July 26, 2014

Best Yard Sale Find Ever and amazing Hutch Redo

As I head into yard sale season, all the creative juices in my body are starting to flow.

I can barely contain myself with the wonder and excitement of the trash to treasures that I am about to behold.
Since this will be my first full yard sale season with you all, I can’t wait to take you on this journey.
If you aren’t a colossal convert yet, consequently, that will be one of my goals….so just concede.
(oh, I love alliteration)
But I must confess, I have a few projects from last year that must get done before the new excitement begins…especially getting rid of my “trash” to make room for their “treasures”.

Boldly barricaded behind our storage shed is one of my yard sale steals, I mean, treasures from last year.

I was immediately drawn to it, but since it hadn’t been snatched up yet, and it was already 10am (certainly a tell tale death hour for avid yard salers), I assumed it was priced out of my “antique” range.

I loved the lines of the piece, but it was these letter slots that mesmerized me.
I envisioned the careful details that someone had put in back in the 1920′s, and all the heirloom handwritten notes that were meticulously crafted while sitting at this very seat.

But then I envisioned all the work that I would have to put in, and I just wasn’t so sure about my commitment level. Do you know how many unfinished projects I have from this past yard sale season? When I finally complete them, I’ll have blog fodder for one straight year.
Literally, I stood in this woman’s drive way for 20 minutes brainstorming what I could do with this hutch. I decided a great coat of black paint would make it a perfect fit for my foyer wall, but I still hadn’t asked the price.
The tag said, “Make offer.”
Typically, in yard sale terms, that means they want more than its worth.
Oh, but I could just imagine gorgeous knobs….so I was ready to negotiate.

Having seen my fair share of international bargaining, I can handle some US yard sales, but I also want to be fair, and respectful. If you’re one of those that offer a quarter on a $.50 item – stop it!
Now, if it’s $10, you bet I’ll offer $5…just a little tip from the pro.
So, on this day, I was treading lightly.
I sweetly stated, “Oh, I am terrible at making offers.”
Which is true, since I always want them to basically give it to me, but on with the bargaining.
“When you say make offer, do you mean like make a $5 offer or……….”
She cut me off before I could finish my statement. I was going to say $5 or $500, so that I didn’t step on toes and I could get a starting point.
She cut me off, and said, “It’s yours for $5….I just want it gone.”

Feel free to gaze and gawk in frugal fabulitiousness.

I know, I still can’t believe it, and just check out the fretwork – you gotta love it.
Now that your $5 dropped jaw is back up, you may want to sit down for this make-over.
This is by far the most beautiful re-do ever, I can barely stand it.

Best Yard Sale Find ever and amazing hutch redo

Can you imagine how absolutely tickled I was when I came across a new blog from an infamous designer - Eddie Ross? I got lost on his site.
He found “my” hutch and look what he did. Isn’t it breathtaking? It’s almost the exact same secretary (yep, found out it’s called a “secretary” by those designer types), and I started screaming. My kids should be use to that by now, especially if I’m in front of the computer. :)


Here’s what Eddie said he did…so I think I can too, don’t you?

“As you can see, I started by sanding it down with a fine sand paper, just to scuff up the surface and give the paint something to adhere to. For the primer, I used a shellac-based product called Zinsser. I love it because it dries super fast. And it prevents any dye from seeping through the top coat. Check out the final result!

For the paint color, I chose one of my favorites: Farrow & Ball’s All White. I use it on everything. The mirror I had cut to size for $20. The easiest way is to take the original glass with you. That way, you’ll always get a perfect fit. With the shelves now hidden behind mirror, I could make all the mess I want, and it would still look just as pretty! Fold down the desk, and I have plenty of storage, plus the perfect surface for writing letters or working on my laptop.”


“As a collector, one thing I’ve learned over the years is to be fearless. Just because something’s antique doesn’t mean it’s precious. Don’t be afraid to alter a piece to make it your own. Strip it. Sand it. Recover it in fabric you adore. Like I said, all wood is not created equal. If a chair’s lines are good but you’re not in love with the finish, paint it another color and you’ll probably be much happier with the result.
Thank you, Eddie!! Go check out his blog – he is amazing, and full of such unbelievable ideas.

