Storage Footstool Makeover

footstool collage

Finally getting around to sharing this little furniture makeover!

I got this small storage footstool sometime last year at a secondhand shop. It was only $6 and in great condition! The only problem was it’s completely dated look, with faded floral upholstery and scratched-up wood finish. I knew it would be an easy fix though!

I ended up picking a vintage pillowcase to reupholster it with. I wanted something totally different that you’d probably never see on a footstool in the store, and this was such a pretty print. The paint colors were an easy choice because they accented the fabric perfectly.

So I forgot to take a picture of the inside, but I actually lined it with pages from an old McCall’s magazine. (I just mod podged them to the inside, then coated them in more mod podge and then a poly glaze.)

This ended up being one of my favorite projects – I love how it turned out! But since we have no place in our house for it (we have a tiny living room in which we already have a large storage ottoman) I ended up selling it at my booth at the Florence Antique Mall. It sold within a few days. I hope the new owner loves it!


Saddle Stool

For a little over a year, the girls have taken (somewhat sporadic) riding lessons at the wonderful, family-owned JS Stables. A few months ago, after seeing my blog, one of the owners asked me about converting her daughter’s first saddle into a stool, as it was no longer fit for riding and she thought it would be a nice keepsake. I hadn’t done anything like this before but was up for the challenge!

The hardest part was finding something to use as the base. It had to be very sturdy, and I wanted it to be low enough that the pre-teen recipient could sit on it and have her feet touch the ground. (I don’t know how much time she’ll actually spend sitting on it, but I was pretty sure it would be none if she had to perch atop the saddle.). Last, I wanted the base to have (or be able to get) the appropriate “rustic” look. These requirements ruled out lots of my initial ideas, like attaching the saddle to a traditional metal barstool base.

I ended up using, of all things, an old wooden high chair that I found at a thrift shop. I removed the seat back and arm and foot rests, and trimmed the seat base down a little so the saddle fit nice and snug on it. I attached the saddle using some big wood screws and one of the saddle’s straps. There were a few spots on the legs that needed wood glue and/or wood filler, and I also Restore-a-Finished (that’s a verb, right?) them. The seat base got painted and scuffed up a bit to match the rest of the saddle chair. And last, I painted a personal message to the stool’s recipient (from her mom) on the bottom of the seat.

I wish I could have trimmed away more of the seat base so you didn’t see it sticking out quite so much. But because of the placement of the legs, it would have required some precise cutting, and my secondhand jigsaw bit the dust a while ago. Ah, well. I was pretty happy with how it turned out, and I hope the recipient was too!

Here’s how it turned out.

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Hand-carved candlestand

Stopping by to share a quick rehab I just finished 🙂

I got this hand-carved candle stand at a thrift store for $3.50. It had a crack in the base, and the finish was pretty bad with lots of water stains and scuffs. It’s such a unique & pretty piece though – I didn’t get a picture, but if you look at the bottom you can see the rings from the tree – it was most likely carved right out of the trunk.

I really hesitated about painting it, because it had such a beautiful natural color and characteristics, but after patching the crack with wood filler and using some Restore-a-Finish on the top, I still wasn’t thrilled with how it looked (and the wood filler didn’t exactly match.) So I went ahead and spray painted it marigold yellow and chipped it up a bit. Something like this just didn’t look right with a flawless glossy finish!



I’ve picked up some amazing roadside finds lately that I’ll be back soon to share!

Old Stereo Speakers Upcycled to Cat Tree

My inspiration for this upcycle was a double-decker cat bed made from an old suitcase that I saw a picture of. While keeping my eye out for a suitcase to use, I came across a set of mismatched beat-up stereo speakers on the side of the road. It was actually pretty interesting, because as I picked these up, the man who lived at the house came outside and told me to help myself to whatever I wanted (I also got a like-new artificial Christmas wreath). He then told me that he actually does “this” for a living, and proceeded to share the best nights to check out different neighborhoods and recommend an auction house if I ever decide to consign anything.

the crappy “before” pic I almost forgot to take

Despite having 1,001,001 projects waiting, and a few in progress, I got started on the speakers right away. It actually turned out to be a lot harder of a project than I anticipated! Part of it was due to my lack of certain power tools – a circular saw, in particular – and a real work table. I’ll be getting these things before starting anything else that requires sawing off 2x4s trying to cut a shape out of plywood.

As usual, I failed to take many “during” pictures. Steve helped me with the demo-ing, and that was the fun part. But I had failed to account for the fact that these weren’t real wood, rather a cheap particle-board material. The sides ended up falling off the smaller speaker, and it proved tricky to do any nailing or screwing without cracking a whole piece. But, I figured out that by relying mainly on L-brackets for support (and using tiny screws) I could make it work.

