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Every now and then in a rare Chicago moment, you’ll find something at an unexpected yard sale that is a steal. We often say that Windy City peeps are too smart for their britches, and landing a deal on a piece of furniture is like finding that needle in a haystack (or finding that ever-elusive 5 panel door). Most things are sold at a premium, and typing the words “mid-century modern” or “danish” into the Craigslist bar is no different price-wise than purchasing brand new.

We’re currently in a state of refurnishing this home, since up-sizing from 675 sq ft to almost 2,000 sq ft has left us with a lot of bare rooms. It’s ridiculously exciting to know that we’re essentially starting over (our sofa looks teeny in the new living room), but it’s also daunting. (A fun daunt, if you know what we mean.) But! A few weekends ago, we stumbled upon an alley sale, and $15 (and a good clean-up) later, we came home with this:

As we wind down summer, those neon SALE! signs are plentiful, but this time, a very unassuming alley sale held an insane amount of old bureaus, cabinets, tables and decor knick-knacks. Scott is constantly coaching me to keep my poker face (I’m terrible at this, just awful), but even he got excited when we pulled up and found all this:

In the way back of a Tetris-stacked garage, we found our little end table – when it comes to rummage sales, we always say, you don’t know what you need until you see it! – and a quick internet search for American of Martinsville (which was branded on the inside of the drawer) turned up some pretty hefty price tags. (Right away, I found our table’s twin on Etsy for $200; score!) It was beautiful as-is, but a 30 minute conditioning and new hardware was all it needed to take it from so-so to whistle inducing.

THE CLEAN-UP: The wood felt dry and slightly brittle, and there were a few water rings that needed to be buffed out. We didn’t go crazy sanding the whole thing, but Scott took out the mouse sander for the tabletop and drawer front, then I followed that up with our tried and true 3-step wood refresh method using Murphy’s Oil Soap, Danish Oil and Howard’s Feed-N-Wax.

There was a simple decorative inlay on the tabletop that shone through (and seemed to pick up more contrast) with every step, and with the exception of a slight burn mark, the rest of the imperfections buffed right out. Overall, the color of the wood darkened nicely, and the Feed-N-Wax pulled through with a pretty, low shine.

We ordered these Richelieu pulls from (the same place we picked up the hardware for our fauxdenza), which, I mean, can’t you see? They’re the icing on the cake! Yum. (They’re so pretty, I’m saying things like yum.)

Eventually, this will go in our living room, but considering that we don’t yet have a ceiling… well, for now, it’s sitting in the studio (which is equally unimpressive) until we start seeing drywall above our heads. Update: our contractor’s job prior to us has taken a bit longer than planned for, so we’re still waiting for them to officially kick things off here. Are we antsy? Yes. Are we flustered at the exposed studs, mis-matched floors and the inability to do anything about it? Yes. But ice cream helps.

At a time where we’re still hanging out in this very bizarre in-between stage – there’s no point in starting any larger projects until all the drywall dust has settled, after all – it’s so nice to knock out something small and very, very satisfying. How this will fit into the living room plans is still unraveling in our minds, too, but you can’t go wrong with lines like that. (Insert whistle sound here.)

  • Hannah K. - September 5, 2013 - 8:15 AM

    LOVE! I am trying to find a good second hand store in this neck of the woods that carries good furniture! What a great find!ReplyCancel

  • Katie - September 5, 2013 - 8:38 AM

    Good find! Love the pulls.

    I can’t remember if I blogged about it or not, but we bought a 3 piece bedroom set off of craigslist a few years ago, and later after doing some research found that it was worth a lot more, it was also american of martinsville. The piece that we use for our media stand is probably the most expensive piece of furniture that we own in terms of value, but thanks to craigslist we hardly paid anything for it.

  • Heather {A Fire Pole in the Dining Room} - September 5, 2013 - 8:58 AM

    What a cute find! I love the new knobs.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - September 5, 2013 - 9:18 AM

    Katie, your media stand is awesome! Just like you, I think my favorite part is the pulls – so, so good.ReplyCancel

  • Jodi - September 5, 2013 - 9:24 AM

    ooh! nice find. those pulls look really great, too.ReplyCancel

  • Laura at Rather Square - September 5, 2013 - 10:09 AM

    Wow, that is such a cool find. Aren’t you glad you dug through the mountains of furniture to find it? And I love how you cleaned it up, and that inlay! We have found some interesting things in our back alley that are worth a little something (especially since we got them for free), but we still have to freshen them up before we can use them.ReplyCancel

  • Cait - September 5, 2013 - 10:30 AM

    The end table looks fantastic! Great choice on the hardware!

    I totally know what you mean about getting antsy about the contractors not kicking things off yet! Our contractors dry-walled half the bathroom, but have now had to take 2 days off. I’m trying to be understanding, but mostly I’m getting nervous. Chocolate (and bourbon) helps.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - September 5, 2013 - 10:35 AM

    Laura, NOTHING beats a free alley find! We have a dresser that’s waiting for some love…

    Cait, is it bad that desserts and drinks help so much? ;)ReplyCancel

  • Amanda @ Our Humble Abode - September 5, 2013 - 11:16 AM

    Total steal! Adorable little table and you’re 100% right. Those pulls MAKE it. I’m adding Feed N Wax to my Home Depot run, too. Seems like magic.ReplyCancel

  • Cait - September 5, 2013 - 1:03 PM

    Probably a little bad? But I don’t care, because of all the drinks and chocolate!

