Sunday, July 1, 2012

Repurpose an old Vanity Dresser into a fab Patio Serving Buffet.

I am S-H-A-M-E-L-E-S-S! I would pick up your old stuff off the street and figure out a way to repurpose it into something useful, beautiful or both! That's what creative minds (or maniacs) do!
This time around, I found this on the sidewalk on Monster Day...

Obviously it's a vanity, this one by Stanley furniture, not sure about the age, though I suspect it to be late 70's beginning 80's but It does not really matter because as soon as I saw it, I knew exactly what to do with it!

The story goes that last year, while going to NYC for a training, I spent some time in my old neighborhoods and favorite spots.
Of course, I had to make a stop by ABC Carpet and Home and check out all the beautiful things I could never afford (just for motivational purposes, you know) and came across a new designer (forgot his name) who was using the Union Jack as a pattern he would paint on antique French and British furniture - The stuff would go as high as $8000 per dresser and I have been drooling with envy ever since...One of them would look something like this:


I really wanted one, but also knew my street find was the wrong furniture design for it.
However, brain cells worked overtime and I figured out something I thought might even be more useful than yet another dresser: a serving buffet for the deck!

So, forget the mirror, that can go somewhere else in the house (I am thinking guest room). Painted and lacquered to withstand the elements, the buffet could stay on the deck for Spring, Summer and perhaps until Labor Day before being stored to the garage.
Being that I am French, I thought it would be somewhat uninspired to paint a Union Jack on the top!
So this is what I came up with:

I started by sanding the surface, just enough to get rid of a few bumps here and there. Notice that I removed the railing and patched the holes with wood putty.

I already had all the colors needed (red, white and blue, from the boys bedroom) and all I did was purchase the lacquer or some kind of exterior clear gloss paint (one pint at $8.99).
I started by painting it white because originally I wanted to distress the piece by sanding the edges and have the white show under the colored paint.

Here I am painting the drawers...

I then painted the body in Blue and the top in Red.

While coat two or three were drying, I pulled out some leftover scrapbooking paper and mirror printed letters I later cut with scissors...
The goal was to apply a decoupage of paper letters assembled into one of my favorite quotes by Napoleon!

Here I am applying the letter with my spray glue - while sipping coffee,  this truky was not a stressful job!

"Impossible n'est pas Francais!" ("Impossible" is NOT French!) - How appropriate is that? I think it fits me pretty well!
Unfortunately, I did not have the room to add the name Napoleon under the quote...Oh well, it will make for another conversation piece anyway.

Here is a close-up of the letter decoupage before a few coats of lacquer...

So the distressing with the white paint at the bottom did not work and who cares (I forgot that the blue paint was oil base and when I scratched the surface with the steel wool it was actually spreading it rather than removing it...oops). I am assuming it will distress on its own and the white will eventually show up naturally. Until then, I have a ton of ideas popping here and there as to what to do on the top for decoration.
Keep in mind the house will be painted Prussian Blue before the end of the year (I hope) so this, as an ensemble, will look much better!

I now have a serving buffet for summer BBQs and kids parties. I am taking my time browsing Home Goods and T-J Maxx until I find just the right French looking garden ornaments and other planters to begin decorating with shade plants and other knickknacks.
Here is it being put to good use at Edward's B'Day party in April 2012:

And here is the before and after:

Tell me what you think!

Sophia, NJ.


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  2. What a wonderful transformation. I love it when there is someone who comes along and is fortunate enough to re-purpose someone Else's throw a way..I can't imagine just putting this on the curb to throw away. Glad for you though.

  3. Thank you Renee, I am shameless, truly am. if I see a treasure, I have to make it mine. People throw away amazing stuff all the time in our town, we live in such a disposable world nowadays! Thank you for your comment!

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  5. Thank you Kelly, I enjoy this kind of work as well. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Thank You David. Don't miss another post, subscribe (like) the facebook page!)


I welcome your feedback and comments. If you have a question or a specific request, do not hesitate, I am here to help! Thanks, S.

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