Our latest upcycled victim is a fantastic old crate which was once a chicken coop. I’d imagine that chickens were transported to and from auction in this coop. Feathers flying as the birds were off to find a new farm to call home.
The coop is larger than most that I’ve seen in the past and a bit more rudimentary in construction. The wear and aging on the wood can’t be matched. It has that perfectly weathered & washed out color that retailers like Restoration Hardware try to replicate.
We removed the door from the top of the coop as it was raised and not conducive to a new life as a coffee table. Over the opening there is now a large piece of glass making it functional again. We added casters to elevate the coop to coffee table height and, of course making it mobile.
I always love a good coop coffee table. We’ve transformed a few over the years! This one is for sale at The West End Garage.
Did you spy the Victorian pink baluster lamp? Another new upcycle from Circa Dee! This one might be a keeper though. It’s still up in the air. We’re working on this living space so we’ll see how things shake out. That color & patina though…
I’ve never properly shared my newest vintage obsession in my home. That bright orange industrial school locker nestled between vintage French country toile curtains and an amateur ship captain oil painting. None of it makes any sense but it doesn’t have to, does it?
And would you believe my number 1 picker and brother found that flaming orange locker on a curb? No shame in his game. Or mine since I paid him for his haul. Destined for a landfill no more, my friends. It now houses all of the wood stove accoutrements.
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room, shall we? The wood stove is a brand new addition this winter. It is serving us well as our primary source of heat. Ryan installed the slate tile hearth and I must say that he did a bang up job bringing the rustic vibe I was seeking. We picked up the iron log holder on our last trip to Brimfield. I love this cozy corner in our home which is an eclectic mash up of so many vintage styles. It has set the tone for the direction of the rest of our house.
And do I need to mention the vintage walnut & mohair chairs again? Because I will. American furniture designer Ward Bennett for Brickel Associates circa 1970. They go for about three grand on 1st dibs. Unbelievable. Let’s just say I paid less than 1% of that and didn’t have an idea of their value until I researched the label. Neither did the seller obviously. My most prized find to date! It certainly pays to buy (or trash pick) what catches your eye. Always trust your gut when shopping for vintage.
This week has been all about making. And pricing but we won’t talk about the endless task of tagging holiday inventory. Making, however, is one of my favorite things to do. My second favorite actually. Buying, sourcing, picking, whatever you want to call it…that is my very favorite task in this business.
When sourcing vintage inventory it is common for us to come across old wood, doors, trim and the related that can be used to paint a vintage style sign. I can get lost for hours sketching, painting and conceptualizing these signs. This week they were primarily holiday specific.
Ryan prepares the surfaces, cuts and secures boards and attached the hardware. Some are simple but evoke the spirit of the season.
Painting smalls like these signs presents a great opportunity to use leftover milk paint mixed from a larger project.
The Santa is permanent chalk over rustic old boards with great texture. I achieved the look by using a fine flat brush and grainsack milk paint applied over the initial chalk sketch.
I think this board was part of an old cupboard door. The green streak of paint was already there along with the texture and smudges. I took a lead from those colors when choosing the aqua and brown acrylic paints for my design. I painted a similar Moose Lodge sign a few years ago. I always loved it so decided to replicate it with a different color palette.
I went over the moose with white wax to blend it into the old paint job on the door.
This Silent Night sign is a piece of scalloped trim. Nothing fancy. I like the muted color scheme provided by a wash of shutter gray and navy lettering.
Another project on tap this week was turning a salvaged column into a clothes tree for retail display. We’ve had a pair of salvaged white Cape May porch columns for several years. They’ve made cameos a number of places including in our salvage style bedroom (which is currently getting a more sophisticated re-vamp).
I decided to paint one in kitchen scale and topcoat it with antiquing wax. Ryan built a tiered support system on the bottom and secured a trio of iron hooks on top.
The new and improved salvaged column clothes tree will be popping up in a retail display this season! All of the vintage style signs will be available for sale.
The Ardex plunge, that is. This product has taken the DIY world by storm lately. For those of you that don’t know, Ardex- Feather Finish is a concrete substrate traditionally used in subflooring. It has been getting increasingly popular as a low-cost way to resurface laminate counter tops. In my continued quest to update our 80’s kitchen on a tight budget, I thought it was worth a try.
