Don’t Trash-Talk my Treasure—

Sunday morning, when Sara and I were walking home with the New York Times, we found this table along the side of the road.

Long time readers of my blog will know my passion for transforming  trash into treasure.  I love to repurpose potential throw-aways into absolute blow-aways, ultimately recreating garbage into art.

Needless to say, finding this table made me think along these lines and want this week’s posts to be less about words and more about image—all about transforming pretty-much-trash into potential cash.

So sit back as I share some transformations with you—today a table I repurposed when we were still living in Haiti—scrap lumber scavenged after the earthquake came to me as a raw, rough, and unpainted table.  With a two foot square top, it sits about a foot off the floor. 

After lots of paint and even more found paper, including a map of Hanoi and left-over invitations to a reception with Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, the table now looks like this:

This week I’ll share photos, both of the newest table’s transformation and of older repurposing projects.  I’ll be curious to see which one you like best.

Have you ever repurposed a potential throw-away into something, not only worth saving, but also worth praising?

30 thoughts on “Don’t Trash-Talk my Treasure—

  1. You remind me so much of my sisters. All of us believe in recycling and renovating….I think this is why I can so relate to your motivations for transforming alleged trash into works of art! Kudos for doing it so well!
    My younger sister (her name is Fatema, I call her Fats) buys old wooden objects and small pieces of furniture from flea markets and sands them, stains them and embellishes them with colourful designs before selling them from a ‘shop’ she operates from her house. It’s a unique enterprise and she sells a lot, which is great because she works very hard and is brilliant. I should do a post on her one of these days.
    The two of you would get along like a house on fire. We believe she is bipolar too 😉


    • Gosh, Munira, I would LOVE to see your sister’s work! Please do a post about her. And how interesting that she might be bipolar. So many of us with that diagnosis are creative–uber-creative, even. I want to see Fats work!


      • It’s a weird coincidence, because I was hanging out with her yesterday and she was telling me about something she’d done, which made me think about the sheer volume of work she has produced over the years….and I told her I needed to write about her…let people know about her 🙂
        I also think I should drag her to a doctor and get her diagnosed!


      • That is weird. Does this mean we can hope for something about her sometime semi-soon? And, yes, get her to a doctor. But I would love to know how mental illness is treated and understood in Pakistan–or Muslim countries in general.


  2. Beautiful, Kathy! I always love your designs and your re-purposing skills. I don’t know if I’d have the talent (or patience) to transform trash into art (and cash!) like this, but I LOVE that you do this! 🙂 Can’t wait to see more photos this week.


  3. Gorgeous table. It looks like one of those game tables that go for beaucoup bucks.

    I’ve done a fair amount of furniture transformation myself. My favorite remains an old rickety sofa table that I painted blood red and black with lots of happy pink Goddess of Willendorf figures dancing on the top. My Goddess table.


  4. I hate throwing things away…I try to find another use for whatever it is…drives some folks crazy…but it makes sense to me…an old large cabinet makes a fine floor in my new shed. 😉


  5. I love love love the Haitian trash-turned-treasure table! 🙂 And I can’t wait to see what you do with this little round beauty. I’m a little bit pathetic when it comes to repurposing things. But I was looking around the house, and I realized that the small white planter we had been saving as a future bookshelf for our baby would look really pretty in an espresso color (to match the future furniture and outlet covers). It may not be nearly as crafty as your decoupage genius, but hey–repurposing is repurposing, right? 😉 Thanks for the inspiration! 🙂


    • Maybe it’s just the ability to see the potential in trashed furniture. Or maybe it has to do with having spent so many years needing to make do with next to nothing that I learned to become creative. I don’t know. I suspect you could do it too, Terri. You’re extremely creative!


  6. Absolutely LOVE the Haitian “treasure from trash” table you made 🙂 Will have to see if I can dig up a picture I have of two tables I painted that we all call the “Tap Tap Tables” — painted in the style of a Tap Tap 🙂

    I have a thing for maps. LOVE seeing the little bit of map on your table!!


  7. Your table turned out really nice. My husband and I once made a table back in the 70’s. He glued wood together and then sanded it. We burned the top and poured on that really shiny laquor, the kind you used to see bar tops made of. It turned out really pretty. Then he built a pedistal and put the top on. It was the shape of a stop sign.


    • Your table sounds wonderful, but it sounds like a lot of work, as well. Good for you and your husband! Plus, I love the idea of the shiny top. Do you still have the table?

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to enjoy my table!


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