I called my husband down for this. He was insisting that we refinish it since it might be “valuable.” I had already bought the black paint and was ready to go, but he REALLY wanted it to stay with the original finish.
After hours of trying to strip it, and getting incredibly frustrated, I politely and submissively called him, and said, “right now, the value is $5, and it’s not worth $500 to me to try and strip it.”
When I read Eddie’s comments, I was thankful for the permission to paint it, and my hubby, as always, graciously agreed. :)

So, should I go white or black. The white is amazing, isn’t it?
And against my apple green walls…ohhh, that’s tempting?

I’m sharing this at The Nester’s Favorite yard sale find because this is definitely one of them.


  1. Treasure Hunter says:

    We have SO got to yard sale together. You are a girl after my own heart. My husband USED to say “no” to everything (too much work and he had no vision). Now that he has seen me work trash to treasure he’s up for the challenges. He even grins when we pass a heap of trash and I break my neck to see if anything jumps out at me! Bring on the projects baby!

  2. I like the white. But the black against the apple green would be pretty too. That is such a steal! I hope I can find some good stuff this year. I had lots of luck last year!

  3. Heather says:

    wow that is an amazing find! i love the secretary! hmm, i really like it white, but depending on what else you have in the area you will be putting it in, the black might look better! only you know, lol!

  4. I just did one in black- similar condition…but it is not a secretary- no fold down desk- and I used black because I had black accents in my living room…I think I like the white for the desk….$5- HELL YEAH!

    And there are lots of great apple green and white fabrics out there this Spring- either way wouldbe good.

    You can see the one I did on myblog here



  5. Ah, my grandparents had a secretary like that. Eddie’s pictures are such an encouragement to paint pieces instead of refinishing them!! I am anxious to see how this turns out!

  6. Kitty Scraps says:

    Holy Macaroni! I want to go yard sale shopping with you! I adore your secretary and I can’t wait to see what you decide to do with it, I know it’s going to be amazing!

  7. Valarie Lea says:

    Oh My Gosh $5!!!!!!!

    White White White!!!!

  8. What a great find! I can’t wait to see how it turns out!! White or black… either would be great! I love the mirror idea… I am all about hiding my messes!!

  9. Imperfect says:

    Wow! It’s so beautiful. What an awesome find! Can’t wait to see what you end up doing with it.

  10. southerninspiration says:

    GASP!!!!! FIVE dollars????? I think I might go a soft cream…….and put some pretty paper behind the shelves…..but then black might look nice, too.


  11. Tricia Anne says:

    AAAHHHH!! Five!Dollars! Holy Moly!
    Can you hear me all the way from MS?
    Oh boy, what a tremendous deal you got. I am partial to white, so I would say go for it and do a white or cream. But the black would look so rich. Hmm…be sure and keep us posted! :o)
    Have a super weekend!
    Sincerely ~ Tricia Anne
    Ps. I broke out my spray paint yesterday. Yippee! :o)

  12. May is just around the corner,,and that is when I will be getting up each and EVERY Saturday, head off to my neighbors at 6:45 a.m. and hit every single garage sale, yard sale till 12..!! Yahooooooooooooo..oh my,,we are SO professionals (we have become quite good at finding treasures). My house is pretty much all yard sale finds..That secretrarial is AMAZING!! ya,,I would be screaming over 5 dollars too. WOW…I will be sharing pics once I start to share all my treasures. Can’t wait to see all yours…

  13. Lovely Little Nest says:

    Oh my gosh that is incredible!! Congrats on the INCREDIBLE steal! I can’t wait to see what you do with it :)

  14. I love the creamy white- but then, it’s Spring. I want LIGHT :)

  15. Just beautiful!!! I’m wondering, how long did it take you to finish this project? Also, what time do you usually start shopping at garage sales?

  16. Oooooo. I have been looking for one of those babies for my foyer – I'll give you $50 for it. Just kidding – it's going to be beautiful & I'd go with white.

  17. Laryssa Herbert says:

    WHAT A DEAL! Isn’t it wonderful when the Lord blesses us with something just to make us happy?