The top level was kind of an after-thought. I just cut a (rough) circle out of a piece of plywood that I had lying around and then used my staple gun to attach batting and then fabric.I sewed the pillows out of an old vintage sheet and hot glued a strip of velcro to the bottom and the surface so they wouldn’t constantly be falling off. I didn’t put a ton of effort into making everything look perfect – after all, this is just a cat tree, and it’s for my own home. But I think it turned out pretty cute, and it was definitely a TON cheaper than the carpet-covered cat trees you can buy in the store! Really, my only expense at all was the fabric and paint, which I already had, (and which barely cost anything anyway – the paint was from the mis-tint section, and the fabric was a remnant and an old sheet.)

Lacy wall art from an old headboard

Happy 4th of July everyone!

This summer has been crazy busy, which seems to be the case with everyone. I’ve done a decent amount of junking/thrift, and a ton of online estate sale shopping – but haven’t had as much time as I’d like to actually work on projects. I’ve had decent luck selling my no-rehab-needed antiques/vintage goods (I just found out I actually made a profit my first month at the antique mall!) but I’d really like to get back to my true passion – making old things pretty.

We needed something new to hang above our couch, and since I couldn’t find anything I liked at Goodwill, etc., this meant it was up to me to create it. However….I’m not an artist. I have next-to-no skills in drawing, painting, things like that. So I had to be creative!

I thought of this old wooden headboard frame that I had snatched from the side of the road a while back. I’m actually not even sure if it’s that old, but it was in pretty rough condition, and it only caught my eye because of it’s pretty shape.

After some brainstorming, I decided to paint it this rusty orange color and then use it to frame some pretty decorative fabric. But when reviewing my collection of fabric/linens, I couldn’t find anything that would look quite right. I moved on to my stack of curtains, and when I found this vintage lace valance, I knew it would be perfect! I just used my staple gun to attach it to the back of the frame, and I ended up putting a dark blue fabric behind it to make it stand out better against our wall. I topped the paint with a brush-on poly, and then did just a bit of distressing.

I love how it turned out! If it were up to me, I’d rather that the seam of the curtain not show under the arched part, but that was the only way that the curtain would fit, and I don’t think it really detracts from the overall look at all.

(it’s not hung yet because I’m still deciding where exactly to place it and what else I want around it)

Stay tuned – I’ll be back soon (really!) to share the yet-to-be-seen outcome of my most ambitious project yet – a cat tree made from a pair of old stereo speakers!

Side Table Makeover

(am I the only mom who can’t help but think of Blue’s Clues when I hear “side table”?)

So I got this little table off Freecycle – someone had rescued it from her neighbor’s trash, but didn’t have a need for it. I knew I could make it into something cute!

But my ideas don’t always work out the way I’ve planned. This is actually this table’s THIRD incarnation. I had first decoupaged a cool picture from a magazine on it – it looked good, but it wasn’t the best decoupage job, and when I decided to sell it, I couldn’t do so with someone else’s artwork on it. I’m going to stay mum on the second idea, because I’d still like to try it on something else – it was just going to take too long, and I desperately needed to get some finished pieces out of the house (and into my new booth at Riverside Center Antique Mall & Resale Center!)

First, I painted the table red, and that stayed the same throughout – I love the color, especially on a little piece like this. The top is decoupaged with vintage wallpaper that I actually found sitting next to someone’s trash can! There was a whole roll of it, and a roll of another print (not quite as cute.) I happened to drive by, and stopped because they had a little shelf thing sitting out too – I ended up passing on that, but scooped this up, and 2 minutes later it started pouring rain – whew! Anyway, I finished this off with a few coats of acrylic sealant, and distressed it just a tad around the edges to go with the vintage feel.

(poor lighting resulted in not the best pictures)

Mini Makeover…Thursday? (Crate & Board Ottoman)

Well shoot, right when I started to get into a posting groove, life got crazy and I just haven’t had the time to do much of anything related to Secondhand Fancy.

Since I also dropped the ball on “Mini Makeover Mondays” (projects that took less than 30 minutes to complete,) I thought I would just share one now.

When I began working from home full-time we transitioned the kid’s playroom into my office, and it’s since morphed into my office/craft room. I think I’ve come up with some pretty unique storage solutions that allow me to fit everything I need for work and fun into a 10×10 space, but this was one of the simplest.

I found this plastic crate, along with another 2, on the side of the road.

I wanted to use it for storage, but it didn’t stack with the other two, and since space is at a premium here, I wanted an alternative to just having a crate sitting there with stuff in it. This is what I came up with.

The top was formerly the door to our old bathroom cabinet. After screwing the doors closed, I just covered it in a layer of batting and used my staple gun to cover that with a pretty pillowcase (the counterpart to the one I used on this chair).