    Also, I just remembered that I need to do a little bit of refreshing on some mid century nightstands that my mom rescued from her neighbor’s trash for me… BUT THERE ARE BATHROOM FIXTURES IN THE WAY.ReplyCancel

  • K - September 5, 2013 - 1:15 PM

    Great find! It’s always so refreshing to see before and afters that aren’t just painted wood!

    As a side note, I’ve been loving your posts about your new house. Such a huge undertaking!ReplyCancel

  • Amber - September 5, 2013 - 2:25 PM

    Get out of my head! My husband and I just moved into a condo in Roscoe Village, and are refurnishing. I’m wanting mid century pieces and so I scour craigslist but everything is priced the same as new pieces and so it is hard to get my husband on board with the idea of second hand. I guess I’m glad to hear those prices are just the nature of Chicago!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - September 5, 2013 - 2:52 PM

      Amber, hang in there! You’ll find something when you least expect it!ReplyCancel

  • stephanie @Babasouk - September 5, 2013 - 4:22 PM

    Stunning guys! You are so crafty….and courageous! :)ReplyCancel

  • ashley @ - September 6, 2013 - 11:13 AM

    Cute table! How big is it? I feel like sometimes great pieces like that do not match the height of more modern furniture. I’d be interested in seeing how you use it in a living room or something…but love it and it looks 10x’s better all freshened up.

    ps. totes right about not being able to land a great bargain in the city! even thrift stores like howard brown are pricey! great find!


    • Kim - September 9, 2013 - 6:46 PM

      Ashley, it’s pretty big! The biggest end table we’ve ever had…ReplyCancel

  • Jill - September 9, 2013 - 2:33 PM

    this comment is anything but original. oh wellll, LOVE IT! :)ReplyCancel

  • […] what a little TLC and wood treatment supplies can do to refresh a wood table, via Yellow Brick […]ReplyCancel

  • Emily @ Our Waldo Bungie - September 16, 2013 - 4:12 PM

    You find the BEST stuff, seriously.ReplyCancel


This giveaway is no longer accepting entries. A big congrats to Cait for the win, and thank you to all for participating!

Although it might not seem like it, especially lately, Scott and I actually wear (somewhat) decent clothes when we’re not taking down walls. (And ceilings.) I’ll proudly boast that I’m a bona fide T-shirt kind of girl, and yes, I absolutely have nicer tees when I’m not wearing my demolition tees. (Or painting tees.) For me, dressing up is wearing the slick black V-neck with the nicer jeans and a colorful pump; I’ve been known to suffer through the night for a bright pink shoe, as long as I’ve got my cozy (nice) T-shirt. And Scott? His rotating crew – pun intended – of slogan shirts are good for projects around the house, but even he has his ‘dress-up’ tees.

C’mon. You guys know what I mean. (Wait, right?)

In any case, when Los Angeles based Pickwick & Weller offered to ship a few of their shirts our way, we happily agreed! More tees, please! (For real, I don’t even know why I own blouses!) These guys are as serious about their tees as we are, and truly, it shows.

I’m wearing the Avery Boyfriend in Cement, Scott’s wearing the Sullivan (slim) in Baltic, and Jack is handsome in the nude, per usual. We love them. They’re soft. The tags don’t itch. They’re perfectly slouchy but fitted, they’re cozy and casual – and we wouldn’t dare wear ’em to pull up flooring. They’re the sort of tees that you’ll need in every color, and even if they weren’t giving one of you $100, we’d still tell you the same. We’d shout it from the rooftops (or our front porch, maybe), you know, if that wouldn’t be too weird.

Oh! About that $100? Pickwick & Weller is spreading the love by giving one lucky reader $100 to spend on their own T-shirt wardrobe. Pretty nice, right?

  • UP FOR GRABS: $100 credit towards anything at Pickwick & Weller // 1 winner
  • TO ENTER: Leave a comment on this post and tell us, what’s your favorite tee? Do you live in V-necks, swear by tanks or refuse to toss the threadbare shirt with your favorite band? Or sports team? (That’s me – Go, Pens!)
  • FOR ADDITIONAL ENTRIES: Share this giveaway on Facebook or Twitter, then come back and leave a comment letting us know. (One additional comment for each method – up to 2 extra entries!)
  • GIVEAWAY ENDS: Monday, September 9th, at 5pm CST
  • AND JUST BECAUSE: YBH readers get 25% off all orders when they fill in this quick survey all about – you guessed it – tees.

Good luck and happy entering!

  • Elisabeth - September 4, 2013 - 5:56 AM

    Love my Oxford Univerdity tee- three sizes too big but so comfortable.ReplyCancel

  • Amy raney - September 4, 2013 - 6:21 AM

    My favorite T-shirts are solid color v-necks, can dress them up with scarves or jewelry, or down with some shorts and sandals.ReplyCancel

  • Emily H. - September 4, 2013 - 7:16 AM

    I’ve got a few t-shirts salvaged from a church bin. Love them for cozy sleepy-time wear!ReplyCancel

  • Emily - September 4, 2013 - 7:26 AM

    I have a slew of favorite shirts from a local shop called raygun. My favorites say “Des Moines. Hell Yes.” and “Kiss Me. I’m Iowish.”ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie - September 4, 2013 - 7:27 AM

    My favorite tee is a charcoal V-neck from Madewell. It’s so soft and goes with everything! Sometimes I feel like I live in that shirt.ReplyCancel

