Category Archives: Re-Purpose

Vintage Desk Bureau with a little girly touch

I have a “thing” for certain types of furniture pieces.  I fall in love with chairs.  I melt for little round pedestal tables.  And I think we all know I have a thing for little vintage desks.   I have two and now… now I have three.  This one is a desk bureau.  Love these!  Practical.  Charming.  Organized.  Yeah.  You got me baby.

A good friend had this at her garage sale for a mere $20 dollars.  Whenever I go to her house, I admire her vintage furniture, her white milk glass collection and here she was, selling this amazing piece for $20.  It once graced her daughter’s bedroom but the blossoming teenager had outgrown it.  The faded yellow paint was chipping, the skull and cross bone skull stickers were peeling.  How could I let a stranger take it?  Clearly, it needed to be saved.  It might have been nostalgia – I purchased a desk like this years ago for Thing 2’s room – and during the divorce/separation she took it to her dads house.  But I had always loved it and missed it.  My BFF Kat, inspired Thing 2’s piece, bought one at a thrift store too.  It turned out to be sanding project from hell but she kept at it until it was beautiful and it now graces her daughters room.

I was so excited over this project I didn’t stop to take a “before” picture.  Here it is right after I sanded it down.
This piece is in great condition and it easily sanded down.  I painted two coats of Zinsser primer (letting it dry between coats) before lightly sanding it and applying the last coat of paint.

The inside of the desk was painted a royal red.  I love the unexpected color but red isn’t my favorite.  To keep the color close to the original inspiration I chose a girly hot pink.  Flamingo pink was exactly what this desk needed to pizzazz it up.  I thought about silver leafing the inside but those fussy little cubby holes were a deterrent.  Flamingo Pink spray paint conquered those holes!

Originally, I intended to sell this piece – $20 plus paint, it would have been a quick sale and easy profit.  But somewhere during the re-finishing part of our relationship, we bonded.   It whispered how it would hide my entry way table clutter – keys and mail and stuff to put away.  It coyly mentioned that it’s drawers would give easier access to my craft supplies.  Yes, I was seduced and my good intentions forgotten.

Now that I knew we were in a long term relationship, I needed to make a deeper commitment.  I wrote a dear John letter to my old entry way table – and then set it outside with a “free to a good home” sign.   Then I took a closer look at the little glass knobs who were begging for more embellishment.  This charming stencil from the Martha Stewart line tied in the star accents I already have in my home.

Now the little desk bureau is a happy welcome to my home (thanks for hiding my keys and mail)  Yes, I’m still missing two glass knobs, but they are just an excuse to go to garage sales.  Good relationships require effort, afterall!

Vintage 1890 Rococo French Headboard

The headboard project is complete.  And it is sooooo pretty.  I wish I could keep this piece.  I know I am going to regret selling it…. probably always.  But I bought it to sell and I’ve already had calls from Craiglist.  What do you think?  Keep it?  Or would you sell it?


Regardless, I’m holding on to it until the super FANTABULOUS Barker Hanger Yard Sale!  The cool thing about this sale is that it’s in the same area and same time as the Santa Monica Airport Flea Market.  In marketing you call that a captive audience!  Jude Barker has a bunch of cool stuff to stop storing in the hangar.  Seriously – she has a boat, a FISHING boat in there, a Cable Nelson Player Piano, a kiln (which I may have to buy) and who knows what other treasures will be unearthed.

Did I explain how cool the Barker Hanger is?  Presidents used to land and park Airforce One there.  Now it’s used to host fabulous events … like the FIDM Debut shows or Kids Choice Award parties  or cool rock videos or when auto companies need to film aerodynamics type commercials.  Many, many famous people have been there.  Sports figures, presidents, movie stars.  Movies stars like REAL movies stars – like Elizabeth Taylor!  And when she was there, she asked to use the bathroom.  And I have even peed on the VERY SAME toilet that Elizabeth Taylor peed on!

Vintage Headboard Update – make that 1890’s French Rococo Carved Headboard

Since I will sell the vintage headboard (even though I don’t want to) I decided to do a little research and was stunned to immediately have one pop up that looked really similar to mine!
Thanks goes to the Eclectic Revisited blog where I saw this.  Maureen was an absolute doll and even sent me a posting  where she found it.  While they’re not exactly the same and mine’s probably not an authentic Rococo French Walnut Headboard from the 1890’s, it was nice to have an idea where this headboard gained it’s original inspiration from.

I removed the upholstered panel and painted the outer edges in a glossy white.  The panel was probably an attempt to hide some minor damage to the wood and encouraged me to re-upholster the headboard in a more modern print.  Someone had written the date 1979 on the back of the upholstery panel, which I’m assuming, is also the age of the funky green velvet like fabric used to cover it.

Of course, I have the PERFECT fabric to cover the panel with but it is exactly 2 inches to short to cover the entire piece.  I decided to go with this chocolate brown remnant that I found at Joanns.  Again, its not my first pick but at some point I need to get this on Craigslist.

Vintage Tray Message Du Jour Boards

I’ve been looking and looking for some old vintage metal trays.  I thought they would be cute with their inner sections painted in chalk paint.  Cute to display around the home – handy for whatever the “Message Du Jour” is!  Thing 1 and Thing 2 always have fun with things like these and there’s no telling what message someone might leave, tempted with a blank slate and piece of chalk!

The weekend garage sales hadn’t turned up anything.  My search of the local thrift stores turned up a few items that were too much money and just really not what I was envisioning.  I was really looking to pay no more than a $1.00 (or even less).

Are you familiar with “the Secret”?  It’s a philosophy where you put a message out to the universe.  Basically you manifest your desires.  I’m familiar with the concept only.  But I will tell you this, I do seem to have this gift!  Need a new Cuisinart?  I’ll find one, brand new at an estate sale for $25 complete with the extra blade set.  What about a Barbecue for the rental house in Palm Springs?  How’s $20 bucks sound, gently used with a filled propane tank to boot!

Yeah, lucky me.  This is my gift in life – it couldn’t be something cool like winning lotteries or finding diamonds.  But finding that certain something that I feel I need… it comes to me.

Sure enough, sooner than expected, someone moved out of one of the apartments where I lived.  They left a bunch of kitchen goods, stacked neatly in a covered area next to the recycling.  Three darling little vintage trays yelled out to me and caught my attention.  They were not too big!  Not too small.  EXACTLY what I was envisioning!

After cleaning up the trays and applying a couple of coats of chalk paint, I had three festive little message boards, perfect for any occasion!

Naturally, Thing 2 was the first to grab the chalk and leave her message!