- kids dressers
- bed or futon (I am currently sleeping on the floor)
- pots & pans
- desk for kids
- coffee/end table
I put the word out that I was in need of the items and since the budget was nil, creativity and imagination were a must. A couple phone calls and a prayer later, I located a queen-size bed with a slightly used mattress, frame and head board (thanks to a cousin’s daughter who had recently moved out-of-state) My friend got her bed - FREE!
I scanned Craigslist for free and items $10.00 and under. I found a 2-drawer wooden night stand that could work as a dresser or an end table for $5.00 so I made arrangements to pick it up. On my way home, next to a trash can, by the side of the road, was a poor forlorn desk that was made of that pressed board, faux wood material. I knocked on the door and a lady answered – when I asked her if
she was using the desk she said I could take it. After trying to get the thing into the back of my truck by myself for 10-minutes, in dress slacks and heels no less, a neighbor driving by stopped to help me load it (another answer to my prayers) Can you hear the Alleluia Chorus? And I was on my way…
I went around the corner and headed for home but not before I passed a house that had a couple tables and some furniture in the driveway, being that it was Monday I figured maybe these were leftovers from a garage sale the previous weekend and I turned the truck around for a better look.
As it turned out, the kind lady was just starting to set up for a sale for the coming weekend and she showed me several pieces of furniture, but most were out of my price range. I did pick up a small table for myself and after telling her what I was looking for and why she showed me a white desk that she was using to set boards on for a make shift table. She indicated that the desk had been left out over the summer and had some water damage to the bottom and she wasn’t going to sell it although it was still very sturdy. She said I could take it and also gave me a metal floor lamp that needed to be rewired. FREE! I loaded my goodies and thanked her and wished her well on her sale.
(This shot was taken after we had primed it)
Through the next couple weeks I accumulated other items, a 4- drawer, white pressed board dresser from a college student going home for the summer ($10.00).
An extremely large computer desk with a built-in file cabinet on one side and a pull-out tray for a keyboard (bought with other items at a garage sale so I got a smokin’ deal on the desk for $10.00). Nothing but a good cleaning and rub down with some Old English stain to bring out the grain and it was good to go. (Sorry no photo)
Finally, I rounded out my haul with a 3-drawer, white wooden dresser ($10.00) from another coed who was upgrading his furniture. (The 3-drawer dresser on the right minus drawers)
Now the real work could begin.
This is my helper, partner in crime and creative consultant, Chelsey. We sanded, repaired, and replaced (with the help of Mr. Man) a couple of the drawer bottoms to make them nice and sturdy, and primed all surfaces.
We used paint that I already had stashed, which by divine creation, matched perfectly with the kids’ choices for room colors. We painted the dresser drawers alternating the fuchsia and purple colors, fuchsia for big sister and purple for little sister and painted the top and sides with fuchsia. Being that it was a laminated dresser we taped off the laminated edges (why fight it) and left those white, cleaned up the drawer handles which were in great shape and stenciled the top and drawers with flowers in white & pink (thanks Chelsey).
And throughout the process I took photos, except I didn’t take any photos once we were finished. We were so excited to get these to the kids that I plum forgot so please excuse the fact that these photos aren’t staged or in great light since I asked my friend to take these for me about a month after the kids had had them and, of course, being kids they use them.
Pretty in Purple...
The girls’ desk was the hardest of the projects simply because we were fighting the weather with getting it finished. Unfortunately, at the time I didn’t have a designated room for painting and so we did most of this (to Mr. Man’s dismay and many of my neighbors) on our side yard and driveway.
The rain came twice while we were trying to do the finishing touches on this piece and so it had to be retouched twice. I painted the purple border, had Chelsey paint pretty flowered details in the middle to match the dresser but the paint hadn't dried all the way before I put a tarp over it and the paint ran & smeared. I covered that goof up with another color. That too ended up smearing and I was forced to touch up not only the middle but the purple frame and portions of the white border. Needless to say I decided to paint the middle white again and even though the coverage wasn’t what I wanted we loaded the desk onto the truck and delivered it to the girls. We reused the same drawer handles on this one as well.
True Blue Boy's Dresser...
This little dresser was the one I bought from the college student. It received a couple new drawer bottoms and a couple coats of blue paint. The round, gold metal knobs got a new look with some silver spray paint and it was ready for action.
Chalk it up to Learning Desk...
This is the piece that I rescued from the side of the road. It was a challenge because I wasn’t sure how well it would stand up to a boy’s wear and tear but I decided to spray paint it with matte black and chalkboard paint on the top and on one of the removable shelves (with the help of my son, Kam who is a whiz with a rattle can). The top had water damage so the surface was a little less than perfect but after a couple of coats of the chalkboard paint it didn’t seem to matter. I had drawn a little note on the top and included extra chalk and before we could even unload it the girls began to add their own artwork to it! They loved desk and were disappointed that they couldn’t draw on their desk as well. As you can see, their brother has really enjoyed the desk and put it to good use immediately.
Considering that I had most of the paint and supplies, I estimate with the price of the furniture included, the out-of-pocket cost for this make-over was just over $40. There is nothing more satisfying than to see a child smile and they were eager to have furniture in their rooms that was not only functional but fun. Chelsey, Mr. Man and I really enjoyed redoing this furniture for the kids and we did it without breaking the bank.
Have you done something nice for someone else that made an impact in their lives? What was the outcome and what did you learn from that experience?
I’d love to have you share your stories with me and any “before & after” photos that illustrate your project.
Thanks for stopping by and as always…