Tag Archives: painted furniture

Why I Love Waterfall Furniture

Why I Love Waterfall Furniture

Back in the 1920’s, newlyweds didn’t get married and move into a beautiful new starter home like they do today. Instead, they moved into a bedroom at Mom and Dad’s and saved for the day when they could move out on their own. To make their little piece of heaven their own, they would purchase a brand new bedroom set. Because cash was tight, the new bedroom set was usually a “waterfall” set, constructed from the latest construction material, plywood.

The ability to use plywood to make curves during furniture making caused these pieces to be labeled “waterfall” furniture. The distinct curved wood that “fell” over the edge of the front of these pieces and their clean lines made them feel modern to newlyweds and a far cry from  the heavily carved pieces of their parents. Since these pieces were the first major pieces of furniture bought by many of our grandparents or great-grandparents, they have sentimental value and have remained in families for generations.

Today, as our grandparents pass on and leave their furnishings behind, you can find wonderful waterfall dressers, night stands and vanities at thrift shops, flea markets and the occasional yard sale. But, as charming as they are, because they are made of plywood with a specialty wood veneer, age and the heat and  moisture from attic and basement living have caused most of this type of furniture to be in not so great shape.

For the purest of furniture restorers, waterfall furniture can be painstakingly glued, patched and polished to bring back some of its former glory. But for those of us who prefer painted furniture, these pieces can be the coolest blank canvas for all kinds of treatments.

I love the romance of this furniture and recently came across a dresser at a thrift store that I got for a song! (I didn’t actually sing, that probably would have been a bad thing…)

Waterfall dresser

It was in pretty good shape, with just a few bad places along the bottom edges. The drawers were another story. The stops were still in place, but the backs were in serious need of glue as they were popping off. There were spiders’ egg sacks and big dust bunnies living inside and underneath and the veneer was covered in years of wax and grime. Of course, I fell immediately in love.

After cleaning, sanding, patching, gluing, priming, painting, distressing and varnishing, my drabby waterfall dresser has a new shabby chic look.

Waterfall dresser after

Waterfall dress after 2While I was working on this, I went to Pinterest to look at other waterfall makeovers.  Here are a few really creative redos:


How cute is this? Couldn’t find the exact blog site for you, but you can go to

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/264164334368766588/ and check it out.


The smart folks at Furniture-Ology combined this dresser with my favorite – chalk board paint. Love it!


Not just dressers, but vanities look great painted.

I love that the top was in good enough shape to save. What a great contrast to the white.

Last, but not least, we all need a faux soda machine in our homes!

waterfall 4

Hope you’ve enjoyed this little journey into the past and I hope the next time you come across a piece of waterfall furniture it’ll warm your heart just like it does mine.


Stencil Smarts


When it comes to painted furniture, I love the distressed look best of all. But, when a stenciled design is added to the painted surface, it takes on a richer and more interesting appearance. Whether it’s numbers, florals or geometric patterning, I love a stenciled design that adds a bit of whimsy or vintage inspiration to a piece.

I’ve stenciled everything from acanthus leaf borders to sailboats to numbers and letters to birds on furniture. My latest endeavor, as I begin the process of redecorating using a  shabby-coastal theme, is this little side table I found it at one of our many Goodwill Thrift Shops, here in Vegas. When I purchased it, it was missing a drawer,  which is funny because that is the kind of table I’d been looking for.  I’ve seen so many cute tables lately  using baskets instead of drawers, I really wanted to do the same. Here is what it looked like before the “makeover:”

Drawerless Table BeforePretty sad… It was dirty and scraped up, but very solid.

I decided to paint it a light, faded blue and to stencil it in white.  At, first I thought of using a floral design, but I came across a variety pack of beautiful stencils from Martha Stewart at Michael’s and changed my mind.

Last, but certainly not least, the hunt for the right size basket began. This proved to be a bit more difficult than I thought, since I was determined not to spend an arm and a leg on one. The whole point of up-cycling furniture is to recycle materials to make the entire piece affordable and “green.” I must have visited every thrift shop in Las Vegas, and that is saying something, yet could not find a rectangular basket in the dimensions I wanted. My husband, who by this point had also become involved in finding the “perfect” basket, saw some baskets on clearance at Lowe’s and told me about them. Something about finding the basket in the same place I buy my paint and other supplies seemed in line with my whole furniture re-do philosophy, so I headed to Lowe’s and not only found the perfect basket at a very low price, but did I mention it is woven of paper?

