Vintage Pieces & Lifelong Friends


A fun foursome for the 4th!

Some friends stay in our lives a few months, others for a couple of years.  The best friends stay in our lives for life!  I have known My Man for almost five years and along the way, he told me many stories about his college days.  I’ve listened to a number of funny stories about his adventures with his college roommate, Brett, at the University of Arizona.

fast-times-ridgemont-highThey lived the life in college! Serious students, with Brett playing kicker for the Wildcat football team and Nick working as the president of the business fraternity, I always imagined they both looked a bit like Jeff Spicoli (left) in college.

Fast forward 24 years later. One evening in January, My Man mentioned he had talked to Brett that day.  I begged him to call Brett and figure out when we could all meet.  A couple of weeks later they were on the phone and I was in the background shouting, “Sunday?” “Next Sunday?” “Saturday?” “Lunch?” “Dinner?”

We finally met and have throughly enjoyed spending time with Brett and his lovely girlfriend, Kasia. Recently Brett showed us a new property he was working on – gutting an old warehouse in Redwood City.

Wildcat Alums: Nick and Brett.

In the warehouse sat a couple of vintage workshop cabinets.  They were in very bad shape. Brett asked me if I wanted one of them.  I said YES!  I jumped at the chance to get my hands on it!


My Man hauled it home a couple of weeks later and we sat on it, debating what to do about the top as well as how to refinish it. When Maddie Fineman suggested I use it for shoes, it was go time!


A few days later, we took out all the drawers out and scrubbed them, carefully taking off all the hardware.  The main structure needed a few new screws to make it sturdy in a few places.


I spray-painted all the hardware a brassy, gold color.  They looked so different all brightened up.

After the drawers dried, we pulled the nails and tacks off of them.  I sanded all the drawers and the main piece twice, dusting each piece between sandings.

After a lot of conversation, we decided to use a couple pieces of barn wood on the top.


Before deciding we would stain the piece, I spent some time on Pinterest trying to decide on the finish.  I liked the look of the antique pinewood workshop cabinets on this website. Choosing Provincial stain by MinWax, I painted one coat on the drawers and let it dry in the sun.

After it dried, I painted two coats of Polyurethane on everything.  It didn’t dry as quickly as the stain so we let everything sit outside overnight.

In the midst of all that, My Man measured the barn wood and cut it to size for the top of the piece.  While I still consider myself the best person to run the drill, I let him run it as well.

We had a bit of a mishap with one of the boards splitting on the corner.  We rescued it with good ole Elmer’s Wood Glue.  Luckily the split happened at the back and it wasn’t noticeable.

The next morning we put all the hardware back on the drawers.  We couldn’t believe how handsome the drawers looked!


We carried the piece inside.  I put some fabric in each drawer. I didn’t glue it in because I knew there was a chance I might change my mind in the future.  The fabric would protect the shoes.

And now for the big reveal!  IMG_7127

The circle on the left, hanging above the piece, was a gift from the University of South Carolina track and field staff when I left USC in 2008.  It’s one of my most prized possessions!  It’s a championship pinwheel the women won for the 4x200m relay at Penn Relays.  The good ole days of Penn Relays and the Gamecock Divas make me smile every time I come in the spare bedroom (shoutout to Natasha Hastings on making the US Olympic team again!).

We couldn’t believe the difference from start to finish!  YES that is the same piece!

My shoes are loving their new home! IMG_7129


About UpCycling

daysunplanned View All →

Why Travel, Cooking and DIY? A creative type, I have always loved painting and decorating as a hobby. Upcycling is a real passion. My mom was a Home Ec teacher when we were growing up. I learned a lot from her and because I love hosting get-togethers, I had to step up my game in the kitchen as well. And lastly, my love of travel comes from my Grandma Schmitt.

An Illinois native, I worked in the White House Communications Agency early in my career (President Reagan), prior to returning to Illinois State University to finish my undergraduate and Master's. After a couple of post-graduate internships (minor league baseball and Big Ten Conference), I then worked in college athletics full-time for more than 22 years -- first at the University of South Carolina for 15 years and then at Santa Clara University for the last seven years. We moved to Tampa, Florida in Dec., 2016 after spending 8.5 years in Northern California.

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