upcycled toolbox table

A couple of weeks ago I posted a quick snapshot on instagram and facebook of an upcycled table we put together.  The new table deserves a proper feature here today…

upcycled toolbox table

This was a fun little collaboration. Our lead picker, Jake, found this old, heavy toolbox a few months back. Lucky for him it was loaded with many worthwhile tools.

upcycled toolbox table

The utilitarian case is sturdy and well made yet too heavy to lug around filled with tools in modern times.  The rectangular box is the perfect size for a small coffee table or side table and has a lot of life left in it. The vintage piece has the best patina which tells stories of decades of hard work.  The original creamy yellow color is under there too.  After a thorough cleaning, I applied a coat of furniture wax for a nice durable finish.

upcycled toolbox table

I set out to find a nice set of legs and scored with these tapered mid-century ones.  We attached the legs to give the toolbox a boost to table status while leaving all of the original hardware in place.  I particularly love the brass corners.

upcycled toolbox table

Bonus, the table acts as a great storage piece since the top opens the same way the toolbox once did.

upcycled toolbox table

The toolbox table has found a new home!  Thanks for your interest in it.

Have you repurposed anything lately?

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eating in

The eat-in portion of our kitchen was an addition on the original house put on by a previous owner.  Rumor has it that the addition was redone three times because the lady of the house was not satisfied with it.  (And my husband thought I was high maintenance with home projects.)  They finally got it just right making for a cozy dining nook aside from the kitchen galley.

Flea Market Style Eat-In Kitchen

However, the time was long overdue to erase their style (read: lots of wallpaper) and put our own twist on the space.

I’m thankful the previous owners expanded this room because otherwise it must have been so cramped.  Like most homes, our kitchen seems to be the center of the house.  This is where the cooking and eating occurs followed by hours of lingering and occasionally we work in here too. With that said, it was important to me that this space be comfortable.  And definitely full of personality and many eclectic finds.

Flea Market Style Eat-In Kitchen

Cookbook Collection

Ryan and I spent the last two weekends bringing that vision to light with a little sweat equity, paint and flea market finds.  If you’ve been reading for a while, you may remember the blueprint wallpaper I installed at the 2013 Philly Home Show.  We carefully removed them after the show.  Now they’re permanently on display in our kitchen.  The vintage blueprints are all original to Ryan’s father.  Each one tells a story.  Some we know.  Some we make up!

Blueprint Wallpaper & Industrial Galvanized Pendant Light

We got a head start with kitchen updates a few months back when turned the trio of chairs into an upholstered grainsack bench.  And before that we updated the laminate cabinets and installed a pallet wood backsplash.

Pallet Wood Kitchen Wall Backsplash

But now it is all about the eat-in nook.  We do not have a formal dining room.  This is it.  With that said, we decided we wanted all upholstered chairs.  The head chairs are one of my best scores to date.  They are original walnut & mohair Ward Bennett chairs that fit nicely with the new-to-us copper top table.  More about the table here.

Ward Bennett Vintage Mohair & Walnut Chair

But the game changer for me was the industrial pendant light.  Does anyone know what this is?  I found the galvanized, cloche-like piece at the flea market and we upcycled it into a light.  The seller was unsure of its provenance too.  I’d love to hear your opinion.  I am guessing some sort of farm equipment.

Industrial Galvanized Pendant Light

At the same market, I bought the SERVE letters.  One of my favorite finds for sure.  We can only assume that they were part of a SERVICE sign at some point.  Perhaps from a gas station.

Salvaged Kitchen Style - Blueprint Wallpaper & Serve Service sign

The rest of the room got updated with a coat of buttercream yellow paint.  Thank goodness the wallpaper and border are gone along with the matching valances.  Were matching borders over wallpaper really necessary?  This picture is from when we first saw the house.

kitchen before

There is something about a yellow kitchen that just injects energy.

Vintage Font/Text - Serve Service Sign in Kitchen

What’s your favorite flea market find?

Flea Market Style Eat-In Kitchen - Vintage Serve letters, Blueprint Wallpaper, Galvanized Pendant Light

Linking to: Funky Junk Interiors, Jennifer Rizzo, Be Bold Challenge

layering a window seat

Yesterday was one of those days where I packed in enough activities to fill a few days. Man, I got so much done that I am actually sore.  I planted 80 bulbs in an hour using my tried and true electric drill/auger method.  Can’t wait to see those babies bloom in the spring.   Prior to that, I started out the day finishing up this window seat nook in our living room.

vintage military ammo trunk turned window seat by Circa Dee

Our living room is pretty big.  It was originally two rooms (small living room and a tiny bedroom) that a previous owner opened up to make one large space.  I love how open it is but it still calls for two different zones.  I sort of think of the TV watching area as the “family” room and this side as the “living” room where we have a sitting area and then a bar cart to the side.

