Category: thrift store

A Kitchen Reborn Continued

With the addition of their new bar, my client’s kitchen table and chairs were too large for their new space.  As I regularly attend estate sales, visit thrift stores and yard sales, I’m always on the look out for some wonderful piece of furniture.  It was at an estate sale that I found the perfect table and chair set for their kitchen.  The photo below was taken at the estate sale.

Many of you know that I love the french provincial style, since it can have so many different looks.  My clients trust my judgement (definitely an honor) so I purchased the set.  The table needed to be round rather than oval to fit in the kitchen, but this round top wasn’t large enough to accommodate 5 people.

We purchased a larger wood table top, which my client affixed it to the original table base.  The base was painted black and distressed to match the bar.  Three coats of a dark walnut stain with polyurethane were applied;  I love the look of the table.

The chairs were finished before I tackled the table.  All were cleaned, sanded and primed and you can see at the difference between the chair’s original color compared to the primed chairs.

Here’s a look at the kitchen chair before and after.

The chairs were painted the same color as the cabinets.  I didn’t distress them like the cabinets nor use the same brown glaze. The metallic coffee glaze was a better match for the seat cushion fabric.

The table is the perfect size for this space.

Their large kitchen window had a honeycomb blind, which was a stark look for the room.  I added a pair of curtains, customized by sewing a band of the kitchen chair fabric and some decorative trim to them.

Here’s is a better view of the curtains.

My clients trusted me to purchase artwork for their home, which includes three pieces in the kitchen.  I fell in love with this still-life of a purple chair, loving how the black frame looks with the bar.

In addition to the still-life, decanter bottles were added displayed on a decorative round plate.  A  salad size plate with a french advertisement for champagne also adds some whimsy.

Two smaller prints were hung on the opposite side of the curtains, which also have black frames.

During one of my estate sales, I found a cubby with an upholstered cushion that would fit perfectly in the space right by their garage door.  They keep their soda cans, shoes and coats in this area and I thought the cubby would add to some order as well as a place to put on their shoes.

Here is the cubby in actual use.

During a vintage shopping hunt, I found two rugs for the family.  One is by the kitchen sink, which pulls in the sage walls as well as the blue of the living room while continuing the back up color of black.

My clients are amazing cooks (I’ve sampled a few of their delicious pasta dishes and baked confections) and this is the perfect space for them to enjoy cooking and dining.  I’m thrilled and honored to have been able to play a  role in the design of this space.


Finding Furniture

One of the most common questions I’m asked is where I find my furniture and, honestly, I get a little from here and a bit from there … thrift stores, estate sales, yard and garage sales, Craigslist, side of the road and friends.

Thrift Stores

I love shopping at thrift stores ~ it’s the thrill of the hunt not only for a great piece of furniture, but also for home décor items and clothing. My basic rule of thrifting is to visit stores as often as possible because merchandise is changing constantly.  A couple of weeks ago, I purchased a fun shelf with a triangle mirror at my favorite thrift store.   (Before and after photo below)

triangle mirror

After loading it in my car, I returned to the store to discover that new furniture had already been put on the floor in the barely five minutes I had been gone! What a thrill to spy four red fiberglass chairs by Italian manufacturer Calligaris. Normally I am on the hunt for vintage pieces but I thought these chairs would work well at my kitchen table. These Calligaris Irony chairs sell for $246 a piece! Score! So glad I returned to the thrift store.

calligaris irony chair

Estate Sales

Estate sales aren’t a reliable source of furniture for me because the price points are often too high but, there have been a few times when inexplicably a piece is priced right and I’m lucky enough to pull the tag first. (At estate sales, furniture has a price tag that you pull off and hand to the cashier to purchase it ~ pulling the tag).  I was so excited when I found this French provincial dresser wedged in the corner of a garage for an affordable price.

nelson buffet

nelson before close up

It helps when you go with others to estate sales, like friends who will report there’s a great piece in “such and such” a room.  A good friend told me to look underneath some piles of tools at a cedar chest with legs in the basement of a home, which I probably would’ve missed otherwise. Thank goodness for keen-eyed friends!

before after

Garage and Yard Sales

Garage sales can be a great resource for furniture, although they take a great deal of time to go from sale to sale in search of an affordable but well made piece of furniture. I got lucky one day on my way to a friend’s house when I pulled over to a yard sale because this dresser caught my eye.  Ironically I sold this dresser at my one and only furniture yard sale.

before after meg nicknish

Another lucky time I was running errands, drove by a yard sale and spied this desk on the driveway.

before photo

I thought it had fun lines and just might fit in our little “office” space off of our kitchen plus the price was right.

close up

Some red paint and she was good to go!


I have acquired quite a few pieces of furniture off of Craigslist.  The Plaid Rabbit was moving to its present location, which is nearly three times the size as the first store, and the owner asked me to acquire and paint two china cabinets.  I found both of these pieces from one man, selling furniture out of  his garage.  They were perfect.

coral cabinet before after

fp cabinet 2

If I’m going to buy a piece like the dresser below, I ask that it be outside as I don’t want to go into an unfamiliar home.  I just loved the patterns in the drawers and knew I wanted to glaze them so the details would pop.

etched before after

Roadside Finds

Garbage day says so much about our culture ~ everything is considered disposable. I’m sure that many residents hope that someone will come along and pick up their unwanted pieces. But I’d rather they call their local thrift store so that quality furniture can be repurposed, with little chance of ending up in a landfill.   When I very first started painting furniture, I would prowl the neighborhood on the look out for unique finds.  This sofa table was falling apart with one leg barely attached, but I grabbed it anyway (I was new and didn’t know what the heck I was doing – nor did I take “before” photos):

red sofa table

I couldn’t believe it when I saw this poor dresser setting in a heap on the side of the road, its drawers strewn about.  There was something disgusting all over the piece, sticky and questionable. A large dog must have mistaken the front right corner as a chew toy, which was recreated by my better half. One of the drawers is missing a bit of its left side also due, we think, to said large dog.


A good friend (who’s crazy like me) called to say she saw a china cabinet on the side of a road and was on her way to pick me up.  In the dark of the night, we heaved this beast of piece in her van .  I am one lucky gal to have such kind and generous friends keeping an eye out for me.

fp hutch full view

A great gal from my book club called to say that there was an interesting piece on the side of the road that I should go take a look at as soon as possible.  I hopped into my SUV to scout out the piece and found a beautiful art deco buffet!  As I struggled to load this heavy piece into my vehicle, the owner kindly came out to help.

before after


Friends and acquaintances are invaluable.  Just a week or so ago, a friend called to say that her neighbor was getting rid of a some bedroom furniture and asked if I was interested.  DEFINITELY!  The best part was that her neighbor was thrilled to have these pieces out of her house and wouldn’t take any money for them.  I think I got the better end of the deal.

before dresser

before mirror

before bed

Our children’s amazing art teacher kindly gave me this curio cabinet (there are no before photos) a few years ago and it just happens to have the honor of the most “pinned”  Cynfully Fun Furniture photo on Pinterest.  I think the blue and white ceramic pieces  were perfect for staging this regal cabinet.  Nearly all of my furniture is posted on Pinterest,  but never  “pinned” as often as this fun cabinet.

curio 3

curio 1

Hunting for furniture is fun, especially when you discover a great piece at your price point.  Thrift stores, estate sales, yard and garage sales, Craigslist, roadside pieces and donations are all part of the furniture seeking puzzle.   Happy hunting!


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