Giving Something a Second Chance

I run a vintage shop, also known as a thrift store, which stocks all kinds of odds and ends. One person’s junk is another’s treasure. I have lots of them in the category of costume jewelry, personal accessories, bric-a-brac, and dinnerware. Something new comes into the store every day. I wake up each morning looking forward to the next surprise purchase. People far and wide know that I buy valuables and home décor so they come, sometimes in droves. There are dry spells when it is my turn to go on line in search of goods or put an ad in the paper. This takes more time but gets good results. Sometimes you get modest items, usually small pieces of furniture or glassware and sometimes you get a real deal unknowingly. You pay a modest price and then the perfect buyer comes in who pays a premium for what he or she wants. I have had bidding wars on some pieces. One, in particular, was a lovely piece of furniture that came into the shop not long ago. It had a good story to tell.

The item was an antique chest of drawers with terrific bronze decorative pulls. It is said to be from the collection of Elizabeth Taylor. At one time her estate was auctioning off everything she had owned—jewelry of course but also home goods. The person who brought me the desk boasted of its provenance. I was game but the piece showed some surface damage. I had to decide whether to repaint it and make it more modern or strip off the stain and apply a new coating. Antiques are not that much in vogue these days so I elected to go the paint route. To get an even application, I borrowed an air paint sprayer. I didn’t have one as mine went on the fritz years ago. I had to look around a bit as I wanted a sprayer that was attached to an air compressor for easy usage.

I so looked forward to repurposing the chest of drawers by making it a modern color—blue. Blue is a popular color and can be used in a bedroom, baby’s nursery, or guest/spare room. It adds a pop of color and livens the space immeasurably. Now a well-loved piece of Miss Taylor’s furnishings was about to get a new life. I must tell you that it looked great. The blue was a fabulous choice and I had picked a really pretty shade. After it dried, I displayed it in the store and it garnered many oohs and aws, not subtle comments. The problem was that two customers saw it at exactly the same time and both wanted to buy it immediately. I didn’t know who was there first. So, the two people started a bidding war and to my delight the price doubled. I had put in a lot of effort with the paint spray and air compressor, so I felt it was fair.

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Vintage