the best thing about finding a truly great antique, is how they will always have a special ability to evolve right along with you! Take this trunk for example. For years, it was the perfect end table in a warm + sunny coffee spot, then it was a moving aide, great for packing things into while between houses. Years later, it served as a dollhouse stand + the year after that an actual dress-up trunk. That’s exactly the journey this one has been on + who knows where it will land next! The adventure doesn’t end when you bring the treasures home; that’s sometimes when the magic is just beginning!
What old things are you repurposing at your home? Maybe you don’t even notice, they’ve been there for so long. Perhaps you just bought something “new to you” but with all the old-time charm or maybe you have a piece that you are making into a good antique with each passing year. Won’t you please share your favorites with us below!?
If you have recently bought something but don’t know where to put it, or maybe that unique thing caught your eye but you hesitated to bring it home– please get in touch + I can help you find a place for it in your space! Read more about my design business, pencil + ink creative, here.
so often, when the piddlin’ pals head out on a fresh adventure, we find things that speak to us + that is what we bring home. I’m sure you’re thinking, what kind of mumbo-jumbo is that? well… it’s not impulse buying + it’s not buying something to collect, it’s trading money for a good, because you are drawn to it.
early in our relationship, Ryan + I used to always say to each other while reflecting over our recent trips or finds “the best antiques choose you”. This is so true. Just look at this powder room from our tiny townhome from our early days in Charleston. My handy architect had already laid the tile, replaced the sink/cabinet + had even installed beadboard, the only thing amiss to me was the wall color. Funny as it may sound, every time I went into that wash closet, I was thinking about paint colors! Finally I brought home a few samples, + made a move. We painted on Urbane Bronze + loved every second of what followed- why hadn’t we done this sooner?!
As fate would have it, we already had the antiques to polish off the new look as a result of all of our piddlin’ adventures together. After the paint went on, we threw together a basic layout for a gallery wall, using vintage, framed, group photos, mixed with a few new pieces, then added a preserved boxwood wreath to the towel ladder. I still love this room so much, years after moving that I’m thinking it’s time to recreate it in our home here in Georgia.
If you love this as much as us, let us know! I can find a way to add charm to any room/wall of your space too! Get in touch with me today + let’s make your spot feel more exciting, warm, friendly + fun. It would be my honor! Learn more about my design business pencil + ink creative here.
Would you look at these beauties?! I can’t wait to figure out where I’m going to hang these concrete + plaster wall accents. Such charm! A friend gave them to me after I noticed them sitting in her garage. I owe her, right?!
‘pressed to the sound of Van Morrison’s latest album, Three Chords + The Truth while the girls play + sing Frozen for the umpteenth time since we saw Frozen 2. “No, I’m Elsa + you can be Anna…”
Some of the best finds are the ones that come from an impromptu pick…you know, the really surprisingly delightful finds that pick you.
It was that way for this table.
I. [backstory] When we were first married, Ryan + I used a new table that his parents had bought for him. It was rectangle in shape with a dark stain, had chairs, a bench + space for guests. It was nice to look at, but that’s about all we really did with the table, look at it + pile things on it. We made some changes to open up the galley kitchen since we always seemed to be talking through the wall when between rooms. We took out the top portion of the wall to create a more open feel with the adjacent breakfast nook. Throughout the process of making edits (before, during + after) we talked about the table + how we thought the eating space should function. It was more in-play now because where there had once been just a doorway connecting dining area to kitchen, there would soon be a ledge for us to visit while cooking + the long rectangular table was taking up too much of the available space. It would be hard to make the new open space flow without editing the size of the table.
II. [booth, please] My dream then + for the forseeable future was + is to have a breakfast banquette. It’s a cozy notion, don’t you think?
When given the option, I am always a bench-seat-prefered kind of restaurant patron, so it’s a no-brainer to bring this cozy seating option to my favorite place to eat! I credit this, in part, to a time when I babysat for a sweet family with three boys + their home had a breakfast nook, tucked between two walls, not so different from this one:
The booth seating was very non-traditional, + limited, but ever so inviting. I’d always be more likely to be found cozied up in the banquette instead of in front of the TV when Caroline + Dean would come home + to me, that was the most comfortable spot in the house—which, was architecturally gorgeous by design. We had a few life talks at that table + as fate had it, they later introduced me to my husband. I can also remember another sweet family from early in my babysitting career, who had a larger built in bench below a grouping of kitchen windows for their frequent, impromptu little family gatherings. I still remember watching that young mom + dad feed their little ones Mama Brown’s barbecue until their tummies were stuffed full of pork, green beans + mashed potatoes. The bench was loved + pretty beat up, but it boasted extra storage + functioned to perfection for their convivial family time around the table. I remember thinking how fun it made meal time at their house.