  • Jess S. - September 4, 2013 - 7:29 AM

    Such a cliche, but I love my old college t-shirt. I could use an upgrade. :)ReplyCancel

  • Jenn - September 4, 2013 - 7:34 AM

    I would lOVE to stock up on some V necks for fall!ReplyCancel

  • Erin - September 4, 2013 - 7:39 AM

    I like dressing up v-necks with a statement necklace!ReplyCancel

  • Alison F. - September 4, 2013 - 7:40 AM

    Love these t-shirts! My go-to t-shirt is a thread-bare v-neck black tee. I wear it so much, but its starting to look like its days are numbered! Eek. I would love to do a little shopping at Pickwick & Weller. Thanks for the giveaway!ReplyCancel

  • Jennie Casavant - September 4, 2013 - 7:47 AM

    Love a v-neck!ReplyCancel

  • Hannah K. - September 4, 2013 - 7:50 AM

    I am definitely a v-neck kind of girl…and a “nice” tshirt girl in general! I can totally relate to having “nice” tshirts and “not nice” tshirts! — glad someone else can, too!

    Shared on Facebook!ReplyCancel

  • Dana - September 4, 2013 - 7:51 AM

    I live in scoop and v-neck tee shirts. I would love a couple of the Margo Long Fit tees.ReplyCancel

  • michelle@decorandthedog - September 4, 2013 - 8:04 AM

    Anything but a v-neck.

    The neckline on that Avery is great!ReplyCancel

  • Jen N. - September 4, 2013 - 8:14 AM

    V-necks, always.ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth R. - September 4, 2013 - 8:21 AM

    I love super soft v necks!ReplyCancel

  • Molly - September 4, 2013 - 8:26 AM

    My favorite tee? Its a toss up between my old school Sublime shirt (you know the one, white with the sun design, the one EVERYONE has owned at one point), and my old school, three sizes too big Grateful Dead tie-dye. Literally its old school, I bought it in 1998 when tshirts 3 sizes too big was cool. HahaReplyCancel

  • Molly - September 4, 2013 - 8:45 AM

    I have a Mustang shirt that was my Aunt’s from highschool. It’s the tissue thin & super soft. The best kind of broken in.ReplyCancel

  • Ashley @ - September 4, 2013 - 8:49 AM

    My favorite tshirt is from the Gap and coincidentally is called the “Favorite Tee”. It so soft and long (covers my long torso) that I picked it up in a few different colors! It’s great to wear with almost anything and to use as a layer!ReplyCancel

  • Sadie - September 4, 2013 - 8:57 AM

    I can’t bring myself to get rid of a Bob Marley t shirt that my Dad wore in college, it’s the perfect casual fit, soooo soft (i.e. threadbare), and I love that it was my Dad’s!ReplyCancel

  • Jana Griffis - September 4, 2013 - 9:09 AM

    I practically live in v-necks or a few favorite locally made tees when I’m not working… even though I do get away with wearing v-necks with my slacks most days… :)

    I LOVE that Avery boyfriend tee. I would totally be okay with rockin’ those Hannah tees too… or you know… the v-necks.ReplyCancel

  • Suzy Salfi - September 4, 2013 - 9:13 AM

    I love the Avery boyfriend tee. So cute!! Oh, and the pup is cute too!! :)ReplyCancel

  • Katie - September 4, 2013 - 9:13 AM

    I could wear a nice v-neck every single day and be very happy!ReplyCancel

  • Jodi - September 4, 2013 - 9:21 AM

    I <3 v-necks.ReplyCancel

  • Miranda - September 4, 2013 - 9:22 AM

    My favorite tee is a swoop neck, and specifically The Hanna from P&W. The extra long makes for an amazing fit on my short torso and is so amazing!ReplyCancel

  • Ilana - September 4, 2013 - 9:23 AM

    Love v-necks and anything neon <3ReplyCancel

  • Rachel - September 4, 2013 - 9:27 AM

    What an awesome giveaway! I love v-necks – super soft tees that you don’t have to wear an extra tank underneath – you know the ones that just fit and look nice on their own :-)
    I love your photos – gorgeous. And Jack is super handsome as always (perhaps he could fit in a small tee from Pickwick and Weller haha)ReplyCancel

  • T. - September 4, 2013 - 9:29 AM

    Love my scoop neck tee-shirts!ReplyCancel

  • andee - September 4, 2013 - 9:34 AM

    I love my broken-in t-shirt my friend’s mom got at Texas Tech in College. It is like 35 years old – so soft!ReplyCancel

  • Katie - September 4, 2013 - 9:35 AM

    I have a complete rainbow of Old Navy v-necks. Including 3 in the same color (one of which I’m even wearing right now). Can’t go wrong with a nice dark gray, right??ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - September 4, 2013 - 9:39 AM

    I love V-neck t-shirts that are slim, but not too tight. So comfy!ReplyCancel

  • christine hogan - September 4, 2013 - 9:40 AM

    I have a niners t shirt as old as I am with true to the era white cotton piping. I even wore it to get my portrait taken… i guess that was true to my tomboy roots.ReplyCancel

  • Emma - September 4, 2013 - 9:46 AM

    I LOVE v-neck pocket ts and my fiance LIVES (when hes not at work in a suit) in yankees t shirts!ReplyCancel

