it looked old and gave the impression that layers of paint were applied over the years. I glazed it all with a charcoal colored glaze so that hopefully it looks like something that is old and may have some soot on it. Today was one of those perfect painting days. The weather here was in the high 60’s low humidity and not much wind. I was able to whip it out in almost no time. The funny thing is a neighbor stopped by while I was painting. I hadn’t told her it had been a headboard when she said “I have been looking for something like that to go behind my bed.” I laughed and told her it was a headboard that I have turned into a mantle. She said it should be a mantle turned into a headboard, turned into a REALLY COOL headboard. … How nice.

What do you think about the results? I love it with my $2.00 plaster mirror. It is going to look great in Elizabeth’s home.

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A Fifteen Minute $6.00 Side Yard Spruce Up

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Two four year old dollar store chairs that were faded by the sun, a newly power washed concrete slab, a small table that folds up and has floated around the house for years, and a tray I found in the boy’s closet when I cleaned it out. (No idea why I put it there…)

Valspar spray paint- Tropical Oasis…what could be more perfect?

A quick spray of the chairs later, this is the result.

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Real beauties huh?

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Not too bad now. I think we will be out in them in the morning. Want to join us?

Turning a Ten Dollar Door Into a Headboard

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When we are at The Southern Belle’s home we try to do things for her that she and her fiancée just don’t have the time to do. This trip Hubby replaced the shower head and fixed it so that Sweet Maeby can get her shower without getting TSB (The Southern Belle) all wet too. I decided that my project would be to make a fun headboard for the guest room.
I love the Restore. There is one really near TSB’s home. I am a huge supporter of Habitat For Humanity and I am all about repurposed items.
At the local Restore we picked up a solid wood panel door for $10.00.

Door From Restore

It was a bit dirty and I hated the brass hardware, but otherwise it was in good shape. Hubby removed all the hardware,

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I gave it a shower and scrub then Hubby cut it down to 61 inches. That meant he had to cut from both ends in order to make the panels even and he did it with a circular saw. I think he missed his table saw on this one.  No pictures because I was standing on the end of the door while it was being cut.

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The door was painted white on one side and off white on the other. I opted to use the white side and touched it up at the cut ends with white spray paint. I found a can of greenish black called Charleston Green for $2.00 in the oops bin at Home Depot. A can of glazing medium and a cheap paintbrush later I was good to go. This was my project at the Pinterest Party. No pictures of the glazing because I forgot to make sure my SD card was in.

Hubby attached two by four legs to the back of the door and bolted it to the frame. I love how it turned out and I hope my daughter does too. It adds to the eclectic vibe in her guest room.

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Total cost of this project was about $20.00.

Here is the finished product:

Glazed Door Headboard

Door into headboard

Headboard out of door

Dresser to Mudroom Bench

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My mudroom bench started life as a dresser. I found it on the side of the road waiting for heavy trash pick up. It was a mess! The top was in pieces and two drawers were broken. In spite of the shape that the dresser was in, it was solid wood and had dove tailed drawers. It was late at night and we were headed home from visiting friends. I had to beg Hubby to stop, back up and get out to look at the dresser. He was less than impressed with this one.

What I Know and Don;t Know About Old Furniture

Here it is with one of the working drawers out. The top has a split all the way down the length.

After staring at it a few weeks, I decided to turn it into a piece for our entryway that could serve as a sort of mudroom. A place to take off shoes, hang jackets and hats and hide junk…I mean Hubby’s treasures.

First, We removed the top two rows of drawers from the dresser and created a bench by adding a plywood top.

Turning a Dresser into a Mudroom Bench Part 2

Next, we created a separate top piece from the two remaining solid drawer fronts. Because of the height, we had them open on hinges. We could not have used it if it were drawers. A sheet of beadboard paneling, 2X4’s, and a plywood box.

Mudroom Bench Part 3

The mirror was a thrift store find. Hubby chopped the top off the mirror frame and routed the 2X4’s so that they matched the mirror. We reused the top in a later piece.

Then, Hubby created a board and batten over bead board back to connect the piece visually. The bead board and top are connected together, but they float over the bench. Sneaky huh? This allows easy installation and access to electrical without cutting holes in the wood. You never know where it will live next! All the hooks were installed last because I wasn’t sure what I wanted. In the end I went with plain hooks because they worked for the piece.

The Mudroom Bench is Coming Together

The Finished Mudroom Bench

Finally, we painted, added crystal knobs and made a tufted cushion. I love the soft green color!
The Finished Mudroom Bench

The Finished Mudroom Bench
This is by far the most unique piece of furniture in our home and is a great conversation piece.
The Finished Mudroom Bench

Here it what it looked like the morning that I wrote this blog. I did not do anything so that you can see how we really live.

mudroom bench

This is the best shot I have taken of the bench. Now I wish I had removed Hubby’s hat, camera, and jacket!

