Salvaged Beauty

I picked up the homeliest little table on the curb one day.

IMG_0943m

I contemplated leaving it right there in the rain but finally decided to bring it home.

All it needed was a little bit of love.

Love in this case meant gluing, clamping, removing random staples on the top’s underside and sanding.

My intention was to paint the whole thing after sanding but once I got the top layers off, this table showed me her true beauty.

I ditched my original plan and stained the top in walnut.

And I’m so glad that I did.

 

IMG_3708m
Table top after staining in walnut

Look at how that grain pops!

I wanted this table to be a really cool, funky and original accent table so I chose nocturne, a lovely shade of blue.

And it goes brilliantly with the walnut top. Together they bring out the decorative brass detailing that blended in too well before this transformation.

I finished it off with a dark finishing wax to bring out the grain even more.

As is the case in so many pieces I’ve worked on, I wish I had the room for it in my house. She’s a real beauty.

Before & After

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“Don’t judge a book by its cover” – George Eliot

This piece is currently for sale.

 

 

Spring Awakening

Although it seems like all’s been quiet on The Green Bin front for the last few weeks, there’s actually been so much happening behind the scenes!

Now that I’ve got a couple large commissioned projects finished and happily tucked away in their new homes, I’m ready to officially unveil a new The Green Bin website and logo!

They reflect the direction that The Green Bin has been taking for the past few months: a furniture and home goods upcycling business that blogs about eco related topics.

How did this happen?

Well, The Green Bin began as an eco blog.

At around the same time, I rediscovered my love for refinishing and upcycling furniture. Before long, I was selling pieces and having fun doing it.

It just made sense to combine the two elements under The Green Bin.

Upcycling falls into the green movement as it offers a more conscientious alternative to buying new goods.

Refusing to buy new products reduces our carbon footprint and upcycling keeps items with life left in them out of landfills.

It also helps reuse items no longer wanted or loved, repairs anything that needs attention and extends the life and beauty of furniture and home goods.

Plus, there are so many gorgeous, vintage, unique and custom pieces out there to find!

Welcome to the new and improved The Green Bin.

 

 

Mossy Obsession

Moss green is my latest colour obsession.

I’m not sure if I’m already anticipating spring, which is not a good sign because it’s mid-January in Canada, or simply just in love with this colour.

Either way, I just want to paint everything in various shades of this lovely green.

So I am.

I was attracted to this vintage dresser because of its waterfall front, detailed wood carving and lovely handles.


 I knew it would be amazing in moss. I wasn’t wrong.

To keep interest in the piece and add depth to the colour, I distressed it with sand paper then I very, very, very lightly painted what I purposely over-sanded.

But I did run into a problem: I have no room for it in my house!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Shabby Chic Dresser

I was so pleased when I came across this dresser. It was in perfect condition.

There were no funky smells to get rid of, no wonky drawers to realign, no knobs to replace and no parts to repair.

With its dovetail joints, beautiful lines and amazing vintage handle pulls, it certainly was a dream piece to bring back to life.

Did it need to be redone?

It certainly did.

The pattern in the wood killed me.

IMG_1010“What exactly am I looking at here?”

Maybe I have a vivid imagination, maybe not.

But I certainly don’t think I’m alone in thinking that this dresser has the oddest wood pattern I can ever recall seeing on the front of a dresser.

So I painted right over top of it in a lovely antique white.

The first coat almost always ends with me seriously regretting my paint colour choice. There’s something ugly in a first coat of paint. With this project, I even seriously regretted it after the second coat.

IMG_1013

But by the time the third coat went on, I was so pleased with my decision to go with antique white that taking the paint off to distress it in a vintage shabby chic style was a tad painful.

But I did it anyways and I love the way it turned out.

And so does the lovely lady who gave it a new home in a place I had never thought to put a dresser: an office!

She said that she was surrounded by ugly office furniture and “needed something beautiful to look at all day”.

So this vintage dresser is now fulfilling the role of a filing cabinet and probably gets more attention that it ever would in a bedroom.

