Elbow Grease

It’s amazing to me what a throw-away society we live in. I see it all the time in my MCM groups on Facebook. Pictures of gorgeous solid wood furniture, thrown out with the trash. Completely salvageable and not to mention beautiful pieces left on street corners, alleyways and in dumpsters. Luckily, there are folks out there that value the old, and can see the sometimes hidden potential. I can’t say I’ve been dumpster diving before…but I have great admiration those that have. I’ve seen some really stunning pieces saved and given new life by some of my fellow MCM fanatics.

While I tend to find my treasures in thrift shops, (my city is considered wine country, and its overrun with rod-ironed Tuscan fever. Yikes) I almost feel a duty to regularly frequent said shops to “save” neglected pieces. When I take a break from stocking my store, or looking for something for my own home, I feel as though somehow I’ll be missing out on something. (That might also be considered addiction…but who’s judging!?)

In recent weeks, I’ve found some pretty serious treasures that just needed some good old-fashioned elbow grease. In fairness, I can see how someone might have passed them by; either too busy to bother, or maybe they just didn’t know what they were looking at. You’ll see why I’ve been busy – but not busy blogging. I’ll bust these out into separate DIY tutorials later…but for now, here are some of the things I’ve been working on:

PROJECT 1: Bar Cart Revival

-So this piece was Nasty McNasty. Cobwebs, worn finish, scratched glass from being used to hold flower pots outdoors…

BEFORE PHOTO 1
BEFORE PHOTO 1
Bar Cart Project
BEFORE PHOTO 2
AFTER: Cleaned, sanded and painted.
AFTER: Cleaned, sanded and painted.

I kept the glass, just cleaned it up a bit and refinished the frame with some gold spray paint. Voila! We are so HOLLYWOOD!

AFTER PHOTO 2 - Bar Service
AFTER PHOTO 2 – Bar Service

PROJECT 2 – Dorothy Thorpe Roly Poly Glasses

-These guys were simple…they just needed some time spent polishing them.  Come on now… who wouldn’t do a little work to have these beauties at your bar?

BEFORE: Dorothy's looking pretty varnished
BEFORE: Dorothy’s looking pretty varnished
001
DURING PHOTOS: I used a soft silver cleaning cloth in order to minimize silver loss, rather than using harsh chemicals. After all, they will be used to DRINK out of.
DURING PHOTOS: I used a soft silver cleaning cloth in order to minimize silver loss, rather than using chemicals.
Do you see the difference in the three on left and three on right? Night and day. I did feel like I might be developing carpal tunnel, but the end result was worth it!
Dorothy Thorpe (1)
AFTER: Oh it’s HAPPY HOUR, GUYS AND GALS!
AFTER: Oh it's HAPPY HOUR!
No seriously, these are going up for sale tomorrow in my store! 🙂 If you want them, go get them! https://www.etsy.com/shop/MidCenturyObsession?ref=si_shop

PROJECT 3: Arne Vodder Teak Drop Leaf Desk FOUND!

-This desk was dull and sad-looking. He had some white water stains, what looked to be a burn mark, and just needed a facelift. Challenge accepted!

BEFORE: Arne Vodder Danish Teak Desk
BEFORE: Arne Vodder Danish Teak Desk

Desk 4 burn stain

DURING PHOTOS: Stains and all, this baby just needed some lovin'.
DURING PHOTOS:
Stains and all, this baby just needed some lovin’.
AFTER: BANG!
AFTER: BANG!
AFTER:  BOOM!
AFTER:
BOOM!

I’m not tooting my own horn, here. This is just what I love to do. I’ve learned that despite whatever others might tell you, wanting to improve things and make them beautiful again is not a shortcoming, it’s a gift. The best part is that these projects are relatively simple. You just need a little time, maybe some caffeine and some tenacity. Next time you’re in need of something for your home, consider hitting your local thrift stores; recycling and reusing. Try to resist the “immediate gratification” we’ve become so accustomed to. The amount of pride you will get out of bringing something unwanted back to life again is worth the wait (and the elbow grease).

 

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