Sunday, November 3, 2013

Before & After: Storage Cube

I love digging through the thrift stores and finding treasures that are beautiful as is, with maybe a gentle (or aggressive!) cleaning. But what I like even more is finding pieces that need a teeny bit more than just a quick polish and giving them a new lease on life. And that is how I end up with pieces like this:

I found this sad little storage cube at a thrift store last month. It was $6.99, and without the storage element, I doubt I would have bit. It was pretty ugly! But I figured I'd paint it, distress it a touch, and recover the seat with some scrap of fabric that I already had and stick it in one of my kids' rooms. They can always use an extra little seat, and the hidden storage is such a bonus.

Flash forward to the day before Halloween, when I frantically raced to the fabric store in search of a few items that I needed to complete my son's Captain Barnacles costume. I walked by the clearance remnant bin on the way to the fleece and paused only because a beautiful designer fabric caught my eye. It was a striking print with a large birdcage motif--trust me, it was gorgeous although my description does it no justice! After pondering it a few moments, I decided I just didn't have any use for it so I placed it back in the bin. That's when another equally lovely fabric jumped out at me, and I immediately knew what its calling would be. I've been pretty much in love with the classic navy and white designs in the past few Williams-Sonoma Home catalogs and this Robert Allen print reminded me so much of that look. I knew I had to re-tool my design plan and use this fabric. The fact that it was marked down to just $4 for over half a yard was icing on the cake.

Today, I lugged the cube out onto the driveway and got ready to paint. But when I opened up my paint closet to retrieve the can of paint, I spotted my brand new can of Howard Restor-A-Finish and a light bulb went off. Instead of painting, I'd spiff up the tired wood and hope that the end result was a richer look that could even be at home in my more formal rooms.

The Restor-A-Finish truly worked like a dream! So easy to use and clean up, too. I think it took five minutes to wipe on, and a couple of hours to dry. While it was drying, I recovered the seat and then went out for a nice dinner with my family.

And when I came home, I simply popped the seat in the frame and voila, here is the "after" shot:

I love it! The wood is rich and dark enough to stand up to the crisp blue and white pattern of the fabric, and the tiny little nicks in the wood that weren't completely erased by the finish restorer simply add a little character. I'll probably move this little seat around a lot, but for now, it is finding a home in my sitting room, where it works nicely with the neutral palette.

Not bad for a quick $11 project, wouldn't you agree? And I still have fabric left over for a small pillow. Sometimes, things work out just right. I'm linking this little project up to Silver Pennies and Elizabeth & Co.