Monday, September 26, 2016

Before/After Home Office Cabinets

It strikes me as odd how things work out sometimes.

I have never been one of those
 save-that-vintage piece-dumpster-diver
I-break-for-garage-sales kind of gals.

Nope, not me, not ever.

 I have been called a "shopping snob"often enough
 that I must admit there may be some truth in it.

I know, right?

  Me - the Secondhand Queen,
the bargain-loving gal who nearly never pays full price
 for anything to decorate and upgrade her home?

Me - who LOVES to create the look-for-less
and can usually spot potential in every possibility?

A shopping snob?

WELL, truth be know, I have always drawn the line at curbside.
That doesn't make me a shopping snob, though, SIS! lol

I always simply think the next person should grab that curb item-
he or she will be better and certainly QUICKER than I, for instance.

I talk myself out of it every single time I see it -
and I see it often.

(My neighbors throw out some pretty awesome stuff, just sayin'.)

I see its bright future, sometimes I want it, yet I always ignore it.

I hear my mother's sweet voice saying in her soft lady-like way
 "that's just not what we do, sweetie."

Yet I feel my heart pound when driving past these potential saves; 
I know deep down inside a part of me is shouting  


So today, I bid thee welcome
 to a reveal of something salvaged by us
from the curb of our neighbor.


Last summer my daughter left our house to return to her home
and called from her car, to insist that I walk down to the house whose owners had already bought another and had recently moved.

(I DID go to their garage sale and bought some vintage linens.)

I am friends with the mother of the gal who moved.
I know her from my local civic women's club.

SHE even told me (before they moved) to come down
and make an offer on anything they left so far in the house-
they'd probably just give it to me.

And I really meant to do so, I really did - but I didn't.
It's just too awkward for me, so I just put it off till it was too late.

But knowing me SO well, my youngest daughter said:
"Mom. Don't delay this.
  Just walk down there, it's dark, it's at their curb
 and it won't be there long. No one will even care or notice."

So I walked down.
 Took me only two minutes to see those
two dingy old dirty and dated wooden base cabinets.

But, like so many of you, I did see potential in them!

I walked back home and told my husband.

 I asked him if he'd help me retrieve them,
as I can no longer lift heavy items 
 since hurting my arms a few years ago.

Were we embarassed? Yes, perhaps a little. 

Did we ACT noticable? Probably.
 Hubs brought his wheeled cart thing.
We aren't ninja trash pickers. We were loud, I know it.

Was it worth it in spite of it all to save those cabinets
from the landfill and give them a new life?

You be the judge:


Two nicely cleaned up black floor cabinets flanking
 a gifted antique dresser my son-in-law no longer wanted. 
(It's still kinda nasty with primer, another task for another time.)

Sometimes one must see past the greasy grimy gopher guts.

I think these may have been living in their garage,
doing duty as storage units or something
 as their home was absolutely stunning inside.

They probably started their lives from a bathroom
 that had been upgraded along the way.

The only thing we had to buy for this project 
was four new snazzy pull nobs,
 as one of them was missing.

We already had the primer, the paint, the sealer
 and silver matte metallic spray paint for the bottom pulls.

We had to run out and get another can of the paint
towards the end of painting.

So all in all we spent around $28
 for our "new" cabinets in our office.

I am happy we could salvage those bottom pulls
I absolutely love them.

I run a business out of this space at home. 
Behind those cabinets you will find scanners,
 and scales and packing tape and stickers
 and reams of paper and printers ink, everything
common for a home office is kept tidy and unseen.

I may dabble with embellishing them a bit more
but for now I just wanted them placed
and was too excited not to share with you!

This is a wonderful and haunting print of my sister's - on loan.
She lived in New England for years running an ad agency.

One of her art staff took this winning shot of his aged father
who played violin his entire life and won many contests.

I adore this print and it currently and happily resides
in my home office with its black, grey and white decor.

My pic of the pic doesn't do the shadows justice.

As always, thank you for your visit!




  1. Lovely results I really enjoyed your story of talking yourself into picking up the left out cabinets. Our city no longer has curbside pick up - so we have nothing to choose from. The only things that get left out for collection are garbage cans. Our neighborhood has its own spring and autumn pick up specified days and I've seen people going past looking at the piles - but I've never seen anything worth picking up - and I'm a serious scavenger. I have to get my things from thrift shops or yard sales.

  2. Beautiful job! YOu are a girl after my own heart :)

  3. Your "sneak-around-so-no-one-sees-us" cabinets look really great. I do feel the same way - but I've tried to overcome my hesitation and have picked up a couple of useful pieces over the years. The photo of the man with his violin holds a lot of emotion. It's beautiful!

  4. I am so like you, Michele! I feel level of embarrassment taking things from the curb but in reality, maybe the owners are happy that their cast offs have a new life somewhere else.

    The cabinets are fantastic and I love that you painted them black. Could it be the new white? I'm embracing it more and more. Great job! I love the dresser and painting as well. You are making me want to go drive around the neighborhood tomorrow night! ;-D


  5. oh reading you making me little sad and i started missing my lovely furniture which we will have to sell before leaving this city as just after few years we will move to my native land ,
    your stuff is so gorgeous and you made it even beautiful ,it is true that same thing displays its different values while walking through different hands

  6. Michele, What a find! The cabinets look great and you did a super job refinishing. Congrats! Sylvia D.

  7. What a great story, you really pulled me in with your narrative. The cabinets look amazing, excellent work!
    Thanks for showing off your "junk" (not) at Mosaic Monday this week. Can't wait to se what you pick up next.

