I was so excited to open the latest issue of Yankee Magazine. Why, you ask? I'm one of three "upcyclers" featured in their Home section! That's me on the left, shopping at Todd Farm flea market, and that's the "after" photo of the piece I repurposed for the article.
This article was nearly a year in the making, but I enjoyed every moment! Many thanks to writer Lindsay Tucker, photographer Kindra Clineff and videographer Kathy Kliskey for making me look like I know what I'm doing! It was a pleasure to work with each of you!
Now for the back-story. Here are some photos of that same piece when I brought it home from the flea:
I am always drawn to unique pieces with quality craftsmanship, good bones and a story to tell. This piece was no exception. With a little research, I discovered that it was originally a collapsible parlor organ, called a Melodeon. It was built in the 1860's of rosewood and mahogany and likely spent the first part of it's life with a traveling preacher and his choir.
That said, it had its issues:
A previous owner decided to remove the actual organ parts from the piece. To do this, they literally ripped off the top, front, and inside supports. The piece was then reassembled using scrap parts and nails, but not in its original configuration. You can see the obvious damage to the joints and structure from the photos. And the top of the console, though made of beautiful solid rosewood, was irreparably warped and had to be replaced. But I saw instantly what this piece could become, so I went to work.
I added an internal shelf and used the existing notch (originally for the pipe leading from the foot pedal to the organ) to install a power strip.
Next, I painted the base. I went with a "sophisticated" grey in latex paint and mixed in Websters Chalk Paint Powder to make my custom color act like chalk paint. I generally use paint colors that I've matched to vintage pieces, so I LOVE that I'm not restricted to a specific paint palette with Websters.
Last, but not least, I replaced the original top with some scrap pine boards. I used a dark walnut stain, as I knew it would 'pop' next to the grey paint. A little sanding, some wax, and a couple of Home Depot hinges and I was done. And I couldn't be happier!
As stated in the Yankee Mag article, I am currently "in love" with this piece. It sits in my living room, next to my ultimate dumpster dive (I'll repost from my old blog, Brookline Street Studio). It currently holds four iPhones, two iPads, one Macbook, and a samsung mp3 player...with room to spare:-)
So, now that the Yankee article is published, I'm feeling the pressure. Pressure to post, to list on ETSY, to give more time to my business. It's been a tough year. Growing kids (one on crutches), a move to a new town and school system, a studio move, and caring for a dear grandmother who has gone from living independently to being in a skilled nursing facility with a hip fracture and a diagnosis of Alzheimers in just a few months.
And I have the happiest event happening in only three weeks---I'm getting married to my true match, my soulmate, my best friend. I didn't really believe in true love before meeting Doug, but I'm a happy convert. Somehow, I will pull together a completely DIY wedding in three weeks. I'll keep you posted...really, I will!
Have a happy day!
Michelle Cooke (Graham...soon!)