    My vote is for the white. Apple green and white are wonderful together. (My kitchen is green.)

    Great job!

  18. do it yourselfer says:

    Shut up! You are so stinkin’ lucky! Makes me want to go yard sale shoppin’ tomorrow. I can’t wait to see it when it’s completed.

  19. HouseMama says:

    What a beautiful piece you found. I think black OR cream would be beautiful, but if you’re thinking of putting with the apple green walls….I’d definitely go with the cream. Can’t wait to see the final product.

  20. Shannon says:

    Soooooo jealous!!! In a good way! :) I say black!!

  21. new every morning says:

    I couldn’t believe my eyes … we have the EXACT same secretary! We inherited it from my husband’s grandparents. Can you believe it?! I really want to paint it, but I think that his parents might have a heart attack. Fortunately, we got it in prime condition, so it still looks beautiful.

    I’m having a linky party about paint transformations and this one totally fits the bill!
    Please come join the fun.

  22. Ruby Red Slippers says:

    I can’t believe you got it for five dollars-that is unheard of…
    I go for white-I adore white!

  23. I am jealous; what a beautiful piece. I think black against those walls would be amazing!! You go girl!

    Lisa Q

  24. I have a perfect spot for this and have been looking for something similar. $5!! Cant believe it!! It is so beautiful!

  25. The Tripp Family says:

    love that! My mom has that same secretary and I’m not even allowed to breathe on it for $5!! I was totally with you on the black, but once I saw the white I thought it looked so much better. Either way, you can’t go wrong! Wish I had one! (other than the one that I will someday inherit but, as I have been reminded, am not allowed to touch until then)

  26. Treasure Hunter says:

    You inspired my post tonight…..www.afewtnytreasures.blogspot.com

  27. Treasure Hunter says:
  28. Darlene - Our Creative Life says:

    Oh My Gosh you got the deal of a lifetime!!! I LOVE it!! I hope I can find something like that tomorrow when I’m out garage saleing!!!! It would be stunning white or black or even cream!! It would be so great with crystal knobs! Can’t wait to see it when it’s finished!!!! Congrats on your purchase!!!!!!

  29. $5! $5! $5! Did you hear me just fall out of my chair???!!!! You have to put this in my party on the 25th! Jen

  30. Oh my goodness! Are you serious?????? I have been yard saling forever and never seen anything a. with so much potential and b. for such a great price.

    That is the deal of the century!!! And it turned out so fabulously! Good for you!

    Thanks for sharing and getting me excited for the yard sales/garage sales to start up this Spring!


  31. Carolina Mama says:

    Oh that is wonderful! Can’t wait to see what you decide because clearly they will all be gorgeous.

  32. Amanda@Imperfectly Beautiful says:

    OH.MY.GOODNESS. I think my jaw is permanently attached to the floor. What a STEAL! And Eddie’s makeover is absolutely divine. I would go with the white, especially set against those luscious apple green walls! Cannot wait to see it finished! I too am bubbling over with excitement and anticipation for the yard sale season. Oh how I wish we could be yard sale buddies! I cannot convince anyone to go with me. It’s always more fun with a friend.

  33. Sandy Toes says:

    Wow..that is an unbelievable makeover…..I just can’t believe it.
    sandy toe

  34. The Graves' House says:

    what a great find! i think white is going to pop against your walls, can’t wait to see the finished project.

  35. The 5 Bickies says:

    Gorgeous find…I would go black. Should be a fun painting job. Good Luck and can’t wait to see the outcome.

  36. Amazing!

    I think the color choice should be — do you want to lighten the room or add drama?

    Most rooms don’t have enough light…but if yours does, punch it up with black!

  37. Ruthanne says:

    Oh, normally I would say go black – but I think the white would really look great against your green walls!

  38. Wow!! What a beautiful deal girl…Cah-ching!$$ I love what Eddie did with hiss Secretary also, how beautiful. I can’t wait to see what you decide. I’m on the hunt!!

  39. Wow, what a deal! And it’s going to be gorgeous in whichever color you choose! I’m wondering if most men – if it’s just in their nature to be against painting wood! (And if it’s oak that’s even worse!) Ha! I’ve done it anyway and it made such a difference! Will love to see the finished piece, and the work in progress.

