Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Little Stinker

At first there was just one. But one little stinker always seems to attract others until the whole place reeks of the startling scent of trouble. At least I'm learning to overcome that aspect of gleaning goods from the trash.

The good news is that I tried almost every remedy under the sun for eliminating furniture odor, and the fixes, along with the painting, seem to have finally done the trick. There is hope, for this Little Stinker and all those to come who will find their way to our doorstop in need of a new life.

When I first brought this guy home, he had been a chain smoker, apparently unaccustomed to using a coaster, and he seemed to have mistaken his top for an ashtray.

 Remember him? He had been badly burned and his wood was marred 
with all sorts of frightening sights.

Here he was with his posse the day we met. Oh the memories. It's like a rehab reunion. Look, there in the mix is the Pure Fresh Milk table too, before it got "Purified"! They are all coming along and doing so well, but then that's another story. Let's try to stay on track.

To counter his harsh history, Little Stinker was first cleaned with a damp rag and put outside around back to fumigate. I could still smell him from around the corner, about 20 ft. away, so an extreme makeover began. After sanding him down, the hope was he'd be set free from his odorous demons as the top layer of finish was removed along with the accompanying nicotine build up.

But that didn't cut the stink! So he was well-cleaned with bleach water and left out in the sun again. Yet, my oh, my, this Little Stinker was stubborn!

Over the course of the week, numerous methods of odor removal were also tried:

Mixing vinegar and water, he was wiped down and left in the sun again all afternoon. A bowl of vinegar was set in the drawer and closed for a while, and then he was wiped down with vinegar a couple more times for good measure.

Later, baking soda was sprinkled inside and on the top and a bowl full of it was placed in the drawer and left to absorb odors.

At one point, he was wiped with ammonia and water and left to think about his habitually bad behavior and stubbornness. I was hopeful he was softening and ready to reform his ways.

After repeated treatments, his demeanor began to change and the scent of his former life began to dissipate. I could actually get within 10 feet before my nose was assaulted. We were making progress! As time and treatments racked up, one could get pretty close before the stale cigarette smell would register. Then we had a bout of rainy days. Once that was past, I broke out the straight vinegar without water added, and set him back under the sun. They say sunlight is the best disinfectant, but at this point he was in danger of a sunburn.

Finally, the result was a reduction of the odor to the point that paint was now in order in the hope that it would cover whatever scent might remain and lock it behind a protective cover. After using wood filler to repair the area where the damaged area had been sanded, a homemade chalk paint recipe was mixed up for the white part and a sample of a light gray was used for the body. And hallelujah, the odor was gone! Good thing because now that he was newly painted, the rains came again and he had to come inside. We don't let just any old stinky varmints in the house. They have to prove themselves first. He had been banished for good reason during his stinky stint.

Meanwhile, his handles had to stay despite the fact that I was not a fan of them, because all but one of the screws were stripped, so I decided to paint the top a darker gray to speak to the dark finish of the handles and to provide a bit of a contrast to the rest of the piece.

So here he is looking dapper, sophisticated and smelling as clean and fresh as he looks!


But there's just one other little issue he must overcome now that he is reforming. You see, he has scars. They can't be wiped away with vinegar and sunshine like we did to rid him of his body odor. Those old ways of life leave lasting evidence of the poor choices of our past, and they travel with us no matter how we dress ourselves up in the classy style of the day. It's the same for Little Stinkers. My concern is that some folks may see his scars and shun him, seeing those rough edges as reason enough to turn away.

The thing is, I knew right off he'd have scars. When I first started to work on him, I thought he would end up distressed and that little mark would add to his character as it did on a previous Little Stinker that went through our Quirky rehab program some time back. That one's scar just looks like part of its distressed charm.

However, as this Little Stinker's rehab progressed and he cleaned up his act and became a real smart dresser, distressing seemed out of the question, almost an insult to all he'd accomplished in his effort to rehabilitate. How could I tear him back down after all he'd done to take the high road and spruce up? He was so proud of his new way of life, the redemption he'd found.

So the plan formed to give him a tattoo of sorts to commemorate the life gone by and draw attention to his scars by outlining them with something beautiful.

My hope was to paint something there. Have you ever seen how tough guys sometimes get a rose on an arm with their "girl's" name on it?  I thought a flower might work to highlight the edges of his scar. Unfortunately, I haven't the talent of a tattoo artist, and my sister Mary gave me a flower idea that I hoped would work, but I tried it in chalk as a test and I just couldn't do it. I think there were just too many petals for non-artist like myself to try and draw.

Today, however, I got this from picmonkey...

...and thought maybe something like it might work either in white on the dark gray, or done in the light gray.