  • Kyley - September 4, 2013 - 9:50 AM

    I’m totally a t-shirt girl – it’s all I wear! I have to admit one of my favorites is a flash t-shirt that resembles something that Shelden would wear in the tv show the Big Bang Theory. Super nerdy, but I love it!ReplyCancel

  • stephanie - September 4, 2013 - 9:59 AM

    I love t shirts – especially v necks – and need to replace a few of mine that have gotten too thin over the past year!ReplyCancel

  • Nicole - September 4, 2013 - 9:59 AM

    V-neck, 4 lifeReplyCancel

  • The Tiny Homestead - September 4, 2013 - 10:01 AM

    These tees are new to me, but I just clicked over and saw they have boatnecks! My favorite!ReplyCancel

  • kelly rae - September 4, 2013 - 10:12 AM

    I’m really digging the Hanna scoop neck teeReplyCancel

  • Kate - September 4, 2013 - 10:17 AM

    I love a v neck but I would really love it if all tees would come in a ballet neckline (swoon).ReplyCancel

  • Emily R. - September 4, 2013 - 10:23 AM

    I spent way too many years collecting graphic tees from sites like Threadless and Woot, but I don’t really love them anymore, so they’ve moved to the back of the closet in favor of soft V-necks (preferably heathered!). I hope to get a couple of new ones soon, since I’m in the process of losing weight and being less afraid to have a shirt hug my body rather than drape over all the unsightly bits!ReplyCancel

  • Rupal - September 4, 2013 - 10:24 AM

    If I could wear a long cotton tank top every day I would. Most comfortable top ever (and just saw they have a cute selection :)ReplyCancel

  • Stefani - September 4, 2013 - 10:25 AM

    I pretty much live in v-neck t’s!

    PS that pic of Jack at the water fountain is so cute!ReplyCancel

  • Matt - September 4, 2013 - 10:28 AM

    My favorite t-shirt is a green slubby henley I bought in SF on a work trip!ReplyCancel

  • Kimberly @ Turning It Home - September 4, 2013 - 10:35 AM

    My favorite tee is a maternity tank top. Even though I am no longer pregnant, I cycle through the black maternity tank tops I have throughout the week. I’m like a cartoon character when it comes to clothes.ReplyCancel

  • Loni - September 4, 2013 - 10:38 AM

    I have a yellow D.A.R.E. t-shirt that I got while working at a summer camp – It’s covered in paint (the way it SHOULD be), I cut the collar off years ago, and some interesting holes have appeared over the years… I can’t wait to go home and put it on!ReplyCancel

  • Kayla @ Home Coming blog - September 4, 2013 - 10:41 AM

    I LOVE a big, baggy v-neck.ReplyCancel

  • Becca - September 4, 2013 - 10:52 AM

    I love my husband’s soft, broken-in v-neck tees. So comfy!ReplyCancel

  • Jessica G. - September 4, 2013 - 10:56 AM

    Very nice tees! My favorite tee is almost as old as I am. It was my dad’s from the early 80s, and it’s navy blue with those white puffy velvet letters (know what I mean?) reading “MONKEY HILL JAZZ.” I think it was homemade but for some reason never asked what it meant!ReplyCancel

  • Jackie - September 4, 2013 - 11:04 AM

    My favorite tee is an NPR shirt my boyfriend got me for Christmas last year. It gets worn once a week. I love it!ReplyCancel

  • krissy - September 4, 2013 - 11:06 AM

    I love the 30+ yr old t shirts I steal from my pops, so crazy soft and the perfect combination of shrunken and stretched.ReplyCancel

  • Kelly - September 4, 2013 - 11:14 AM

    Nothing like a good vneck! cant get enough!ReplyCancel

  • Annie - September 4, 2013 - 11:21 AM

    My favorite tee is a Gap scoop neck with cap sleeves in a really soft material. Pretty shade of blue I would wear it everyday but I’m afraid it will get worn out or stretched…ReplyCancel

  • Nicole S. - September 4, 2013 - 11:42 AM

    I love my heather grey American Apparel track tees, but also love a slightly fancy tee with a bit of detail or structure to it.ReplyCancel

  • Angela - September 4, 2013 - 11:48 AM

    I love my plain v neck tees! So much less constricting!ReplyCancel

  • jenn aka the picky girl - September 4, 2013 - 12:18 PM

    I own one tee shirt, and I only bought it recently. I know it sounds insane, but I just stopped buying them several years ago. Now all I want is to wear a nice tee, but they’re tough to find. I love a good v, but I really love the shirt you’re wearing. So cute!ReplyCancel

  • Leah - September 4, 2013 - 12:18 PM

    My favorite tee is an old one from my dad that is giant and perfectly worn in for sleepingReplyCancel

  • Tammy Sigond - September 4, 2013 - 12:21 PM

    all tees and always have…these days loving mine with Trueblood themesReplyCancel

  • Tammy Sigond - September 4, 2013 - 12:23 PM
  • Cait - September 4, 2013 - 12:41 PM

    I sort of live in the v-neck pocketed tees from Target, and Robert refuses to let go of his Ofxford University t-shirt and an old baseball raglan, despite the fact that they are threadbare. The Avery Long Fit looks right up my alley!ReplyCancel

  • Jill - September 4, 2013 - 1:01 PM

    I love a V-neck!ReplyCancel

  • Katie - September 4, 2013 - 1:30 PM

    I love hanging out in nice dri-fit tees. Something about the lightness and comfort. I’m a sucker for workout gear.ReplyCancel