  40. Carebear says:

    Just stopping by from SITS and have to say, I’m so thrilled you were the comment in front of my or I might not have stumbled onto your gem of a site! Love that you’re attempting to live with “intentionality” and hope you don’t mind if I borrow that word for my own life. I’ve been telling people that since my kids came along, I’m living accidentally, and that I want to parent with purpose and intention. Your header finally gave me a one-word description for what I’ve been trying to say. Okay, sorry for the tangent. Just want to say, love it here at “Balancing” – great voice and pleasant-to-read style. Oh, and if I could vote, I’d choose white for the ‘secretary’!

  41. That is a beautiful piece of furniture. I am still in shock over how little you paid. That is awesome. I personally love the white. But I am sure whichever you decided will be just gorgeous.

  42. sarakay says:

    I’ve been following your blog for several weeks and LOVE it!! The “Sour Cream Banana Cake” was delicious!! Anyway, I just had to comment on the “secretary”. What a deal! I saw someone else asked but how long will this project take? Do you use both spray primer and paint? Any spray painting tips? Thank you for the inspiration!

  43. The Nester says:


  44. I’m jealous!! That’s the kind of deal I have dreams about. Way to go! I like the white, but that’s just a phase I’m in now. Either would look nice, but I vote for white.

  45. Lisa @ The Owl's Nest says:

    I love love love that secretary. What a steal!!

    And I’d go with white :)

  46. Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality says:

    Oh, girl! You got such a STEAL on that pice & you know how much I love a bargain like that. I knew you had found a secretary, but had no idea you stole it for $5!!!! WOW, double WOW! And you know I love me some Eddie and I just love Eddie's secretary too done in white with the mirrors, so I think you should do the exact same thing. It would look fab on your green walls. Do it!!

  47. Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality says:

    Oh, and today was my 1st offical day yardsaling for the season. I found some fun treasures & will have to share them next week. Nothing like YOUR deal, but great for me.

  48. Wow – that is absolutely wonderful!! I’m SURE you’ll find a season to pour into this treasure and we’ll look forward to the updates as you go!!

  49. Courtney says:

    $5 is amazing. you are good. I would love to work at that secretary.

    first time at your blog, I came over from the nester

  50. Vern ~ Inspired says:

    You are annointed Girl!!

    I always love what you do with your findings…Thank you for sharing and posting such details!!

    I finally posted some details about my event…still need to post some pictures from a bloggers reunion we had in Houston. It was bloggiful!


  51. Crystal @ The Thrifty Mama says:

    Wow! what a great deal. I love it when stuff happens like that. And you nearly pee your pants when the seller says the price!

  52. Treasure Hunter says:

    Thanks for looking out for me!!

  53. Christina says:

    That has to be the best $5.00 garage sale find ever. Wonderfullness. As soon as I saw the first picture I thought—Eddie Ross.

    Oh, that is so hard. Both white and black would be beautiful. That would make me procrastinate because it would be so hard to decide.

    Either way, can’t wait to see what you do with it.

  54. Just found your blog! I am SUCH a bad negotiator when it comes to garagae sales!!! White or black, you can’t go wrong, but I vote white with those green walls!

  55. Great buy!

  56. Wow–what an amazing find! I love black and apple green, but remember, black shows every speck of dust! White shows every mark and scuff though. Hard decision! But a fun one.

  57. oh she’s a beauty! I have featured you today on Today’s Creative Blog. Email me for your featured button. krjdemmon@comcast.net

  58. Parisienne Farmgirl says:

    As a serious furniture painter (see today’s post) I say white, white white! Refinished furniture is wonderful but painted furniture is so charming. This is a GREAT piece – I love the curve of the drawers. What find to find the perfect hardware too!

  59. An Accomplished Woman says:

    Oh girl… You did get a fabulous piece. I am apple green with envy. Next weekend is my official yardsale weekend start. Love it and can’t wait to see the final results.


