W.W.J.D. (What Would Joanna Do?) Farmhouse-Style Decorative Shelf


As I mentioned in my last post, I have a soft spot in my heart for garage sales because you never know what you're going to find.  Take this wood-and-wire-boxlike-sifter thing, for example.  I found it at a garage sale, and I had no idea what it was.  I simply knew that it was interesting, and that Joanna Gaines wouldn't have passed it up if she had spotted while antique shopping in Waco.

So, I offered $2 and walked away as the proud owner of... whatever it was.


Eventually, I figured that the best way to re-purpose the box would be to use it as a decorative shelf, and even better, I knew just the place to hang it.  Earlier in the summer I refinished a simple wooden cabinet that Joel and I had purchased at Target shortly after we got married 16 years ago.


The cabinet had been sturdy and solid, yet bland, so I reverted to the easiest solution: paint.  The piece looked more polished when its original finish was updated with dove-gray paint, and as an added touch, I completed the piece with a lattice stencil pattern.  After positioning the cabinet into a corner of our family room, I knew that the garage sale box-sifter would be a perfect compliment to hang above it.


Using a Valspar paint sample from Lowes (Cathedral Stone), I painted the box a slightly deeper shade of gray than the cabinet.


Then, to add texture, I applied a light coat of liming wax on top of the paint.  Using short strokes (and an old paint brush), I tapped the wax in parallel strokes and then gently buffed it until the wax resembled wood grain.


The result?  A soothing weathered finish that looks more like a stain than an opaque paint.


I hung the finished box above the cabinet and accessorized with simple accents, like my newly-upgraded tray, a white ampersand figurine (TJ Maxx), a black metal lantern (purchased at a garage sale for $1), several faux succulents (found on clearance at Michaels craft store), and geometric wire metal wall hangings (given to me for free at a garage sale because the original vases were missing). 


The entire space is neutral and calm.  I love how the terracotta pots provide a pop of orange, how the greenery adds life, and how the repeating black metal accents provide contrast to the softer gray and white tones.


As added confirmation, I saw a similar wood-and-wire shelving unit at Michaels shortly after finishing my own piece.  It has three separate shelves and a more decorative border, but it also was originally priced at $79.99.  I tell you, it made my $2 investment seem all the more worthwhile.


So, moral of the story: if you're shopping at a garage sale and you find something interesting, take it home with you.  (Even if you don't know what it is.)

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And while you're here, check out some additional fun DIY projects:
Creative Ways to Fill a Picture Frame
How to Hide Unsightly Computer Wires
What Pennies and Paper Clips Can Do: Homemade Curtain Weights

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