Thrift Store Find a Vintage Gem

I have been looking for a desk for myself for sometime. Perferably made of a good quality wood, open to refinishing if the size was right. Because this would be going in the family room I really wanted it to look nice & not feel like a place of work. I was dropping off donations at a local thrift store (just outside of Boston) and saw this desk sitting out front, right away I noticed it and knew it had potential. At just $12, I didn't even think twice and bought it. It was an old sewing machine desk.

Not sure if I had to completely refinish this, but I received some advise from an antique dealer: before refinishing see if this works (and it did!). Clean with Gojo hand cleaner and the finest Steel Wool 0000, it cleans and brings out the natural beauty of the wood. These won't scratch or damage the piece so I thought it was worth a try. The 2 items were just $5 at the hardware store.

I took this photo on a sunny day, so it appears much lighter than it actually is. I was relieved I didn't have to refinish it, just some elbow grease and it came out perfect.

Dovetail construction

Gojo, a cream hand cleaner, comes in many varieties. Its important to get the non- gritty kind, it contains NO pumice. The Super Fine Steel Wool 0000 will remove spills & most stains without scratching. You don't have to wear gloves, since you are using a hand cleaner, but they will get messy.

After removing the hardware, add just a small amount of Gojo on the steel wool and rub it on.  Cover the whole piece.  Then with a clean lint free cloth wipe off, this does take some time.

I wasn't sure the material of the hardware but once I started cleaning with steel wool ( I didn't use the Gojo for this) I discovered they were solid brass.  I researched some natural cleaners and found that squeezing a lemon, then rubbing with the steel wool worked great.
After cleaning I realized I forgot to take off this smaller hardware, this button you push to open the top and a sewing machine use to be stored underneath. No sewing machine there but I like that it adds character to the piece. After cleaning these I discovered they were made of copper and had a serial number on it.

I was happy to see made in the U.S.A. by SIMANCO, which stands for Singer Manufacturing Company. After some research, I learned that this desk contained the Singer Model 640 Sewing machine from 1969.

Before & after, discovering copper

Thanks for looking! I couldn't be happier with my new desk!

Before and After, Living Room and Dining Room, Makeover

My clients, Chris & Natalie, moved into their home, and did a lot of hands on work, such as stripping all the wallpaper. They now had a clean palette. Working with the existing furniture pieces and learning about their style, I was able to assist them in wall colors, window treatments and lighting. As well as the best use of the fireplace. I don't always recommend painting over brick (or stone). It really depends on the condition, the home owner's style, what's going to look best in the space.
Here are some Before and Afters:

To create an accent wall, I choose Alfresco, Benjamin Moore. This blue works well with their existing furniture and is complemented with the now all over color, Hazy Skies, also Benjamin Moore. Similar color window panels from Crate & Barrel are installed close to the ceiling, and reach the floor, to give the illusion of more height. The length was too long so Natalie purchased them and had them hemmed, they came out great.
To create a contemporary space I recommended to paint the brick the same color as the trim, a soft white. The brick was too dark for whitewashing so Chris painted the fireplace then lightly brushed the accent color (on an adjacent wall) on the bricks, which adds warmth. Bronze accents on the fireplace and lighting.

The owners kept their existing wood dining room table, to add some fun & color I picked out this stain glass pendant with bronze finish from Lowes.

I recommended making this wall a feature wall of their own personal photos and/or art work that they loved and represented them.  It personalizes the space and creates a focal point. They picked up this great sideboard on Craig's List, which I love. Natalie did a great job putting it together.

Dark bronze hardware was replaced on all the doors. It helps to make the whole house feel more uniform.  A simple mounted light from Lowes gives a diffused glow (as opposed to the exposed light bulb from the before picture).

Benjamin Moore Paint
Main color throughout: Hazy Skies
Dining room accent wall: Ashley Gray
Living room accent wall: Alfresco
Trim color: Swiss Coffee

Accessories, Pulling a room together

My client has the basics in her neutral living room, room painted, sofa, side chair, but I've been picking out some accessories to complete this space. Colors: blue, gold, bronze, cream, possibly open to other colors!

Adding some texture and blanket storage with Crate & Barrel's Fischer Storage Ottoman

I love the circular brass finish base, combined with a linen soft shade, by

For custom pillows I always shop, this pattern will work beautifully in the room, by Erin Langland

Sophisticated brass accent floor lamp from

Simple, clean lined gold painted base, Threshold Button Tufted Ottoman from

Soft cream pillow from
For a punch of color, I am liking this Safavieh Gibbons fuschia bench from, this would go under a bay window with some accent pillows
I will let you know how it all comes together :)