  60. nikkicrumpet says:

    I OFFICIALLY HATE YOU…WHAT??? FIVE MEASLY DOLLARS!!! You are the EMPRESS of yard sales! That has to be the best deal EVER! I’d go white with it…I think you’ll lose all that gorgeous detail if you paint it black. I am SO jealous of this amazing bargain!

  61. Mrs. Trixi says:

    Oh, wow, what a fabulous piece. I never find such great buys! I need to go with you.LOL

    Thank you for commenting on my garden. We hope to put up a ton of food in these most uncertain times. We are truly worried about what the next few years entail. I do hope to do several posts on gardening, canning, and freezing our bounty.

  62. Cherry's Jubilee says:

    Jen jen jen ohhhhhhhhhh Jen jen jen! I thought I was a garage sale maven………..I tip my hat to you. THAT is the score of a life time. I have always wanted one of those like that. I say…white….especially against your walls. OHHHH jen jen…I just can’t get overit. wow. cherry

  63. Hey congrats on TCB! Jen

  64. marty39 says:

    What an absolutely fabulous find. Your secretary is just stunning and I could see it in either white or black. I look forward to seeing what you decide. Hugs, Marty

  65. Pajama Mama says:

    I saw the pictures on TCB and knew it was Eddie’s secretary-LOVE IT! I cannot believe the bargain you got! And I’m so glad YOU know the bargain you got! What were the sellers thinking? Anyway, congrats! Can’t wait to see your finished re-do!

  66. Angela (from LifeStyle Savings) says:

    You approached this beauty of a desk very gracefully (as so not to offend the seller) – isn’t it amazing what people will get rid of! I would go with black on the color b/c I have so many little fingers that would be all over it-if it were mine:). It also depends what kind of accents that would be going INSIDE the hutch. If you paint it black and have some white pieces for the inside decor, they would REALLY POP…I stopped at a few sales yesterday and found 4 heavy Kirklands picks with a tag of $39.95 each and I paid .75 for each – still can’t come close to the $5 though. Great vision!

  67. Lou Cinda says:

    How lucky are you??? I LOVE this!! Love, Love, Love it! I can’t wait to see it finished! I have apple green walls in my kitchen and black just pops against it! I just painted the trim on my island black (it was white) and it made a huge difference! (I am going to post the before and afters on my blog tonight) whatever you choose, you can’t go wrong with this beauty!

  68. From one yard sale hunter to another……what a steal. Congratulations! On the debate to go white or black. Which color do you tend to use a lot of. If it’s white, black would be a nice change of pace and add accent. Another thing to think if the style and age…I think it would stunning in black, but not just black, the Ebony black used on furniture dating from the early 1900′s, late 1800′s. The ebony is rich…think the beautiful ebony color on grand pianos. I have my grandparents buffet and it’s still original in ebony.

  69. Serendipit-Us says:

    I stumbled across you blog via…oh Gosh…I don’t remember the route that landed me here. No matter. I’m thrilled to have found a girl after my own heart and am so looking forward to spending some time perusing your past postings :-) This is a first: the transformation of the secretary gave me goosebumps. It’s absolutely stunning. Job (beyond) well done and kudos to you for seeing the hidden potential behind, what might have been, a seemingly daunting project!

  70. Kim @ Forever Wherever says:

    Love it! What a bargain! I can’t believe she took $5.00! I can’t wait to see it when your done. It looks like you’re doing a professional job by taking it all apart. I have a hard time being that patient. I don’t like to sand!

  71. Susie from Bienvenue says:

    Oh my goodness…. you had me shaking…5.00!!!! You go girl! I wish she had two cause I wouuld so want to copy you,hehe. I cant wait to see how it becomes yours…. LOVE IT~

  72. Chelsey says:

    WOW WOW WOW!! $5!!! I want to go “yard saling” with you one day this spring!! My grandmother had something similar to this. Oh, and I would go with white.. :)

  73. Smelling Coffee says:

    What a “miracle find!” $5 – Amazing! Personally, I love the white. :-)

  74. Our really empty nest says:

    Oh my gosh, i cant wait to see how this turns out, I may just have to try this yardsale thing, i mean seriously! thanks for sharing! Sue

