Tag Archives: refurbished furniture

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?



My Life Through Refurbished Furniture


It was the 1970’s and my family had just visited Colonial Williamsburg when my mother discovered a new trend in decorating. It was called “antiquing” and involved painting a table or chair, letting it dry and then covering it with a thick, brown glaze, which was wiped off just enough to leave lots of residue in the cracks and stringy brush marks that would resemble the discoloration of age. For good measure, you could rough up the surface by beating it to an inch of its life with a chain or pounding it with a hammer, all of which my mother did to anything she didn’t deem a “real” antique. We called it her “avocado and gold eagle stage,” as little colonial “Jim-cracks” began appearing around the house.

My Mother: The Original Furniture Upcycler

When it came to taking existing furniture and reinventing it to fit the decorating trends of the day, my mother was ahead of her time. I watched over and over as she re-covered chair cushions, repainted wicker and recycled unwanted pieces by “donating” them to her children. Furniture was something you chose with thought and old furniture wasn’t something you threw away. I learned from an early age that a cozy home was full of old and well-loved furniture.

Mother 1976 001

Teenage Furniture Rescuer 

As a teen, I was a true rescuer. I was known in my family as the dog rescuer for the many times I adopted strays from the pound. As I got older, cast off furniture became my focus as I spent Sundays at flea markets looking for pieces to save.  All those years of being dragged through antiques shops by my parents, with strict orders not to touch anything, began paying off as I began recognizing which old furniture was worth refurbishing.

Furniture Refinishing: The Mother of Necessity

When I married and became a young mother, without much money to spend on furniture, I really hit my stride as my sister and I scoured thrift shops, hunting for pieces before the kids got home from school.  I remember an especially sweet score; a Victorian dressing table with a big round mirror that probably cost a whopping $25, big money back then.  Once, I spent months with Homer Formby doing a full-scale refinish of an old high-boy my mother-in-law gave me; that piece helped me lose the baby weight.

Lisa refinishing 001

I taught myself to stencil on a dilapidated armoire, whose doors never did close right, but I loved those fuzzy morning glories all the same.

The Furniture Face Lifts Continue

Now, a grandmother, who’s downsized to a two-bedroom apartment, my love of refurbishing old furniture hasn’t diminished, instead its grown even stronger as I see the need for less stuff going in landfills. Now, I consider myself the cosmetic surgeon of all the old furniture that still has good bones, but just needs a little “lift.” Like an archaeologist, I dig through thrift shops, flea markets, yard sales and yes, dumpsters, on a quest for that hidden piece of furniture that needs my help. I take it home, give it some love and provide upcycled furniture for sale at consignment shops. I also do custom orders, for those like me, who just aren’t ready to part with that old friend.