  • Breezyred - September 4, 2013 - 1:33 PM

    I love wearing v-necks, though I find exact styles I like to be hard to find. I have recently found the Horney Toad Marley tees to be just right. My spouse lives in colorful crew neck tees. I am interested in trying some Pickwick & Weller now!ReplyCancel

  • Molly - September 4, 2013 - 1:35 PM

    I live in v-necks!ReplyCancel

  • Tangee - September 4, 2013 - 1:52 PM

    My favorite tshirt is a shirt from The Lumineers concert. It is super soft and lightweight. It looks like an eyechart (I’m an eye doctor) but with the bands name as the letters.ReplyCancel

  • Catalina - September 4, 2013 - 1:54 PM

    V-neck all the way! :) i love me my tshirts!ReplyCancel

  • Wendy - September 4, 2013 - 2:05 PM

    I love a V neck as well. I tend to find a favorite T, buy it in several colors and wear them til they need to be replaced!ReplyCancel

  • Max - September 4, 2013 - 2:12 PM

    My favorite T is so old and worn the image is almost entirely gone My father was wearing it the day I was born and despite it’s current threadbare state I continue to wear it.ReplyCancel

  • Alix - September 4, 2013 - 2:18 PM

    I love basic white V-necks, but it’s hard to find them in my size! I’d love to try P&W, since they seem to have more options in terms of styles and colors.ReplyCancel

  • Caroline - September 4, 2013 - 2:27 PM

    I go for tank tops and boat-neck tees w/ 3/4 sleeves. Love me some 3/4 sleeves!ReplyCancel

  • Karen - September 4, 2013 - 2:45 PM

    I live in soft v-necks!ReplyCancel

  • jackie - September 4, 2013 - 2:51 PM

    I love soft, lived-in v-necks!ReplyCancel

  • Amber - September 4, 2013 - 2:56 PM

    My go-to styles are scoop-neck, loose fit short-sleeve Ts and racer-back tanks. Both in bright colors or shades of grey/black.ReplyCancel

  • Kim Barrales - September 4, 2013 - 3:00 PM

    Ha! When I first saw this post I was like “ooo cute shirt, Kim!” And I was going to ask where you got it :). I am definitely a Tshirt and jeans girl. Love v-necks and distressed scoop-ish necks. XoxoReplyCancel

  • Kim B - September 4, 2013 - 3:02 PM

    Shared on FB!!ReplyCancel

  • Kim B - September 4, 2013 - 3:06 PM

    Tweet tweet :)ReplyCancel

  • Jane @ The Borrowed Abode - September 4, 2013 - 3:08 PM

    I’m a recent Tee convert! I used to always want interesting shirts, but thanks to one softer-than-a-cloud tee a friend brought me from a national park, I’m hooked! Now I’m on the hunt for a perfect white tee that I can dress up or down.

    I am stoked to check out Pickwick tees becuase they are Made in the USA, baby!ReplyCancel

  • Alex M - September 4, 2013 - 3:10 PM

    I love my V-necks!! :)ReplyCancel

  • monica - September 4, 2013 - 3:31 PM

    Always love a classic, fitted, v neck. I wear the sloppy ones to work, the nicer ones everywhere else!ReplyCancel

  • Jessica - September 4, 2013 - 3:45 PM

    I love my v-neck tees with little pockets from Target, and my sports team tees (go Flyers!) ;)ReplyCancel

  • Krista - September 4, 2013 - 3:48 PM

    I love a nice white V-neck t in the summer and a black one in the winter.ReplyCancel

  • Krista - September 4, 2013 - 3:49 PM

    I tweetedReplyCancel

  • Chelsie - September 4, 2013 - 3:57 PM

    I love the margot poppy pickwick & weller with army green. It’s been a summer staple.ReplyCancel

  • Crystal - September 4, 2013 - 4:10 PM

    Awesome giveaway. My favorite t-shirt right now is a super soft one from Teddy the Dog that says “Dirty Dogs Have More Fun”. But my N7 T-shirt from OSU is probably my next fav.ReplyCancel

  • Dave - September 4, 2013 - 5:32 PM

    My favorite T is my green Irish yoga shirt. I hope I have never been in one of those poses.ReplyCancel

  • Steff - September 4, 2013 - 6:02 PM

    My favorite tshirt is a women’s cut vneck. soft and so comfortable! That is about as sexy as I get.ReplyCancel

  • ann - September 4, 2013 - 6:17 PM

    As the weather cools my favorite has to be a 3/4 sleeve v-neck from llbean – can’t beat the comfort.ReplyCancel

  • Allison - September 4, 2013 - 6:24 PM

    I can’t abandon my old college T-shirts, even though they’re a decade old now!ReplyCancel

  • Kelli - September 4, 2013 - 6:28 PM

    I live for comfy tees! My current faves are a white Phillies crew neck, an orange Flyers v-neck (sorry to the Pittsburgh-favoring hosts!), and a plain ‘ol dark gray v-neck. They’re in constant rotation of my at-home wear. Though these would fit right in to my more casual than business office, so sign me up!ReplyCancel

  • Elise - September 4, 2013 - 7:13 PM

    I’m split between a plain grey v neck, a blue and white striped, and my new wbez shirt that I got for donating this year. T shirts ftw!ReplyCancel

  • Dana - September 4, 2013 - 7:36 PM

    I have two Cynthia Rowley tees that I can’t stop wearing this summer… both are v-necks and both are fabulously soft!ReplyCancel

  • eileen marie - September 4, 2013 - 8:21 PM

    Old Navy white vintage v-neck tees are my go-to!ReplyCancel

  • eileen marie - September 4, 2013 - 8:23 PM

    Shared on twitter!ReplyCancel

  • eileen marie - September 4, 2013 - 8:27 PM

    I shared on Facebook.