  75. Ashley @ Domestic Fashionista says:

    $5????? My goodness girl! I found a hutch for $25 and thought I had gotten a steal! I too am excited for more yard sales this spring! ;)

    I recently did a hutch redo if you want to check out my how to. I painted it white with blue backing…I love how it looks and how things pop off the white and blue combo. :)



  76. Our Complete Family says:

    What a high you must have had at that $5 steal deal girly! Love it!
    I can’t wait to see it when you’re finished working your magic on it. Oh my oh my!!!
    Happy week ahead~ Les

  77. The Scooper says:

    I AM DYING HERE. DYING. It’s going to be amazing. I would have said black but after seeing Eddie’s white…I’m not sure.

    I have a hutch sitting in my garage nearing it’s 2-year anniversary (of sitting there.) And I’d been planning on black…but now maybe white.

    $5! I got mine at a thrift store. But it was way more than $5.


  78. Jill -Forever and Ever House says:

    Congratulations on being featured on TCB. What a fab blog you have!! I am now a card carrying follower!! You are one talented person.

  79. Mary Ellen (megardengal) says:

    Love love love this find! I have just become a faithful follower! Can’t wait to see what this looks like when you get done!


  80. Monkey's Momma says:

    Great find!!

  81. Kathy's Red Door Welcome says:

    What what a treasure! You have vision girl! I love the white myself, but I think black is awesome too. I have a similar secretary that my mother left me and my husband won’t let me touch it with paint, but I understand the yearning.

  82. This is going to be so beautiful! And to think you got it for $5!! Wow! You can do it! I love the white but I’m sure the black would look fantastic too.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia :)

  83. You are a garage sale queen, this is wonderful very impressive!

  84. I like the white — it is so pretty and I love the idea of mirrors instead of glass. I have a similar piece in it’s wooden state and it is a great desk!

  85. Hi Jen,

    I have the same piece of furniture, well, almost! I have the lower half. This was a desk that my grandmother had and we think that someone in the family made. I wonder if it ever had a top piece. Perhaps someone just wanted the desk part. It has been painted a few times and I had it stripped. Although I do like the way it looks white. Hmmm…maybe someday it will have paint on it again. I love the cubbies and the shaped drawers. It looks good tucked into a corner of our dining room. Here is a before picture and an, after picture .
    I just started getting into yard sales last year. We got some old fashioned beach chairs for $2 (perfect for our classic station wagon) and a hedge trimmer for $1,a vinegar decanter for $2 and a brand new rolodex for $2. Amazing and fun!

  86. Momovthree says:

    This has to be one of the most amazing yard sale finds of all time!!!!! I think it is beautiful. I found a secretary on someone’s porch for sale and thought it was a steal at $40. Your $5 beats mine by a mile! lol I am so glad you posted these pictures. I’ve been debating what to do with mine as it is currently stained red and I have grown tired of it. Now seeing that gorgeous white piece, I know exactly what to do. White it is for me! I can’t wait to see what you choose for yours!!! I’m thinking I’ll do the inside of mine a different color, maybe blue for me.

  87. Wow, what a hutch, it’s gorgeous! Great choice to share for today! Happy Monday!

  88. Southerner says:

    No one would eat until that was painted if it was at my house! I absolutely love it. It is so beautiful. I could not get over the white photo. I have green walls in my bath and a black vanity and it looks great together so that would look good, too – just goes from cottagy to more traditional looking. Either way, I am so jealous.

  89. Domestic Designer says:

    AMAZING!!!! I love it. What a lucky find. Have a wonderful day!

  90. That is one of the best deals I have ever heard of from a garage sale! Way to go. Gee, would look pretty either color but I think I vote for the white.
    You have a beautiful family too by the way!
    Linda Q

  91. I found this post on someone else’s website and wanted to share about your secretary. My mom has the EXACT SAME ONE. I grew up with it in my house. It is in fabulous condition and has always had a special place in our house. One day it will be mine.
    Good luck on making it yours. It will be beautiful.

  92. You have GOT to be kidding me? $5.00?!!!!!!! That’s the deal of the decade. Hands down. I LOVE it and can’t wait to see it beautified!

