a tall dresser in a tiny apartment.

    July 16, 2018

    It’s a chief joy of mine to find something that someone else discarded and to make it mine. One woman’s trash becomes another’s treasure and not much of anything goes to waste. With the exception of our bed frames and our crib, we’ve found the rest of our furniture on Craigslist and eBay and at old fashioned tag sales. But every so often, we’ve also found a treasure curbside, abandoned there for trash pickup or neighborly treasure hunting. 

    Purchased or found, most of our furniture finds have included hauling the piece home, washing it up, and maybe doing a bit of light sanding or painting (or both) to freshen it up a bit. But in April I collected this new-to-me dresser that needed more than a little care and quite a bit more imagination.

    I’d been wanting to swap our changing table for a taller wardrobe or dresser for months. I’d pinned similar pieces on Pinterest. I’d scanned local listings and eBay. I’d hunted around antique shops near my hometown. I was anxious to make better use of the vertical space in Faye and Silas’s room and Silas’s squirminess during diaper changes is only matched by his older sister’s before him, so we felt ready to replace his changing table with something that could make better use of the space, especially because there’s no closet in their room.

    When we spotted the tall piece of furniture on the street near our apartment, I was immediately hopeful, but the dresser was in objectively rough shape. Originally a kind of Art Deco china cabinet with glass doors, there were at least seven layers of paint, missing moldings and pulls, and one perplexing label-maker made sticker. It looked far more like trash than treasure and I almost left it curbside, but my dad was in town and so I took advantage of the extra set of hands and hauled it home. A few weeks later, it was ready for prime time.

    For anyone’s who’s interested, here are a few of the nitty gritty details that might behelpful for any treasure hunting you’re doing:

    I started the project by removing the decorative moldings on the top of the dresser. It gave the piece the simpler, more streamlined look that I preferred, but it also served to make the top of the cabinet more useable for storage.

    Next, I removed the glass panels from the doors. I didn’t want to have to worry about my kids shattering the large panels. I originally planned on replacing the glass with fabric tacked to the inside of the door frames—Faye and I even picked out sweet fabric together—but after a few weeks of Silas putting his hands through the fabric, I decided a solid replacement would be preferable. Two sheets of birch veneered plywood cut to size at the hardware store, and some wood glue later, and I had myself solid doors.

    The toughest conundrum was knowing that the dresser almost assuredly had lead paint. I didn’t want to sand it myself, and certainly not in our apartment, so we took advantage of the extremely serendipitous timing of our lead paint remediation and I paid the gentleman doing the work to strip the dresser safely for me. (If you plan to remove lead paint yourself, definitely do your research and make sure you do it safely.)

    After the paint was removed and the plywood glued in place, I used a bit of wood filler to fill in spots where original veneer was missing and to fill in the gaps around the plywood panels.  

    To finish, I primed and painted the dresser before we moved back into our place in June. The exterior paint was generously provided by Farrow & Ball. I went with Faye to their Brooklyn store to choose a color and despite encouragement to choose something quite a bit more vibrant, she insisted on painting it gray. We settled on their Plummet paint in an eggshell finish. It’s a really lovely grey—not too purple but still with a hint of blue. On the inside, I used the same Simply White from Benjamin Moore used throughout the rest of the house.

    To replace missing cabinet pulls, I chose these tiny 1-inch Glass Knobs from Historic House Parts. For the bottom drawers, we used two Brushed Nickel Bin Pulls from Rejuvenation. (To keep our little guys safe from a tall dresser tumble, we used simple Corner Braces from our local hardware store to screw the dresser directly into the wall.)

    Finally, I used a variety of differently sized Paper Bags from Uashmama (in the Cachemire color!) to sort clothes and keep them organized in a small space. I like to let Faye pick out her own clothes, so the bags make it super easy to let her take a look and select a shirt or shorts, etc., without sending tiny piles of stacked t-shirts into disarray.

    On the bottom of the shelf, we’re storing unruly play silks and tutus and our assortment of games and puzzles. (I store them in zipped pouches and drawstring bags because whoever decided puzzles should come in enormous cardboard boxes did not live in a small space with a penchant for order.)

    Other things:

    Painting furniture.

    Leather drawer pulls.

    Lined dresser drawers.

    my week in objects (mostly).

    July 13, 2018

    five little things that made my week.

    1. these ruby fruits.

    {just look at them.}

    2. this stainless steel.

    {because toting around individual bottles for everyone on our nightly picnics gets cumbersome. this helps.}

    3. these tiny prints.

    {because as faye immediately recognized: one for new york and one for connecticut.}

    4. this salad.
    {but mostly summertime.}

    5. these snapdragons.


    {even if they did get promptly claimed for the kids’ room.}

    other things:

    pause to reconsider a plastic straw ban. (also.)

    fruity frozen float.

    extremely good nail polish colors.


    postcards from swing districts.

    everyday gift registries.

    selfishness or survival?

    cotton gauze or bust.

    provence week! (see you there.)

    ps: don’t forget to enter to win $300 to bridge & burn.

    a golden giveaway with bridge & burn.

    July 11, 2018

    This post and giveaway is sponsored by Bridge & Burn, makers of classic apparel for men and women.

    The light in the evening lately is, in a word, glorious. When James and I steal quiet moments on the roof after the kids are asleep just one flight down, the setting sun burns orange over Brooklyn. Our faces, the tree-tops, the silvery reflective paint on the tops of buildings and chimneys, are all cast in a golden glow. Rooftops are momentarily electrified. If I sound like a desperate romantic, well, guilty as charged.

    Bridge & Burn is a longtime sponsor of Reading My Tea Leaves and this week they’re offering one lucky Reading My Tea Leaves reader a $300 gift card to shop their collection for themselves. As always, their shop is filled with practical and purposeful pieces, perfect for exploring with.

    Here are a few just-released things that caught my eye—an ode to July heatwaves and stealing quiet minutes on close-to-home adventures.

    A pair of shorts for adventuring in (many pockets included).

    A golden-hued shirt dress for day hikes or date nights.

    A solid pair of sunglasses for sun protection…and intrigue.

    A sunny bandana for soaking in ice water and cooling down with (also good for toting a handful of cherries).

    An insulated bottle for water…or rosé.

    A mineral sunscreen stick for the tip of your nose.

    A trusty pair of lichen-colored overalls.

    A fork and spoon combo for sharing a sundae.

    A sun-blocking bucket hat (so good!).

    A summer chambray for layering over bathing suits or sundresses.

    A breezy short sleeved button-up with teeny tiny fireflies for staying cool on hot days.

    A rose-colored sweatshirt for keeping warm on breezy nights.

    To enter the giveaway, submit your email address into the form below. (Bonus entries for folks who follow Bridge & Burn on Instagram and Facebook!) 

    Each entry via email or bonus entry will enter you into the running for this Bridge & Burn x Reading My Tea Leaves giveaway. The entry form closes on July 18, 2018. A winner will be chosen by July 20, 2018. The winner will be notified by email. Once accepted, the winner will receive a $300 gift certificate directly from Bridge & Burn (to use online or at one of the flagship stores). By entering you agree to be added to the Bridge & Burn mailing list. Bridge & Burn sends several emails a month detailing new products and giving access to special sales. You can unsubscribe from the list at anytime. Apologies to international readers, this giveaway is open to readers in the US only.

    See something you’d like to snag right away? Reading My Tea Leaves readers get 15% off Bridge & Burn items with the code RMTL15. The offer expires July 18, 2018.

    This post is sponsored by Bridge & Burn, thanks so much for supporting the brands that support Reading My Tea Leaves.

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