Yard Sale Coffee Table to French Country Treasure

If there’s one thing I have learned in the past five years it’s never, EVER pass on a solid wood piece of furniture that has lots of design if you have a place for it in your home.  Over my years of having a furniture painting business, I would specifically look for things that had character and “shabby” potential.  I just happen to love that look and if you are into repurposing, it also sells very well in our Palm Beach area as it fits in with a beachy look as well.  About a decade or more ago, I discovered I really loved the Rachel Ashwell “Shabby Chic” look.  It was soft, feminine and looked like it had been around for a hundred years.

And, it is actually a look that is fairly easy to do.  Personally, I’m not a fan of dark wood.  I’ve learned that the lighter the furniture, the less you see dust!  Yes, I have replaced brand new dark wood pieces that I bought with thrift store finds to paint because I just dislike seeing all that dust every day.  (That will probably be the best tip of this blog.)  Buy light-colored furniture pieces or paint what you have light!  You will spend a lot less time dusting.

While shopping garage sales one Saturday morning, I found this medium-colored solid wood coffee table.  To be honest, it was pretty ugly.  But, I loved the curvy legs and intricate design on the sides and legs and it was $15.  SOLD!

Yard Sale Coffee Table $15

I brought it home and decided to get some chalk paint out.  I gave it a couple coats covering the entire piece in a soft white chalk paint that I made from latex paint, some Plaster of Paris and water.  There are hundreds of recipes for chalk paint on Pinterest.  Here is one.  http://inmyownstyle.com/2012/08/testing-1-2-3-versions-of-chalk-paint.html

You can also splurge on the Annie Sloan version of the chalk paint or Lowes now also has a chalk paint that they can mix to any color.  That is a nice option I recently discovered.  This is what the Lowes chalk paint can looks like.   It is great to paint with and I use a nice 1.5″ brush.  I have learned that buying a more expensive brush will make your painting jobs easier.  The right tools are a must!  Instead of buying that cheap $3 brush, get the $9 one.  You will get a lot more use of out it, but you should clean it very well after each use with warm, soapy water.  Rinse it well!  You will have a much more polished product in the end.

It will most likely take at least two coats of the chalk paint to cover over a dark wood piece.  It helps to lightly sand with a fine grit sandpaper in between coats to make the surface nice and smooth.  (This is not required but will leave a smoother surface.)  Wipe with a dry clean cloth to get the residue off before starting the next coat.  Finally I waxed the entire piece with Johnson Paste Wax.  Rub it on with clean, soft rag.  Let it sit for a few minutes (see directions on the can) and then buff off with another soft, clean cloth.  It gives is a matte finish that will protect the paint.

Here is the finished coffee table in my family room.

After a project is finished – the beach is always calling!

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Creating a Restoration Hardware Look with Thrift Store Furniture

Creating a Restoration Hardware Look with Thrift Store Furniture

Who doesn’t love walking into a Restoration Hardware store?  Do you dream of purchasing some of their fantastic furniture?  Today I want to share with you how to create a Restoration Hardware look on thrift store furniture.  For many years, I have browsed around RH and drooled over that pricey, weathered look.  Since I can’t pay those prices and I love being creative, I decided to go in a different route – to the thrift store!

Finding old, quality, wood furniture with good bones is actually pretty simple.  Plus, they just built furniture better back in the olden days so it will be much sturdier than a piece from Ikea or Target.  I was able to pick up real wood pieces to duplicate this look with just some paint and new hardware.

Remember to look beyond ugly colors or dated looks.  Here are some examples of the RH furniture.

Restoration Hardware Photo
Restoration Hardware Photo










Wanting an expensive look with a tight budget can be challenging, but if you keep an eye out for furniture with “good bones” you just might find a Practically Palm Beach piece.  Making frequent stops at local thrift stores became a weekly routine for me, and I love the hunt!  Don’t give up if you don’t find something right away. Consistent searching pays off eventually. One particular store became very useful in finding some major pieces. I hate to give away my secret, but it’s called Faith Farm.

I found two matching nightstands for around $50 each.  They didn’t look like this when I bought them but unfortunately, I never took a before photo.  But they were similar to the headboard that I got at Faith Farm too (see photos below).

To replicate the woodgrain look, first remove all the drawers and hardware.  Using a Purdy 1.5″ paintbrush, I painted on a light butter-colored latex basecoat to cover the entire piece.  I painted it on working in the long direction of each drawer, top and sides.  You don’t have to be too fussy at this point.  Just avoid any drips.  I then took another 1.5″ brush and “dry-brushed” over it with a dark brown latex paint to create the rustic wood look.  I’ve found the trick to this is just dip the tip (about 1/4 inch) of the brush in the dark brown paint and when wipe off most of it with a wet rag, swiping the brush on the wet rag before touching the furniture and a angle.  It will be best if you practice on an old board first to get the hang of the “faux wood” stroke.  The lighter touch you have, the better.  I sealed it with a polycrylic sealer to protect the paint finish using a brush.  I think I put on two thin coats, but three would be even better.  Let each coat dry completely before putting on another one.  I’ve had a couple places of wear because my cat loves to jump up on my furniture and dig in his claws when he makes contact.

Put on Thin Coats of Sealer to Protect the Finish

To give it a better rustic feel, I ditched the shabby chic handles that came with the nightstands (to be used on other furniture later) and replaced them with bronze cup handles that I purchased at Lowes.  

On a separate occasion shopping at the same thrift store, I found this huge wood headboard and could just envision it fitting into the RH look as well. It was massive, but I purchased it for only $50! I did the same “faux” paint job on it.

Before painting it


After Faux-Painting

Two dressers were given the same look.   Remember, it takes time to find several pieces that can work together so just be patient.  One dresser was found on the side of the road in our neighborhood on bulk pick-up day (in perfect condition!) and the other dresser I’m sure was found at the same thrift store for little or nothing.  My best “trick” is remove all the handles and spraypaint them with Rustoleum Oil-Rubbed Bronze spray paint.

Rustoleum Oil-Rubbed Bronze

Found this dresser on the side of the road for FREE!

Basically, all five pieces that I have in our bedroom were purchased for a fraction of the cost of ONE piece of RH hardware. With a little paint and a bit of creativity, you can have the RH look.


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