  93. P.S. WHITE WHITE WHITE!!!!!!

  94. queenbee says:

    I went to my first yardsale/thrifting event over the weekend. I found some wonderful items and great deals, but nothing that compares to $5 for a secretary desk. I am officially jealous. If it were mine I would paint it white, just like Eddie’s

  95. Well, sister friend, i have seen some good deals in my lifetime…even had a few good deals myself but THIS….my gosh o’mighty…what a STEAL. She the same as PAID YOU to take it away.
    IT IS BEAUTIFUL…I love it. Black or white, it is going to be breataking. Can’t wait to see it all finished…

  96. The Quintessential Magpie says:

    That has got to be the steal of the century! Kudos to you! I would paint it the color you like best. Think outside the box. You don’t even have to go black or white. Some of the greatest pieces Ive seen painted are wonderful colors that you wouldn’t expect. Eddie’s looks snazzy, though.

    Happy 2nd Time Around Tuesday!


    Sheila :-)

  97. Smilingsal says:

    Hi, I came from Diane’s 2nd time around Tuesday after reading your comment.

    I really enjoyed this post, and think that white is the way to go with this piece of furniture. In fact, I read that the black phase is going on its way!

  98. How on earth did I miss this post last week??? What a gorgeous piece!!!! For $5.00??? That might be the best bargain ever!

    That little door in the center is precious!

    White would look so fantastic against those green walls. I’ll grab my power sprayer and be down to help you! :-)

  99. I’m with you on the yard sales, garage sales and any other sale that means people are getting rid of their stuff. I have a confession to make. I purchased a secretary very much like yours and even asked my friends dh to get his truck and bring it home for me. I was younger and raising five kids that meant my life was ‘bedlem’ at the time. It sat in my garage for several years and I kept thinking I would fix it up somehow. No one painted wood back then and I was scared to start a refinish job. The end of this story is sad and I have regretted it forever. My dh was transferred to another city, we were packing to move and the secretary was given to the first taker who saw it in the yard waiting to be packed. sigh, I just might tear up now. Now finish your secretary and which ever color you decide on will be perfect for your lovely green walls. JDI Just do it!!


  100. I have one of these and was planning to do exactly what you’ve done. After reading your post, I now know how to do it!

  101. Oh girl,you donot have any idea how desperately i want and need one of these.well.i need a china cabinet with all this tablescaping going on.ha i love this./and what a deal you got.cheesh…….Ann

  102. Upstatemomof3 says:

    Wow!!! that came out beautifully. I love the white. I so don’t have teh vision to see that when I am at a garage sale. :)

  103. yeager_79 says:

    Oh my gosh!!! I adore yard sales, and have gotten some amazing deals – but holy cow – that’s phenomenal!!
    Congratulations! Wow – If I wasn’t already itching to go yard saling….I’m even more so now!!
    I think either color would be great (I looove Eddie’s final result!) I think of white as being more shabby chic/country, and black going with more modern/sleek design — so it may depend on what else you have in your home. I do like the white/apple green together too.
    I just stunbled on your blog looking at yard sale funzies and I think we would be friends ;)
    I likewise love alliteration, lol. I’m going to add you to my subscriptions if you don’t mind!
    Thanks for great encouragement to hang in there the the sales!
    (sorry for the “book”!)

    ~ mara

  104. Beth at Aunties says:


    Truly this is such a steal of a deal and fabulous find! It is a beautiful piece of furniture.

    Our sons once paid only 5.00 dollars for a pool table they had wanted 400.00 for at the beginning of the day and later that night they just wanted it gone and they got it for 5 bucks. They were so thrilled!
    I hope you think outside the box with the color and make it a piece of furniture which brings you joy for a long time!

    Good luck, it is a gorgeous piece of furniture! Have fun and good luck!

    Sorry about the deletes! I had to delete my comments when I saw I wrote my sons had paid five daughters instead of 5 dollars for the pool table!!!! :)

  105. Mad Red Hare says:

    Oh my gosh! That leaves me just about speechless. For $5, that is just unbelievable!

