Confession: I spent Mother’s Day stripping.
And: I liked it.
It was a glorious day – just me and Paul, gettin’ dirty in the basement with a giant jug of Citristrip, scrapers, and this diamond in the rough:
But I’m jumping ahead. Lemme back it up a bit.
Burton Trash Day, or Burton Tree Lawn Shopping Day as some know it, happens in mid-May. It is the one time of year that our Village will haul away large household items and construction debris placed near the curb. Last year, I scored this leaded glass beauty:
This year, hip to the game and armed with my unrelenting, patented rose-colored-potential-goggles (much like rose-colored glasses but with the added built-in feature of common sense blinders), I circled and scouted like a fiend, filling my sedan several times with things that just screamed “Helloooo!! Stop and grab me and let’s make beautiful home décor together!”
I may have made some questionable life choices in the pursuit of hauling said large household items. I may have driven around twice with giant things hanging out of my open trunk. I may have confused my poor children when I stopped to pick through neighbors’ trash piles three times on the way home from school in a single day.
But all’s well that ends well.
My garage is overflowing with “projects” that have so fully occupied my obsessive attention that I didn’t do laundry for two weeks. Yesterday, my child turned to me to say “Mom, why are you always painting things?” But I am so darned excited. Literally all that is standing between me and about 20 fabulous exciting additions to home and garden is time.
Far and away my favorite find was the antique East Lake dresser. Despite its lack of drawers, the very moment I spied it (the car already filled to the brim with windows and cabinet doors and barn wood) visions of a rustic farmhouse kitchen sideboard danced in my crazy little head. I had to have it.
Literally the only space left in the car was the front passenger seat. But I knew if I didn’t grab it quick, someone else would.
Luckily, it was sitting on the curb of a friend, who stopped me from trying to shove the 3-foot long dresser into the car and kindly offered to drop it off in his truck.
I ran to Home Depot and grabbed a very vintage-y green shade of flat latex to spruce it up. I also had 2 MDF shelves cut for the interior.
I have previously had an irrational fear of stripping and sanding furniture. It seemed painful. But when I got down to the prep work on the dresser, I could see bits of the gorgeous antique wood peeking through the chippy paint and I couldn’t bear to cover it. I had the stripper on hand for another project Paul and I are working on, so I slathered it on thick and waited.
I may sound like a psycho but seeing the paint bubble up and scrape away like putty was freaking thrilling. It took a good two applications of the Citristrip to get down to bare wood, which as it turns out is gorgeous red oak. The less fun part was cleaning off the stubborn white residue that stripper leaves behind. It was a full body workout with steel wool and mineral spirits.
But damn. When it was done, it was glorious.
I didn’t dare stain it. I love the raw wood look. I just sealed it with a few coats of Polycrylic matte. Then I turned my attention to the shelves.
Paint in any form was not destined to be part of this piece of furniture’s life anymore. Just as I was about to start priming the MDF shelves, I spied the pair of glass shelves I’d set aside in the basement (I unexpectedly found them inside the Prince Dresser). They just happened to be the exact right size.
There was much squealing in joy.
To style this beauty, I filled it with my favorite set of hand-painted botanical casual dinnerware (a set of 8 bowls, appetizer plates, dinner plates and a pitcher scored last year at ReStore for all of $20!), mom’s lovely white serving bowls and stained-glass lamp, and my favorite Crate and Barrel flower shaped serving platters.
But it needed something striking to sit behind it.
I remembered a beautiful art deco leaded glass window my boss gave me a few months ago, and a pretty piece of lace my friend Naomi gifted me (I am the repository of all potentially-crafty-odds-and-ends in my social circle). I stapled the lace to the back of the window, and – magic! My lovely nook of vintage farmhouse free-ness was complete:
And now I want to redo the entire kitchen to match it. Apparently the best free things in life inspire more (and more expensive) future projects.
I’ll be back tomorrow for a Thrifty Thursday rundown of all my other Trash Day Treasure projects!