April, 2010 Contest: Do you enjoy shopping in consignment stores and antique shops? If so, are you looking for anything in particular or are you just browsing for bargains?

Congratulations to our contest winner!
Katherine Browngardner of Redding, CA

Both! It is really fun to go with an open mind even if a particular need is the reason for the trip. My favorite thing is to use an item in an unusual way.

For example, a lathe was used to turn 8′ posts (cut in half ) into the legs of a sturdy farm kitchen table. Another time, a mirror orphaned from its dresser was removed from its incredibly ugly wood frame and was resized to fit the wall behind a cooktop. It now bounces light and was less than half the cost of a new mirror and was less than 10% of what the cost would have been to tile the area. I am continually eyeing thrift store furniture and visualizing pieces that can be transformed with a coat of paint or decopage. Incredible bargains are also available in linens, kitchenwares, and dishes. Applying a little creativity goes a long way.

Since reading Use What You Have Decorating, I have learned to buy objects in pairs or groups and try to create pairs, as necessary.   Before reading UWYH Decorating, I had a used wingback chair that needed reupholstering. I bought some fabric to make a slipcover and started on it. Then, I read the book and realized I needed two wingback chairs. Oops! I went hunting for a similar chair and was blessed: The chair I found was already covered in the exact same fabric I had selected for the slipcover! I did hire an upholsterer to do the work when the whole thing sat unfinished for too many months. He did an excellent job restoring the one chair and completely redoing the other. Now, everyone comments how beautiful they are and, even though not exact copies of one another, they create a welcome cozy spot for sharing tea and scones with a friend.