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The Real Cost of Repurposing Furniture

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I have wanted to write this blog for a while. I go to craft shows, shops and our local trade days where I sometimes hear shoppers commenting on the cost. “I could do that.” is frequently heard as well as comments about prices. Now you know that I am always looking for a deal! And by deal I mean a steal. I love to find furniture, cheap or preferably free, then repurpose the piece into something unique. It is my hobby, and I am not trying to live off selling my goods. We would STARVE! I always try to let you know the cost, which is usually less than a brand new piece would be, but I think that there is a misconception from time to time about the real cost of repurposing the furniture.

Right now I am redoing a piece of furniture I literally picked up on the side of the road. The cost for the furniture – ZERO DOLLARS AND ZERO CENTS.
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In order to get the piece repurposed I decided to buy everything new for this project. I needed to replenish supplies anyway and sometimes even I forget that this is a hobby and the supplies are expensive because I only buy things as I run out.

The costs are rounded- because I am lazy!
Purdy paintbrush- the best and worth the cost- 12.00
Behr Revival Mahogany paint with primer- one quart- I could have probably gotten by with two samples @ $3.00 each, but I knew I would need the left over for the faux fireplace I am doing- $16.00
Behr Innocence- one quart- the giant dresser used almost a whole quart- the leftover paint was used to paint Baby Boy’s bookcase. $16.00
Zinzer Primer- one quart- $10.00
Glazing medium- one quart Behr Faux Finish glazing medium. I use this all the time and it lasts forever but it was time for a new container- $15.00
Sandpaper for hand sanding and the palm sander $5.00
Rustoleum Poly- one quart- $15.00

Hours spent on the project- 1 hour checking it out, calling Hubby, getting the beast into the vehicle, out of the vehicle and home. 3 hours sanding. 4 hours priming, re sanding, then priming again. 4 hours painting the creamy white color. 1 hour painting handles. 1 hour painting the top. 1 hour glazing. 3 hours polyurethaning the whole thing. Oh! This does not include dry time, moving time and reassembly.

So all in all we have close to $80.00 in supplies and the equivalent of one hard weekend’s worth of time invested. In a free piece of furniture! The next time you see someone’s work online, in a shop, or at a vendor’s booth and you say to yourself… ” I could do that WAAAY cheaper, the truth is provided you find the right piece, you might could save a little money doing it yourself but it won’t be as cheap or easy as you may initially believe and your time is worth something.

If you are in a shop when you see this piece also figure in overhead costs.

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credenza from the stairway

roadside credenza

It is a lot of work to re-purpose furniture, but it is ever so worth the effort! I love the satisfaction of doing a good job and bringing something back to life.

A Chair at the Table Craft day

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I made this map chair about six months ago.
Map Chair Seat

Map Chair
Sweet Amanda, my most favorite daughter in law, liked it and may or may not have said that she would steal it. In order to save her from a life of crime, we started thinking about planning a day when her buddies could come over to Star Hill for a girls only craft day. Chairs in the country are crazy cheap so I got busy. I picked up these six beauties for @$5.00 each. I have also been collecting ideas for what to do with the chairs. Here are the chairs needing adoption by the girls and some links to great chairs for inspiration:

Chairs to Share

Yep. They really do look like a hoard in the Garagemahal. I have 6 chairs that I have spent a total of $25.00 on. At prices like this you know that some of them needed love.

Chair Repair

This beauty needed parts. Hubby had to make the cross pieces.

Here is a line up of the chairs that have been collected. I kind of feel like the SPCA trying to get someone to adopt pets.

The Blue is strapping hubby used to re-glue the legs.  All good now.

The Blue is strapping hubby used to re-glue the legs. All good now.

We were watching Baby for our friends and she attached herself to this chair.

We were watching Baby for our friends and she attached herself to this chair.

I think this old beauty would look cool with the slats painted in Ombre shades of one color.

I think this old beauty would look cool with the slats painted in Ombre shades of one color.

I have a thing for mission furniture.  Love this beauty.  Will look great uphostered and painted.

I have a thing for mission furniture. Love this beauty. Will look great uphostered and painted.

This beauty needed love to be ready for the chair day.  new parts, glue and screws are in.  Victorian feet, rosette at the top back, and a great shape.

This beauty needed love to be ready for the chair day. new parts, glue and screws are in. Victorian feet, rosette at the top back, and a great shape.

I have two of these for the party.  They have a lot of detail in the back and will really show off a glaze.