  8. Great save! Just think, you saved some great pieces from the landfill. I love thrifting and would have saved those chests too! There's no shame in my thrifting game ..**grin**.

    Love the picture too!


  9. I am glad you salvaged those beauties!
    Great job refinishing them.
    Love the beautiful photo too!

  10. You were describing me all that time! I have never picked up something I've seen on the side of the road or curbside in a subdivision either. I have put many things out by the road and seen them disappear quickly though! You did get a great prize though for your efforts! I love the picture your sister is loaning to you- it's really fantastic.

  11. Michelle they are a wonderful addition to your office, you have done a great job. In the process you have saved them from landfill a great job for the environment, well done.

  12. Love the cabinets, Michele, you did good. I have picked up a couple times in my life, once I even stopped and asked if I could have a wicker rocker that was beside the curb, the lady said Yes, sure, so in my car it went and I enjoyed it for years.

  13. Lovely job! I love the knobs you chose to complete the project.

  14. The cabinets look beautiful! Maybe you'll be a little less reluctant to pick up things and give them a new life, next time.

  15. Fabulous! It all looks so great! Love mixing black and white for a beautiful look and you can add color in other areas! I can't believe that people throw things away instead of taking them to donate. That makes me SAD..almost mad! lol Hugs!

  16. I'm so glad that your daughter called and talked you into picking up those awesome cabinets, my friend! Wow, you did a great makeover job on them, and what great storage for you. I love the print of the sweet man with his's so touching!

  17. No shame in picking up those treasures did an excellent job with the re-do! I guess i will need to follow along with your blog to see what else you re-discover! :)

  18. I would have been down there in a heartbeat to grab up those cabinets! You did GOOD...they are beautiful! I have a wing back chair still sitting in my garage that I literally grabbed off the curb. One of these days I will give it some love!

  19. ***ninja trash pickers***
    i laughed out loud at that comment..
    then slapped my hand over my mouth
    cuz it's 5:30 in the morning and my
    dearest is sleeping! too funny.
    i've been known to dumpster dive
    (well, outside of the dumpster, never IN)
    and pick things up from sides of the road,
    but this find of your finds? wow. very
    nice. i'm loving what you've done with the
    cabinets - perfectly situated too.
    applause \o/

  20. Oh Michele, I pick curbside treasures all the time. My home has plenty of them. There is nothing wrong with that. You lucked out with those cabinets and what a transformation. They turned our incredible. No one would know if you didn't mention it but I think you should. Job well done.

    PS, the photo is magnificent.



  21. Your scavenging story cracked me up, Michele. Your rescued cabinets look fantastic! I usually pass on curbside treasures because: 1) I don't have a vehicle large enough to transport it; 2)I'm not handy/crafty enough to refinish furniture.

    A few years ago, I did snag a college frame from my neighbour's lawn...I wasn't sure if it was "free for the taking" so I actually rang her doorbell to ask if it was ok to take. HA!

  22. Yup! Sounds like me! LOL You did a wonderful job giving these cabinets a new life. They looks beautiful! Have a great weekend! Maria

  23. Michele, I'm rather like you in that I can't bring myself to pick up a curbside treasure or that sort of thing. I think it's wonderful that other people do it, but I just ... well ... even though I didn't know her, I hear your mother (or *some*body) whispering "That's just not what we do, sweetie" when I even try! :D What a hoot! Gorgeous makeover on those cabinets. Glad you overcame!

  24. I have never been able to dumpster dive or trash pick either. But I'm also not handy at refurbishing, so what would be the use?! You did a great job with those cabinets. Hats off to you for transforming cast-offs into something beautiful and useful. That is a beautiful picture. xo Deborah

  25. LOL you finally lived a little honey !!LOL

    A person can find the best things curbside and their yard sale sounded wonderful.
    My family never had heard of a yard sale when I was growing up so it was a thrill for me when I discovered such a thing.
    Yes I have picked from the curb but not nice cabinets like you have in your office now .
    You did a good thing

  26. Once again, you and I are soul sisters even though far apart. I, too, would have *wanted* to take advantage of the salvaging offer from the neighbor, but I wouldn't have for fear of seeming too ... something something, as a friend of mine says. So glad your daughter gave you the alert so you could rescue those cabinets and add your "Michele's magic" touch to them! (By the way, I started on my own home office redo today. Great minds ...)

  27. I loved this story and the makeover! Thanks for sharing! You are one of the features at The Round-Up from the Before & After Wednesday party at The Dedicated House. Here is the link so you can check out your feature. Have a wonderful day! Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

  28. Wow Michele, I can't believe how beautiful they turned out. I slow down for furniture on the side of the road and definitely would have pulled over for this pair too. Your daughter has a good eye!!

  29. Hey congrats all around! That was a wonderful save. I don't do curbside either, only because I am too lazy! haha! That print is simply gorgeous. Wonderful that you know the history. Happy fall dearie!

  30. Your "find" looks great, Michele, nice job and it has a definite purpose in your home. Also the print is just striking, hope it stays a long time. Take care.

  31. Those were worth saving. They look fantastic. I love the finish and the hardware. Fun post.

  32. Your curbside treasures look fantastic. I use to be a shopping snob but quickly realized I had a vision and could make curbside trash look good. I think you can also.


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