  106. Melissa Lester says:

    Jen, I am nearly on the floor with disbelief. Five dollars for an antique secretary? That is unbelievable. And I LOVE the way Eddie Ross transformed his secretary. I would vote for the white paint, but you know I am such a pastel girlie girl. I would say you can’t go wrong either way, so I just can’t wait to see your finished piece! And let me reiterate, I am sitting here in stunned amazement that you will have a beautifl antique in your home, purchased and completely refurbished for under $10. You are the queen!

  107. Linda at Lime in the Coconut! says:

    Amazing. No other words needed.

  108. This will be absolutely stunning when you are finished – can’t wait to see the final pictures!

  109. amylouwho says:

    I love it! I think white is so clean and bright especially when you have fun painted walls.

  110. Julia @ Hooked on Houses says:

    Love this piece–it’s totally worth the trouble of reworking it, especially for $5!! That’s just amazing.

    Eddie Ross is so talented. Loved him on “Top Design.”

  111. Christine says:

    This is my first time visiting your blog, but I just had to comment on your secretary b/c I have the exact same one. I, like another poster who commented above, inherited it (from my Grandmother – or technically my parents did). I was about 11 yrs old and as we were cleaning out her house, I remember asking if I could have it for my own house one day. It was the letter slots, just like you said – and the “hidden” drawers in between the slots that I just loved, even then.

    I am so happy someone found that piece who will appreciate it like you! I’m sure what ever you choose will be gorgeous! Have fun!

  112. I just found your blog through HoH and since I just bought a used corner hutch last weekend,(not even close to the bargain you got) I was anxious to see you transformation. It’s a great find and I look forward to the results. I was a little conflicted about painting my hutch as well but now I feel much better about my decision. Who knows when I’ll find time to do it? That’s a good question. Take care.

  113. the BLAH BLAH BLAHger says:

    Just stopping by to catch up and I have to say $5 — SHUT UP! You get down with your mad negotiating skills! Can’t wait to see the finished product!!!

  114. Thanks for joining in! I can’t wait to se what you do! Jen

  115. Jennifer DeDonato says:

    That looks so wonderful! You did an amazing job! YAY!

  116. I would say you have purchased the deal of the century. I say go for the black. I love black and green together. White would look awesome too.
    I’m so happy to have yardsale season upon us. Hoping to find some good deals myself. I need to add to my collection of unfinished projects in the basement.

    Have a happy day


  117. This is TO DIE FOR Jen….and thanks so much for linking up today! I am so thankful for you!

  118. Have you decided which you’ll go with? white or black? I have a secretary I got at a local antique store after i saw Eddie’s makeover. Mine is also waiting for me decide between white or black.

  119. TRICIA boutellefamilyzoo@yahoo.com says:


    You are my new yard sale heroine!

  120. Kimm at Reinvented says:

    Wow, what a treasure for $5! You’ve inspired me!

  121. OMG! My parents have one almost exactly like that which was handed down by my grandparent….I always thot it would look so much better painted but my mother freaks out every time i say the word ‘paint!’ Maybe I should show her this pic it just might change her mind! I absolutely adore it!!! Im thinking of where i’d put it in my house if i had something that darling. :) BTW, my kitchen in almost the same color….LOVE IT!! Im starting to go nuts with all the white things i can put up in there….! :)

  122. gorgeous! what a fantastic find, especially for 5 bucks. why don’t i ever come across something like that, lol. i am glad you are going to paint it…and either color would pop against the green wall. i love the way you told this story, too, i was really hooked! popping in from the nesters party.

  123. I LOVE it! I don’t think you could go wrong with white or black. Can’t wait to see how you use it.

  124. I still can’t close my mouth, I’m in shock! No way $5 is all it cost you! Amazing, fantastic, unbelievable!

    Wow, new follower for sure now!



  125. My friend, I clicked on this from the Nester’s site and my envy meter went sky high (then quickly came back down to rejoicing with you) when I found out that this piece was in town and available for as little as $5. Wow!!! Wow!!! Wow!!! Deal of the century! Congrats!

    I love the white, but if it would look better in black in the space you’re filling, just go for it.

  126. I like the white against the green BUT I know you already have a lot of white and if you invisioned black, there’s a reason. Trust your gut.

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