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Monday, October 11, 2010

Trash to Treasure

Last year my husband's grandmother passed away (she was 104!!).  She had lived in her home since 1944 and the home still had most of her original furniture.  Unfortunately for the last seven years of her life she had 24-7 home care and the aides were less than kind to her furniture.  Before this, I had never restored any furniture before.  I figured...how hard could it be?


This was in the bedroom where the aides stayed.  The top was covered in water ring stains, and there were papers and I don't even know what else stuck all over the top.  I originally planned to paint it an off white.  I started by sanding the top.  At first I thought I could just use some sandpaper.  Within minutes I realized I needed an electric sander.  While I sanded, I wore a mask...can't stress the importance of this (for the first half hour I didn't - major error in judgment).  As I sanded the piece down which was stained so dark it almost looked black in person, I realized it was solid mahogany (which explains why it weighed so much). There was no way I could paint this piece anymore.  So I decided to completely sand it down to the bare wood and stain the piece.  It took me an entire day to sand the piece down (now while that sounds like a long time, I was so psyched to be restoring the dresser that I was shocked when the sun started going down).

The dresser sits proudly in my great room.  On top of the dresser I have displayed other treasures I found at my husband's grandmother's house (with the exception of the birds and the bookend).


The lamp was a mess when I found it.  I carefully cleaned the bottom and bought a new lampshade.  The books are first edition from the turn of the century.  My husband didn't want me to take the piece initially since I didn't really have a plan on where it would go.  I knew I couldn't let it go to the junkyard.  I'm so glad I took it.

Here is my grandmother-in-law's favorite chair.  The bottom cushion was destroyed so I bought a new piece of foam thinking I could reupholster it.  I decided that I didn't want to ruin the piece (it's hard to see in the picture, but the legs were scratched up quite a bit).

I had a professional reupholster the chair in a neutral fabric (since I wasn't really sure where it was going...this is it's second location so far that I have tried out).

Here was her china cabinet (a picture of it in my grandmother-in-law's dining room).  As you can see there were deep scratches all over it and the shelves were especially scratched.


I didn't want to sand the piece down (now knowing how long it would take I wasn't so ready to do it again).  But I couldn't put it in my home looking that way.  So instead I took stain on a old white t-shirt and lightly rubbed all over the piece.  I couldn't believe that it took away all of the imperfections.  I'm sure someone out there who knows how to do this is cringing, but it worked for me.  It did take almost a week for the piece not to feel tacky, but now it's perfect (it sits outside of my son's room in the hallway and displays his built lego sets).  (I am considering spraying it an off white and using it in my daughter's room instead...what do you think?)


I did the same rubbing technique on this chair
...and this side table

This table was in the worse shape of all.  The top is inlaid leather.  The surrounding wood was very bad. I sanded down to the raw wood the entire top and stained it as close to a color on the legs as possible.  The legs I did the same thing as above just rubbing the stain over the piece which filled in the scratches.  This piece also had rollers on the legs, but only two had them left.  I tried to hunt down new roller feet, but couldn't.  So I removed the remaining two and the table is now stationary.

My favorite before and after, unfortunately doesn't have a before picture.  It was the only dining chair still intact (the rest were literally in pieces throughout the home).  It was a very dark wood and the fabric was 40 years old and in bad condition.  This is what I made of it:

I completely took the chair apart, added new batting, new fabric and nailhead trim.  I got the inspiration to take on this challenge after reading a tutorial on Centsationalgirl.com.  She is amazing and is really my inspiration for not only this project but for this entire blog.  So thank you to her.

-Judy

38 comments:

Debbie said...

Hi there, I just saw your space on RMS and I love your style...you are a great DIY selfer. I have a blog too, and I do a thrifting party every Friday and I see you like the same kind of stuff. Come check it out sometime:) Debbie

linda said...

Iam enjoying you redos so much bravo to you girl:)

Judy said...

Let me know your blog address. Would love to check it out.

Henna @ AboutCabinets Blog said...

the dresser and the hutch are both beautiful and you have dne a great job with both, i love wooden things and seeing them restored and looking good makes me too happu, great post and great pictures, i enjoyed going through them

Meg said...

I love Centsational Girl, too! You did a wonderful job restoring your Grandmother-in-law's pieces. Sometimes, I have a hard time justifying painting a truly great wood piece. I'm glad you kept true to the wood tones on those pieces. That being said, I think painting the hutch, especially if it's going to go in a little girls room, is a great idea! It would be a lot of work, but you're obviously up for the challenge. I hope you can join my link party and giveaway going on now! I would love to see this post there! alittleknickknack.blogspot.com

kathie said...

I am so glad you found the beauty in that first piece, it looks wonderful! You've done a great job restoring all of her pieces and isn't it great that they are so special to your family as well :) Glad I found you via Remodelaholic!

Becky@OrganizingMadeFun said...

Gorgeous! I love what you did with the chair at your sewing table - that's my favorite!

burlap+blue said...

