Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Shopping the House

We moved into our house from a 583 square foot apartment.  So we only had 583 square feet worth of stuff - a couch, a chair, a small IKEA table, a bed, and a couple of book cases.

The woman that was moving out of our house was moving into an assisted living center and was downsizing considerably.  When she asked us if we'd like her to leave some of her furniture, we jumped at the chance.

It wasn't the most beautiful of furniture, but it was functional and it has saved us stacks of cash.  A lot of what she left was modular furniture that could be combined into desks, long dressers, cupboards etc.  There was lots of it.  And it was all a mustard yellow.  Not a nice mustard yellow, either, but a really old, dingy mustard yellow.

So a couple months after moving in (when I took on the daunting task of painting the basement) I painted the dressers quickly with what I had on hand.  The black and white looked fine, but it never really sang to my soul (like any truly good piece of furniture should).

For the past couple of years we've had an IKEA Expedit shelving unit in our guest room for storage.  It wasn't beautiful, but it was functional and it fit the space.  But the more I looked at it, the less I liked it.  It blocked the sight line from the doorway out the window, making the room feel darker and smaller than it is.  It's a small room as it is, so that really wasn't helping.

Originally I wanted to purchase a new dresser for the room.  Something wood, with maybe more curving lines.  I scoured craigslist and the local flea markets, but nothing was really doing it for me.  Also, there was some sticker shock involved.  Ever since this whole IVF thing entered our lives, I've been feeling pretty cheap with all other aspects of my life.  But that's neither here nor there...

After wandering the house trying to find a free solution, I stopped and stared at the modular dresser stored and unused in our basement.

I'd always hated how low and chunky it felt, but an idea finally came to me.  A couple weeks earlier I'd fallen in love with a great Eames bachelor dresser at Peg Leg Vintage.  The price tag scared me away, but I hadn't been able to stop thinking about it.

So I set out to make my own.  Blake and I flipped the dresser over, removed the chunky trim from the bottom, and separated the two pieces.  Then, I ordered some Eames hairpin legs from a man on Ebay and screwed them on to the bottom.  They're 8-inch legs, so they gave the dresser a bit more height and solved the visual weight problem.  I also painted it in Benjamin Moore's Grey Timberwolf (because I already had it on hand).

It feels much lighter now and the low-ness (yes, it's a word) of the dresser allows a lot more sunlight to come in through the window.

And if I know one thing to be true, it's that one garbage find deserves another.  I moved up from the basement the mock wingback chair that my mom and I had reupholstered and called it a day.


  1. It looks so great! What a talent you have for upcycling things. You could easily sell these things once you get your house completed.

    1. Thanks, Julia! I actually have been selling things on Craigslist if I can't find a great spot for them in my house. It gives me money to play around with for things I've been coveting for the house, so it's a win-win.

  2. I'm not kidding. You are the best at this stuff. I really admire people who can get a vision and complete it. I have a hard time with seeing a different end product than what I'm starting with. And I love craigslist and see this is a totally valuable skill! Jealous.

    1. Says the lady with the best FreeCycle luck of all time! We definitely need to schedule a furniture date sometime this fall. I need some quality Erin time in my life!