We added roman shades and vintage toile drapes.  In fact, the roman shades are the only things that are brand spankin’ new in this space.

vintage military ammo trunk turned window seat + toile drapes by Circa Dee

Before I go any further, please allow me to insert a beautiful “before” picture here of this side of the room.  This house was screaming bad 80s (and in some cases, still is) so it is a real joy to recreate.


I should also point out that I lost the battle on painting all of the maple stained trim in this house.  When paired with the new bright roman shades, it doesn’t seem that bad however I would like to de-orange it a bit with a darker stain.  But of course that is a daunting task that I am really not ready to embark on.

You may remember the drapes from the dining room in our previous house.  It’s funny how different they look in here.  Rather than using drape hooks this time, I went with rod clips so I could easily loop them over the fishing rod curtains rods.

vintage toile drapes

Yes, I said fishing rods.  One thing about making the beach house our permanent residence is determining how much “beach” to mix into the decor.  After all I don’t want to turn this place into the set of the Golden Girls.  Or maybe I do actually.  Blanche had quite the social life.  Anyway, I am still experimenting with how much beach is too much.

I digress.

The fishing reels and one of the rods are special because they belonged to Ryan’s grandfather and father.  I like how they’re on display but also totally functional for this space.  That seems to be a recurring theme since we moved.  Many of the things we chose to keep with us are sentimental and family heirlooms so we’re trying to find ways to not only admire them but actually use them as well.

repurposing fishing rod and reel as curtain rod

As soon as we decided to move, I knew this trunk was going right in this space.  The reason is two fold.  1)  This window is just calling out for a seat and the trunk was just the right size.  And 2) storage!

vintage military ammo trunk bench + orange kilim rug by Circa Dee

This is a vintage navy ammo trunk with its original labels.  You know how I feel about vintage military accessories.  Maybe you don’t.  I love them!  I tried to sell this one once upon a time when I didn’t need a huge ammo trunk however it didn’t sell.  Obviously no one saw my bench vision in the ginormous trunk!  We added castors so it easily moves as needed.  It can actually double as a coffee table too sans the pillows.  I’m sure I will be wheeling this out of the window to make room for a Christmas tree sometime soon.

vintage military ammo trunk bench + orange kilim rug by Circa Dee

Did you notice the cushion?  It is the perfect size for the trunk and it came off of a metal bench that we already owned.  A bench without storage so it didn’t make the cut in here.

window seat trunk

I know you spotted the rug.  Is it not the most perfect selection of loomed wool that you ever did see?

vintage military ammo trunk bench + orange kilim rug by Circa Dee

Let me tell you that an area rug was a must have for this little space.  It never felt complete without it.  I wanted to ground the space.  This Turkish kilim number did exactly that.  After drooling over very expensive kilims and overdyed wool rugs online for months, I found this antique one at an estate sale last week for a steal.  Plus a nicely coordinating one that I can’t wait to share too!  Jackpot.

vintage military ammo trunk bench + orange kilim rug by Circa Dee

I’m pretty happy with how this space came together.  It is functional and full of vintage style.  I even snuck in some mixing bowls on the windowsill.

  beach bungalow window seat

treasure hunting mojo

Guys, my treasure hunting mojo was seriously down for a little while at the end of the summer.   I was all down and out and feeling like a I needed a major score.  I know, I sound like I’m addicted to drugs.  But just vintage so it is ok.  Finally I hit big but before I tell you about how big I hit, let me tell you about the low so you can really appreciate the high.

It all started to go downhill on the yard sale scene.  Yes, there is such a thing as the “yard sale scene”.  Don’t question it.

First, I piggy backed a friend’s yard sale.  They were having a 2 day extravaganza.  Their first day was a blow out.  They were wheeling and dealing until they had to turn people away because the sun was going down.  Ok, that part is an exaggeration but it was good on day 1.  I had some goods of my own to unload so I decided to get in on the action day 2 of their sale.  Now, this was only my second time as a yard sale seller and my first experience was quite positive.  But apparently I brought some seriously bad karma to day 2 of the yard sale this time around.  We had all of about 8 customers and I think I made about $23 that day trying to unload my old junk.  We could literally hear crickets.  Crickets!

Lesson learned: 2 day yard sales are not a good idea.  Stick to one day. 