III. [table lineup] Until we have a banquette of our own, we have been relying on a lineup of antique tables to make family meal memories that count. What a blessing it’s been, to have tables with such character gracing our home.
First, there was the craigslist table. You’re probably thinking, “what? you never really know who or what you’re dealing with on craigslist”; I tell you, it was simply meant to be! The listing led us to my uncle’s neighborhood–okay, so we were safe at least. Then to a gentleman who was parting with not just any old table, but one full of memories from years spent eating, doing homework + living life at this beautiful oak table which originally belonged to his grandmother from High Point, NC. It was scuffed + loved + after we measured, we knew it would fit perfectly in our nook.
The table with four leaves + oozing with charm, had picked us to be it’s new keepers.
We brought it to our townhome + began making so many memories, mostly after we had our first child. It provided a close spot for us to huddle together over amateur, home cooked meals + provided a nice flow as the go between from the renovated kitchen to the living room. We realized a few months after our baby girl was born, we needed to start making family meals a “thing” just as we did with our parents. Even though she ate her evening meal much earlier than we did, we began the tradition we continue today of sitting together + sharing time + family fellowship around a table. A couple months after that tradition began to stick, I began baking cutout sugar cookies for friends, families + lots of new customers. That table was crucial to getting my orders completed, from rolling copious amounts of dough to cutting, cooling + decorating. That noble table once held 13 dozen Clemson Tiger Paw cookies (wedding favors). If you know me, you know it was practically a crime to have one, let alone 156 of these abominable symbols painting our table with their audacious orange. What self-respecting baker turns down a wedding order? It was an honor, regardless of team loyalties + it was a big moment for me, for the table, for us. I often wonder if the table could have held up to the growing output from our little-kitchen-that-could. It will forever be a special chapter in our family’s story.
Before we knew it, our second child was on the way + we were uprooting our little family of four + moving to Atlanta.
The table made the trip + was a very important piece of “home” that helped us establish our family’s new normal in Georgia. Different state, same table, same family.
The summer before the round table made the permanent move to Atlanta, we still needed a place to have a meal together while we rented. We looked + looked but weren’t able to find much of what we envisioned for our family ritual. We made-do by gathering around the house’s kitchen island until finally, in the last month of that summer, we took a chance + introduced our first daughter to Scott’s. As fate would have it, we found our second antique table, outside in what my mother always refers to as “the dregs” + what I refer to as chippy good stuff. After admiring the table on the first walkabout, we circled back after walking around inside + bargained a deal for this beautifully aged, green farmtable. We just barely fit it inside my Volkswagen + around one carseat. Upon unloading it back at home, we realized it needed a little love, but with time running short before our second babe’s debut, it got put on the back burner.
Once we moved permanently, it sat in our shed for months + months until we realized it’s full potential as a backporch summer supper table. It has become a functional piece in our lineup now for six plus months of family meals, happy hour charcuterie feasts, birthday cake toasts, puzzle working + even a backyard party or two. It is easily one of my favorite pieces ever, simply because of it’s soothing green patina + classic structure.
Back inside, the round, brown table was front + center in the new kitchen + it was really showing signs of wear + tear. It was nice to sit + recall how at the same round table, we fed both of our baby girls their first rice cereal + solid foods, welcomed a second high chair + continued the intentional family meal tradition we started years ago. The stain was long past time for a brush up, so we got crazy, bought a sander, took it back to its original wood + then—we painted it!! I got the idea after seeing a high-gloss end table painted an enchanting color of blue/green in an Architectural Digest magazine. I had a few moments of doubt during the process, but generally loved watching the beautiful blue-green glistening paint go on coat after coat. The scalloped underside of the table + turned leg details were highlighted beautifully with the color + I couldn’t wait to get it back in rotation for meal time!
That was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made; it was a bold move + everytime I look at it, it gives me such a feeling of confidence in a style that is all my own.
We’ve made it work in a space that isn’t quite the right size for the beloved round table for almost three years, here. So the time finally came in the week after New Year’s Day, when we found ourselves scouring the internet for the next table for our stone farmhouse. Our home was built in the mid-late 70s, so many of the rooms have a certain quirk to them; some of the floorboards creak, occasionally there are doors that curiously cross paths + none of the rooms measure like most houses built these days. Having said that, we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Quirk brings charm in our book, + charm begets a cozy value to a home if it is simply embraced.
