Decorating home, one element at a time.

Tag Archives: salvage

I, Jackie, don’t think I can honestly claim to come up with most of my good decorating ideas (dudes, have you experienced the collaborative idea-world that is Pinterest???) BUT, I will say this: I can definitely recognize a good idea when I see one.

Case in point is this project, that I found in DIY paradise, ReadyMade. (Seriously, if you love to DIY—and not just decor but food and drink and fashion and more—get thee to ReadyMade a.s.a.p.)

There’s something about having a touch of the rustic in a colorful and/or funky room that delights me so. It’s a lovely counterpoint to the smooth, the saturated, the slick—and when you pair that rustic with the unfussy but strong aesthetic that is the hairpin leg…I had to have one of these benches for my house. So I made one—and you can too.

Follow the guidance of the ReadyMakers for all of the how-tos (why reinvent the wheel? I did exactly what they said) and I’ll take you on a photo journey through the making of my bench.

Here we go!

Notes: I found my board in a pile of ‘leftovers’ at Doc’s Architectural Salvage. It has a slight crack in it but is still remarkably strong. My hairpin legs are from a 60s era end table that had two levels, so the the above pic you’ll see a set of legs to the left—the 12″ or so ones I used for this project, and a shorter 6″ or so set still looking for the right project home. Look for a board and/or legs everywhere—you might find a junk table at Goodwill for 5 bucks that have the perfect legs for repurposing.

Want one more hairpin leg project? Check out Rachel’s hairpin leg project.


Aw. That’s such a Pollyanna post title. Doesn’t sound much like everyday-Jackie, but there’s something about decorating that makes me wax optimistic. Maybe it’s because I get so darn attached to every decor purchase I make or project I complete. Or maybe it’s because I’m so dang CHEAP I can’t stand the heartbreak that comes when something I’ve put money into doesn’t work out. Or is destroyed, at least in part, as is the case in the two examples I offer here.

Exhibit A, Before: A salvaged window that I painted yellow and green for hanging in my living room.

Exhibit A, After: Sigh. Gravity. Perhaps an ill-timed rumble of an 18-wheeler down Indianapolis’ US-40. We’ll never know for sure.

Exhibit B, Before: A lovely red lamp my mum bought for me at Midland Arts and Antiques downtown.

Exhibit B, After: Sadly, there is no photo of what happened when my son knocked the lamp on the floor and shattered the shade, because I was too busy weeping in the chair to take one, and my husband was too concerned with making sure no feet-shredding glass remained on the floor to create a photo-journalistic record of the event.

So, here we have two decor items very much liked but no longer usable in their original conditions. The window’s glass is all gone. The red lamp’s lovely shade is smashed to bits. Time to chuck the items and move on, right?


So my husband and I stashed the shadeless lamp and the glassless window in the basement until such time as they would be needed to decorate again. And that time DID come, rather recently in fact, and here are our two repurposed disasters today:

The salvaged window, along with the [somehow also glassless] transom window we removed from our kitchen during its remodel now provide a geometric visual over our dining room desk area. And the lamp (on the right and in closeup) is completely revitalized with a coat of gray spray paint and a new shade I picked up for $5 at Midland. All that I needed to do to find the perfect new shade was 1) measure the diameter of the opening where the shade sits and 2) keep my eyes open each time I was in an antique/thrift/etc. establishment.

Lesson: Broken doesn’t have to mean over. (Thank goodness, or I’d still be crying over that lamp.) If you’ve got the room and love the item that’s damaged, hang on to it and see if you can’t bring it back to life in a new way. I might even like our second-time-around versions of each of these items a bit more than the first!