A week or 2 passed and I was still shaking that less than stellar yard sale experience off.  Nonetheless, I decided to get back out on the yard sale scene with cash in pocket.  I was ready to treasure hunt.  It wasn’t until the third sale of the day that I was ready to make a purchase.  I reached in my pocket to pull out aforementioned cash.  It was gone!  Totally gone.  I retraced my steps, went back to the previous sales and tore apart my house looking for the yard sale cash.  Gone!  A large sum of money too.  Ugh, it still hurts.

Lesson learned:  I dunno, maybe tape your money to your leg so you don’t lose it.

It took me a while to get my courage back.  But I did, of course.  Treasure hunting is my middle name.  I eased in slowly at the thrift store.  Scanning a thousand jackets, I came across this classic trench.  As I looked for the label (in the pocket), I realized I had a vintage Burberry reversible trench in my hands.  This is the stuff dreams are made of, friends.

vintage reversible burberry trench

Burberry!  Or Burberrys of London as this trench is labeled.  That is the name on labels from approximately the 1960s-1990s.  It is reversible.  Navy on one side and wool on the other.  This lame picture does it no justice.  I’m in love.  I haven’t worn it yet.  I just take it out of my closet and stare at it from time to time.

Next up is a swoon-worthy matching pair of chairs.  Can you believe I almost passed them up?  I spotted these at a yard sale but quickly remembered my strict “no more chairs” policy that I implemented on myself so I left the sale.  Thanks to all of your advice on instagram, I broke my own rule.  Thank you.  I went back and they were still there.  Fate.  I crammed those things into my car so quickly. I didn’t even care if a leg was hanging out of the window.  #crazyyardsalelady  They were too unique to leave behind a 2nd time.

vintage Ward Bennett for Brickel Associates Landmark chair

Upon further research, I found that these chairs were by American furniture designer and icon, Ward Bennett for Brickel Associates. They are called the Landmark chair and are carved from solid ash wood.  They are so comfortable.  Comfort and simplicity were Bennett’s goals as apparently he had back issues of his own.

vintage Ward Bennett for Brickel Associates Landmark chair

They are all original.  I love how the wood and velvet are worn in just the right places.  Gorgeous.  I am not planning on painting or reupholstering.  I am hoping to incorporate these chairs into a new dining table set up.  I will definitely find a place for them either way!

And, Pendleton.  Man, I love me some Pendleton and it seems to be finding me lately.  I have turned up 3 Pendleton jackets and coats in the last month.  I love their classic tailored shapes and funky plaids.

vintage Pendleton blazer

This little blazer is so golf outing chic, don’t you think?

My luck has certainly turned around.  These pieces need nothing more than some cleaning.  I’ve got my mojo back for sure.  Tell me, what treasures have you scored lately?

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the green guy

I’ve been on a kick lately with small chests and night stands. I’ll admit that they’re easy to maneuver and transport without any help and that’s probably why I’m going for them. I love the simple shape of this one with its curved base and original brass pulls. A little TLC and here’s how he looks now…

lucketts green milk paint chest (2 of 30)

A far cry from its chewed up before state.

chest before

But with this piece being solid wood, it had potential.  I sanded the top down to prepare for an ebony stain – my typical stain color of choice.  And filled in any gouges.

chest during

lucketts green milk paint chest (8 of 30)

For the base I used a very light coat of boxwood milk paint which added depth under the second coat of lucketts green milk paint.

lucketts green milk paint chest (18 of 30)

I didn’t use any bonding agent (primer) in my milk paint solution since the wood was very dry to begin with plus got a light sanding.  Therefore the milk paint primarily acted as a stain on this piece.

lucketts green milk paint chest (15 of 30)

I used a top coat of Miss Mustard Seed’s furniture wax and some antiquing wax to add to the aged look.

lucketts green milk paint chest (1 of 30)

I love the original brass pulls that came with this chest however one was incomplete so I had to improvise.  I chose to add 2 aqua & brass Anthropologie knobs on the top drawer.  This gives the otherwise antique style piece a hint of modern.

lucketts green milk paint chest (5 of 30)

Plus I’m a fan of aqua (in case you didn’t know!) and the knobs paired nicely with the vintage globe!

vintage bert doll, mid-century lamp & replogle globe

And Bert he’s just so darn cute, isn’t he?

vintage bert doll & replogle globe

We have a pair of these funky wooden mid-century lamps.  Ryan and I really want to keep them but don’t have a spot for them.  I don’t even hate the original lampshades as I normally do.  Surprisingly no one bought them at Brooklyn Flea Philly last weekend although many considered them.  Maybe it’s a sign.

vintage mid-century lamp

The ship ink & watercolor, Bert and the Replogle (Made in Chicago) globe have all found new homes though.  Like fostering puppies I tell ya…

lucketts green milk paint chest (20 of 30)

I’m pretty happy with the color choices on this chest.  So what do you think, has it inspired you to paint?