So the ideal table for our oddly sized kitchen space would have to be a long, narrow farm table. When the sizes we kept finding weren’t falling into our ideal price range, we loaded the girls up in the pickup + went piddlin’!
We perused together, up + down aisles + saw some pretty fun picks. When we came across this table, I quickly we had that feeling; I found I couldn’t move from the spot. I hovered as I was trying to take in the table, it’s beautifully turned legs, its chippy layer of aged, white paint, it’s phenomenal pine wood versatile top:
I was entranced, just taking in all of the details. I didn’t want anyone to notice the treasure I was ogling, so I quickly found myself checking out the other items in the same booth that was chock-full of that vintage Americana style I always hope to see while piddlin’. When I come across a booth with such soul, I positively cherish it; it’s like meeting a new friend. We walked away to mill on the find, as one does + all routes led us back to see the table. It felt so right, so it was time to ask for a deal. Sure enough, it was on sale for 20% off. . . SOLD!
We got it moved inside + so began a piddlin’ inspired furniture chess game. Blue table to the dining room, those chairs here, china cabinet over there, it was all a bit mind boggling. Now that the dust has settled, I most love the way this new addition feels in the former breakfast table’s spot. Part table, part kitchen island, it is everything this room needed + opens the whole space up just like our first antique table did all those years ago in our townhome. It’s already become a favorite space for creative thinking, writing + soaking up the afternoon sun from our southwest facing windows!
Now-a-days, all eating takes place at the breakfast table in the dining room + we have had so many fresh ideas hatching since! As a creative mind, I so love a good shake up, it really gets my wheels turning. This is a good sign that our recent finds are truly meant to be. I once had a co-worker + friend from Buffalo, NY describe to me a kind of wives tale that all vintage/antique items carry a little of their past “lives” with them + some items have a kind of positive or negative energy about them. This idea sounds similiar to a feng shui concept, or as Ryan calls it, feng-fooey! Take it all with a grain of salt, y’all— for now, I’m loving the vibes of this new-to-us table. If only she could tell us where she’s been all this time! Imagine what stories each of these tables might tell.
What are your thoughts? I hope to have a few more updates to follow + I always feel we have a lot of catching up to do, so thanks for stopping by today.
What have you been up to so far in this new year?! What’s on tap for you in 2020?
One of the first antiques we found some five or six years ago (in Newburn, North Carolina) was this vintage kitchen scale.
I knew I wanted a scale to liven up my otherwise empty kitchen, though it never occurred to me that I would one day be using it to roughly measure ingredients.
Score one more for the super useful piddlin’ finds! This piece has been doubling more often as kitchen decor in the past four years in our little-kitchen-that-could + now look at it in all its glory. Just like that, a mundane kitchen task is elevated to a simple pleasure by using something old for something new -so fun!
It’s amazing to me how many wonderful uses there are for antique wire egg baskets, which makes it another essentially great piddlin’ find!
Originally used as the best way to collect eggs from the chicken coop, these baskets are often still used today for the same purpose. It does seem that smaller, more modern baskets, as sold at Williams Sonoma for example, have taken the place of these rather large carriers.
Many vintage baskets I have seen are typically made of coated wire that gingerly support the eggs while keeping them from rolling around + breaking. One of our baskets has an inverted bottom to further discourage eggs from taking a spin around an empty basket.
We currently use ours to corral shoes by our entryway which is excellent for teaching our two-year-old that shoes, like her toys, have a place where they belong. She often can be seen visiting the basket multiple times in a day to “change shoes”. Other uses around our home include toting diapers + wipes on road trips + providing a spot on our stairs for items to be toted up + put away.
Take a look at a few more of my favorite creative functions for these baskets below + see more inspiring ideas on my piddlin’ wish list (here).
I particularly love the idea below of using one for apples or perhaps potatoes in a pantry like this one below. Wouldn’t it be idyllic to have one kept by the back door for collecting freshly picked apples often from your own backyard orchard or something even more simple like chopped firewood? Life seems full of such visions!
Thanks for stopping by! Have you been piddlin’ lately? Please do let me know what fun finds you have discovered; leave a comment below!
the chalkboard made from an antique mirror + funny enough, similar to ours! // A chalkboard in the kitchen; little makes more sense! //
The wire egg crate holding apples // how have I not thought of that?! //
the beautifully aged woodwalls…
the unreal jadeite collection… // surely this is the precise color of envy! //
the whitewashed original wood panels inside the pantry…
Wouldn’t you just love to see the rest of this home!? // You can by the way, simply follow the source link above. //
We have a dear family friend whose home is decorated in this way, ceiling to floor, front door to back porch. Without her as my first piddlin’ muse, I may not even know about this style of living! You know who you are–JB! Also, big thanks to mom for introducing us. There is such an incredible energy I get just walking into + through her home each time I visit…every item of piddlin’ decor just seems speak to me + each piece has been placed with the utmost thought + intention making for a very cozy home, regardless of size. One of my favorite features in her home is an antique screen door on her pantry as well as the bathroom full of mirrors! // “Don’t forget to sign the guest book!”–yes, really. //
This vignette above captures my home’s style perfectly. What a better way to make old things new, than turning one’s piddlin’ finds into piddlin’ decor that help keep things tidy to boot!? Swoonworthy!