I attached a couple brackets to the bottom that help it fit nicely on top of the crate, but it’s not attached – so you can’t sit on the edge of it or anything. But it’s fine for resting your feet on! Or even doing art projects, as K demonstrates (I placed another piece of wood on top, here,  since she had been painting.)


I got my volunteer assignment for Crafty Supermarket today! (I’ll be helping to direct people outside from 2-4.) I’m excited to be able to participate in this super-cool event, and am looking forward to being inspired by these awesome vendors (and doing some shopping!)

Owl Tree Stump Table

A couple of weeks ago I got a bunch of paint for free on Craigslist. When I got home and went through it all, I found that there were two half-gallons that were nearly 8 years old. Since paint that old has generally deteriorated in quality, I didn’t want to use it on anything important – yet they were pretty yellow and purplish-gray colors that I just couldn’t bring myself not to use at all. So I scoured my house and yard for something that I could paint that it wouldn’t matter if it didn’t turn out great or last well. I looked at a few tree stumps we had sitting around our fire pit from last summer and thought, perfect!

(I forgot to take a before picture, but I think we all know what a tree stump looks like)

I’d been wanting a little table for the patio outside my office, and a prettied-up tree stump would work great. If the old paint produced less-than-ideal results, no big deal, and it didn’t have to last forever (there are no shortage of tree stumps, after all.)

I started by rolling the stump onto a tarp and basically dumping a bunch of the yellow and purple paint on top, then using a brush to smooth it on the bark down the sides. I did this a few times until it was fairly-evenly covered, yet still showed the natural color through.

(Unfortunately I didn’t take any in-process pictures either. I really need to get better at remembering to do this.)

I wanted to add a pop of color, and thought about hand-painting something on top, but since I’m not much of an artist, the results could be questionable. Then I remembered this big felt owl that I had stuck a magnet to and hung on the fridge, and realized it would make a perfect stencil.

Before doing the top I filled in some of the larger gaps with pre-mixed granite. When that dried, I positioned the owl on top, put a few small rocks on it so it wouldn’t move, and applied two coats of bright pink spray paint.

When I took the felt owl off I was pleased with the results, although I did do a little bit of touch up painting with the purplish-gray, and added a few sunbursts on either side.

I ended up spraying just a touch of the pink around the sides to tie it in better with the top.Then I applied a few coats of polyurethane furniture varnish, using a brush to really get it down into the grooves of the bark.

I like the end result, although if I were making this as an indoor end table that I wanted to last indefinitely I would have had to take much more care in drying and washing the stump prior to painting (and probably in varnishing too.) Since it was such a spur-of-the-moment project for me, the bottom of the stump is still damp and unfinished, and so I know this won’t last forever. Still, it was easy, quick, and cheap (free), holds my cup of coffee just fine, and looks cute on my patio next to my work-in-progress pink lawn chair.

pink patio furniture

Beat-up Bench to Kids Step Stool

Remember this, that I found on the side of the road a couple of weeks ago but wasn’t quite sure what it was (bench? stool? step stool?) From the looks of it, it came from someone’s workshop – or was used as a target for hatchet-throwing practice. Seriously, the thing had about 1,000,001 little nicks over the entire top.

old step stool


I was happy to find it though, because it’s a sturdy, solid piece, and is the perfect height to use as a step stool for our bathroom. Once I told the girls they were getting a new step stool they got all excited, so this quickly moved to the top of my list.

I started by filling in some of the bigger holes and ruts with pre-mixed grout (I figured it would be more durable than spackle.) I didn’t attempt to fill every little knick – that would have been impossible, plus I like the slightly-worn look. Once that was dry I lightly sanded and then painted it with two coats of Pink Carnation by Glidden.

Because I planned on varnishing the top, I wanted to add something to make it a bit more slip-resistent, and decided to use a roll of non-slip shelf liner from the dollar store. I drew the shapes freehand (I didn’t want them to be too perfect) and used Mod Podge to apply them, then added two layers of MP over top. I finished with two layers of glossy craft varnish.

I liked it, but wanted it to have a little more color, so I painted the piece underneath with a turquoise craft paint that I had – it’s not exactly the same color as the shelf-liner cut-outs, but close enough!

The finished product:

All in all it cost me $1, because I got the stool for free and already had the paint.

Join Me For Mini Makeover Mondays!

Beginning next week, each Monday I’ll share a furniture or decor makeover that took no more than 30 minutes to complete. And I’d love to see your half-hour-or-less projects too!

Grab the MMM button from the sidebar – or just link to Secondhand Fancy on your blog – and then comment to let me know that you participated in Mini Makeover Mondays. On Tuesday I’ll post links to everyone’s projects.

Let’s see what we can make prettier in just a half an hour 🙂