Before & After: A Muddy Junk Pile Find Gets a Stylish New Life

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(Image credit: Kyle of Chasen Makes)

Honestly, we’re shocked Kyle was able to pick anything out of this muddy furniture pile. Not only does he have the greatest eye in the history of curbside finds, he made an absolutely stunning piece of upcycled vintage furniture.

(Image credit: Kyle of Chasen Makes)

From Kyle: I found this literally in the trash on the side of the road. It looked like someone had cleared out their back shed and threw this, along with many other old pieces of furniture, into the mud.

(Image credit: Kyle of Chasen Makes)

This project took me many months to finally commit to. I was very nervous to begin this project, due to the age of the piece and my fears of making a grave error in the process. I made a video documenting the renovation of this piece on my YouTube channel.

(Image credit: Kyle of Chasen Makes)

When I found this on the side of the road, I knew it was worthy of a renovation. It had an unmistakable character and grace. I knew I had the skill to give it the new life it needed.

The entire project took three days and cost me nothing. I had all of the materials already on hand such as the reclaimed wood, the shellac and the boiled linseed oil.

I was amazed to find such beauty hidden under the many layers of mud and grime. The beautiful dark red is the original paint. All it needed was some steel wool and a few coats of shellac to bring back its shine and grace. Once the shellac was dry, I went on to the next step of cutting the wood for the top and leaf. What makes this project so unique is that every piece of it was reclaimed and upcycled. The wood was either found or bought second hand from a friend that traded services for wood to a local sawmill. So in all honesty, all the pieces for this are in their 3rd or 4th stages of life. That is such a beautiful thing to be a part of.

Once the wood was milled down, glued up, and sanded down, I applied a few coats of boiled linseed oil to protect the wood and accent its unique character. The table top and leaf are made from red oak, maple, and walnut. All locally grown hardwoods from the Virginia area. The wood is full of wormholes and beautiful features that give it a very unique and rustic look.

Once everything was dried, I assembled the table back together, giving special care to not scratch the top or base. In the end, this is a one of a kind side table that will brighten up any room and will inspire great comments and discussions. I love turning old throw away trash into beautiful centerpieces. It was an honor and a pleasure to be able to work on something with such age and grace and I hope to do the same on another project in the future.

(Image credit: Kyle of Chasen Makes)

I love how simple, yet elegant it looks. The wood color choices were very intentional, blending bright maple with the darker tones of the walnut and oak. There are two different colors of maple in the top, chosen from different parts of the tree.

I opted to keep the original paint once I saw how beautiful and antiqued it was. It is hard to recreate the luster of old, sun beaten paint from the 1940s. This is why I thought steel wool and shellac was enough to bring back it’s luster.

Overall, I think it came out beautifully and there is nothing I would do differently if I could start over.

Kyle’s words of wisdom: Go slow, do your research and stay completely focused. Using large power tools can be dangerous, especially when you are unfocused. Let the original beauty of the piece show through and try to enhance it instead of completely restoring it. Old pieces like this have a story to tell, so allow that story to be seen and understood through subtleties.

Thank you, Kyle! You can see this project and more on Kyle’s blog, Chasen Makes.