The über fake looking wood grain formica counter never jived well with the true wood backsplash we installed a couple of years back.
Last you saw the space we installed chrome hardware, about a year ago. At that time, I had searched for Ardex- Feather Finish planning to move right into the counter project. The product is difficult to find although I tracked it down at a local tile shop and now it is readily available on Amazon.
I delayed the counter installation because I couldn’t make a decision on what sealer to use. It is very much personal preference however you must choose a food safe sealer considering this is a kitchen counter after all. Some concrete sealers have a fungicide in them which make sense in a shower or on a patio but on a counter I prefer not to have any pesticides as food may come in direct contact. You also have the aesthetic choice of sealers with a matte finish, more of a sheen and even stains.
We went with a sealer we had all along…Miss Mustard Seed’s hemp oil. It stained and sealed the concrete, plus it is food safe. I applied three coats back to back because the porous surface kept soaking it up. I plan to apply another coat or two this week until it reaches total saturation.
Mixing Ardex is very similar to mixing milk paint. It comes in a powder form and mixes easily with water. (1 part Ardex to 1/2 part water) To prep, we first sanded the countertop to rough it up a bit for best adhesion. Then we carefully and quickly applied one thin coat right over the formica using a trowel. It was much like icing a cake. Ardex dries very quickly and turns to a clay like consistency.
Twenty four hours later, it was dry and ready to be sanded down to a smooth finish. I used 60 grit sandpaper and then 150.
After vacuuming up the dust, I applied another slightly thicker coat. And then repeated the above steps again the following day to make for a third coat. As you can see, we did not remove the sink. We simply took the Ardex right up to the edge.
On the third and final coat, I was more deliberate in my application and trowel marks as I realized these would be seen on the finished surface.
The process went pretty quickly. Actual application only took about 30 minutes each time as we didn’t have much counter space to cover.
The final step was sealing the concrete finish. As I mentioned, we chose hemp oil since it is all natural and food safe. I simply brushed on the hemp oil. This will need to be applied annually as will most sealers on a porous counter. I am also considering applying a coat of furniture wax for a little luster.
It soaked into the surface right before our eyes and we continued on with the next coat.
Overall I love the final finish. It has a natural rustic feel vs. the fake plastic look we had previously. I am not convinced that it has the look of a poured concrete counter but I am happy with this low-budget transformation.
Last weekend was wet and gloomy. We’ve had fantastic weather all summer with very few rainy days so the gloomy weather was welcomed by me. I found myself lounging on the couch and indulging in a Three’s Company marathon on TV Land. If you know me, you know I never lay around and watch TV. I can’t sit still long enough so this felt like such an indulgence. Listening to the rain and giggling over the antics of the three “kids upstairs”.
I completely forgot about Mrs. Roper’s style. It is pretty fantastic! She really pulled off kaftans and muumuus as much as one can. I found myself wanting to wear a ridiculous amount of bright bangles and baubles.
(BTW if you Google ‘Mrs. Roper’ you’ll see so many guys dressed as her presumably for Halloween. Go ahead, try it! It’s a great costume idea.)
We also finished up the industrial pallet coffee table. I really love this quirky upcycle. I know this look isn’t for everyone but it can certainly work in the right home.
Industrial Rustic is how I’d classify this table. Or Rustic Industrial. To-may-toes, to-mah-toes. I find my own style has been swaying more and more towards rustic & industrial lately based on the finishes and images I’ve been most interested in.
This industrial pallet came out of an old sewing factory. Last you saw it, it looked like this.
We gave it a thorough cleaning and sanded the top. I had planned to stain the top but once it was sanded all of the beautiful age and wear became apparent.
I knew this was the perfect job for hemp oil. Oiling the piece made all of those scratches pop in the best way possible while darkening the raw wood just a bit. It took three coats of oil until it reached saturation.
I didn’t stop oiling at the porous wood surface though. I decided to oil the metal base as well and it really highlighted the faded blue paint. Who knew that great color was under there? The metal only needed one coat and took longer to dry.
