Mar 042014

A few weeks ago, I posted “Do YOU Have a Designer’s Eye?” describing how my interior designer niece spotted a special little table,  in a dark photo of a bunch of tables, in a garage.  She was very excited when I told her I had indeed acquired said cute table and would be happy to give it to her.


Auction purchase

From the moment I picked up this table,
all I could think of were the house
the Jetson’s lived in. LOL


The Jetson’s

Sheilagh, my niece, loves Mid Century Modern for it’s clean lines and simplicity and also because many MCM pieces were well constructed from real wood.  This table is no exception. 

Sheilagh and her husband have only been married a couple of years and they also purchased a lovely but small home.  In other words,  they do not have room for big pieces of furniture AND they are on a tight budget.  The latter must be extra difficult when you are a designer with designer tastes!

I took a peak at her Pinterest “Living Room” board and quickly realized why she spotted the table.  Here are a few of the tables she had pinned as her “perfect” coffee table.


Image from Yahoo … no Price

I became perfectly clear, why she spotted this little table in the dark photo!  But unlike the tables above, our little table is ORIGINAL, Canadian made by a highly regarded manufacturer and it is much much CHEAPER! 

Given her decor and her plans for a new sectional sofa, she knew EXACTLY how she wanted the table finished.


Walnut stain and cloud white supports and legs.

What do you think?  Personally, I LOVE IT! 

She and I both have a love for walnut finish so there was no argument there.  It could have been all walnut but the white really modernizes and brightens the look.


I love the contrast


The white brightens the look!


Here is the top when I purchased it…

And here is the top now!


The top and shelf are just gorgeous!

I am so happy to help someone so artistic… it’s quite flattering!  The best compliment came from her husband.  Sheilagh showed him an “after” picture and he thought it was another of her designer table “pins”!

This table is truly Nicer Than New!




Mar 012014

Last week, I shared my latest estate sale purchase of 8 side tables.    Once I got them home, I was able to have a good look at them.  Every piece was in relatively good shape.  The previous owners  obviously liked mahogany and the classic look similar to furniture from Bombay Company.  Some pieces were in fact from Bombay Company but others were of indeterminable sources.  Below is the photo of one of the lots I picked up.

set of 3

Three Tables:  Marble topped pedestal,
tiny with a tray pull out
and a vintage open shelf with drawer.

The marble topped table has some faint stains and I am currently trying some techniques to remove them.  I will post my success or failure at a later date.  It is a very sturdy table and I think cleaning up the marble and painting the base will make it very special. 

The square table is teeny tiny!  It is very Bombay Company-ish.  It has a little tray that pulls our for drinks or these days, a smartphone LOL. 

The side table is quite interesting with the open part at the top and the drawer at the bottom.

Now, the last table, the one with the open shelf and the drawer is the HIDDEN GEM!  The burnt-in label inside the drawer said KINDEL, Grand Rapids.  From previous research, I became aware Grand Rapids Michigan, at one time in history, was the furniture capital of the US and was nicknamed “Furniture City”.  Of course I checked out e-Bay to see what Kindel pieces were out there and I found numerous larger pieces all commanding some major dollars!  But none like my little piece.

table open drawer

Kindel Furniture Company Side Table

table drawer

Dovetail joints on the drawers

table accent

Pretty Fret work on the top

table back

Lovely detail on the top.

Excuse the dust… those photos were taken at the auction site.  My house is a bit cleaner ๐Ÿ˜‰

The Kindel Furniture website allows you to send in the pattern number found on the back of chests or dressers along with a photo.   I did this last week and a few days later, I received this reply:

Here is what research could find. Some of our older records are incomplete.  We used to file everything by hand and then we had the fire and lost some. We are working to archive all info that we have and put it on discs but we are not complete yet.  This item is from The Colchester line which was produced from 1936 to 1949. The only cost we found was for $20.50. I do not know if this was net or retail.

Bessie M. Christian, Relationship Manager

Isn’t that interesting and fun!  So basically this piece is 70 years old, give or take a few years.  I don’t think I will paint this one!  It is in amazing condition for 70 years! 

I love researching mid-century pieces.  So many of these great furniture manufacturers have closed shop both in the US and Canada.  I suppose rising wages and foreign competition took it’s toll.  Sad really but still very interesting to look back and see what they were making at their peak!

My problem is:  What is it worth? 
I fear it will not be too much but most definitely more than the $20 I paid for it! 

What do you think I should ask? 

Sadly, I don’t have a spot for it in my home….

By leaving this piece as it is, I think it will still be

Nicer Than New!


Feb 262014

A few months back I posted about my addiction to on-line Estate Sales.  Recently I vowed to myself I would NOT BID on anything until I clear out much of what I  have.  But OMG, I don’t seem to be able to control it!  Is this an indication of some sort of disorder?  I fear it may be!  Regardless, I bid and acquired 8 side / occasional tables for $160.  Hmmm…. $20 per table may not be profitable in the end but, ah they were so sweet! 

