1 + 2 = A New Piece of Furniture

It was nice to take a little break the past week, but now January 2nd has arrived.  It is the day some dread or face with sadness now that the magic of the holidays is officially over and life returns to normal.  On the other hand – it is also the day of exciting new beginnings in our lives.  If you can imagine it – this is the week that the can-do-it attitude reigns.   I love the holidays, but am always extra excited to get on living the best life possible once they are over.


image:  The Urban Slant

New beginnings in the way of resolutions don’t have to be about big change – I have found in my 53 years of living that making smaller changes over the course of the entire year will give you the long lasting and positive results you are seeking.   Adding one new goal or plan at a time and keeping focused until it becomes just right for you, not anyone else, is what will make it a success.  When I look at the projects in my house, and life for that matter – that I want to change or complete, I keep this in mind.

I love looking at all the beautiful rooms and pages in decorating magazines as much as anybody, but I know for me that making decorative changes is more about giving my home a soul, than finding the next new thing, trend, or color.  It is about experimenting to see what works and in the end will give my home a comfortable personality that is perfect for the way my family lives– not the way my neighbors do, a showroom, or a family in a perfectly decorated magazine spread.

Over the next two weeks, I am going to concentrate on finishing two projects in my studioffice. I am super excited about completing them.  One has been literally pushed to the side over the past few months.  It is a storage unit that I am creating by using two un-matched pieces of hand-me-down furniture.

Fixing furniture veneer

This is how they have been in my studioffice since I rearranged the room.  I am not kidding.  They are away from the wall because for whatever reason, the builder of my house chose to put the HVAC ducts between windows – not in front of them where it would not have mattered for furniture placement.  I bought four wood furniture feet to raise the pieces up, so that I can then push the whole thing against the wall when it is complete.

On the bottom is a vintage wood file cabinet that was the base of the partners desk I made for the room. I took that desk apart when I found a new desk out on the curb and rearranged the room last January.  The wood veneer sides of the file cabinet were covered with another piece of wood that was part of the initial desk – that is why they are not painted.   The top is a bookshelf that I painted not long ago.  I needed both in the room for storage reasons, but didn’t have the floor space for both, so by stacking one on top of the other -I have created a perfect custom piece of furniture for the space and my needs.


With Ed’s unemployment, I don’t have the income to buy something new – and this is A-OK with me as I prefer to create my own furniture – not from scratch like Ana White, but by taking what I already own and using it in new and different ways and combinations that will not only be unique, but perfect for what we need.  I have always enjoyed doing this, even when I did have the money to buy something from a furniture showroom.    I only have a few pieces of furniture in my house that I actually ordered and bought at a furniture store.  Most of the furniture in my house – 85% of it are hand-me downs, thrift store finds, or items I have picked up curb side.


image:  heymissawesome.tumblr

In my kitchen is the perfect example of how I paired two pieces of mis-matched furniture together to create a custom piece for a space. I needed something tall to create visual balance between my kitchen and family room.


The top glass fronted cabinet was a hand me down from my in-laws. (It was part of one of the bottom cabinets I used to make my worktable in my studioffice.)  The painted bottom piece was my grandmothers.  It used to have a mirrored shelf along the back, but it got lost in one of the many moves Ed and I made when we were first married.    I have always wanted to hang it on the wall right up to the ceiling so that it would leave wall space underneath to hang a blackboard or memo board creating a nice desk area.  That will have to wait for now. No sense in drilling holes in the wall to hang it, unless I know we are staying in the house and not moving. Perhaps I should do it anyway, as then we will end up moving, but that will be a good thing – no more living in limbo.

Furniture Making Ideas

I do use it as a kitchen desk.  The top drawers hold desk-y stuff.  The rest holds cooking stuff.

Organizing Ideas for drawers

I collect square and rectangular baskets to organize the drawer items.


The storage unit for my studioffice will be made taller and more in proportion than it is now when the four wood feet that will raise it from the floor are attached.  I found them at Home Depot.


I am going to sand the file cabinet to the bare wood to see how it looks, if it comes out OK, I may stain it. It is veneer so that plan may not work. If that is the case – then I will paint it.  Not sure yet, but the possibilities are endless for me to do just about anything I want to make it my own.

There is so much possibility out there for us to discover. With a new attitude, fresh eyes, and some focus- whatever it is you are reaching for this year can become your reality – with a little time and effort.

