Pop Up Shop and One Room Challenge Week 5
This past weekend was a whirlwind. First off, I want to thank my husband, our families and our friends for all the love and support they given me over the last few months while preparing for the first of many (I hope!) Pop Up Shop Furniture Sales. It was extremely important for me to showcase my designs and meet people in our new community. Last week I talked about my feelings leading up to the sale and boy how they differ from how I feel about it now! I feel such a sense of pride and accomplishment that I was able to give myself a goal and meet the deadline of refurbishing 8 pieces of furniture including a five piece table set. All of the nervous energy was put into working hard to meet a goal I set for myself, different than any goal I had been used to writing (since I used to write goals for my students of course :) This time, it was a goal set for me. It was measurable with my own checklist, my own supports, my own deadline and most definitely achievable.
I gained so much from first sale. I feel as if it were a coming out party for me in a way. I always celebrated with my class on Holidays and special occasions, so why would my Pop Up Sale be any different? I had refreshments, cider, coffee, donuts cookies, brownies and cupcakes! We also decorated and bought balloons for the event as well as staging the furniture pieces like it were in my own home. The details make all the difference, not just to the buyer, but to me. Psychologically, holding a sale from your own front yard and not a storefront, is a different feeling. Sometimes it makes me feel illegitimate because I don't have my own shop or garage to do my work. Decorating and celebrating made it feel more real to me. It helped me ease the anxiety of it feeling like it was just a tag sale and not an actual retail sale. I always compare my house to a dollhouse. It was like I took dollhouse furniture and put it in our driveway like I did when I was a child before rearranging the rooms inside.
I love offering interior design services and organization services with my company, however I realized that my passion lies within furniture refurbishing. I think a huge part of it is that I feel connected to my father. Before he passed a few years ago, he was the ultimate carpenter. He and I used to watch This Old House together with Bob Vila where he would explain all things carpentry to me. My dad could do anything. He owned his own closet business and was able to make anything with his two hands. I often called him to ask how to fix something or make something work. He always had the right answers. When I sand something, paint it and make it new again, I feel like I channel him and he is working with me. It makes me feel excited knowing that one day when I have my own work space or garage, that I will be able to expand my power tool collection and teach myself how to build with wood. Not all girls dream of being a princess and wearing a fancy gown and shoes, sometimes working with a saw and wearing work boots are part of the dream too. Believe me, I love all things pink and love to dress up, but making things with my own hands is something that has saved me from the dark place I was in.
Making a house a home is what I love to do. Showing others that you can transform a room with just some paint, wallpaper and redoing furniture can make a huge statement on a tight budget. That is why when I decided to participate in the One Room Challenge as a guest participant, I thought to myself, as a renter, which room could I do where I could show the most furniture transformation? And that was definitely our bedroom.I can't believe Monday is November 1st and we only have three weeks left of The One Room Challenge !
Looking back on this year, I realized it has truly been a series of many firsts for me. It is only fitting that I am currently refurbishing my childhood dresser. for the challenge. When I decided to work on my bedroom among all of the other talented Featured Designers, I thought it would be an easy task. I keep laughing at my original thoughts and say to myself "What is easy about refurbishing four pieces of furniture while trying to run a business?" I posted the above picture on my social media the other day and told the story of this dresser being in my family for years before I inherited it. My godmother and aunt, took this dresser with her when she moved out of my grandmother's home and then it found its way back to me in my childhood bedroom.
As a renter, I constantly tell my clients that changing the look of your furniture is one way to make a big impact with a small budget. Since I was a young girl, I used to rearrange my furniture and replace pieces I had with other furniture my family gave me. We often swap furniture in our big Italian Family. When one person is buying new, someone else gets the old and makes it new again by giving it new life. It used to have a big mirror attached to it and when I moved, I couldn't keep the mirror. I used it as the furniture piece wide enough to prop up a room divider in my first studio apartment. When I moved into my second apartment, I restained it with a cherry wood stain that did not match the current aesthetic of our new bedroom in my husband and my first year married home. So what's a girl to do? Why sand it down, and give it a new light wood vintage vibe the the armoire I recently refurbished for the challenge of course!
After two days of sanding and bleaching I was in love. I didn't want to strip the furniture with the easy off oven cleaner method because I don't have a hose attachment at my apartment. The dresser is too heavy to bring to the front or backyard to pour water on it, so instead, I sanded it down with a super low grit paper to take off the two layers of stain. The lower the grit you use to sand, the more coarse it is. So when you're trying to sand rough surfaces or paint and stain off a solid wood piece, using a 40 grit sandpaper on the electric sander is what you need. After this blog article is finished, my intention is to glue on the wood decals today with liquid nails from the caulk gun and then distress the appliques with a little dark vintage wax to make it look like it was always there.
My plan is to use this piece as a changing table when we have a baby. We thought about how small our room is, and when the time comes, we would put the changing pad and all the important things needed for a little life inside and on top of this beautiful piece. As I was sanding it, I thought about how I would tell my child that this dresser was remade with the intention of using it for them. It gave me great pride to stand back and think of the generations it has been through and who it hopefully will be for in the next stage of life. Feeling my dad at my side while I was working, was such a great way to end the week. I hope you can find something special in your lives that help you stay connected to your loved ones too.
xoxo - Jacqueline