However, then I saw this idea at where she put old ledger paper into the area where she had missing veneer on an old chair. Back before I filled the burned area on the Little Stinker, I could have done something like this. I could foreseeably get the scarred part of his top back to it's original state and try this technique (the original state was a deep pockmark with the particle board showing and shredding where the veneer had burned off, and the veneer was buckling too). That would take quite a bit of effort though, and then I would need to find another way to tie book pages or whatever into the overall look as well so it isn't just sitting there oddly for no apparent reason.

So here are the options:

Add the pages of something there to show where the scar is.

So let's recap.

Here's how the Little Stinker used to roll: A little mold, mildew, burns, nicotine stains, stench. He looked exhausted as well.

Now the Little Stinker is sporting a classy look sure to catch the ladies' eyes.

I'm also thinking of maybe striping his legs there where the wood has a raised bit. I'd do it in the dark gray.

Think it over with me. Don't make me carry Little Stinker through the final trials of his rehab all alone. Try to imagine some sort of tattoo on the burn spot to highlight his former life with a soft new touch. A rose was not my first choice; I really don't love the idea of a rose, but if the scar highlight is a flower, it would need to be something very simple that could be done with one color and look a bit like a line drawing like the tattoo. I originally thought that it could be a flower with a slightly flowy vine or tendril that came out and went down and around the leg or across the top a bit. But I don't want it to be too in your face or for it to overpower the Little Stinker or to take away from his classy new style, but I don't want it to just appear like a flower stuck on the corner either. It needs to fit with his overall look and and new life. Simple. Classy. Fresh.

This bedside table is ready for a new life. He wants to look his best to get off on the right foot. Next up after we highlight his scar will be a new nickname.

After all, he's been redeemed. We can't keep calling him "Little Stinker", now can we.

He'll be shining over at

Cowgirl Up @ Cedar Hill Ranch
Mod Mix Monday @ Mod Vintage Life
Mod Vintage Life
Metamorphosis Monday @ Between Naps on the Porch
Inspiration Friday @ At the Picket Fence
Vintage Inspiration @ Common Ground
Share Your Cup Thursday @ Have A Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson
Treasure Hunt Thursday @ FMFPTY
Wow Us Wednesday @ Savvy Southern Style
Be Inspired @ Elizabeth & Co.
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday @ Coastal Charm
Mop it Up Monday @ I Should Be Mopping The Floor
Saturday Nite Special @ Funky Junk Interiors
Fridays Unfolded @ Stuff & Nonsense
Home Sweet Home @ The Charm of Home
REDOUX @ Redoux Interiors
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Furniture Feature Friday @ Miss Mustard Seed


  1. The little stinker is beautiful, Liz. Fabulous transformation. I don't think the scar is a big deal. I wouldn't give it a tattoo. Like the Nester says "it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful".

  2. Oh my! That little stinker sure cleaned up nice! I love it scars and all. The colors are so crisp and clean. Great job!

  3. PePe Le Pew - Liz, did you not see that you painted him like a dressed-up skunk? I love him just the way he is, but I am the one who always looks for furniture with a mouse or rat hole chewed in it. I did love the Rosemary treatment and I also like the idea of a tattoo. Have you thought of something raised off the surface? A small piece of tarnished silver - maybe a round plate glued over the scar? Make him proud whatever you choose! He has worked hard to come up to your standards.

  4. Wow! What a transformation and a labor of love. I'm sure the little Stinker appreciates everything you've done for him. Despite is boo-boo, he's still a real treasure. It's nothing a well placed plant, basket, or dresser scarf won't disguise.

  5. what a difference you have made in little stinker's life! I don't know what would be best...maybe just leave as is. I like it!

  6. awwwh,he's lovely,such lovely soft colours. No rose,too tissy. x

  7. He is beauiful!

    Something like a rose wouldn't really fit the clean and beautful look. I would rather let him stay as he is... or I would add another thin wood plate on top as a final layer and paint it also in the dark grey.

  8. Hi my sweet friend Liz!!!!!!
    I admire your trasformations with the old pieces of furniture!!!!!!
    Have a nice weekend!!!!!!!!

  9. I always think that the "scars" on furniture makes for better character. I love it! Great job!

  10. Amazingly beautiful! I wouldn't do anything more to this looks classy and elegant. I think he needs that as his final "attire". A little scar never hurt anyone and, in fact, would lend to his questionable past that now has been overcome. A "badge of honor" so to speak!

    I love it as is!



  12. Hi Liz, as usual a very entertaining story. Little Stinker is now a beaut! Don't think I would paint a rose. I kindof like him just the way he is. Even in his unperfect state. I do like the idea of a book page if you could figure out a creative way to apply it. Love the grey and white combo! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  13. Poor guy, he's had a rough life! But he was worth saving and you did a great job!

  14. So much love and tender care have given new life to your little table. it looks so beautiful now.

  15. The little stinker turned out beautifully!

  16. Unbelievable transformation!

    Linking from Mod Mix Monday,
    Ricki Jill

  17. Thanks for visiting my blog! I am in love with this "little stinker". He is gorgeous! Love the color choices!

    Jenna @


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