Before & after category

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Cupboard door serving tray

Salvage cupboard doors

I noticed this stash of cupboard doors at my local salvage yard. The white one was the perfect size to make a serving tray. The old drawer pulls—also found at the salvage yard—made ideal handles. Their swirly shape gave me the inspiration for the pattern I painted. All it took was a little black paint. As with many of my projects, the possibilities are limitless: change the handles, add découpage or fabric, paint it a different color, or just leave it classic white. Read more »

Kitchen drawers = bookcase

I picked up these drawers on Freecycle. They were salvaged from the kitchen of a 1940s house that was demolished. My original plan was to put the drawers on wheels and use them as under-bed storage. Turns out, no two drawers are the same height, which would look janky. So I tried stacking them vertically instead (anchoring them to the wall, of course). You could also hang these drawers as individual shadowboxes. Read more »

Kelly and Sarah, two former Sunset coworkers, planned to use this shabby bookshelf in Sunset’s Menlo Park Idea House last summer. After removing the doors, which were in a dire state of disrepair, they painted it. Paint: Benjamin Moore Aura Steam (AF-15) and Caliente (AF-290). Then they decided to kick it to the curb. Knowing I rescue dilapidated furniture, Kelly offered it to me.

It sat in my living room while I hunted for keyhole covers (notice the keys were stuck in rough holes cut in the wood). Finally, I found the perfect keyhole covers (called escutcheons) with finger pulls on eBay. After three days of scraping, gluing, sanding, painting, and reassembling, the doors are hung at last.

DIY cake stands

DIY cake stands - before

This one was my friend Kristi’s idea. While window shopping one day last spring, we saw a glass cake stand in a jewelry store window. She said, “You could make one of those.” I spent the next couple weeks scouring thrift stores for plates, candlesticks, vases—anything I could find to make a cake stand. As you can see, I couldn’t stop with just one. But I did stop at just one cupcake—I swear. Read more »

Magnetic picture frames - after

Magnetic picture frames - before

Instead of chucking these old mismatched frames, I painted them all the same color, attached magnets, and gave them a whole new life. If only I could give this 1980s fridge a new life—in the junkyard. Read more »

Keyboard stand

Unfinished shaker sofa table

A few years ago, I achieved my dream of owning a Yamaha DX7 keyboard, the synthesizer behind that bell-quality sound of 80s pop music. But, I couldn’t just plop it on top of any keyboard stand. A former roommate gave me an old piano bench, and I found an unfinished Shaker sofa table to match. I shortened the table legs three inches (for correct piano height), then painted both pieces black.

To finish off the scene, I bought black frames at Michael’s and grouped photos of my favorite pilots—including my grandfather—on the wall. Now all I have to do is learn to play something other than Jingle Bells.

Bathroom makeover - after

Bathroom makeover - before

With a wall-mounted sink and no storage to speak of, my small bathroom needed a little help. Paint isn’t an option, and the neutral tile colors limited my color choices, so I decided to go with natural wood and the colors of seashells. I found the spacesaver on Craigslist, the jars at Ikea, the waffle-weave shower curtain at Kmart (Martha Stewart’s line), and the basket at Michael’s. The seashells are strung with twine through holes drilled in each shell. I sewed a canvas cover for the wicker tissue box and attached it with wooden buttons. I also made the seashell shadow box. Read more »

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