After

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Jewelry Box Makeover

I found this very dated jewelry box at a second hand store in the summer and bought it with the intention of giving it a makeover and gifting it to my three year old for Christmas.


Naturally, I didn’t hide if very well and she found it (more than once). Every time she played with it, she told me how much she liked it. It was destined to be a hit.

I thought about reconstructing it to really make it unique but reason won. She’s three and a half and her little sister’s current nickname is “The Destroyer”.

I’ll be happy if the jewelry box makes it through to the end of January.

They will eventually each get an heirloom box but that can wait until they can appreciate, and not tear apart, pretty things.

For those reasons, I kept this makeover simple.

Luckily the itty bitty handle pulls are quite lovely and complement the colour I chose, “sovereign”, quite well.

I used four different but equally pretty pretty crafting paper I had kicking around. I applied Modge Podge to both glue and seal the paper to the glass.



On Christmas morning, it was a hit.

She loved the box and the bracelets I hid inside.

We bonded on a busy Christmas morning when I explained that was a special gift just for me to her. She understood.

Every time someone comes over, she brings them to show them her “special” jewelry box.

Awwww.

This was such a fun project to work on that I can’t wait to work on more custom jewelry boxes.

 

Toile-d

I picked up this chest of drawers at a mid-summer garage sale.

Finally in the fall, I painted it antique white.


And it sat for another few weeks.

All the while, I attempted to remove the green dragon – a thick green velvety material stuck to the inside of the drawer with an industrial strength adhesive.

I had to get it off. I used scrappers, scissors, adhesive removers, pliers, box cutters and straight razors. They all helped chip away at the green dragon but nothing was very effective.

I took out my orbital sander and sanded some of it off. Green bits went flying everywhere. It was joyous.

Yet, the green dragon still remained.

It was a shell of its former self, but it was still torturing that drawer.

And I just couldn’t get it off.

This dragon had to be slayed and the white paint needed a lift.

Where was inspiration when I needed her?

Well, wouldn’t you know, she was hiding in my fabric stash.

Luckily I’m a bit of a fabric hoarder and I happen to have two yards of a lovely blue and white toile de Jouy, the classic French textile.


It inspired me to refinish this piece in two tones. I kept the drawers antique white but repainted the rest of the body in intellectual gray.

Antique and intellectual. They complement each other nicely.

What I love about this piece is it’s history. It’s got bumps and bruises that make me wonder where it’s been and how it found its way to me. I did some minor repairs but left the character building flaws intact.

I applied some distressing techniques to give it an aged French provincial mood.

As for the dragon, well, I had no fight left so I decide to take the high road: I painted it.

Then I cut my beautiful toile and modge podged it the drawer. (I made sure to use something that is easy to remove.)


Before & After

IMG_9244m

Bye bye green dragon, hello French beauty.

DSC_0921m

DSC_0913

Look at those curves! She’s stunning indeed.

Where would you put her if she lived at your house?

 

Ruby & Walnut

I had been hanging onto to this vintage dresser for months. It wasn’t until someone suggested that it might look good red that I finally started to visual its future look.

It was partially refinished in a heavy mint chalk paint when I picked it up. By heavy, I mean crusted on. By mint, I mean it just needed some chocolate chips.

IMG_0299

I love to eat mint but I can’t stand the colour.

So off it went.

Chalk paint is water soluble so, in theory, it should come off fairly easily with a sponge, water and some elbow grease.

After an hour’s work, and some very sore elbows, I got about a quarter of the paint off one small drawer. My ever clever partner was quick to note that if I was playing a video game, I would at “about four per cent done”.

It wasn’t long before I took out the sander. And thus began my week long journey of spending all my free time getting the mint paint off.

But what I discovered was exciting and it was worth the time investment.

Under the mint paint and heavy original oil finish, lay a beautifully detailed walnut veneer. All four drawers follow the same pattern lines and are stunning.IMG_0325
IMG_0319

Quick change of plans and I was staining the walnut in, you guessed it, walnut stain. I mixed it with a bit of ebony of darken the look.

