Charity Shop Bargain

Charity Shop Bargains

Where charity shop treasures are concerned, sometimes I think they are just destined to be mine.  Usually people say you have to visit them regularly to catch the good things before they are snatched up by someone else.  But for me, some days I am just ‘drawn’ into them after months or years of passing by only to find some little treasure.  A little something that is just what I have been looking for…

Charity Shop Bargains
Studio pottery vase bought for £4 and little cherry blossom vase bought for £1.
Charity Shop Bargain
Royal Doulton candle holders bought for £3

A really small but long standing problem in our house was storage in the hallway.  We had trouble finding a cupboard which was slim enough not to take up too much of the width of the hallway, but big enough to hold hats, gloves, scarves, helmets, shoes, dog walking essentials, keys…the list goes on!  I had a situation going on with a mid century sideboard.  It didn’t have the storage we needed but I had worked out a way it kind of worked, although the functionality of where things were stored still wasn’t perfect.  I like the idea of having everything you need to exit the house all in one well organised but beautiful place!

So two weeks ago, Keith was working from home and I wanted to get out of his way for a bit.  I had a really strong urge to go to the local charity furniture shop, which I hadn’t visited for nearly two years.  One metre in from the entrance I saw the perfect cupboard for the hallway.  I would say that was destiny!

I looked at every single inch of the cupboard ensuring it didn’t have any major issues.  I tapped my way along all the different sections to determine whether it was solid or ply panelling.  I looked inside and out and along the edges and corners to see whether it was solid wood or veneer.  I was quite certain I was looking at a completely solid hard wood piece of furniture.  The only risk I took buying it was to do with the colour of the wood – it was red.  If it had been stained and then had a clear varnish applied, I would have a hard time getting rid of the red but if the red came from a red tinted varnish then I would be able to strip it off with a chemical remover.  I took the risk and bought the cupboard for £50, thinking if it was red I would just paint it.

The Red Cupboard

Teh Red Cupboard
Humphrey, my fur baby, has always been such a poser!

When I got the cupboard home I applied some Nitromors, which is a chemical paint and varnish removal product.  Even after one coat I could see that the red was being removed with the varnish, which was the best outcome for me and the lovely natural colour of the wood was beginning to show.  I reapplied the Nitromors two more times until the all the layers of red varnish had been removed.

Stipping the Red Cupboard

A Stripped Section

After stripping the entire cupboard, I gave it a light sand and a wipe down.  I applied Lord Sheraton Caretaker wood balsam, which is a combination of beeswax, pine turpentine and linseed oil.  This nourished the wood without altering the colour.

Waxed Cupboard

Original Features

The results definitely outweigh the work – this cupboard is perfect!  It fits everything inside it and although it didn’t look amazing when I bought it, I think it does now.  I love reusing old objects and furniture.  Not only is it a thrifty way of furnishing and accessorising – these pieces create interest and a sense of individuality to our home.  I no longer have any excuses – now I have sorted the storage problems out, I’ll have to finish decorating the hallway!

Restored Cupboard

Restored Cupboard



    1. I could not believe my luck when I saw it – everything in perfect condition. That red varnish proved to be good protection over the years. Claire xo

    1. Thanks Chris… I can’t take credit for the mirror though – it was just another example of popping in somewhere obscure to find the exact thing I was looking for. Claire xo

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