Here is how the table looks with its new “do:”

Drawerless Table AfterDrawerless Table After 2

I can’t wait to put my Coastal Living magazines on the shelf with some bleached seashells  and put this table next to my favorite wicker rocker out on the screen porch. The perfect spot for morning coffee…

For your viewing pleasure, here are a few more stenciled gems-


Big, bold stencils can make a real statement.

orange trunk

Love this color!

stencil birds

Love these birds!

painted filing cabinet2

Even office furniture is transformed with stencil magic! 

Painting and distressing furniture is fun, but using stencils is like adding just the right accessories to an outfit that makes it truly your style. Play, have fun, go forth and stencil!

What Inspires You?



As summer winds down, I’ve been thinking about the beach. I only had one chance to see the ocean this summer, when I visited my daughter in Palm Springs and we went to Oceanside Beach. I had never seen the Pacific Ocean before, having grown up in North Carolina and spending time on the beaches along the Atlantic coastline. It was beautiful and inspiring

I was perusing beach decor on Google images when I cam across this lovely room. The shade of blue, reminded me of the sky over the ocean and the bleached whites and creams were the colors of the clouds and sand.

I have this cute little table that I’ve been wanting to do something special to, so I decided to use this room as my inspiration for the color scheme and beachy look I want to give it (after pics to come).

Drawerless Table Before

Which leads to the question: “What Inspires You?”

When it comes to deciding what colors to use or what finish to create, I turn to a few tried and true ways of gaining inspiration:

  1. Nature – This is my best way of getting inspired. Here in Las Vegas, all I have to do is look toward Red Rock Canyon and see the incredible contrast of cerulean blue sky against the deep orange mountains and I’m inspired. There are dozens of different cactus flowers blooming, in yellow, pink and purple, along with coral colored tiled roofs and the beige of stucco surfaces.
  2. My favorite designers – When in doubt, I always look at the websites of my favorite designers to get inspired. MacKenzie-Childs always has some great ideas and color combinations as does Amy Butler. My all-time fave is Rachel Ashwell and just a few minutes perusing her Shabby Chic site or reading her blog make me want to grab my sander and start distressing everything in sight. My new love are the creations from The Junk Gypsies, who I follow religiously on Instagram.
  3. Pinterest – Need I say more? It’s like having a million decorator/DIY magazines at my fingertips.
  4. Fashion – I went to school for fashion merchandising and even though I’m not a size 8 anymore, I still love clothes, jewelry and shoes. Fashion magazines and people watching, especially here in Vegas, give a whole new meaning to the use of color and graphics.

Inspiration is everywhere and you don’t have to live in a city as colorful or diverse as Las Vegas to gain a ton of ideas for your next project. After all, I was inspired by the beach right here in the middle of the desert.


There’s Nothing Better Than a Good “Before” & “After”


When I first started painting furniture, I used to wish I had taken pictures of the piece “before” to show the wonderful transformation that happens with a little paint and an idea. It wasn’t until I started selling the furniture that I began keeping a notebook of before and after photos, which now includes other information on each piece, such as where I bought it, how much I paid for it and the cost of the supplies, paint and embellishments that went into the ultimate redesign. Now, I also include the color of the paint, in case I want to use that specific shade on another project.

My Latest “Before” & “After”

Because I know I like a good before and after, this blog is going to be filled with them, from me and from other sights, where I find inspiration.

This is a sweet little table I purchased at one of our local Goodwill Thrift Shops. It’s solid wood, in great shape — all it needed was some personality.

Table Before —

side table before

Using this Thistlewood Farms post as my inspiration, I painted it flat black, stenciled on some numbers, roughed it up a little to make it look “traveled,” and added these cute red, spigot knobs (Hobby Lobby, 50% off!).

Table After —

chest aftertop of chest

How great is it when a piece turns out exactly like you saw it in your mind? Pretty wonderful, as this one did.

Lessen of the Day

Keep your phone or camera handy when you start a project to grab a quick ‘before” pic. It makes taking that “after” picture so much easier and fun. After all, who doesn’t like to take pics of their loved ones “before” and “after” they’re all grown up?