Tag Archives: roadside finds

Fixing up a roadside metal table

The last few weeks have been overwhelming, painful, and psychically grueling. My thoughts and heart are heavy. I have yet to form a cohesive way to approach all of it – the murders and protests and upheaval coming on the heels of a brutal pandemic which isn’t over – on the blog. I’m not sure that I will or that I need to (yet/now). But I can’t post about other things, simple, everyday things, without saying something more definitive to expose where I’m at amidst so much turmoil. I want to be hopeful about this country, its ability to adapt and evolve and right wrongs of the past, but I’m afraid. There’s so much beauty and so much ugliness. I want us to be better and I’m fearful that we won’t be.

I grab onto small pleasures and diversions. It helps me cope and it’s what brings me satisfaction. Creating is where I live. I was walking along the street, dodging other people, when I saw a rust-tinged metal table tossed out with a pile of yard debris. I examined it. My hands came away rust-shaded.😐 The metal top was wicked hot from being out in the sun. The top was too heavy for its 3 skinny legs and it wobbled or rather vibrated. I almost walked away from the castoff when I remembered how I pushed similar metal legs into the soil to steady them. That sold me; the wobbly quality wouldn’t matter if I used the table outside.
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I had cans of black and red spray paint. I figured black would get pretty hot in the sun and red would be more interesting.
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I added a coat of gloss to protect the top. I added a friend too. I love it! A simple feature with a vaguely art deco vibe that raises the spirits a bit. I can’t make life beautiful but I can make little things beautiful. From trash no less.

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Fixing up a roadside table

About 2 weeks ago I found this table tossed out curbside. I thought the color was awful but saw potential. The top is a little warped but not bad and at 30″ tall (the top is 15″ x 15.5″) it’s a substantial table without being heavy. Normally when I find a treasure like this I’m anxious to fix it up but things being what they are and have been, it took a awhile to feel inspired to work on it.

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I wasn’t sure what color I wanted in part because I hadn’t decided where the table would be used but a coat of white primer was the first step. I figured that would help me since I was sure it should be a lighter color.

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I let it sit a few days while thinking about color. I had this red orange someone gave me that I’ve used on several things but I didn’t think there was enough left to paint the whole table. I decided to use it on the top and the shelf and after I’d done that, I got inspired to paint the remainder a lighter salmon color I had (which I think I found roadside several years ago but hadn’t used much yet). It’s great! This is one coat; it may need more or touch ups but I was excited to show it on the blog now.

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The fun part is seeing where new-to-me finds might work. I tried out three ideas to show you. The best finds look good & could go in lots of places.

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I like this because that’s the same red orange on the drawers

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It’s starting to get warm & a fan table works too

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Ooh it looks really good as an end table

 

 

Found wood drawers get fixed up

I have professed my fondness for actual wood furniture so it’s a happy day for me when I – literally – find some, roadside that is. I have been wanting narrow wood drawers and saw these. They were “structurally sound” and I saw potential so I brought them home. They stand 30″ tall and are not quite 16″ wide and not quite 10″ deep.
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I took off and threw out the back cover which was not real wood and in bad shape, stained and warped. I can put another cover on if I want to but I’m not too worried since the back will be against the wall, limiting how much dust will potentially get inside. I also removed the small “front” at the very bottom.

I decided to effectively raise the height of the drawers by making a simple little stand out of scrap wood, which adds an open shelf at the bottom.

I removed the small wood knobs and replaced them with a quartet of fabulous metal drawer pulls (a sun, moon, leaf, and flower) that I’d put on kitchen cabinets a year ago (after having found them roadside on a ratty little set of fake wood drawers that weren’t any match for their beauty). Here they were on the cabinets.

I painted the outside of the unit light green including the little stand I made, and although the pictures aren’t showing it, the drawers themselves are painted one coat of a darker green – I let just the drawer fronts go after only a single coat because I realized the “distressed” look it created was kind of working. I liked it! Again, sorry, the picture doesn’t really show it.
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The drawers, likely being old, were somewhat “sticky” and I found the advice online to rub a bar of soap on the bottoms and also inside where the drawers touch. Very effective! Although I’d washed the whole thing before beginning the fix-up, I also put a coat of white paint on the insides of the drawers since I planned to put nice things (clothing things) inside and from the looks of it at least one drawer had held tools or something similar in its previous life. I lined the drawers with pretty wrapping paper.
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And then the fun part: putting stuff in them. I decided they’d be best for things I don’t use too often but still want to have at hand easily. (Shown here are my stash of “fuzzy socks” some oversized scarves, and a few tights.)