When I look in the garage and my workshop, I think I should change my name to “Side Table Joanie”!!  I have far too many side table / bed side tables to work on!!  I fear I am a hoarder of sorts but according to the MAYO Clinic, I am not!  Apparently, I am more of a collector

It’s important to note that hoarding is different from collecting. People who have collections, such as stamps or model cars, deliberately search out specific items for their collections. Collectors often categorize their items and carefully display them. Hoarders, on the other hand, will save random items they encounter in their daily life and store them haphazardly in their homes or surrounding areas.
Mayo Clinic website

Well that’s good news!  Back to my latest stash….


Most of what I acquired this past weekend is very much the Bombay Company style and some pieces are from there.  The previous owners obviously liked the look.  Everything needs attention of some sort.  Maybe not the best bargain but they all have great  potential!

set of 4-1

Four tables: 2 matching pie crust, one drum and one shelved.

The two pie crust tables and the shelved table are from Bombay Company.  Their furniture seems to hold some of its value due to their practical size and classic style.  Still, don’t people get bored of mahogany?  I do.  So maybe a mix of wood and paint.  We’ll see.


half moon

Half Moon Console table.  I love these tables.

This is another piece from the Bombay Company.  These demi-lune tables are so classic and practical.  Lots of potential to add some real interest to an entrance or hall.  It could even be a small desk … a laptop station.


set of 3

Three Tables:  Marble topped pedestal,
tiny with a tray pull out
and a vintage open shelf with drawer.

The marble topped table has some faint stains.  I am currently trying a technique to remove them.  I will post my success or failure at a later date.  It is a very study table and I think cleaning up the marble and painting the base will make it very special.  The square table is teeny tiny!  It is very Bombay Company-ish.  It has a little tray that pulls our for drinks or in these days, a smartphone LOL.   The side table is quite interesting too, with the open part at the top and the drawer at the bottom.  I love the fret work at the back of the top.


Do you think this was a good haul for $160? 

Was I compulsive or smart to snatch them up? 
I would love to hear what you think? 

Regardless, they all have great possibilities and this is a HOBBY / business so …

Can I make them

Nicer Than New?

I think so!


Feb 202014

It seems as though all of North America is having particularly cold winter.  We in Toronto have not been without our fair share of ice and snow.  I could gripe on but do you know what?  Let’s just get on with it!  My husband and I were avid skiers and embraced living in a colder climate long ago.  All you need to do is dress for it and winter can be the most amazing time of year.  Note I said “amazing” NOT “favourite”!

So when lst Saturday proved to be a beautiful and sunny day with near freezing temperatures, I took my work outside.  The back and south facing side of our home overlooks a ravine and it quite lovely.  So I dragged my work table (which is actually a dog grooming table ๐Ÿ™‚ ) and stripped and sanded a couple of pieces I have been DYING to get to!  The north facing, unheated garage just doesn’t do it for me so there I was stripping and sanding … IN THE SNOW!

Here is the first table.  I found this last summer on the FREE section of Craigslist.  I was a bit disappointed to find it was not actually a “quality made” table.  In fact, I think it was originally from Walmart.  But what can I say?  It was FREE!  The finish on the top was thick so I needed to strip it. Did you know chemical strippers are not affected by temperature?  Actually, I think it was easier since it did not dry out!    I only stripped the horizontal parts because I was going to paint the vertical parts.  The oak veneer was quite lovely.


Oak veneer with solid frame… Walmart special!


Yep! We read the conservative Globe and Mail and yes! there is a report about Putin and the Olympics. GO TEAM CANADA!

I also started working on the Mid-Century Modern table my designer niece is coveting.  This too will have a stain and paint treatment.  Stay tuned!  t reminds me of the Jetson’s … man that must date me!


Solid Birch. Canadian Made. Mid Century Modern! LOVE!


Top is a mess but no fear!


There is grain under the mess!


WOW! I cannot wait to see this finished!!!!

The moral of this post is:  JUST DO IT!!!! Get  outside and love it when the sun is shining!

(Not recommended when the sun is not shining.  Then it kind of feels like WORK!  LOL!

 Stay Tuned!

These pieces will soon be

Nicer Than NEW!


Feb 092014

A few weeks back, I posted a “Chess Anyone” table makeover where I took an odd sized table and turned it into a games table. 

This is the “before” picture:


See anything interesting?

The round table in the middle was the table I made into a game table. 
Now I want you to take a very close look at this picture. 
Does anything immediately jump out at you as being interesting? 
Come on!  Seriously… be honest!

