Saturday, August 28, 2010

Trash Day Treasures

I love walking through my neighborhood on Trash Day. It's astounding what some people will throw out. Have they never heard of taking things to a local charity? or calling the Salvation Army (1-800-SA-TRUCK)? or Goodwill? Or FreeCycle?

Just this past week, somebody put six matching dining-room chairs out on the curb. They were perfectly solid, lovely chairs--just needed a little paint and a fresh covering on the seats. I wish I'd taken a photo, but they looked something like these:

photo by timsamoff

Amazing! Somebody could really have used those chairs, people. Anyhow, walking the dogs yesterday, I came across this sweet little curio shelf in somebody's trash:

It will be perfect in the guest bedroom (which will be renovated someday, when we've recovered from the kitchen re-do).

My painters, deep in the midst of painting all my kitchen cabinets, offered to paint this orphan for me. I'm sure it would look very perky with a fresh coat of white paint on these curves:

But I decided against it. I might to keep the Shabby Chic look. Also on yesterday's walk, I came on this windfall:

Lemons! Big, fresh ones from a neighbor's tree. They were lying in the gutter, so they'll undergo a thorough washing before I juice them.

Yesterday's trash finds got me to thinking about other stuff I've picked up nearby. Around the corner a year or so ago, a neighbor tossed a lot of horrible-smelling carpet to the curbside. Sitting in the mess was a darling garden statue of a little girl and this lovely concrete urn:

I gave the statue to a friend who loves trash-to-treasures as much as I do. Another day, I found this little outdoors cocktail table, missing its glass top:

So for less than $10, I had my local glass cutters fashion a frosted-glass top for it. The frosting brought out a beautiful, sea-glass-blue that I love:

And I love how the metal leaves look ghostly through the glass:

I'm not above peeking into Dumpsters parked in front of a house. Once I found sections of picket fence (which I couldn't use, but boy, were they cute!). The fencing had wooden ball finials attached. I love their weathered look, so I just unscrewed them from the fence sections and said a thank you to the Universe:

Not everything I find on the street is so portable.

One day I was out power-walking and came across the most dilapidated couch, with horrible faux-Chinese Chippendale legs and ornamentation. But it had beautiful lines across the back and arms. And it was well made, with eight-way, hand-tied springs and a hardwood frame.

So I called my upholsterer, who drove out to meet me with his big ol' van, and he took the sofa back to his shop.
I changed out the hideous fake Chippendale to classic Queen Anne legs and recovered the couch in a beautiful, deep blue-purple velvet:

Turning trash to treasures, and keeping things out of our landfills, is like taking lemons and making lemon chiffon pie.


  1. Nice pitch for recycling, and LOVE your bargains (I covet the little table especially -- makes me want to go in search of treasures in our neighborhood!!) Where did you put the lovely blue-purple sofa?

  2. The sofa was in the girls' study for years, where it looked wonderful against their colorful walls. Now it's in our bedroom, under a Palladian window.



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