Saturday, July 17, 2010

My apologies for not posting this past week.  This darn summer is getting in the way of blogging! 
Finding and repurposing furniture pieces is a fun part of being a decorator.  A fresh coat of paint, new hardware and graphic fabric are simple and affordable ways of updating an item from a thrift, consignment or antique store.  A little imagination and some elbow grease and you have a one of a kind piece that was saved from the landfill.

I often find myself saying to clients “have you ever thought of painting that white?”  referring to a tired, dated piece.  Some ignore my questions but others say “really, would that make a big difference?”  You bet!   
I was recently on the hunt for a small desk/vanity beside the bed in my 8 year old daughter’s room.   This wouldn’t be a spot to do homework, more a place to sit and draw, write a note (my little Jane Austen) or put on lip gloss (sadly she is already interested in makeup.)

I loved this desk and chair with a cane seat that I spotted at Of Things Past, a consignment store in Toronto.


The way that most consignment stores work is that the price for an item drops each month.   It’s easy to be tempted to wait but the downside is that the item may already be sold.  Best to purchase an item that speaks to you immediately rather than wait. (Tip #1)


I also loved this desk…


and this cane back chair. 

I envisioned this chair painted a  glossy white with this gorgeous blockprinted John Robshaw linen.  Well, any of his fabrics really – they are all striking.  I should have listened to my own advice as it was sold when I went back to get it – and I think it was around $100!

johnrobshawlblockprint linen

This desk from The Millionaire’s Daughter, a consignment store in Hamilton was so cute but too small and I thought the leather top may be tricky to paint.  Always carry a measuring tape when shopping and know your DIY skills before purchasing.  (Tips # 2 and #3.)


This one was too wide (42”) but it was exactly what I was searching for.  With a fresh coat of paint (fuschia perhaps?) and new hardware, this would be bold and current.  I think it’s still available at My Back Shed in Oakville.  Lisa, the owner, is wonderful to deal with and you may have seen her booth at Christie’s Antique Show if you attended this year.


This desk from My Back Shed Too was just right.   It was the perfect width, had a large drawer to store all of my daughter’s lip gloss pencils and I liked the spool base.  My Back Shed and My Back Shed Too share a website but are individually operated by two of the nicest retailers I have dealt with – Lisa and Ondrea.  You can either take a piece home as is or they will paint and reupholster for you.  Check out their website for some beautiful pieces.


The desk is now painted a pretty off-white and sports new glass knobs.  Oh, and just to update you on the progress of her room - the walls have been painted  a pale pink and the dark hardwood will be installed soon.  I am having a headboard made and will be purchasing a new chair.  I knew that there had to be pink in the room (my client’s only wish) and debated what to pair it with.  In the end I decided that pink and indigo would be the colour story for the room – a nice change from pink and brown or pink and green.

On the desk is a charming print by artist Katie Flindall who I recently met at the Cobourg Waterfront Festival.  She is just as lovely as she is talented and recently relocated to Canada from the U.S.  Check out her website to see her magical works of art.

Do you have a go-to source for thrifty finds that you can make your own?


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