Sewing, Refashioning, Repurposing & Thrifting Through Life

Early 1900s Sideboard Turned Kitchen Island

Happy National Thrift Store Day! Heading out later to see if there’s anything good left. For now, here’s this.

If you read my last post, you may have gotten the hint that we are in the middle of a complete kitchen transformation, DIY-style. One of the things we knew we wanted was to replace our oak island with something old. Found this quarter-sawn tiger oak sideboard from the early 1900s.


Man, was it in pretty rough shape. You can see a lot of the tiger oak veneer is peeling and there’s a big chunk taken out of the top.



But look at those claw feet! Gorgeous!


Here’s a picture of our kitchen taken a few years ago but this is pretty much what it’s been looking like.

kitchen before

You can see the island here and the oak cabinets. As for the yellow paint, I did this a few years ago. Not sure what possessed me as I am not a fan of yellow. Suffice it to say, I was reading about feng shui and got caught up in the whole (what I deem as ridiculous now-sorry if I offend) notion that colour affects what happens in your life and in your home. I am so anti-new age anything now. If you’re wondering what happened to the old island, we posted an ad and had several responses to this free giveaway. It went to a good new home!

We had a plan to find something old and paint it but when we saw this piece and Mr. Restyle sanded it and removed the veneer that absolutely had to be removed, we both felt bad about the idea of painting it. So what did we do? We stained it. And then we both hated it. Back to our original idea. I’ve done this before where I’ve had doubts. Don’t do this. Go with your gut!

We painted it with ASCP in Old Ochre but stained the top with General Finishes Java Gel Stain. Mr. Restyle used a router saw to fix the top piece where a good chunk was missing. So clever! You can barely tell now. Sealed the whole thing with the satin top coat also from General Finishes.

New knobs were added still in keeping with the original look.

keyhole drawer

I love our new island and I am sure it will serve us well for years to come. Here’s another look at the before and after.




Sneak Peek: Upcoming Furniture Projects

Here’s a sneak peek at some projects that I’ve been working on for the past few months. Yes, I said months. Not days, not weeks. Months. Ugh! If only I didn’t actually have to “work” at a real job. I couldn’t even guess an ETA on these but they are coming. I promise.

#1. 1990s Floral Loveseat Reupholstery.


This one is almost done. I just had the cushions left to do when the zipper foot on my sewing machine broke.

#2. This pair of chairs for reupholstery and refinishing. One is in progress right now with the tufting finished. I had someone at All Experts answer some questions on these and now I can’t find the response. If anyone knows what styles these are, please let me know in the comments. I believe the legs are Queen Anne style and the chairs are Louis XIV or XV, from what I can remember.


#3.  Late 1960s/1970s 8-Foot Sofa

I had to have this sofa. It is the perfect size for our large family. I got a quote on reupholstery. Labour: $1000-1400, Fabric:18 to 20 yards @ $40 to $120/yard. Holy moly! I’m doing this one myself. Notice it is in our basement on blocks of wood. A couple of the legs are missing. The woman at the upholstery shop told me it was a really good sofa. Well, of course. It wasn’t made yesterday. They don’t make ’em like this anymore. The lines on this are absolutely gorgeous. I plan on purchasing a couple of armchairs in the same style.


This sofa project won’t happen for a while. I have 2 other chairs that will be painted and reupholstered as well as a cane chair that needs to be redone along with an enormous sectional that I inherited from my parents. It resides in our basement family room. The fabric is UGLY and something will need to be done. So many projects, so little time!



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Refinished Antique Dresser

I recently refinished this dresser (see Refashion of a Different Kind) and wanted to showcase the result.

This beautiful cherrywood dresser is part of a complete bedroom set, which I’m still working on. It started out like this-dull, boring brown tone, faded with watermarks on the surface. It’s hard to tell from the after picture. It really is more of a transformation than what shows in the pictures:


Andrew Malcolm Solid Cherrywood Dresser BEFORE

And here’s how it ended up:


Dresser AFTER-the beautiful cherry wood grain really pops.

This was a LOT of work but worth every minute. I LOVE beautiful wood. Some people might paint this stuff but I always like to salvage a really good piece first. I opted to leave the original hardware on it. Antiques depreciate in value if they don’t have the original hardware.

Here’s another view:


You can see the matching bed in this picture. I didn’t do anything to it. It was in GREAT condition.

And a close up of the wood grain:


I am so happy with this. Now I have to finish off the night stands and the tallboy dresser. Still a lot of work to do!


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Refashion of a Different Kind

Well, this was not the way I wanted to start a refashion/sewing/thrifting blog. I had hoped to be up and running on a regular basis by now but I have good reason!

I have been looking for a bedroom suite for a very long time and I’ve just not been finding anything in the stores that is worth the money on the price tags. It all looks so incredibly cheap and poorly made. I guess we really do live in a disposable world. Oh sure, it all looks beautiful when it’s brand new but there’s something about plunking down several hundreds of dollars on some particle board/plywood/veneer/fake wood or whatever this stuff is made of, especially if it’s going to be for a teenage boy and knowing my kid-well, let’s just say he’s not the most gentle of creatures. I just didn’t see it lasting very long.

So, I found this beautiful solid cherrywood suite online and although it’s not young and hip and modern, it will last a lifetime and he actually LIKES it! I got if for a really good deal. The only problem is, the lady who sold it to me had the tops of the dressers covered in doilies and of course, I didn’t check but there are some nicks and scratches and water stains on them. The good news is that it’s genuine solid wood and constructed with dovetail joints. I know the manufacturer (Andrew Malcolm, who was quite well known quite a few years ago) and since the seller had lived in her house for 55 years, I knew it would last in mine.


I originally wanted to just lightly remove whatever varnish was on it and stain it a darker colour because I didn’t like the colour as it stood. I had done this on my oak kitchen cupboards without any issue. This is where I ran into a problem as finishes from 40, 50 years ago are not polyurethane but rather shellac, lacquer or something similar, therefore the stain did not penetrate and just beaded up-argh!!!

I found a product from Minwax called Antique Furniture Refinisher that claims to remove old finishes without stripping or sanding. Fantastic! Note, that if you’re going to do this yourself, this particular Minwax product does NOT remove polyurethane. For that you’ll have to use a different product.


Well, this is what I’ve been doing instead of sewing, thrifting and refashioning but I hope to be up and running soon. In the meantime, this project is going to take a lot of my time. So far, I’ve removed part of the top of one dresser and I was astonished to see the beautiful cherrywood underneath. I read that cherrywood does not really need staining. In fact, I can see that a simple clear coat protectant of some sort will really let the natural beauty of the wood show through. I’m so excited to get this done. I’ll post pics of the project when I’m further along.

There are some great links on how to refinish antiques. Here are a couple I’ve referenced:

How to Refinish Old Wood Furniture with Minwax

Refnishing 101 from Rachel @ Thrifty Inspiration


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