Dumpster Diving for Furniture

One of my many hobbies is irritating my wife. One of the ways I do this is by finding furniture in the alley and bringing it home. The pieces are invariably dirty and beat up, which makes it hard for her to visualize what we could actually end up with. But, with a little bit of sanding and painting, most of these end up working out very well for us. We've gotten quite a bit of stuff this way -- to date: a cabinet for my home office (which holds my printer very nicely), a bookcase for our spare room, a large dresser (which I now love), a wrought iron end table (which might have been a plant stand), and now this:

Our lower level has these weird ledges along the floor. We believe that the basement floor was lowered, but that they weren't able to go all the way out to the foundation walls. The result is a 10"-12" deep ledge along outside walls. We've been on the look out for stuff that might fit on the ledges and help us better use space. Here's what we came up with, in our main downstairs room. Everything under the bookcase (wall, footing) is part of our wall.

Here's what that bookshelf looked like when we found it in the alley.Very dark wood, rough finish, but very sturdy.

It took days to pull this off. Lots and lots of sanding and filling. This is real wood, but it was probably something some guy hand built and hung on his garage wall 40 years ago. Lots of nicks and dings, and I ended up adding a few of my own, including accidentally ripping a chunk of wood off when trying to remove the cross-beam. Oops. But yesterday, I finally got it bolted to the wall, and applied the last bit of touch up paint and sanding, and today we've got a nice looking bookshelf that almost looks like a built-in.

This was almost too big of a project -- I'm not sure I have the patience to go through this again, but for sure, I'll keep an eye out for something else good in the alley, just in case.


wail of ignorance said...

I've found some good furniture that way too. Just be careful not to bring home any bedbugs. (Not that it's happened to me, but it's easy to imagine.)

Anonymous said...

Well, when I broke that one piece off, a bunch of spiders fell out. But no bedbugs!

Just kidding. Yeah, I'd never take anything with cushions or fabric on it, and I definitely clean and inspect everything.