Linking to Miss Mustard Seed

part 2: the haul

Did you catch my last post about our romantique Brimfield honeymoon?  It was fate that our wedding was the Saturday before the spring antique market.  Honestly, I didn’t plan it that way.  With such timing, how could we not take the opportunity to honeymoon at the largest antique show in the country?  Don’t worry we also hit Nantucket and other New England sites such as Plymouth.

But let’s talk about what we bought!  These pictures don’t show all of the haul but the majority.  Although we could’ve fit more in the truck, I was trying not to make this a crazy Circa Dee buying trip since that isn’t exactly why we were there.  We had a lot of fun picking out things for our home including a set of andirons for our fireplace that aren’t pictured.  Overall, it was 50/50 in terms of what we bought for us versus what we bought to sell.

Ok I’ll stop talking for a minute so you can feast your eyes…

vintage treasures May (1 of 28)

vintage treasures May (2 of 28)

vintage treasures May (3 of 28)

vintage treasures May (4 of 28)

Have you ever seen a Tom Thumb?  It is a kid’s size typewriter.  I hadn’t seen one before but then ran into a few of them.  It is from the 1950′s and comes with a metal cover.  I love the color.  I am bringing it to Brooklyn Flea Philly this weekend so maybe someone will be just as amazed as I am by the Tom Thumb.

vintage treasures May (5 of 28)

And this Lazy Lake sign…it is most likely a reproduction made maybe 30 years ago but it is still fabulous.  The swim cap, the graphics, the bum in the air!vintage treasures May (9 of 28)

Oh there were so many fun vintage ship wares.  I have a thing for crotchety old ship captain figurines these days, especially the old peg leg one.  And check out the brass plaques used which came from a ship.  I had such a hard time picking out which ones I wanted.  We’ll definitely be hanging the Cert. Private Lavatory plaque in the bathroom.  I haven’t made a decision on the others although they’re all quite punny.

 vintage ship plaques & captains

More nautical swag.  I never pass up a minnow bucket.  Those orange graphics!

vintage treasures May (19 of 28)

Vintage glass fishing buoys are so beautiful.  They tend to vary a little bit in green and blue colors and their shapes are imperfect.  The glass was usually blown right on the ship.  The buoys still float.  Ryan tested it…  We kept one and put a few for sale in West End Garage because they really make an awesome coffee table piece in a beach house.

vintage treasures May (20 of 28)

I found so much humor in this sign.  I wanted to keep and display it but decided it would give customers the wrong idea because yeah, we do take credit.

vintage treasures May (12 of 28)

The credit sign is laying on a vintage apple press.  At least part of the apple press.  The wood has the most beautiful patina to it most likely from the acid of the apples.  I love the age of the wood so we’re planning to create something with the press piece.  Stay tuned on that front.

vintage treasures May (13 of 28)

This little birdhouse was also made by the nice couple that we met that shares our anniversary.  They were selling these birdhouses like hotcakes so we had to grab one for ourselves!

vintage treasures May (14 of 28)

We selected a neon letter R to represent our last name.  You can also see there that we found lots of mason jars.

vintage treasures May (21 of 28)

And crates.  I chose ones with graphics that I liked.  I especially liked the Buckeye crate for all of my friends with Ohio roots.  vintage treasures May (25 of 28)

We scored a few pieces of small furniture that I’ve already put in my space at West End Garage.  It was pretty bare there when we got back so I was happy to add this white Empire chest.  It is also perfect for a beach cottage.  I was drawn to it for its crackle finish.

vintage empire chest

So what were our favorite finds you ask?

Ryan’s was definitely this carved wooden eagle.  The day we found it he mentioned something about wanting a “totem pole”.  And then he spotted this.  And suddenly totem pole type things were everywhere.  I’m so glad he selected the eagle though because some were not nearly as awesome.vintage carved eagle

I’ve always wanted to find a leather doctor’s bag.  Then I came across one with my initials on it!  The guy practically gave it away when he heard they were my initials.  I didn’t mention that they’ll be changing any day now as soon as I get around to completing the paperwork.

vintage doctor bag

So what is your favorite find from our Brimfiled stash?