    You guys wouldn’t happen to be posing in the McGinley Pavilion (Chicago Botanic Garden) are ya? -We were married there in ’09. :)ReplyCancel

  • Shannon - September 4, 2013 - 8:38 PM

    I have an American Apparel tee that was part of a brides maid’s gift set – SO COMFY!ReplyCancel

  • lori r. - September 4, 2013 - 8:42 PM

    Love the comfy tees. I still have my t-shirts with my childhood favorite band on them. I think I’ll always keep those!ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth G. - September 5, 2013 - 4:42 AM

    My favorite t-shirt is a white crewneck.ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth G. - September 5, 2013 - 4:43 AM
  • April - September 5, 2013 - 6:10 AM

    My favorite t-shirts come from a local boutique. They’re locally designed and have fun prints.ReplyCancel

  • Julia @cuckoo4design - September 5, 2013 - 6:20 AM

    Love all the photos and location you picked for them.
    I’m a V-neck kinda girl but I pretty much like anything that is comfortable and no itchy tags is a must :)ReplyCancel

  • Carrie - September 5, 2013 - 8:27 AM

    Wonderful giveaway!
    My favorite t-shirt is any one I can steal from my boyfriend. His are more worn in and comfortable than any I own!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - September 5, 2013 - 9:26 AM

    i am a sucker for tshirts, and not even the stylish kind. i’m talking cheap, screenprinted, free from that one 5k i ran that one time type tshirts. i would probably definitely benefit from some more grown up clothes.ReplyCancel

  • Angela - September 5, 2013 - 10:09 AM

    My favorite tees are actually usually tank top (not too tight, not too lose) with a cardigan if the weather is right. i like to mix and match patterns (or patterns with solids). For tshirts, I tend to drift more to the relaxed boyfriend fit. I just really don’t like anything too tight on me! I blame it on the food babies I tend to get. :)ReplyCancel

  • Dan Polley (@polleydan) - September 5, 2013 - 10:55 AM

    I love my Keg Killer T-shirt from the Wisconsin State Fair.ReplyCancel

  • Sharon Flasche - September 5, 2013 - 11:38 AM

    Love my older plan T-Shirts, they go with anything.ReplyCancel

  • Meghan - September 5, 2013 - 12:23 PM

    V-necks all the way, although my love for t-shirts started in my teenage years while collecting band t-shirts… all of which are in a box and I have no idea what to do with them!ReplyCancel

  • Bethany - September 5, 2013 - 4:56 PM

    A solid white V-neck, can’t beat them or have too many – my husband and I agree! Shorts, Jeans, kakhis – they go with everything and always look sharp!


  • Kristin - September 5, 2013 - 7:23 PM

    I love a comfy v-neck tee!ReplyCancel

  • Janna - September 5, 2013 - 10:26 PM

    I’ve spent most my summer in jcrew V-necks! Love their bright colors :)ReplyCancel

  • Kara - September 5, 2013 - 11:12 PM

    I live in screen printed girlie tees.ReplyCancel

  • Brandy - September 6, 2013 - 8:04 AM

    I love white t-shirts….I just love them with a pair of jeans..scoop or v-nceck. In the cold weather though I love long sleeve tees…..they are so comfy! I need to get more of my own though because I keep stealing my fiancee’s but I can only wear those to bed because he is much bigger than me so they look like dresses :)ReplyCancel

  • Anna Kristina - September 6, 2013 - 1:49 PM

    I love v necks, and long sleeves in the fall/winter, but I also will be wearing my college tees until they disintegrate!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa P. - September 6, 2013 - 1:55 PM

    I live in ribbed tank tops all summer.ReplyCancel

  • Brooke - September 6, 2013 - 3:04 PM

    V-Necks all the way. Can’t get enough!ReplyCancel

  • Nicolette - September 6, 2013 - 8:39 PM

    usually i love v-necks, but i love the avery in scarlet!ReplyCancel

  • tess - September 6, 2013 - 9:42 PM

    pink & curvy TReplyCancel

  • Laine - September 7, 2013 - 3:21 PM

    My favorite tshirt has a drawing of an old Volvo on it–my favorite car ever!ReplyCancel

  • Madeline - September 7, 2013 - 6:44 PM

    I live in scoop neck t-shirts.ReplyCancel

  • Madeline - September 7, 2013 - 6:45 PM
  • Madeline - September 7, 2013 - 6:46 PM
  • Two Red Bowls - September 7, 2013 - 7:23 PM

    For some reason I love XS men’s shirts! My favorite is an All Saints scoopneck white tee — so, so soft. Second fav are these recent “perfect racerback tanks” by Madewell that are so soft that they feel like they’re barely there (as a result, they’re a little too sheer for public but around the house it’s amazing!) Both a little pricy but I guess that’s why they’re favorites.ReplyCancel

  • kolpin - September 8, 2013 - 11:03 AM

    i just bought a racerback tank that I love with a super cool twisty back and it’s a blue heather color.ReplyCancel

  • kolpin - September 8, 2013 - 11:04 AM
  • Anna - September 9, 2013 - 11:30 AM

    I love a black or navy v-neck!ReplyCancel

  • Jaime Lopez - September 9, 2013 - 5:08 PM

    I love the Hanna shirt, what an awesome fit. I love basics so I always gravitate to simple shirts with a great fit.

