Thursday, June 11, 2009

June, 1993

Just before the miscarriage stuff started (man, writing that is still hard), I picked up this cabinet at a yard sale in a field. It was marked $20, but one look inside...
(no shelves at all!) and I offered less. He took the money, we loaded the cabinet up and off we went.

It had great potential and I was excited to refinish it.

But everything turned into a big mess around here for a long while, and it sat, unloved in the garage.
My girlfriend (who has been down this road herself a few times), kept telling me that I really needed a project. But my heart was just not in anything I could think of to do.

And then last weekend I got the urge to start on it. (That is someone else's test paint there.)

So, I have spent about 9,000 hours working on the cabinet this week. It is a way bigger project than I imagined, requiring a LOT of paint. And it's been rainy, so I have been working well into the night in the dim light of the garage.

While I've been out there it's been hard not to have a bit of deja vu.

I spent the entire month of June in 1993 in my grandparents garage, working well into the night, refinishing a whole small apartment worth of furniture for my big move out of their house. There was a kitchen table and chairs, bookshelves, end tables, and even a couch to recover.

You name it, I remade it. An entire first apartment of scavenged goods, in navy blue and forest green. LOL

A lot of those things are long gone now, traded away for other second hand pieces of furniture, but that smell of paint and the sound of the paintbrush smoothing away the years is soothing for me. It reminds me of a time that was both harder and easier.

It reminds me of how far I have come, and yet, how many things are the same.

And while many of our friends are excited to be at a point in their lives where they can go into the department store and buy "grown up" furnishings, I am still perfectly happy with a $15 piece of furniture carted home from a field.

In fact, I wouldn't have it any other way.

What was your first home (away from mom and dad) like? Do tell.


  1. My first move out (other than collage) was to house sit in a $600,000 mini mansion my BFF and I called "The Palace." We even got paid to live there! Marble everything before marble everything was even in vogue. In ground hot tub, garage parking. It was luxe.

    This morning I answered an ad on CL for a free dresser. I so hope I get it. Not because it's free so much as that it has so much potential. DYI is my style and money would only buy me more tools and a nice garage!

  2. Can't wait to see how the cabinet turns out! I was thinking the same thing the other day about how things are so different but the same from when Gabby was a baby.My first apt was in 1993 also:) All hand me downs, wasn't into painting furniture, garage sale finds until I was preg with Gabby in 96. I so love a great bargain piece of furniture, but am dieing to get a real SOFA- NEW! Want to sell all the sofas except the vintage one and start over, so sick of the ones we have! BLECK!

  3. Does a college dormitory count? I moved in and out of my grandparent's house a few times during college, but really didn't move out for good until I was married - 575 sq ft student apartment furnished with hand me downs, furniture from our childhood, and a few things (our bed and table really) we got new at great discount because Ryan's brother worked at a furniture store.

  4. I got an apartment my second year of college. I had a 13" black and white TV (This was in 1986) sitting on wooden slats and cement block bookshelves. I had Coke crates on the walls with my things in them like cassette tapes and wooden orange crates for storage. My whole house was full of recycled stuff. And, honestly, I still like things like that maybe not the cement blocks. Those were a bit tacky.

  5. My first move out of my parents' house was to a tiny bachelor apartment in the city an hour from home. I was 17 and headed to university. I loved that little attic apartment, but I hated the landlords who controlled the heat and turned it waaaay down so I would have to eat my dinner wearing mittens and a winter coat. I moved out after only a few months... I had to, before I froze to death!

    I'm looking forward to seeing the finished product when you get the painting done. I agree with you - I'd much rather have an 'old' piece of furniture than some expensive press-board item with no character.

    Take care, Sarah!

  6. That's a great cabinet Sarah! Can't wait to see it painted. Our first home was much like yours -- old thrifted furniture that I stripped. And a REALLY ugly old hide-a-bed found at a garage sale with big old orange flowers.

  7. That a great looking cabinet! I cant wait to see it when you're finished. My first home away from my mom was with my now husband. I was 18 and we bought our first house when I was 6 months pregnant with Blake. It was just your average 3 bedroom, 2 bath, suburban home.

  8. my first apartment was smaller than my current kitchen. i kid you not. and i still would rather have a thrifted treasure to work on in the garage than a piece delivered in a fancy truck from a department store. keep your head up babe. i'm prayin for you!

  9. well, since our 'entertainment center' is my old dresser purchased by my mom when I was 7ish and is now painted a nice new england red with black pulls, and my coffee table is a plain wood chest handmade by one of Hubby's relatives 50+ years ago...and...well, not too much new in this house :) I love playing with furniture, but just can't get to yard sales or the like with my children.

  10. So sorry to hear of your loss. You are such a wonderful mom to Jack( I know.... we all question our abilities ...but we all try really hard....and I think that is whats great about all of us as moms!
    Projects are so crazy wonderful..... I can't remember the last time I had time for a project. I have come to a point where I have to beg the hubs for my thrift store treasures to share space with the rest of our stuff. ....but when he gives in it is magical,even he agrees .

  11. Sarh, I agree with your friend. And your "project is perfect. My first home was a little apartment. I don't really remember my furniture. I do remember my plants. I think I had a jungle growing in there!

  12. Becky5:50 PM

    I still prefer to redo used furniture. It's much nicer than that new stuff.
    And I'm still redoing the stuff I aquired in college and from my parent's house. And I'm way out of college...


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