Being Barefoot and Creative

Years ago, when I started renovating our home, my husband kept telling me to put my shoes on. "You can't demo walls wearing flip flops!" "You're going to get hurt putting up drywall with no shoes on." Then my parents would come over and yell at me too. But I kept renovating barefoot and refinishing furniture barefoot. And walking around the yard barefoot.

When I was laid off one Memorial Day weekend, I decided to spend the summer having fun at auctions and yard sales. After finding tons of great pieces, I would refinish or restore them and put them on the porch. for safe keeping. At the end of the summer, the love of my life asked what I was going to do with all that furniture. I had no clue.

I figured what comes around goes around and brought it all back to the flea market to sell. So many people loved seeing the finished pieces and vendors pointed me toward other flea markets where they thought my items would do well. By the next spring I was working the flea market circuit like a champ! When I needed a name for my Facebook page, Barefoot Designs came to life!

Barefoot Designs blends DIY, recycling and refinishing into practical designs for daily living. It is a total thrill to watch these lost treasures come back to life! Although not everything that comes my way can be saved, any piece beyond repair lends their salvageable parts to future projects.

This handsome table was on it's way to the landfill when I found it. Although it was simple enough to replace missing screws to secure the legs and base, the top was a bit trickier. The first layers of wood were warped and had to be removed. An easy task for the portions that were warped, however, for the sections that were still intact...what a great arm workout!

It is no secret that I can't resist old things - the dustier and mustier, the better! What some may see as blemishes in old furniture, I see as a story - a conversation starter. These pieces were made to stand the test of time and each nick and ding is a reminder of good times, family and friends. These pieces have served well over the years and deserve another chance to shine!

This poor girl had a missing drawer, broken leg and the swag embellishments on the front were damaged beyond my skills. Unfortunately, and trust me, there were tears in my eyes, the gorgeous detail had to be removed. My husband nicknamed her "Firewood" but I had a vision of what she could be with a lot of love.

So I made a template from the good leg and pieced together a new one for the other side. By adding a shelf to replace the missing drawer, this piece officially turned into a server. After a lot of sanding and by layering various blues and greens, this one was no longer destined for the curb! In fact, it never even made it out of my Red Room (actually my bar aka winter workspace) before she found a new home.

These treasures come to me from many places including auctions, flea markets and yard sales. However, the pieces dearest to me are passed along from friends and family. I refinished a dining room table and six chairs on the premise of hosting family dinner each year. That was a one hit wonder tradition and I was stuck with all that furniture. I started with the side chairs and cut off the backs. After bolting the sides together and reupholstering a new seat, I had my first of nine benches. Eventually I made my way to the head chairs (below). This piece scored major attention at the flea market! After that I started bringing little chalkboards to mark items as SOLD!

Sometimes I go hog wild on "I can do something with these" items and end up with a slew of raw materials and long forgotten design plans. That's when I start digging through the scrap wood, odd tiles, shutters, table tops, you name it. And an original Barefoot Design is created! These mismatched shutters and some scrap wood were turned into a one of a kind side table.

Once I got started, my house became to last exit before the landfill. Many a day I would find various pieces of furniture in my backyard. These chairs came from my best friend's basement (they were left by the previous owner, oh, about ten years before). I created the ultimate scrap wood upcycle and turned it all into the Patchwork Bench.

Barefoot Designs does more than just salvage. I can help you find the perfect accent piece or refinish your own piece to give a little pop to your décor. If you are renovating a room and need advice, let me know! I've never been short of opinions!

Since new pieces are always being added to the mix, stock is constantly changing. Visit us on Facebook at facebook.com/barefootdesignsbyjeannie for previews of upcoming pieces and some before and after shots. Check back often. You never know what you may find!

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