The drawers are very sweet, hold a decent amount of stuff and aren’t taking up much space in my small room. I’m really pleased with how they turned out for not much trouble at all.

I will always love you… or possibly until trash day

In October I found wood shelves tossed out on the curb. I wasn’t sure what I’d do with them but finding real wood furniture always makes me happy (pressboard or particle board crap just isn’t the same). About 29″ tall and  33″ wide, they weren’t too heavy so I carried them home; I knew I could pass them on to someone else if I couldn’t find a use for them. Otherwise they were almost certainly going to the dump – trash day for that area was the next day – and any other passerby wouldn’t likely see their potential since they didn’t look like much at first glance.

The paint job, likely a stain, was uninspired.

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Before I even brought the shelves home, the words on the back caught my attention and sealed the deal.

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Now that was curious!  Who are Louisa and Joe and why were their – or his – shelves chucked out for trash? Does she no longer love him? For whatever reason, were they no longer together (if they once were)?

It happens that I know someone by the feminine name but she spells it differently and moreover the woman on the shelves wrote her last name too, which I’ve edited out of the photo for privacy. It was an unusual name and googling it got no hits, further compounding the puzzle. I wonder if it wasn’t either of these two people who threw the shelves out but someone else. Maybe Joe nor Louisa was still the owner? Those words are an unusual thing to write on nondescript shelves anyway. Shelves aren’t all that romantic.😕 Maybe she painted them for him? Or secretly wrote the words on the back for him to find? And when was this written anyway? It just raises a lot of questions, the sort that intrigue me.

Now that the shelves were mine, the first order of business was fresh paint. I decided I could use the shelves in my room, if only temporarily, so I used this green that’s close to a shade I have on half the walls. The shelves aren’t ideal here because they extend past the window but I found myself in need of a little extra clothes storage, at least between seasons, so these will do. Painted, they look like a completely different piece.

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After I fixed up the shelves I found these interesting fabric bins at Dollar Tree. This setup may be temporary but for now it’s fine. And I will never paint over or otherwise change the words written on the back. In the end, I find the “secret” declaration of love, whether it lasted or not, kind of touching.

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More improvements to my small, organized kitchen

It’s been two years since I posted about how I organize my small kitchen. In the past week or so I’ve been working on the kitchen to make it even better and I’d love to show you! While I definitely have a good bit of leeway, I am a renter (and don’t live alone) so  I’m not in a position to start ripping out cabinets and installing new fixtures. Still, I spend a lot of time in the kitchen and want it to be as attractive and useful as possible.

Here’s the view from outside the kitchen. I made the tall shallow cabinet seen on the left of the kitchen entryway. It serves as a pantry. It’s shallow, about 9″ so it doesn’t take up much space and yet holds a lot.

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This summer I added the “stone wall” paper, leftover from another project, to the half-wall. I loved how it made it look more substantial.  This week I thought to add another piece to the wall holding the clock. Someone threw out that fabulous orangey-red chair and I added an orange cushion given to me by another person (she gave me two). It is super comfy and a very solid piece of furniture.

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Here’s a different view from outside the kitchen.

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Many years back I found the wood for the cabinet to the left of the stove, where else but, tossed out by the side of the road. It’s a peculiar manufactured wood that I hadn’t encountered before. The outside looks like the real thing, attractive finished lumber, but the inner core is hollow. Initially I made a long, low two-shelf that was in the living area. When I found something better I was able to eliminate my need for it there and sawed it down and made a higher, narrower unit. I was using it in its current space next to the stove but I had incorporated both an unmatched top board and shutter-type doors. Basically it was Frankenstein furniture, cobbled together with various pieces. It was also a tad too wide for the space. I got tired of looking at it and yesterday I completely took it apart and remade it into the 24″ wide cabinet you see here.

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The bottom piece looks like a decorative flat front, one I covered with the same wall paper seen in above photos. However, it’s actually a door I added to hide 6 full size paint cans stored behind it on the floor. (I discovered the hard way that paint should be stored at room temperature.)

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Here’s a long view. I guess you’d call this a galley kitchen? Not sure how narrow a space has to be to earn that title but as you see, it’s a relatively small space. Those are my pasta boxes over the window – I take my pasta seriously! (And there’s more stored elsewhere.) To the left of the window are open shelves I made for holding laundry products as the washing machine is right there.

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There is little counter space so the washer has to do its part as it did one day last week when I made pancakes in “peg leg” skillet”. (Note the front right leg is actually a long screw as is one other leg.)

