Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Tales from the Trash Pile: Fudging Architectural Awesomeness

Anyone in love with the DIY channel?  I really like HGTV, but the bulk of their programming seems dominated by House Hunters.  There isn't anything wrong with that show, but it gets old fast.  I prefer design shows that not only utilize smart design, but show us average joes how to pull of the look for less.  The DIY channel seems to marry great design with construction.  I'm a fan for sure.  So after discovering that our TV package included the DIY channel (YEAH) I have been wandering through their viewing selection as I've been pulling late nights getting our house ready for real estate pictures for the listing.  One of my new favorite shows is called Black Dawg Salvage.  Now I cringe every time I see them gut an old structure for all its beautiful parts, but knowing that these items will receive a second chance at life is awesome when you understand the building are going away regardless.

They are always looking for those unique architectural pieces that look awesome on their own, or can be made into something else unique and one of a kind.  I visited an architectural salvage yard in Jackson Mississippi, and it was straight up dreamy.  I'm pretty sure I just floated through there in a daze of possibilities (if only I was independently wealthy).

This is just a sampling of exactly how dreamy it truly was, and as always Miss Phoebe was more than happy to be my willing model.

I will say there was pretty much nothing there that I could afford.  Obviously I want the look, but now I just needed to mimic it for less.

Then the new year arrived, and with it a desire not to be a chunky chick anymore.  So I started taking the occasional morning walk, and I came across this gorgeous pile of garbage!  Can anyone tell what this is?  No?  Its a broken king size bed frame.  This thing is made of extremely nice SOLID wood.  No veneers up in here folks.  It had broken, and you could tell someone had tried to dismantle an animal and done further damage to something that probably could have been fixed from the get go.  I came across this about midway through my walk, and I can tell you I've never finished up a walk so quickly before in my life.  The bulk garbage truck was in the neighborhood hauling off piles of garbage just like my treasure find.

So I practically ran home (a feat in and of itself), and jumped into my suburban, and drove straight there before the garbage truck!  I may or may not have played "We Are the Champions" on my slower drive back home.  To celebrate my obvious victory.

I got home unloaded it in my garage, and just looked at it while waiting for inspiration to strike.

Fast forward a few months, and we are getting the house ready to show.  I have always been awful about hanging pictures and other things on the walls.  It just seems like a lot of commitment.  What if I hate it?  Regardless I needed to dress the walls to just take everything up a notch visually.  Not everyone is into the cool furniture pieces I have.  

My formal living room is a funky mismatch of furniture and styles that all somehow work with each other.  There was a space above my swanky sofa that was screaming for something cool, awesome even. So I went back out, and took a look at my awesome bed pieces again, and came across this broken bit off what I'm going to say was head board.  

It reminded me of some of the cool fancy door headers I've seen them salvage on Black Dawg Salvage.  So I set about transforming this headboard into architectural salvage inspired awesomeness. 

My first order of business was to cut off the joiner pieces that stuck out of either end.  That was a dead giveaway that it was from furniture, and not a piece of architecture at all.  So even though Señor Hotness was gone I gathered my courage and used the circular saw to cut the blasted things off myself.  I am happy to report that I am still in possession of all of my fingers, and no body got hurt although the teen was highly skeptical.  Then I used a rotary sander for the part in the middle where I had actually knocked off half of a broken fleur de lis.  I wanted to leave the edges looking as rough as possible without them actually being in danger of giving someone splinters.  Then I hand sanded the rest so it would take the spray paint better.

This middle part I'm going to gloss over since we had nothing but rain for days on end, and this was literally the only break we had had for 2 days.  Also there is insane flooding happening here in Northern Louisiana.  I feel very blessed that our home was not affected by the flooding because I know several were not so lucky.  Long story short I was so preoccupied with the time that I didn't remember to take any pictures.  I know, rookie mistake.

