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I’ll bet that there are plenty of objects around your house that no longer serve their original purpose and, yet, they’re not quite ready for the curb. And then there are those items you come across that make you wonder if you could somehow bring them to life in a way no one ever imagined. It sort of makes you feel like Cinderella’s fairy godmother when that happens. Oh, I know it’s not nearly as dramatic as turning a pumpkin into a carriage, but sometimes it’s pretty darn close.

I’ll show you a few transformations that jazzed up some old pieces — and a brand new one, too.

Chandelier do-over…

Who hasn’t had a light fixture that wasn’t in bad shape but was no longer quite right for a new room? That was the case a year ago when I moved into this house that desperately needed renovating. And, yet, I couldn’t just toss out this light fixture, so it sat in the garage for nearly a year.

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There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this light, except that it hung in the former dining room. When walls came down, the dining room moved to a different part of the house. The light had to go.

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This is a no-brainer. The bowl already had a hole in it for drainage. What else was I going to turn it into? A cocktail hat?

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At the big home improvement store nursery, I spotted some wicker hanging baskets with succulents. They were priced at $25. I picked up all of these plants for about $20, and I have quite a few more than the premade basket. And I like my bowl better than a basket.

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I have a black thumb and have no idea what these are, other than succulents. But I think they’re intriguing. And I’ve seen them sprout all sorts of alien looking stalks, flowers and wings and things. I hope I don’t kill these before they get a chance to sprout or bloom or whatever they do.

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It really is a pretty bowl. It would have been a shame not to use it for something that people could enjoy.

Oh, and one more little detail. Those curved arms that held up the bowl now are supporting bird feeders along the back fence.

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Another piece of good luck was that each curved arm had a hole at the base so it could be screwed onto the fence, and another at the top where you could slip a little “S” hook to hold the feeders. How perfect is that?

It’s a what?

 I was wandering around HomeGoods the other day and noticed an item on the clearance shelf. I didn’t need it but it was marked down to $2 and it gave me an idea. Again, this is pretty simple, but I’m saving the best for last.

I’m not a fan of public toothbrush holders. I’m too germ phobic for that sort of thing. My toothbrush has its own private hidey hole and it doesn’t come out to play when there’s company. But if it did, it could live here:

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I can’t imagine four toothbrushes comingling, but this ceramic holder with a brushed chrome bottom has better things to do than holding someone’s toothbrush.

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  I think that’s much better. And the roses stay perfectly upright in their little holes.

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A piece of the kitchen in the bedroom…

This next repurposed piece doesn’t have a before photo because it wasn’t changed, it simply was used in a slightly different way than originally intended.

This smallish bedroom, still a work in progress, needed a dresser or some sort of furniture against the wall facing the bed. A high armoire looked totally out of place because it was too deep and chopped the wall. After months of trying different pieces, none of which worked, a trip to IKEA solved the problem.

The same style of cabinets that were installed in the kitchen now make a perfect floating wall unit that stashes T-shirts and socks as well as the cable box. Since it doesn’t touch the floor, there’s a little room underneath to accommodate a portion of the dog beds  so they don’t take up so much room when not in use.

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The repurposed piece is that long top, which was going to be cut to match the size of the cabinets, but a last-minute decision was made to leave it, making the room look longer and allowing for more surface space. I think it’s the perfect piece.

The kicker is that the top is actually a side panel for a pantry found in IKEA’S returns section for $2.50. Seriously, under $3 for the cool top.

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cable box

I found the glass and metal knobs at Cost Plus World Market.

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Dexter likes to sleep in front of the cabinet but he also tends to nibble on the bottom drawer pull. That chair used to be black with a sort of bold zebra print on the fabric (yikes), but it’s in the process of being recovered with a canvas drop cloth from Lowe’s, which will match the headboard that’s covered in the same canvas. I wash them with a little bleach first. But that’s a whole other post.

Mirror mirror on the wall…

Finally, my very favorite recycle project. The bedroom above had a wall of wood-framed, mirrored sliding closet doors. Three huge doors. Almost exactly like the ones below in a photo that I found online. For some reason, it never occurred to me to photograph the doors when they were still on the closet. Maybe because I wasn’t fond of this room.


When the mirrored doors were removed from the bedroom, they were left leaning on the dining room wall to keep them out of the way until we figured out where and how to dispose of them. Well, they never left the dining room. Take a look.

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Are those mirrors perfect on that wall or what? Best of all, it was pretty easy to do except that they weigh a ton.

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You can see the original frame next to the glass. The ornate molding was nailed tightly against the original with a nail gun. The frames were painted a shade darker than the wall.

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There you have it, the grand finale. Even The Very Handsome Luke had to get in on the action.

Have you repurposed or recycled something interesting? Or crazy? I’d love to see it. Luke says he would, too.