    – JaimeReplyCancel


Remember our trip to Jubilee where we picked up 4 new-to-us furniture pieces for the home? And remember how they all needed a little love (in one way or another)? Over the weekend, we tackled the first of the four, raising that old media cart to counter height and installing a faux butcher block top of sorts. Now, we have extra counter space! Our first little custom piece for the house! (Another small victory!)

The cart was in good condition, but it did need a good shining and a few alterations to make it really work for us and the space. It was too low for our idea to use it as a kitchen island, and the top was a bit too industrial for our tastes. After toying with the idea of buying a pre-finished countertop (wood? granite?), we decided to just make our own (surprise, surprise!), and as our first real foray into tabletop making (fauxdenza aside), we’re smitten with the results.

1/2″ plywood, cut to our intended finished size – 32″ x 46″
5 – 8′ 1x4s of select pine (for the tabletop itself)
2 – 8′ 1x3s of select pine (for the tabletop trim)
Danish oil for staining
Mineral oil for conditioning
1″ drywall screws
Wood glue
Finish nails
Wood filler (for touch-up)

Compound miter saw (to cut our 1x4s into different lengths)
Circular saw (to trim the excess)
Measuring tape
Sanding block / Mouse sander
Rags (for oil)
Ratchet straps (to hold things in place overnight)

WHAT WE DID: The media cart top was approximately 27″x39″, and we knew we wanted some overhang to create a larger kitchen workspace. Using a 1/2″ thick piece of plywood as our base for the entire tabletop, we had it cut to 32″x46″ at Home Depot, then used the compound miter saw to cut random lengths from the 8′ 1x4s. These would be the cosmetic planks for the actual top.

We played with different sizes as we went along, dry fitting 12″, 18″ and 24″ sections of the 1x4s until we liked the way the grains came together. (Side note: We chose select pine since it was smoother, had less knots, and we knew this would make our job easier in the end. It was double the cost, but well worth every penny.) We knew we didn’t want a perfect grid, rather, we wanted the feel of butcher block – but on a larger scale. Keeping two sides of our plywood square, we did have uneven edges from the different lengths – but that was okay; we knew we were going to trim it to size later.

After piecing our pine together (flipping and re-organzing until we liked the overall look), we glued one piece at a time in place, clamped it down, then drilled our 1/2″ drywall screws in from the bottom of the plywood. This was the longest part of the process, and at some points, we made a game time decision to switch around the pine pieces so they made the tightest fit possible.

With everything glued and screwed securely in place, we flipped over the entire tabletop, then ran our circular saw along the straight edge of the plywood to get rid of our scraggly overhang. (Tip: We used a spare piece of wood as a guide, clamped into place.)

At this point, the raw plywood edge was still exposed, so we used the 1x3s cut to size on a 45-degree angle to cap it off. Using wood glue to help hold the trim in place, we tacked in finishing nails to get a snug, secure fit.

Overall, there were small imperfections and gaps (it would have been close to impossible to get everything perfectly flush), but to be honest, we liked that. Character, we’ll call it! What we didn’t like, however, were the gaps where our trim met, so we cheated the finish with stainable wood filler.

Scott had the brilliant idea to use ratchet straps overnight to keep the 1×3 trim pieces in place (allowing the glue to bond), and the next morning, we got to work sanding. The pine was already smooth, but running the electric sander over everything – especially those corners! – helped to really even out the top. By the time we were done, you could run your hand over the surface without ever knowing that it was made up of several planks. Aah, yes.

While we wouldn’t actually be chopping food or eating right off the faux butcher block, we still opted to give it a darker color with Danish oil – rather than the usual Minwax stain that we reach for. (The Danish oil is more food safe – although there are several online forums where this was tirelessly debated; but again, we really weren’t going to actually eat right off the tabletop.) We opted for 2 coats, giving it a very subtle color and bringing out the wood grain. Again, I say, aah yes. (Yes, yes!)

We allowed this to dry for the afternoon, ran some errands (and accidentally stumbled upon an awesome not-so-little yard sale – more on what we picked up later!), and when we came back, it was time to attach our top to the cart. Scott drilled 4 holes right through the cart’s top – one on each corner – and with our new tabletop laying on the floor, underside up, we flipped our cart upside-down and secured it in place with more drywall screws.

Now, we could extend those legs! The cart was 29″ tall, but our countertops are 36″ high. Once we installed the tabletop, this gave us an extra 1 1/2″ boost, but we still needed another 5″ (give or take). This is definitely a situation unique to us, but after toying around with several ideas in Home Depot (wandering aimlessly for way, way too long – and after many marital disagreements), we came to a conclusion that worked for our bizarrely unique situation. So, if in any way it could work for you (I mean, you’re all raising old media carts, too, right?), here’s the rundown:

3/4″ conduit pipe, cut in store into four 5″ sections
3/4″-3/4″ EMT to rigid combo coupling (below, the stubby guys)
Eagle One Nevr-Dull

WHAT WE DID: After taking the casters off each leg (they were just pushed in with a little plastic sleeve), we attached the coupling to the exposed cart leg, pushed in a piece of 5″ conduit into the other end of the coupling, then secured it in place using the screws on the coupling. (Can I say coupling again? Coupling.) We also had to shave down the plastic sleeve for the caster so it could fit into the slightly smaller conduit extension, but 30 minutes later with a Dremel, Scott knocked it out of the park.

