DIY Shabby Chic Thrifted Chest

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I love Housing Works. Most economical NYers have been to a Housing Works Thrift Shop or Bookstore at least a few times during their journey to furbish bare apartments on non-existent budgets, perusing the rows of personal treasures past their prime. Although, some may not know that Housing Works is actually a much larger operation whose real purpose is providing advocacy and services to end homelessness and AIDS around the world - their thrift shops are simply an arm of their fundraising efforts. And I am a tireless supporter in that I almost always find something amazing to bring home with me. 

The first piece of real furniture I bought up here (real like not made of whatever everything in IKEA is made of) was from Housing Works.

It's the only large-ish item that made the move from girl apartment to co-ed apartment. I was shopping alone, it was heavy as hell, a hideous dark wood riddled with scratches and I needed it. I recruited Nick to come meet me in Chelsea to help me bring it to the curb and taxi it on up to the Upper East Side. 

This is a flattering picture. It was ugly.

I saw some serious potential in those carved doors and I loved wondering who had it before me and what their story was - I love that about secondhand things. Especially in New York. Everyone (and thing) has a story.

I won't bore you with the 'during' refurbishment pictures but I was going for "shabby chic" - I took off the hardware, sanded it down by hand (I recommend not doing that and going the electric sander route if you can swing it-killed my arms), nicked it up with a hammer to add interest in certain areas and painted two coats of a much lighter cream color. Once dry, I sanded down various edges and corners to create the look of natural wear and replaced the old hardware with some pretty glass knobs. 

Once my nightstand, it is now a stand for Nick's obscene TV:

Only objections from boyland were for more manly knobs to which I said 'you're kidding.' But I do tend to get bored and re-refurbish things so this old fave might be in for a face lift soon. Taking suggestions!

For more information on refurbishing your own furniture, visit the DIY Network website for great tips. To shop Housing Works, visit their online shop or find a location here.

Till next time,