LOVE this!! What a gorgeous and inspiring transformation! Found you via Make It For Monday...thanks for posting! xo

Hanna said...

HI there! I am your newest follower!! I found you on the weekend linky! I love finding new blogs and yours is lovely:) You can find me at www.bouffeebambini.blogspot.com

WOW!! great job

Becolorful said...

Oh wow. you have some fabulous furniture finds here. Love that corner chair and I covet that china cupboard. You have updated these pieces so that they will be enjoyable again for years to come.
Pam @ beColorful

The DIY Show Off said...

Hi Judy! Thanks for stopping by and linking up to the DIY Project Parade! It's nice to "meet" you! Great finds! Beautiful rescues! ;)

Roeshel

Linda@Coastal Charm said...

You have soooo many great pieces from your hubby's grandmother...there is nothing better than family pieces. Love that corner chair and china cabinet.

Blessings,
Linda

Between Blue and Yellow said...

That's great! It's not very often you can find a great piece like that. So proud of you for taking the time to restore such a fantastic piece!

Courtney ~ French Country Cottage said...

Love the chair- that is so gorgeous!! You did a great job! All the pieces you have are just beautiful!! I would love the china cabinet white- but it looks amazing how it is too! :)

Vanessa said...

Hi Judy! Thanks so much for linking up to the party again this week! When I saw this post I realized again how glad I am to have found you and your blog and what great taste you have! That cabinet in the hallway holding your sons Lego creations is beautiful and it totally cracked me up because my little guy is a MAJOR Lego fanatic and I am always looking for places to store his completed sets. Maybe it will be an excuse for me to find a gorgeous cabinet! :-)
Thanks again!
Vanessa

Biljana said...

Great finds, you did wonderful job, bravo:))
Greetings from Europe, Biljana

Sandy at Teacup Lane said...

You put a lot of elbow grease into your Grandmother's furniture and all turned out beautifully. I think it is wonderful that you found a place for all of these treasured pieces. I have lots of hand me downs too and wouldn't think of getting rid of them...EVER.

Becca said...

Sooo pretty ... beautiful transformation, indeed !! *Becca*

Inspired by you said...

Wow! What a great bunch of pieces. They look great!

Kim said...

How fortunate you are to inherit all of those pieces. I'm surprised no one else wanted them. There is a wood product (them name is escaping me) that is very similar to what you described doing--it's kind of like a polish/stain. You did a wonderful job, everything is gorgeous.

Cathy @ The Far Fifty said...

These pieces are amazing! Love that their heirlooms, how special!

Cassie @ Primitive & Proper said...

the dresser looks so beautiful! so nice that you get to enjoy an heirloom piece! and that chair is so cute- love it! thanks for joining my party!

Deanna Jane (cullenkidsmum) said...

Love all the hard work you put into these pieces! What treasures you found in her home.

Cristie said...

The dresser looks very pretty, all your hard work certainly paid off. Thanks for sharing your talent and have a lovely week.

GardenofDaisies said...

You have been a busy girl! My favorite is that great little white chair with the blue seat. :-)

The Shoestring Contessa said...

You did a great job!!!! These pieces turned out beautifully!

Linda @ A La Carte said...

Wow is all I can say and gorgeous changes. I am so glad you rescued all that fabulous furniture. I see you found that Debbie has passed her party on to me and thank you for linking up.

Vintagesouthernlife said...

I am so glad you rescued those beautiful pieces and didn't let them go to the junkyard. I know it was a lot of work but you did a great job.
Not only did you find a place for them in your home you made a visible connection for your children with their ancestry.

Rose @ Confessions of a Curbshopaholic said...

Bravo! Great job making those pieces fit into your home. I too am struggling with whether or not to paint an old china cabinet...
Followed your link from Gail's Catchas Catch Can party.
Rose

Shirley said...

What fabulous re-dos!! Love that first chest. and you re do of the chairs. . . I'd like to have that talent!!!!

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Such gorgeous pieces. They are all wonderful treasurs and you did a fabulous job of refinishing them all. Love your vignette also. Thanks so much for linking to TTT. Hugs, Marty

High Street Cottage said...

Hi Judy, what great trash to treasure projects. And they all have pulled together nicely in your home.Great job. I have the honor of visiting you from Coastal Charm's link party, xoxo tami

Mimi said...

Judy, you have been busy, but what nice heirlooms you will be able to pass along to the next generation. I am sure your husband's grandmother is smiling down on you.

DANA said...

That is awesome! I would love for you to come link up at our Strut Your Stuff Party!

http://danajeanward.blogspot.com/2010/11/strut-your-stuff-link-party-and.html

Becky said...

That warms my heart. I love pieces that have a story that go with them.

Molly said...

I love that floral chair! I have seen some great ideas on recovering and it is making me look at those "ugly" chairs with a new set of eyes! You have inspired me to give it a shot!

Kaye said...

WOW, 104 yrs. old. Bless her heart!

I'm so happy you saved many pieces of her furniture. It's nice to have family heirlooms.

Beautiful job on the chair; it's gorgeous!

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