My favorite renewal

Those of you who have been following my little journey through the blogosphere for a long time already know that I’m a painter. I’ll paint just about anything, really. I even have an old, sadly ignored little painting blog called Stuff I Painted which chronicles some of the work I’ve done for clients and for myself.

Of all the projects I’ve done, I think restoring and painting furniture is the most rewarding. It’s also the most time consuming and labor intensive. But perhaps that’s part of the reason why it’s so rewarding.

Some projects start with new, unfinished furniture right out of the box:

A kids table and chairs set is a great blank canvas.

and I've been blessed with clients who give me a concept and let my imagination take over. From flowers and bugs...

to a nursery rhyme table all about Jack.

from Jack & Jill to Little Jack Horner to Jack and the Beanstalk.

As much as I love painting new furniture–especially children’s furniture–there’s something really great about reviving an old piece of furniture.

I love seeing beyond what most would consider ugly and useless...

with the knowledge that with a little care and imagination, an old table can be given a new life.

My favorite furniture renewal project is the one which currently sits in my dining room.

It started with a dresser which had seen better days.

My neighbor’s elderly, live-in mother had recently passed away. They had a garage sale and had managed to sell most of her furniture, but at the end of the day, the dresser remained.

I didn’t need a dresser, but my neighbors thought it a shame that such a good piece of furniture should go to waste. I agreed, so I bought it for $30. It sat in my garage for at least a month.

Then I happened to be looking around at a local charity resale shop and stumbled across a hutch. A very nice, cherry hutch. The only drawback to this hutch was that whatever it once sat atop of was nowhere to be found, which is no doubt why it was only marked $30. I suppose I took the $30 price tag as a sign that an old dresser made to hold clothes in a bedroom would be a good match for a hutch who had somehow lost its mate. They were not a perfect match. One was cherry. One was maple. But I was determined to make it work. I knew both could be useful, I just had to figure out how.

The result was a rather unconventional place to store linens and display a few treasures.

The hutch is hardly a perfect fit, but I like it just the same.

I don’t think you can tell from the photos, or maybe you can, but there are spots on that dresser where I sanded through the paint to let the original wood surface show through. I like that it shows its age. I wanted a bit of its history to peek through. Besides, perfection is sort of boring, don’t you think?

As to the items displayed in my Frankenstein furniture renewal? The pewter and silver pieces are mostly gifts. Watership Down is one of my favorite books, which is why I have a fondness for bunnies.

Nothing really matches. I like it that way. The reds and the greens (opposites on the color wheel) cause the other to stand out.

The plates were all rescued from the clearance aisle at Marshall's.

What I love most about my collection of mismatched things is that while each hold value for me individually, I appreciate their beauty more when I see them all together.

To be renewed is rarely easy. It’s often dirty, back breaking work. It requires patience and a willingness to see beyond what most others see. To be renewed, someone must be willing to invest and sacrifice in that renewal. But I can tell you from experience, it’s worth the effort.

And if you don’t believe me, just ask Jesus.

He’s all about renewal.

This post is part of the One Word at a Time blog carnival: Renewal hosted by my friend Peter Pollock. To read more posts on this topic, please visit him at

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