I plan on bringing you more creative and affordable DIY ideas like this project for 2013, plus a few more surprises I think you are going to like –as it will involve you – my readers – a little bit of reader-to-reader exchanges.  I am working out the details and will have more to tell you soon.

The second project I have planned for this room is going to require a bit more effort and real furniture-making carpentry skills.  I better start channeling Ana White for that one.

I am off to do some paint stripping, sanding, and transforming now.



Happy 2013!

Let’s make it a year of exciting possibilities in every way imaginable.  XO



  1. says

    Hi Diane!! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family. I took a little blogging break for awhile there, so I have lots of your old posts to go through. I love this post and I love the quote. I totally agree that happy people make the best of everything they have! You always do a fabulous job of showing us how to use and re-use what we have.
    I have missed your blog and am happy to be back!

  2. Sheryll & Critters. says

    Oh wow, another fabulous idea. I added this to my very long list I have from reading all your wonderful do over’s.

    I still can’t believe it is 2013 ‘already’.

    • says

      Hi Diane – thanks. So sorry to hear your news about having to once again live in limbo. It has been so long for us – that it has become a way of life. Ugh is right! Ugh, Ugh Ugh!!! We just try to keep a positive attitude and forge ahead seeking out every opportunity. I hope it doesn’t last too long for you. Keep smiling XO

  3. says

    We all love frugal DIY projects. They make personal economic good sense, they usually recycle products, and they end up being unique and creatively satisfying. Can’t wait to see what you have planned in the coming months.

  4. says

    I think the dining room DIY solution looks fabulous. However, have you considered taking the white bookcase from the top of the office DIY-in-progress and swapping it with the brown top of the dining room piece? I think having the two white pieces together would look rather nice.

    • says

      Hi Jessvii –

      White on white would definitely look nice, but the size of the white shelf that I have on top of the file cabinet is way too small and would look out of proportion in the kitchen. Vice Versa for the glass cabinet – too big for the file cabinet. I do have a few other wood tone pieces of furniture in my kitchen and family room -so the two tone piece actually blends the two rooms together very nicely. What I love about each piece – they are classic and will always be in style.

  5. Anne Boykin says

    Hi Diane, Thanks for sharing your lovely furniture pairings with us – they look great. Thanks too for your lovely blog!

  6. Donnamae says

    Hi Dianne! I’m intrigued by that file cabinet…so unique with the vertical drawers. Do you know what it was originally used for? Could you take a pic of a drawer pulled out? Really anxious to see it finished. Love that two piece cabinet in your kitchen….sweet pieces that go so well together! ;)

    • says

      Hi Donnamae – I will post a few photos of the innards of file cabinet in my next post I do about it – next week. Since starting my blog – I have gotten many questions about it. It is from the PA Railroad offices in NYC. It is very old and when it became my husbands it was in good working condition – just beat up veneer. I removed the veneer from some of the front of the file drawers a long time ago and sanded them smooth. It has two tiers that stack on top of each other and a cover that goes on top. There are 6 drawers to each tier. It is very well made – all the joints are dovetailed and smooth. The wood is beautiful inside. The veneer is the only beaten up part of the whole unit. It was made by Remington Rand – Library Bureau Div.

  7. Maragret says

    Happy New Year, Diane! I just love the way you think! I really enjoy repurposing things in my home as well. In the end, it’s so much more rewarding than buying something new – not that there’s anything wrong with that :) I had a doll-sized wardrobe that my husband and I painted and embellished with vintage earring door/drawer hardware to create a nail polish cabinet for my daughter – that was one of her favorite Christmas gifts this year – very inexpensive, but filled with love!

  8. mary shine says

    You totally inspire me to do somethings with pieces i have salvaged from various places. Thank you ! Love your combinations of pieces of furniture. Anxious to see how the files turn out.

  9. Suniti says

    GOSh !
    hey Diane could u help me out with my house furniture too ??
    waiting to hear from u……

  10. Judy says

    Hello Diane, so nice to meet you! I love your ideas. I am about to move and have been picking up odd pieces of furniture with the idea of re-do. Now I am positive I can do it! Wish you lived next door so we could play together….oh my. I am a widow of late and going to make my new little nest just for me…how exciting is that! I also paint and make jewelry. Retirement is going to be heavenly!!!!


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