Well, when I published this post, my niece Sheilagh, a certified interior designer and amazing quilter, emailed me within minutes

All Sheilagh wanted to know was, when I purchased the tall round table, did I get that weird little table in the background?  The one with with two tiers and the angled legs????   So much for my amazing post, all she could see was a potentially fabulous Mid-Century Modern Coffee table! 

I did indeed acquire this table at the same time and it truly  is the treasure of the lot!

Up here in the Great White North (Canada) we have had many amazing furniture manufacturers.  Canadian-made really means something especially if you are looking at Mid Century Modern furniture.  And this piece is no exception. 

I love researching furniture origins.  This piece was built by Snyder Manufacturing in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.  This city is not far from Toronto.  It was in business for 114 years! and closed in 2004.   Imagine!  114 years! 

When Heywood-Wakefield was making its name in the US, Snyder was doing it in Canada. 

Back to my estate sale purchase, YES I did get this cute table and soon it will belong to Sheilagh AND she has the plan!  Who  am I to argue with an designer!


Snyder Mfg Table: Mid Century Modern!


The top needs work!

 Stay tuned for the transformation!

In the meantime, check out Sheilagh’s quilting talent at
Lay It On Me Baby!
for extraordinary Quilting talent!

Tell me honestly… did you see the table? 
Did it look special to you?
Do you love MCM?


I Do!  and would love to hear your suggestions!
(but you know I need to go with the Designer!)
It will be




You may find me linking at these great parties.

Not every week and not all of them. Be sure to watch for me!


Heavens Garden
DIY Show Off
  Three Mango Seeds party
Monday Funday at TWCS
Dwellings-The Heart of Your Home Metamorphis Monday  
The DIY'ers
The Gunny Sack
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A Stroll Thru Life
House on the Way A Bowl Full of Lemons
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Ivy and Elephants
The DIY Dreamer
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Creativity Unleashed Link Party
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  Tickled Pink at 504 Main Chic on a Shoestring Decorating Furniture Feature Fridays  
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Too Much Time On My Hands DIY It's Overflowing Live Love Create  
RRbutton125 TDC Before and After  

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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!




Jan 272014
Mission: Colour

This winter seems longer and colder than any in my recent memory.  This means I have been spending more time at home and inside.  The cold weather  also put me in a bit of a funk and I wasn’t making much headway on my long list of painting and other projects. 

Mission: Colour

However, I am happy to say my mood seems to be turning around! Especially after I sold some painted furniture pieces and I have a small  commission to do.  Yippee! 

During my funk, I also added one more general project to my list:

Add more COLOUR to my decor. 

I have a tendency to play it safe with my furniture and accessories by going for neutrals.  That’s fine for the big pieces but I have also taken the safe route with my accessories, pillows, etc.  That all began to change when I painted my dining room furniture a couple years ago.  That decision was a brave and daring step for me! It was that decision that has since sent me on this journey of updating vintage furniture and starting this blog.  My very first blog entry featured the dining room transformation.

Well now months later, I am looking around my home and while loving it, I am CRAVING for more colour!  As a result, 2014 I am embarking on


There are so many places I want to add colour!  Where to start!  How about where you enter the house! 

The Foyer

I have an open concept foyer with a vaulted ceiling and a skylight.  Currently, with the exception of a very colourful oil painting over the bench, everything in the entrance way has gold, ivory and beige tones.  Well at least it did until last week. 

Mission: Colour

Even Cody, our Golden Doodle, is part of the colour palette ๐Ÿ™‚

I used the oil painting above the bench, with its multitude of colours as my source of colour inspiration.  I was immediately drawn to a beautiful teal in the lower area. 

Mission: Colour

A triptych painted by a local Canadian Artist is the only source of additional colours.

  Mission: Colour

The blue is a dark teal.

Across from the bench is a little alcove where I re-purposed a mini-buffet from our dining room set.  It had not been painted with the other pieces. 

Mission: Colour

This piece replaced a baker’s rack. Perfect fit and a catch all for mail, keys and change.

I’ve been planning on painting it for several weeks and I finally got my act together and painted it and I LOVE IT!!

Mission: Colour

Oh how I love it!

Mission: Colour

Sherwin Williams MAXI TEAL in semi-gloss enamel.

Mission: Colour

We’ve always had plate glass on the top to protect it.
Good idea now that it is by the front door.

Mission: Colour

Isn’t that so much more welcoming and fun?  After living with the wood, it is a bit of a shock when I enter the foyer now but it does make me smile.  every time.

Do you love it as much as I do?  

Now however, I need to do something with the mirror
It seems to blend in to the walls and is lost. 
I am thinking of painting it Oil Rubbed Bronze, similar to the handles. 
If you have a suggestion, please pass it along!

Now that I have started, I will be addressing the monochromatic items on the tiered rack you see in the mirror.

It is so good to be inspired once more! 
Does weather affect your moods and productivity?

I’d love to here from you!


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