Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Wall Art

It started with the notion that I needed a bar cart. I have plenty of flat surface in my living room and dining room to store/display liquor, but when we entertain, we end up lugging it all into the kitchen. There we set up a makeshift drink station that generally impedes food serving and we wind up sitting and standing around the kitchen counter all night.
I realized we needed something like a bar cart where we could store liquor and prepare drinks in the same location. Having it set up like that would also make my guests feel more comfortable about making themselves that next cocktail instead of me playing bartender all night long. And so I began hunting for a vintage bar cart.
Looking for specific vintage items is a funny business. I have found in the many, many years I have been scouring flea markets and thrift shops that they always provide exactly what you want and need. It may take a while, but if you have your heart set on a specific item; you will eventually find it.
A few weeks ago I found myself roaming through my local Habitat for Humanity ReStore (my absolute favorite place to haunt anymore) when I spied this odd looking console table. Heart racing, I dashed over to it to give it a closer look. I was just in the nick of time too - a couple just walking into the room spied it at about the same time I did - but I physically got to it first. There was no tag describing the table or listing a price. It appeared to be some sort of drop leaf console. Only the extension folded over the top instead of down the side making the top a double thickness. The legs reminded me of an upright piano. There were so many of them! I have never seen anything like it.
The couple was standing a few feet back watching me examine the piece and obviously waiting for me to lose interest and walk away. No chance buddy. They didn't realize they were dealing with an old pro. I started to unfold the top and he dashed over to help me. As it turned out, the top piece folds out to create a square table. The additional legs support the center and a piece slid out of the center portion to support the top when fully extended. It needed to be restained and cleaned up a little but it was an absolutely gorgeous piece.
The husband turned to his wife and said quite loudly, "Come on, She likes this way too much." They left. I took the opportunity to find a volunteer who promptly priced this little treasure at $39.00. I had found my bar.
When I got home, wiped it down and finally found a great spot for it in our living room under an already hanging set of black and white prints of Central Park.

A week or two went by. I started to feel restless. The wall behind it started looking so blah. So typical.
Other trips to Habitat started turning up pieces of artwork I couldn't resist. Beautiful pieces of Parisian street art from the 40's and 50's and some gorgeous dark landscape pieces. I began amassing a tiny collection. A dollar for one, three dollars for another, and I broke the bank with a signed piece of that Parisian street art that they charged me a whole $15.00 for. I mean, really.

These pieces inspired me and a whole vision began to unfold in my head. Over the weekend I went to my local craft store and purchased 2 unfinished wooden plaques and spent Saturday afternoon staining them out in the garage.

I pulled out all of the photos and oil paintings I have inherited from my father's side. My great grandmother, great grandfather and even great great grandfather! I am lucky to be entrusted with all of this rich family history.

By Monday night all the components were together and everything was ready to assemble.

Nineteen dollars worth of art, portraits of my great and great great grandfathers, two $2.00 wooden boards and a set of antlers I found at a flea market this summer created a wall gallery that is anything but typical. 
All said and done the project (with staining supplies) came in at under $75.00. Can you believe it? The satisfaction I have in it is priceless and explains why every weekend you can find me poking around thrift stores and flea markets. 

P.S. I'm not just lucky in finding artwork and antlers. There's a bunch of new stuff in the shop - some really fantastic pieces for your holiday table and entertaining. Link is in sidebar! 


  1. You have fabulous styling your new bar area!!

  2. Love it!! You have such a talent for bringing things together. I know what I like- but I cannot figure it all out like that.

    Come do my house next!!