Monday, November 28, 2011

Define: Crusty

crusty [ˈkrʌstɪ]
adj crustiercrustiest
 having or characterized by a crust, esp having a thick crust, rough

If you looked up crusty in the dictionary you would see a picture of this buffet-

This is a piece I found for a custom job. 
It is turning out so NOT crusty. :) 

PS. Does anyone else get perturbed when people leave gorgeous furniture (such as above) out in the rain and elements?


We have the regular police.
We have fashion police. 
We need some "don't leave great furniture outside" police. 

Those found guilty of such a heinous crime will be made to clamp and glue such abandoned pieces.  

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Worlds Most Expensive Bar Stool

This is a bar stool that I found at Goodwill for next to nothing. 

Hardwood, totally solidly built, great patina (the picture doesn't do it justice) and with a very interesting stamp on the bottom. 

I saw it when I was loading it into my car and I thought "Oh I should look that up when I get home."
But I forgot.

I planned on leaving it the way it was, just oiling it a little, but I was going to take it to a market in a week and I already had a lot of stained pieces, so I thought it would be better to paint it. 

I sanded it, primed it, and then came to post it. 

The next morning I had this comment from my friend Shelly

"The first thing I would do is flip over that bar stool and check to see if it's stamped with S. Bent & Bros., Inc. stamp. I recently gave a simple color wash to a chair I had sitting up in my garage for a few years and before the paint was even dry my sister gasped "SHELLY! Two of these just SOLD on ebay for $400 ea"! My chair was stamped 1867 I think? Oops! My bad! Check it out! It may be your lucky day:)"

Oh. My. Gosh. 
What did I do?!

So I rushed onto Ebay and found a similar stool with a bid of $127 and still climbing. 

I know.

So I called some friends who deal with antiques asking (begging) if I took the primer off and restained it,  if it would keep it's value. 


So here it is now. I do love it, but I'm still kicking myself for forgetting to look up the stamp and succumbing to the pressure of painting. 

It's painted in Frost and Pencil Point by Behr and waxed with Howards Citrus Shield.

I love that's it's a little vintage and a little chic at the same time. 
It would look adorable in an entry way to leave your coat and purse on or in a kitchen or a bedroom. 

For more info look under the For Sale tab at the top of the page. 

PS My Mom painted the picture hanging behind it in high school. 
It's called "Love, Lines, Angles and Rhymes."
I think she should start painting again. :) 
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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

How to create a simple budget for your business

Many of us who restore furniture and resell it use the term "business owner" rather loosely. 

We started doing something we enjoyed and then it took off in ways we didn't expect. 

And I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that we didn't go into "business" because we were excited or enthralled with the idea of managing our finances and setting up a budget. 

Like I said, going out on a limb here. :)

But if we truly love what we are doing, we need to take time to make sure that we are spending less than we are making in order for us to make a profit and stay in business. 

Here are some things I do to maintain a budget for 551 East. 

It's simple, but it's working for us!

1. Set up a separate bank account for your business. 
Most banks have great options for small business owners. You don't need a business license to have an account, but make sure to ask what their requirements are. For example, minimum balance etc. It is so helpful to be able to see your cash flow both in and out that is separate from your personal/family expenses. 

2. Track your expenses. 
I keep a spreadsheet of expenses per piece I restore. For example, here is my cost breakdown for the ombre stained dresser. 

Purchased: $30
Stain: $15
Sand Paper: $5
Hardware: Free
Estimated gas for pickup/electricity for sanding: $7

Total: $57

Like I said nothing fancy, but it helps me remember exactly what I spent on a piece so I know how to price it to make a profit.

 3. Plan for the future.
When you stared your business you made an initial investment. Maybe it was $50 maybe it was $500. Either way at some point you will most likely want to expand your business and to do that you will need more cash.  As I've mentioned before, we started with $350 investment of our own money. Every time I sell a piece, I reinvest the cost of the piece plus 10% of the profit to help our business grow. So for example, the ombre dresser sold for $160.

Dresser sold: $160
Cost: $57
Profit: $103
10% of the profit to reinvest: $16

It doesn't seem like a lot, but it does add up over time. You can off course adjust the percentage to reinvest according to your wants and needs. 

4. Be flexible.
A budget, although a useful tool for remaining disciplined, it's not set in stone. Don't think of your budget as an absolute ceiling to how much you can spend but is instead a tool for making sure you are meeting your goals and can justify any departure. If you see that changes need to be made, do so. Also, remember that a budget should be reviewed periodically. 

OK enough of this budget lesson!! 
Go outside and enjoy the fall weather! 

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

the family that takes pictures together, stays together

I'm taking a personal moment with this post to show off my little family. 

I am so grateful that Jake and I will be celebrating our 3rd year of marriage next month. 

I'm also so grateful to be a mom to Rhett. When we went on our Sunday walk, Jake and I talked about how we couldn't have been blessed with a more fantastic little guy.

We just got the proofs from our family picture shoot we had done in August and I love all of them! 

So here are some of my favorites.

OK I showed off more than a few. :) 

But I want to thank Heather from Heather Bliss Photography for helping us capture our family at this stage! 

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ombre Stained Dresser

 This dresser is one of my Craigslist finds from last week. 
It's an amazing piece. 

The wood has an incredible grain, it's solid and dovetailed, pretty much it's the piece that you hope for every time you hit a garage sale. I bought them from a sweet family who just moved here and didn't have a place for these in their new home. It was their grandmother's dresser and I could tell that it meant a lot to the family. When I picked it up she asked me if I was going to paint it and she had this look in her eye, almost like she wanted to ask me not to. I told her I had some ideas involving mostly stain and she looked visibly relieved. She told me her grandmother was very traditional, but was a little eclectic at times. I really could tell she was emotional about selling it so I promised her I would try to make her grandmother happy with the finished product.

So I used the Ombre style...but with stain. 

I'm thrilled with how it turned out. I love stain. I love the warmth it emits and the way the wood grain shows through. I love combining a current trend (ombre) with classic stain.

Here he is before, just as a reminder.  

He sold at the Barn Sale this past weekend to the cutest mom who was going to use it in her son's room. 

PS I sent the family I bought it from a picture of it's updated look. They loved it and felt like their grandmother would have loved it too. I think that makes me the happiest; knowing that I was able to keep some of the integrity of the piece and the owner it originally came from. :) 

PS This piece was featured on Apartment Therapy this week! 

Where I party!






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Friday, November 4, 2011

Meet Winston

I'm not really sure why this piece reminds me of Winston Churchill. 

It's obviously not a traditional British flag, but according to a little bit of internet searching, it is very similar to the flag of England.     

So for now, for no better reason than it makes sense to me,  I'd like to introduce you to Winston.  

I love him. 

I think he'd look smokin' in an entry way, classic in a bedroom or a conversation piece in as a buffet in a dinning room. 

Here he is originally.

 I stripped and sanded the whole piece, stained it in Minwax Cherry and painted the drawers in ASCP Old White and Behr Forbidden Red. The hardware is from...our dressers. Yes, we are currently without hardware. Oh the things I sacrifice for my ugly duckies. :) 

Right now he is in at my booth at the Barn Sale in Gilbert. 

And he's up under the For Sale tab at the top of the page. 

PS. I figured out why he reminds me of Winston Churchill. 

A strong piece, 

but totally awesome. :) 

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