I have two of these for the party. They have a lot of detail in the back and will really show off a glaze.

Here are links to some inspriation chairs: Red Painted Chairs, Blue Chair,French Chair, White Upholstered Chair

Here are All Things Thrifty’s Week of Chairs. Love them

I have been picking up fabric in the remnant section and have even collected a few wild shirts from resale shops that might work for the seats.

The girls are going to bring paint from their projects along with what I have in the hoard.

I am looking forward to showing off the results from our chair affair.

Chairs for the Porch

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Our country home, Star Hill, has a porch that runs along two sides of the 950 square foot “mansion”. The home is in east Texas, in a lakeside neighborhood. Our lifestyle in the country is slow moving, with a lot of time spent outside. We have two seasons here; hot and chilly. Right now I have two great rockers and a vintage swing on the porch which you will see soon as we get the porch updated. I also have two plastic chairs on the front porch that I I got from my mom. They were forest green and faded when we got them. I painted them with brown paint two years ago and have them on either side of a chest I got for three dollars then painted our door color to store bird seed. The plastic chairs are functional, but way less than amazing.
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In my resale shopping I have been casually looking for some sturdy, cheap, rustic chairs that would hold up on the front porch and look like they belong in the country. I already had chairs that worked so this was not an emergency.
If I can give you one piece of resale shopping advice it is for you to get to know the owners of the resale shops you like. Deal directly with the owner when possible. Treat them fairly, tell them about your projects, bring in pictures of your finished projects, and always, always, always be nice. Even when the cost of an item is more than I am willing to pay, I never insult the shop owner. My favorite thrift store owner, Patricia, knows me well. She knows that I will be back and she knows that I am not afraid of a little work. On my last trip I told her I was looking for assorted chairs. I am planning on a chair weekend for Sweet Amanda’s friends. We are going to each redo a chair using our combined paint, accessories, and ideas. It should be fun. Patricia let me know that she had three matching chairs that need work she was willing to part with for $5.00 each. The chair bases were old and sturdy but the backs were loose and several spindles were unglued. I decided to take the best two. I loved the original vinyl on the seats and the nailhead trim. It did not have any rips or tears so I wanted to keep it. I knew as soon as I saw these chairs they would not be a part of the chair party. They were going on the porch. I thought I was going to paint the chairs a color of paint I bought a while back but did not use. It is a sort of cedar color that should blend well with the soon to be coming new cedar posts and rails on the porch but I decided the more I looked at the chairs the more I liked the weathered look.
The tricky part of the process was getting the spindles into the holes at one time. It took two sets of hands all working at once. So glad Larry was there to help out.
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After the gluing, I taped off the vinyl and sealed all the wood with polyacrylic. The sealant will protect the wood from the elements. I also saddle soaped the vinyl to make sure it was clean. They should hold up well for years.
This is a definite upgrade for the front porch. The chairs will come in handy when we need to add chairs to the table on the deck too.

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Turning an Old Door and Table Into a Buffet

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Sweet Amanda loves old, weathered, pieces with story as much as I do! When I bought The Southern Belle’s dresser I negotiated two other pieces of furniture for the asking price of the dresser. I got the owner to throw in a night stand that will be going to a Habitat for Humanity home this spring and an old white piece that I wasn’t sure what the original purpose had been but I guessed that it had been in a church at some point. I know that Sweet Amanda will appreciate me getting the piece free, because she is a junker like me! A little research led me to believe the white table was a Bible table. It was white, had peeling paint, crackle on the drawer, and was a little taller than an end table. I knew the table would be the perfect gift for Sweet Amanda with some creativity. I stared at the Bible table for at least three weeks then it hit me… This would make a great buffet for a small apartment. I started looking for parts. I knew I wanted the back to be an old door and I wanted a shelf on it. I cannot tell you why, that is just how I saw it in my head.
It took several weeks but the absolute perfect door was located in Coldspring for $10.00. It had the right amount of chipped paint, but was solid enough to hold up over time. Hubby cut off a small bit of the door for a shelf and to make the horizontal part of the door hit at the right spot on the table so that they could be screwed together. After adding the shelf it still looked incomplete. I knew I wasn’t finished with the piece but after several options that I did not like I almost gave up and started looking for something else to give Sweet Amanda.   A trip to the Coldspring Senior Center Resale fixed my problem. A round, old plaster mirror was the perfect solution. a link to the senior center website here.
I got this amazing mirror for $10.00. It was the deal of the day.

Here it is all put together. I am crazy about this piece. It still needs a coat of polyacrylic to seal the potentially lead paint in place, but other than that, it is finished.

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Here it is in The Lovebird’s Apartment

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and… here are the Lovebirds

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