Feb 022014

Just like the old adage, “Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche”  I have found many men do not like to be associated with the concept of “dumpster diving”.  Until of course their find becomes something amazing.

This is the case of my husband’s snooker buddy, Wayne.  He comes over once week to play on that huge piece of real estate we call a snooker table (a type of billiards).  He has seen and admired many of my Nicer Than New transformations sitting in the open space next to the snooker table.  Last week, he brought over a cute but oh so disgusting bench asking if I could do anything with it.    When I inquired about the bench’s origin and after much prompting, he reluctantly revealed he picked it up in his condo’s trash bin.   Like I care!

“But it fit our front hall perfectly!  It was just the right size”
I teased him with “Yes, Wayne but it is laminate,  filthy, ugly and covered in cat hair.”  
No way was I telling him I LOVED IT!  

Fast forward a week… 
with paint and new upholstery,  I was tempted to wrestle Wayne at my door so I could keep it! 

Here is how the little beast looked when it arrived. 
  A little time in the snow was going to hurt it 😉

real men don't dumpster dive

Laminate. Dirty. Dated.

real men don't dumpster dive

Handy storage. Cardboard backing on the lid.

After removing the back and the seat, I washed it down with TSP.  Before adding the Zinsser primer, I rubbed the surface with Klean-Strip de-glosser as an added measure. 

NOTERegarding the deglosser, it is not available in Canada.  Not sure why because it does not seem toxic and in my experience, it works very well.  Luckily, there are no shortage of Canadians visiting the US so I now have an ample supply.  The Zinsser I have on hand is one of two pale-yellow-tinted OOPS I found at the Habitat For Humanity store for $4 each.  Really?  Who cares if your primer is white or the palest of yellows?  It will be painted over anyway!

real men don't dumpster dive


I glued down the loose trim and began to remove the old upholstery and foam.   I thought I had enough of the “Disco Dane” fabric left over from the Scandinavian chair I re-finished last year, but I was short a few inches.  On a visit to Fabricland, I scored a fabulous chevron on the reduced table in manly colours Wayne would like.  Best of all it was only $5 per yard!   I still had some of my favourite black paint, Behr’s Black Suede, left over from my rattan kitchen table,  the retro phone table , the chess table and the Pottery Barn style chair.  It is quite remarkable how far a $20 can of paint will go!

I was absolutely thrilled with the result!

Wayne was in awe! 

real men don't dumpster dive

Lovin’ it!

real men don't dumpster dive

I painted the inside with ochre from a sample size OOPS from Home Depot. ($1)

real men don't dumpster dive

Sitting by the fireplace instead of in the snow 😉

real men don't dumpster dive

This is just one more example of what paint and upholstery and a little elbow grease to do to what otherwise was a piece of garbage. 

before and after real men don't dumpster dive

Best of all,  Wayne is now a “Dumpster Diver” Convert!
He is no longer embarrassed to admit this came from a dumpster!

It is truly “Nicer than New”!

Do you like to dumpster dive?

I love to hear from you!
Comments just make my day!




  33 Responses to ““Real Men Don’t Dumpster Dive””

  1. Amazing find!!!!! Who would throw out such a wonderful seat????? Love that under the seat storage, too. Your remake of this is wonderful.

  2. What a neat bench! I like the colors you chose for it. Who knows, maybe you can have dumpster diving parties now. 😉

  3. […] did not want to admit he pulled this bench for his condo’s dumpster,” laughs Joan at Nicer Than New.  He brought it to Joan for a makeover, but it took some prodding to get him to admit where […]

  4. What a great transformation!!!

  5. This is so great. Your husband will become a certified dumpster diver in no time!

  6. I love it, what a fabulous transformation. Great dumpster find. Thanks tons for linking to Inspire Me. Hugs, Marty

  7. Wow, what a great transformation. I honestly would have passed that one up.

  8. What a fabulous makeover. My husband doesn’t like to dumpster dive either. However, he did want to pick up some wire that was out for the trash.

  9. You did an amazing job. And yes, I do like dumpster diving, I live in an apartment complex, and every end of the month, because I happen to live right in front of the dumpster, is like going shopping. Almost all my furniture is from a dumpster or a thrift store. Lol

  10. Nice bench, you are very talented. I need to look deeper at items to see if they have thos kind of potential. I hopped over from MamaBuzz linky.

  11. I love this! My husband has no aversion to dumpster diving I am more likely to be the one, simply because his idea of redone and mine are very different!

  12. Wow, what a transformation!! Found your blog through the Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop. Now following through Facebook, Twitter & Bloglovin.

  13. I think that transformation is remarkable. You have a wonderful eye. I hope I can find such a diamond in the rough.

  14. It looks beautiful. Such a neat find. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Very good transformation!!!

  16. I love it! My husband became a dumpster diver when he found two adirondack chairs on the curb. He had them home in a flash, and we used them for years!

    Dropping by from the Thrifty Things Friday Party!



  17. Nice transformation! Lucky for me, my hubby likes dumpster diving more than me! I send him to do it!

  18. Glad you converted your man! This is too cute and what a transformation. Linking up from Crafty Frenzy. Loved looking around your blog.

  19. Wow! I love that piece!!

  20. It’s great having friends with vision! Don’t let everyone know about dumpster diving because then we wouldn’t find those great finds. Never thought of looking the end of the month when people move. Thanks for sharing.

  21. Love the makeover! Amazing what paint and fabric (and talent) can do. I haven’t found much in the dumpsters but I do have a freebie Ikea dresser my SIL picked up for me! Free is always good. Thanks for linking to TTF!

  22. Hi Joan, found you via Twirl and Take a Bow. When my hubby and I were first married we had the very same bench, cardboard and everything! It was part of a breakfast nook. You’ve done a wonderful job with a cast-off dumpster treasure! You’d never know its true origins to look at it now! Have a great day! Val

  23. It turned out fabulous – and you’re SO right about men thinking the only things worth salvaging are things they find lmho – too funny.
    Hugs from Montreal

  24. Hahaha, I used to dumpster dive but hated to tell anyone! Great redo!

  25. Wow! I’m totally impressed by that chair! I love the navy blue and chevron combo. Looks incredible. -Tabitha

  26. […] Equestrian Party} @So Much Better With Age 11. DIY: Movie Clapper @Something on Everything 12. Real Men Don’t Dumpster Dive @ Nicer Than New 13. DIY Floating Shelves @Our Secondhand House 14. Wooden Twine Holder @ Live Laugh […]

  27. […] Nicer Than New did a great job with this snow rescue chair! Loooove that fabric […]

  28. What a cute transformation! And really cool that it has hidden storage. I’d love it if you would share your project on my new link party, DIY:Done! at FlyingC-DIY.com. The party is open through Sunday, and every weekend. Hope to see you there!

  29. Whoa, what a great transformation!! I’m a dumpster diver all the way, and converted my husband too! Thanks so much for sharing with everyone at Best of the Nest!

  30. Well, I sure bet he’s a believer now! Great job on your bench makeover, and I love the handy storage spot under the seat. Thanks for linking up with us for the Best of the Nest Party!

  31. That’s an AMAZING find!!! Great job, perfect fabric!!!!

  32. […] Nicer than New has one fabulous furniture makeover for us today!  You have to drop by and see the before…you will be amazed! […]

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