What do you love most here? I would so love if you’d tell me how you use your favorite antique around your home!
Speaking of…more to come on egg crates next week, plus it’s almost time for February, which means all things: ❤️💘💕💖😍
‘pressed in the pauses of a crazy full season of life!
The vintage coke crate.^
There are a great many uses for this quintessential piddlin’ find. Be ‘ware of imitators!
I first brought this crate back to Ryan (filled with cans of RC Cola) + he loved it so much, we decided to use it at our wedding reception to serve them up once again as a parting snack: RC Colas + moon pies.
These crates, four or five in all, have also been a convenient home to the dog’s items: his brush, ball, collar, dog bags + leash. They have also served as our catch-all spot by the front door for the last five years, cordially known as “the front box”. Keys, tide pens, lint rollers, mail, sunglasses, Burts’ bees, sunscreen…you name it. It is one of the first antiques I gifted to Ryan to “fill his house”.
Most recently, this same crate has helped us corral + display children’s books + was an instant hit with my toddler who loves to read!
This piddlin’ find has become a functional must-have piece of piddlin’ decor around our nest over the years + could easily be used for even more purposes. See more inspiration for decorating/organizing with coke crates by searching “coke crates” on Pinterest or Google + please do let me know how you would use yours!
(^) “coke” is of course Southern for any type of soda, though I should mention Coca~Cola is #1 at our nest!
‘pressed while watching my Seattle Seahawks play the Falcons here in Atlanta–Go ‘Hawks!
Turns out moving is tricky for a “collector”…not only did we have many fragile items to pack, but it has made me even more aware of my hoarder tendencies! …I kid, though I as of the New Year I am seriously re-evalutaing which pieces bring me a sense of joy. I had always heard moving to another state can be a catalyst to fixing this problem + I can see why. In a matter of two weeks, it has turned from heavy stressor to exhilarating opportunity!
My beau + I always loved traveling to football games when we were dating, engaged + newly-married, so piddlin’ happened on our way home from most road trips we took. This hobby really took-off after I was describing my love of old things + how I simply had no room in my apartment to add any “new” finds. All he had to say was “you can fill my house with antiques” + it was off to the races!
Fast-forward a year or so, + it was he who had found so many of the fun things that now furnish + organize our married home including this iron lantern pictured above. The lantern was found by my husband + given to me the day we were engaged; it serves as an excellent reminder to only keep the items that bring pleasure/joy/happiness to our home. See the full story of this sentimental antique here.
As each room slowly gets unpacked here, it is encouraging to see each of these “old things” find new purpose or perhaps a new home while I remember their stories. As each year has its seasons, so too may we all have a time to curate + cull our treasured collections!
‘pressed while snackin’ on Trader Joe’s multi-grain pretzel nuggets + cookie butter
Hello there! It’s been a little while! Our second baby girl arrived in late October + oh, what a morning it was. We’ve been savoring her mellow soul, serene eyes + warm snuggles for the past few weeks in her journey from newborn to infant.
These days there is a bit of a changed motive for me when it comes to piddlin’. After two babies, a recent out-of-state move + the start of a new year, I have been keen to thin out the absurd number of “things” we have amassed as a family in the past few years–despite my best efforts to “tidy” a la Marie Kondo. It has even become terribly difficult to continue to accept gifts of any kind because we as a family just don’t “need” anything! We are blessed beyond measure.
On that note, I give you a post -perhaps the first of many- that is an excerpt of a recurring daydream of mine. It is a vision of a home that is simple, warm + seasoned with love, a place free of judgement + chock full of the most intentional kind of hospitality.
Over time, I have come to deeply appreciate the artisanship of beautifully woven rugs, each from far away + long ago. I have only begun to scratch the surface on the heritage of these incredible works of art, but look forward to perusing many a library book on the subject, soon! Here are a few Persian or Turkish woven wonders that have caught my eye during recent early morning musings. See more antique + antique inspired rugs on my “piddlin’ wish list” via Pinterest.