The detailing of the two top drawers is really fun. The brass keyholes and wave design add so much to this piece.

The frame and the legs went ruby red since the sides were made of far less exciting material. I distressed them just enough to add a bit of old charm.

IMG_0320
The original finish was very heavy and hid the walnut.
IMG_0340
My little fairy helping.
If ever I get ambitious enough to get two cats, I’m going to call them Ruby & Walnut, in honour of this dresser and the lengthy journey we went on together.

Before & After

IMG_0299

DSC_0898m

DSC_0902m

DSC_0908m

As time consuming as this piece was, I’m happy with it. I feel like it was freed from its minty and oily finishes and allowed to let its true colours through.

Thanks for stopping by,

Jill

Ceramic and Iron Inspiration

I was in a barn full of treasures when I spotted the ornate iron and ceramic handle pulls of this dresser.

There was so much potential that I just had to breathe new life into this gorgeous piece.

IMG_0218

IMG_0219

I couldn’t wait to get started. Once I got it home, I did the airing-out/removing-of-cobwebs/getting-to-know-the-piece process almost immediately.

I wanted a custom shade of gray or blue so I started playing around with mixing paint. There’s something zen about taking a bit of this and a touch of that to make a colour stand on its head.

And that’s what happened here.

With a little black, a touch of gray and a smudge of white, I created this light shade of blue/gray that adds a whim of feminine that I wasn’t expecting.

IMG_0246

The next colour I mixed was a deep, deep navy. I used it for the top and interior of the cabinet.

As it turns out, it is the strong yang to the soft yin of the blue/gray. The balance and contrast between these two shades of blue is striking.

Another feature I love are the indentations on the top of the dresser. They add so much charm.

IMG_0253It really came together after the whole piece was distressed to give it the living-in-a-barn-look.

IMG_0255

IMG_0257

IMG_0251

I came across a pretty navy and white quatrefoil paper at a craft store. It now lines the drawers and lends added touch of masculinity.

DSC_0913

I really love this piece. It’s feminine, masculine, bold, soft, strong and sweet.

We thought it might be perfect in our home so we brought it in for a couple of weeks. Sadly, it just doesn’t work with the shades of blue and beige in our living room. I think I’ll regret the decision to sell it but I’m sure it’ll find its forever home soon and be loved again. How could it not…look at these stunning handle pulls!

DSC_0914

Here are the before and after shots.

IMG_0218

DSC_0908 (2)

DSC_0909 (2)m

DSC_0910 (2)

Thanks for coming by and checking it out! Leave a comment to let me know what you think.

Jill

Not your grandma’s telephone tables

My neighbour was out walking with her dog one day when she noticed a pile of furniture at the end of a driveway with a “free” sign on it.

The next thing I know, she and her son have helped me fill my garage with a 7 drawer solid wood dresser with detachable mirror, two vintage telephone tables and a magazine rack. All solid wood. All gorgeous. All filled with so much potential.
IMG_9608

I was compelled to work on these tables first since they were a decorating staple when I was young. I couldn’t resist thinking of every home I’d been in the late 70’s and 80’s (and maybe even into the 90’s). Everyone had these. Hello nostalgia!

It’s a shame you don’t see them much anymore because these tables are vintage cool. They just need a little bit of work to shake off the floral couch and dust skirt vibe.

The table tops were so gorgeous once I got the original finish off that I contemplated turning them into charcuterie boards for Christmas presents.

IMG_9693

I painted the legs, leg joiners and spindles in antique white and distressed them for the the shabby chic look.

IMG_9683There’s something unnerving about taking perfectly painted furniture pieces and distressing them with sandpaper. After a glass of red wine though, I really get into it.

Before reassembling, I sealed the pieces with finishing wax and gave them all a good buffing.

I have mad love for how these turned out.


DSC_0825

IMG_9757

DSC_0824

Although home telephone lines are out of vogue, these tables are the perfect spot for a vintage rotary phone and a pretty notepad. But please, let’s leave the floral couches in the 70’s.