Furnishing A New Home On The Cheap, Part 1

This post aka: Bragging On My Husband.

The Strider and I purchased our first home in early June, as readers of TCR know. Previously we lived in a 750 square foot efficiency apartment (with two babies. yes, it was tight by American standards, but it CAN be done).

Now we’re in a 1700 square foot home with separate living room and family rooms, three bedrooms, an office, laundry room, built in office nook, and one bathroom. It’s been fun adding things to it and making it feel more like our space.  I thought I’d continue that fun by sharing some of the ways we’ve added to our home’s usefulness and comfort without spending a heap o’money on new things.

This initial post is, I recognize, on something not everyone can do, but it’s so cool I’ve got to share.

Our house was built in 1959 and belonged to the same family from then until this year. A couple bought it, raised their children in it, and then passed away in it. Their children, who clearly loved the house, were the managers of the estate. One of them was also the selling realtor for the house. She walked through it with us, asking us about whether they should take or leave various items no one in the family wanted or was able to take (this is how my husband inherited a fabulous tool shed, but that’s another story for another post).

This was in a shed in the backyard:


There were plywood and pegboard drawers on every shelf; each of them containing odd and end tool things. Huge and solid wood, it used to be in an old Post Office. “Are you guys okay with us leaving that?” the seller asked. It was one of those marriage moments where two minds are acting as one: “OH YEAH.”

I knew immediately what I wanted it for. While the house itself is a dream house, the kitchen has some limitations. Both counter space and food storage space are limited and will require some creative rethinking. This cabinet looked *perfect* for adding some of both.

We painted the kitchen yellow and someone suggested spray painting the cabinet red. This seemed like a decent idea, until I started sanding it down… the grain of the wood was so beautiful that I felt like I’d be the worst of graffiti punks to just paint it all over. Then again, I can barely keep up with the house, the babies, and baby #1’s medical appointments so I knew I would be biting off FAR more than I could chew to even contemplate refinishing it. I told my husband I’d just paint it, and then someday hope to get back to refinishing it.

He asked me to let him do it… I said yes, provided he knew I couldn’t finish unpacking the kitchen ’til it was done. He made it his top priority project, bless him, and worked hard on it even on a week his job had him working sixty hours, doubly bless him.

This is it in its mostly finished glory…. isn’t it purty? And functional? And amaaaazing? I spray painted the plywood drawers; they match my kitchen valance and curtains. I will be getting knobs for them once I’ve found some I really like. Currently the drawers hold things like cookie cutters, measuring spoons and cups, graters, aaaand more tbd. The drawer holds spatulas, whisks, and wooden spoons.

I go into small fits of ecstasy every time I step into the kitchen these days and I can’t wait to make a batch of chocolate chip cookies or bread!

Later posts: I’ll share all the cookbook titles that I’ve got on the shelf, because if you’re like me, you’re peering closely at them. 😉


This entry was posted in family, frugalities, housewifery, organization, vintage. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.


  1. Posted August 6, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    That is a great piece of furniture! Strider did a wonderful job!

  2. Posted August 6, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    That’s awesome! But your story sounds just like us. We bought our 2 bedroom, 1 bath 1954 house from the original owners who raised 4 kids in it – we hope to finish the basement and add another bed and bath before we (God willing!) reach 4 kids but I can’t complain because I know they managed.

    Our kitchen was also not the most function I’ve ever seen but we scrimped and saved and just finished renovating it (including a fresh coat of yellow paint!) pretty much all by ourselves (with a toddler, while I was pregnant – yes we are crazy). For me, and it sounds like another area we are similar, one of the best parts of doing things yourself isn’t the money saved, although that’s great, it’s having such a tangible reminder of the blessing of a loving, hard-working husband. Can’t wait to see more of your new place!

  3. Kat Menard
    Posted August 6, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    Great job! It feels so good when you can make something awesome out of a give away item! I just received two little cane-backed armchairs and am so pleased at how they are turning out–with only a bit of effort.

  4. Judy Cook
    Posted August 6, 2012 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful!! and what a wonderful labor of love. WOW. love y’all!!!

  5. Cindy Watson
    Posted August 7, 2012 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    absolutely gorgeous!!

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