Our family recently packed everything we could fit in our car and headed cross country for a year long internship. More accurately, we packed everything we could fit in our car, set out and then turned around 30 minutes later when the car began overheating. We were secretly glad since every time we went over a bump, our hearts skipped a beat as we imagined all our poor car's components crushing together and self-destructing due to our insanely heavy load. So we unloaded most of what was in our car, boxed it up and shipped it on a train bound for them thar golden hills.
When you move with only what you can fit in your car, you have zero furniture when you arrive at your new home. No beds to sleep in, no table to eat at, no chairs to sit on, no dressers to put clothes in. I thought we could certainly handle this since we ate on a cardboard box for the first 3 months of our marriage. I neglected to remember that we now have two small children who demand beds to sleep in, chairs to sit on, and a table to eat at. If you do not give them what they demand they tend to make your life, shall we say, challenging. (Though the children did thoroughly love running throughout the apartment that first evening with nothing to impede their movements.)
When we decided to leave all our furniture, it was fairly easy to do since we had been students from the day we were married. Although we enjoyed the home we had gradually pieced together, we did not have anything particularly well-made or valuable. My thought had been that this move would be a good opportunity to gradually rebuild a collection of furnishings that we would actually want to keep. It has been difficult to balance the reality of an empty home (with kids) and my grand plan to carefully acquire furniture, especially considering our still meager student budget.
Thanks to Craigslist, Freecycle, garage sales and thrift stores, we are living fairly comfortably at this point (2 months into our year long stay). My 4-year-old even occasionally declares, "This is starting to feel like home!" I've had some great finds that have required no work, but also a jumbled assortment of furniture that I'm slowly trying to transform into something aesthetically pleasing. It's a slow process, but very satisfying when I see the finished product.
This is my favorite so far. We picked up this dresser at a garage sale for $12.50.
As you can tell, the kids were pretty excited about it.
After scraping off the peeling paint, lots of sanding and a new coat of paint, this is what I ended up with.
The knobs that came with the dresser actually worked perfectly with the colors I chose. Unfortunately one knob was missing. But the other day while sifting through bins at the Goodwill Bargain Barn (that place deserves a post all its own), I happened upon this knob. I love it, including the scuffs. The swirls of paint and the old-fashioned look of the knob give it a fairy-tale feeling.
An added bonus: Olive, my almost 2-year-old, loves hiding inside and calls it her "house". I frequently find her cuddled inside with her blanket and a book.
I think the way the old door naturally sits slightly ajar is charming. It seems to beckon one inside to find out what secrets it might hold.
Hmm... I smell a project for the inside as well. To be continued...