I used my spray paint stash to give this thing a few good coats of Krylon Blue Ocean Breeze.  After it was dry to the point of handling I brought it inside to finish drying in a less moist environment.  Once it was inside I thought the Blue Ocean Breeze was a little to intense looking.  I needed to dull it down, and help it to look more weathered.  

I opted to use a technique called dry brushing to achieve this look the best.  Dry brushing is done when you barely wet the brush with paint, and then wipe more of it off the brush before putting it on the furniture.  I personally prefer that you can see the brush strokes really well.  These are great, and you can use them to accent different features of your piece.  I was going for the look of an architectural piece that had been weathered outside. So I gather colors from my paint stash to help me out.  The first color I used was Benjamin Moore Wythe Blue, which is a super dreamy blue with a hint (super tiny hint) of green.  I'm a huge fan of the color, and have painted two room in this house that color and our family room in our Texas house this color.  It has a super relaxed beachy quality to it.  After dry brushing that on it helped to mellow out the intensity of the krylon blue.  Next I dry brushed on Krylon Classic Gray followed up with Valspar Shooting Star which is a super brilliant white color (I was very sparing with the white).

Then I let that dry for a hour or so, you won't need much time with the small amounts of paint actually used for the dry brushing process.  Then I used valspar glaze in the color barista (I have been using this same quart for going on 4-5 years still has at least a third of the quart left).

That left it looking...awesome.  Don't mind the pizza boxes.  I horde them to use when painting.

As awesome as it looked sitting on the greasy pizza boxes I thought it looked a 1000 times dreamier perched on the wall above my formal room couch.  It brings just the right touch of funk, and class that the room needed.

And provided just the right backdrop needed for an impromptu sister photo session.

This was the nice polite one that they always take first, but then...

Their true personalities always shine through.

Just a few close ups of some of the dreamier parts of it.

I love the detail that was put into the background.

Just another picture of them looking deceptively cute.

And here is how it looks in the room.

All in all I would put this project in the mission accomplished category.  Also how great was my garbage find?  I mean really that was the best, ever.  Don't forget that it just takes time and imagination to make something plain become something outstanding, and in most cases you can get the look for less (or in this case completely free).   So get out there and make something pretty.


  1. Did you luck out. Don't you love the curbside finds. And what you did with it is outstanding. The final piece is beautiful.

    1. Thanks, Debra, I love the way it turned out. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Architectural salvage yards are my favorite!!! I'm a "leg hoarder" myself but your find is awesome! Well done on the makeover too! Visiting from French Country Cottage. I hope you have a great weekend!

    The Curator's Collection & Making Broken Beautiful

  3. Love that find! Enjoyed your story on the makeover, too. So funny when you said someone dismantled it like an animal. haha I'm a fan of dry brushing, too, mostly because I loathe sanding...if I can get close to the same look minus the elbow grease and dust I am all in! Looks fantastic in your living room!

  4. Sarah , what a great salvage score, I'm with ya I would have been tripping over myself to beat that truck! I missed a gorgeous MCM two dresser set this week in my hood due to that darn truck. I swear I need to bribe those guys with some cookies to hold off for me!

    1. I think someone needs to put the garbage crew through some training on what good garbage is, and how to leave it for those will to give it some love. Thanks for stopping by Brenda.

  5. What a find! Love how it turned out! Have a great week :)

  6. I love architectural salvage stores. So many possibilities! I've gotten a few things from the one near us, but not anything amazing like that piece!

  7. It looks terrific. I love your choice of paints. It is a very original way of decorating a wall.

  8. Sweet!! What a great find! You did an awesome job!!

  9. Oh gosh...this looks adorbs!! Love it!

    I would LOVE for you join and share this at my DIY and Recipes FB Group:

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

  10. wow you did a great job with the transformation!
    Thanks for sharing at Cooking and Crafting with J & J.
    We hope to see you again.

  11. You are a champion! That turned out just beautiful. I am also getting a serious crush on the color you chose.
    Thanks so much for sharing this with us at the DI & DI Link Party. We always enjoy having you:-)

    1. I really loved this piece. Thanks for stopping by Christine.