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Previously I had introduced the color red into the kitchen and while I liked it, I ultimately decided I’d gone too far with it and should tone it down. A little red goes a long way – I see that now! I made the cup and spice racks a long time ago and painted them fire-engine red some years ago. Last week I put a coat of primer over them as well as the dowel for hanging kitchen tools. I am much happier with this white; it’s just more polished especially with the blue back splash I made from glass tiles I got from Freecycle. I had too many colors going on even for a cheerful, busy kitchen. While it’s still busy it’s cleaner-looking. (A side note: the stove is 20″ wide to give you an idea of size.)

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I also put primer on the narrow strips at the top and bottom of all the white cabinets, which had previously been brown. The underside of the cabinets, which are made of some sort of manufactured wood, were also that brown shade. It’s not attractive and I realized, especially after I saw how even eliminating the red cup and spice racks made the space look brighter, that it was likely absorbing light. I put on a coat of primer and will likely either add another or a coat of regular white.

The cabinets initially had no door pulls and I added my own, red wood knobs. I took those off and finally used door pulls I found almost two years ago. They’re so pretty but I just hadn’t figured out the best way to use them before now. I only had the four so I’ve put white knobs on the other cabinets.

I made a place for a dish cloth by screwing in hooks and adding a plastic chopstick to the bottom of the spice rack. I made a similar towel rack on the cabinet door below the sink with hooks and a dowel. I did have a regular towel rack there but it had started to rust so I recycled it. This new version doesn’t stick out quite as far and I like that, especially given how much time I spend at that sink (um, A LOT).

In the fall I tackled the clutter that resides, as it does for many people, under the kitchen sink. I was tired of bending over and rooting around in the dark space trying to find a particular item. Using scrap wood I made narrow, shallow open shelves on the opposite wall (under the wall lamp) to hold the products used most often. This allowed me to tidy up what remains under the sink. I figure eventually I will remake the unit with nicer wood and maybe even add a door but for now, this has been very handy.

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The very tall red-door cabinet next the small open shelves was one of the first things I ever added to the kitchen (what else but…ROADSIDE FIND!). It didn’t have a door so I added one (it too could stand to be replaced but it’s not pressing). The cabinet almost reaches the ceiling and holds a lot of stuff (such as more pasta!)

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Beyond it, next to the window are high, open shelves I made for food stored in glass containers. The top row houses my glass Mr. Peanut Planters jars. Hoo boy, am I glad I hung onto them! Glass jars are a thing of the past for peanuts and they’re such a great size for storage.

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Speaking of glass jars… I have previously admitted to being a bit of a glass jar hoarder. (I get nervous that food will eventually not be sold in glass at all.) It’s difficult for me to toss glass jars; they seem like they’ll be useful but I had more jars than I had room to keep them. I have made a new commitment to only save what I can fit into this plastic bin (which is stored on top of the main cabinets).

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Below the glass jar shelves I made very rudimentary shelves to hold the microwave, a small toaster oven, the trash can and a container for recyclable cans, jars, plastic, etc. This isn’t very pretty but it’s serviceable and not in a highly visible area. Also- I’ve made a new commitment not to leave any  junk on the wood counter (as I previously committed to with the dining table), so any miscellaneous stuff I have hanging around because I intend to use it soon – recipes, jars that need refilling, etc – will go here.

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I also removed the clutter from the top of the cabinets and found other places to store those items (string lights, plastic to go over windows in winter, holiday decorations). In their place I added a few decorative pieces. This is a panoramic shot which is why part of it looks scrunched together.

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The lion has found a spot by the pots & pans to hold rubber bands.

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I had a shelf holding two large cooking pots in the space over the kitchen “pass-through” and I have to admit I whacked my head on it by leaning too far into the space more than once. That wasn’t why I decided it should go but I found another spot for the pots (on the top of the cabinet above the washing machine) and eliminated the shelf. I really like how open it now looks. On the opposite side of the wood counter I have low shelves for dishes and simple curtains to cover the area and keep dust out.

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Making all these little improvements has made my life better and I walk into the kitchen and look around with pleasure, ready to start cooking.

EDIT: After I posted this I got one more good idea. As there are no – no – closets, it can be tricky to find storage spaces. One end of the kitchen houses a large, squat water heater that isn’t very attractive. That’s where I store brooms, mops, buckets, and a vacuum cleaner. My idea was to put a curtain in front of it to hide the area, but still leave it easily accessible. Much better!

NOTE: Please forgive a delay in responding to comments. I love to hear them but am having internet issues and won’t see them right away.