The Project Pieces

Even though the weather has been in no way conducive to refinishing, I’ve been dragging home a lot of project furniture lately. I should probably undergo therapy to see what draws me to these broken, sad, derelict pieces of mid-century furniture. Bad finish, chipped veneer, obliterated upholstery—they’re all in my garage awaiting their makeover specials. It is a lot of hard work to bring these pieces back to life, but there is a tremendous joy in knowing that I may have saved them from the fate of being covered in milk paint and “up-cycled” within an inch of their lives.

A few weeks ago I headed 100 miles out of town on a hot tip about a great dresser, but, of course, on the way I couldn’t help stopping at a small town thrift store and managed to score this:


Wait, is that…



Broyhill Brasilia! A thrift store diamond. Well, more like a thrift store lump of coal in its current condition. There is literally no finish left on the top, assorted chips in the veneer and SO much sticker residue from its last life in a sadistic child’s room. But, for $25 I couldn’t say no. This one will be a fun transformation to see.

Ok, that's bad, but not too bad…

Ok, that’s bad, but not too bad…

Ok, not sure how the top is going to turn out. Stay tuned.

Oh crap, how am I going to fix THAT? Stay tuned…

Buying two six-foot dressers was not my plan and I was lucky to have just purchased a vehicle large enough to accommodate my buying whims. So, on to the originally scheduled dresser pick-up.

Brasilia wannabe, perhaps?

Brasilia wannabe, perhaps?

It’s cool right? Well, until you look really close. Every corner has been smashed and a few large chips in the veneer will need addressing. Still cool, but, sigh, a lot of work again. When you’re buying furniture out of someone’s dimly lit house, it’s a good idea to have a flashlight on hand. I did not and after the ordeal of getting this thing down a narrow flight of stairs into the daylight, I wasn’t about to say “No, thanks.” All in all, however, it wasn’t a bad deal.

This is actually the best looking corner…

This is actually the best looking corner…

Really? A furniture marker? There's a good two square inches of veneer missing

Really? A furniture marker? There’s a good two square inches of veneer missing

After this I told myself that I could not buy one more piece of furniture because the garage is FULL. Of course, if I managed to find something small…

Chair Pair

A trip to a Goodwill near work yielded these two structural vintage walnut side chairs with hideous 1990s green upholstery and broken seat webbing. “Ugh. Too much work. Walk away. Walk away!” And walk away I did—but I took them with me. For $12 it would be tough for anyone to say no. Right?

Hopefully we’re in for a dry, warm spring with plenty of opportunity to get out in the driveway and give these pieces a new lease on life. Stay tuned for the before and afters in the coming months.

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