Monday, January 26, 2015

Repurposing the Den

Way back in December (2014) I blogged about this credenza that used to live in the den of our current home.  When we converted the den to a "laundry room", we had this whole wall unit removed.  It had been custom built in place, so when the workers "ripped it out", they really did Rip It Out.  We lived off-site during this part of the remodel, and when we drove up one day, we found it sitting in the rain in the driveway along with other materials to be hauled away to the dump.

Den toward the North
Den toward the South
So Lee and I picked up the credenza and the two bookshelves and ferried them into the back garage where they've lived since December 2012.
The bookshelves from the Den

Well, this Summer, to Lee's chagrin, I told him that I wanted to put them in my Sewing Room for my fabric storage.  Yeah, I got The Look, but I persevered.

By October, he didn't protest too much any longer, grin.  We unloaded everything, and when we lifted it up onto the saw-horses, we were unpleasantly surprised to find a mummified squirrel and her babies on the floor under it.  Grizzly.  I was going to wash the pieces off before sanding them, but this find made it imperative to include some bleach in the solution as well as a stiff scrub-brush. Ugh.


After a thorough scrubbing, (inside, outside, and upside down) the credenza was ready for a couple of coats of varnish to stop the bleeding of the knots in the pine.

I took the doors off and the hardware, too.  All the hardware is from the 50s and is in good shape.  I'll reuse them.

Inside view from the top
Damaged Edge of Credenza

There is one shelf that runs the length.  It is fixed and held in place by cleats on the underside along the stiles.  It's very sturdy and should be able to hold tons of fabric.

The top was ruined when the workers tore it out of the house, so we'll have to replace it.  I'm thinking of getting a laminated top, but may use a length of solid oak.

They used a crowbar to remove the shelving and credenza from the walls, and there are quite a few places along the edges of each piece that need to be repaired or rebuilt.  I find Plastic Wood works best for me.  It adheres well, dries hard and can be sanded to a sharp edge to match the original edge.

Now, this will never look like new, even painted, but its a well-built solid piece of furniture and will do just fine in my sewing room.  At this point, it's been patched, has two coats of shellac on, and one coat of semi-gloss enamel.  The weather turned too cold (below 55 F) to paint anymore, but when Spring arrives, it won't take long to finish up.  I'll be sure to post pictures when it's done.

By the way, I thought you might like to see how the "den-turned-laundry room" turned out.  Below are some pictures of the den after we painted the knotty pine walls using Shellac and Semi-gloss Enamel on the knotty pine (Behr's Linen).  It's now a laundry room and home to our elliptical (not shown).  Gotta say that I really love this color.
Laundry twd South shellac on the knotty pine
 Laundry twd South with 2 coats semi-gloss Linen
New plumb-wall using drywall twd North

Linking to Rubbish by Roan

Until next time......



  1. glad you saved that shelving! too good to go to dump!

  2. Nice job, and hard to believe the construction guys put that good 'stuff' out for the dump. Good you came along when you did, or someone else would have snatched it up!! Can't wait to see the finished piece in place!

  3. Reuse and repurposes! Tom The Backroads Traveller

  4. Perfect and genius! Our last house had that same wood in the basement and it was one of my pride and joys about the house. Incredible beauty and durability too!

  5. Love the laundryroom! Everyone should have such a pleasant and lovely laundryroom, and so few do! It's a treasure. But, that credenza is a true treasure...saved from obscurity to become a much loved and much needed sewing room storage piece. Love it! Lots of hard work, but I know it will be worth it.

  6. I hope I remember to watch for when you finish them. I like the room after the knotty pine was painted. I like the idea of finding a use for the shelves, too.

  7. By the way, I am very familiar with the area in which you live. My husband is from Chesapeake and we have lived there off and on in our adults lives as well...have friends near Pungo and Knots Island. I am also a quilter if you want to check out my piece-fulness blog as well. Have a great day!

  8. Nice to see you saved the shelving.

  9. My dad built a credenza into the family room of our first home (at least my first one). I hated to sell the home and leave it there. He built another one, this time separate from the wall so it could be moved. When the time came, it followed me to two condos. It was too large to carry up the stair, so the book case on top was carefully cut and reassembled upstairs. When we sold our second condo it went with it. I hope the new owners appreciated all of my dad's handy work as much as I did. - Margy

  10. That is a beautiful piece! I am so glad that it did not go to the dump!! Too bad it was damaged in the reno, though!

  11. Good use for something old and likely better built than something you'd have built new.

  12. I think it's GREAT that you were able to save this piece and transform it into something you can use!

  13. Oh be still my heart - the look of all that wood really made it go pitter-patter! I adore wood. It looks lovely now, but I still like the before pic! Glad you could save the credenza, but how rude of the squirrels to turn it into a coffin....

    1. Oh, Allie, I know! That wood was pretty, but the old man that had been living here used a kerosene heater in that room for who-knows-how-many years, and it (like everything) was incredibly filthy. (He became a hoarder after his wife died, I'm told) I washed it 5 times and the water in the bucket was still running black, plus all the finish started to peel and lift off. It was a mess, and full of nail and screw holes. Much easier just to sand, plug the holes and varnish it. Those two vents in the one picture needed to be removed, too. This old ductwork was defunct, and the holes in the wall ran straight up to the attic without any firebreaks. They used the panels on the plumb-wall to repair these panels with the large holes (then they dry-walled that wall, so it looked kinda funny). We removed all these vents in each room and place a firebreak in each hole. It was quite a chore because the other rooms are plastered.


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