In order to elevate the pallet to standard coffee table height (16-19″), Ryan created custom legs. After much thought and consideration for aesthetics, he came up with legs consisting of a steel rod, caster, pipe and locking bolt. He carefully drilled through the metal base of the pallet to attach the industrial leg. I love casters on coffee tables. I suppose it is the industrial influence again.
So there you have it. From the sewing factory to our living room! Trash to treasure. This one-of-a-kind has sold! And I am off to find a Mrs. Roper inspired kaftan…
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…
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.
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.
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.
Bonus, the table acts as a great storage piece since the top opens the same way the toolbox once did.
The toolbox table has found a new home! Thanks for your interest in it.
Thanks for popping in today to see what’s happening at Circa Dee. While I’ve been in the midst of blogging about my love affair with my own wedding and all of its vintage details, it seems Kelly of Eclectically Vintage has taken note. Pop over to her blog to see what she has to say! You’ll see that Kelly and I are both the kind of people who get heart palpitations over a great vintage find.
Side note: I was crazy jealous over Kelly’s vintage wallpaper table that she scored last year…until I recently found my own. Now, if only I had a place for the 6 foot console-style table.
In other news, ok BIG NEWS, the fine folks at Philadelphia magazine paid West End Garage a visit recently. They liked it enough to feature the shop in their current Best of Philly issue! When I read that they mentioned Circa Dee for vintage goods, I most certainly danced like Phoebe Buffay in my living room.
True story, friends.
What’s new with you? Will you be visiting some of the best shops down the Jersey shore this summer as highlighted by Philly mag? If you find yourself in Cape May, you better look me up!
And if you’re just finding Circa Dee, stay awhile, won’t you? You can check out what we’re about here and where we sell our goods here.
Oh yeah, one more thing…as a Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint Retailer, I am hosting a workshop in a couple of weeks. Check out the deets here. Maybe you’ll join us and we can all dance like Phoebe Buffay.
That concludes my public service announcements for today. Thanks for joining us!
When planning my wedding, I was dead set on having a wine barrel as the cake table. Well, actually first I was set on a vintage tea cart. I found a really cute one last fall but after our cake tasting, I realized how large and in charge our 4-tier birch log inspired pound cake would be. Out with the cutesy tea cart and in with the wine barrel idea. Serious stature.
So the wedding was rapidly approaching when I went on my Bucks county wine tour bachelorette party in April. Which was a blast by the way. Then again, drinking wine in the middle of the day always is. A group of friends and I boarded a Tastings & Tours bus which picked us up right at my house and took us around beautiful Bucks county. (They also do wine tours in Cape May!)
Are you thinking what I was thinking? Duh. We were on a winery tour and I needed a wine barrel.
Enter my new favorite Bucks county winery, Buckingham Valley Vineyards, known for their sweet wines and laid back attitudes. Oh yeah and their FREE tastings and incredible prices. No this isn’t a sponsored post. Well, I guess in a way it is…
I did what any cake table-less bride would do. I asked the proprietor if he sells or rents wine barrels. I explained my predicament to him and my desire to have a rustic wine barrel at my reception. Do you know what happened next?
Yup, there was a wine barrel in the back of the tour bus. Before I even finished my third tasting.
And even more amazing is that it was a total loaner barrel. The vineyard didn’t charge me anything for it. In fact he didn’t even take my name. He simply asked for my word that I would indeed return it.
That is what this country is built on. Honesty and trust, my friends.
And wine and cake too. Dream come true.
Don’t worry we returned that barrel promptly after our honeymoon sans the wine tour bus. We didn’t leave empty handed in exchange for Buckingham Valley Vineyard’s gratitude.
If you are planning a wedding and considering this move, let me just tell you the reality of transporting and storing a wine barrel. It is a BEAST. I know that and I am pretty sure I never even lifted it. And it took up like 20% of the garage while we were storing it.
Plus about 3 days before the wedding, I panicked that the top of the barrel wouldn’t be big enough to accommodate the cake. I quickly ordered a custom piece of glass to be cut which roughly cost about 5 times the price of renting a standard cake table. But hey, who’s keeping track?
Moral of the story: You’ll never know unless you ask.
All of the incredible cake images by Love Shack Photo