I used the Nevr-Dull (our absolute favorite for shining up metal!) to buff out some of the rougher areas on the cart legs, but I didn’t go nuts – we actually liked the patina that had built up over the years. And once it was paired with the new top? Well, we think they were made for each other. Tabletop, meet Cart Legs. Cart Legs, meet Tabletop.

For the finishing touch, I’ve been applying the mineral oil every day, and I’ll probably continue to do so for this first week. After that, it’ll just be regular oil maintenance – about once a month. It fits just right in our awkwardly laid out kitchen, and man, this has us itching to get paint on those walls and hang a new fixture and throw down a colorful rug… and! So many things. Gah, you know we’re still hanging out in limbo, but it’ll get there. (Jack’s food station helps, right?)

I’ll admit that there were some second thoughts once we started laying out the plans for the project (at one point, Scott might’ve said, let’s just start from scratch! It’s too much!), but now that we’re done, we couldn’t be happier. It rolls (but can lock, too)! It fits two of our bar stools perfectly! It was made with love, with minimal swearing and only 1 or 2 squabbles for good measure!

Can we start a tally of small victories since demolition has been completed? (Well, mostly, we think; famous last words?) Three. We’re up to three!

PS: Why yes, our backyard really is as bad as it looks. It’s just… Well, we can’t even talk about it. (And like we keep saying, it’ll get there!)

  • Lisa - August 29, 2013 - 7:56 AM

    This is awesome timing, I was thinking about building an island this weekend and wondering how to do the top! I really like how you guys made yours. Are there any gaps between the pieces or is it almost seamless? I’m wondering if there will be any teeny tiny spaces to get gross over time. Thanks for the inspiration! :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - August 29, 2013 - 8:45 AM

      Hi Lisa! There are very slight gaps (very slight!), so we can’t say if they’ll be an issue just yet. Personally, we liked the slightly imperfect look, although it’s pretty damn close! I would definitely recommend getting higher quality wood if you want it to be more seamless. We could have purchased lower grade pine for LESS than half the price, but we opted for the pricier option. The select pine we chose from Home Depot was smoother and more even with less knots (or anything else that could cause a problem). And then of course, sand, sand, sand! We’d love to see what your island looks like when it’s done!ReplyCancel

  • Susan @ Jubilee Furniture - August 29, 2013 - 8:03 AM

    Wow! What a transformation! It looks great, Kim and Scott. I’m so impressed with your ability to see past the obvious and envision something fabulous!ReplyCancel

  • Heather {A Fire Pole in the Dining Room} - August 29, 2013 - 8:04 AM

    I’m pretty sure “It’ll get there is our mantra” ;) Maybe after year 3 of saying it we’ll get tired of the phrase.

    Love the update to the media cart!ReplyCancel

  • Carrie @DreamGreenDIY - August 29, 2013 - 9:28 AM

    Love it! I’m glad you guys stayed the course and made it work. Looks like it was worth the effort!!ReplyCancel

  • Emily @ Adventures of a Dog Mom - August 29, 2013 - 9:40 AM

    I think it turned out really well, I love it!ReplyCancel

  • Jill - August 29, 2013 - 9:40 AM

    Couldn’t have turned out better! I’m playing catch-up now that Leo is sick from school after his first full days of preschool. The mouth breathing days are fully upon us! WOOT!ReplyCancel

  • Jodi - August 29, 2013 - 9:47 AM

    looks great!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - August 29, 2013 - 9:56 AM

    Thanks, guys!

    Jill, oh no!! Give Leo a kiss and hug from me, and I hope he starts to feel better. I can’t wait for you guys to come out here and stay in your very own GUEST ROOM. Love and miss you!ReplyCancel

  • Laura at Rather Square - August 29, 2013 - 11:09 AM

    Wow, this is really beautiful. I love that you added on to something vintage. Great idea!ReplyCancel

  • Cait= - August 29, 2013 - 11:29 AM

    I love the way that turned out!

    We recently worked on a mini island to go beside our stove (you can sort of see it here

    I think someone needs to create an “It’ll get there” print for DIYers/renovators everywhere, a la the Jess LC “Just Keep Going” print in the entryway at your condo.ReplyCancel

  • Amanda @ Our Humble Abode - August 29, 2013 - 1:04 PM

    Wow, that cart makes a great island! Great choices on the wood and pattern. Adds style and function!ReplyCancel

  • Jill - August 29, 2013 - 5:34 PM

    I’ll for sure hug & kiss him for you and will gladly take you up on your guest room offer (hopefully be the 1st to break it in too – WOOT!) as soon as you’re ready for us! But first, I need some Cali tips here soon. xoxoReplyCancel

  • dave - August 29, 2013 - 8:03 PM


  • The Tiny Homestead - August 29, 2013 - 9:26 PM

    wow, really impressive! I didn’t see your vision at first to be honest, but it’s FANTASTIC in the end.ReplyCancel

  • Marti @ Project Palermo - August 30, 2013 - 6:35 PM

    Oh, god, aimless Home Depot wandering: it’s the only way to find solutions like this, and the first 20-30 minutes are so full of wonder and possibility, and then it turn into the Star Wars trash compactor.

    The island looks great!ReplyCancel

  • Julia @cuckoo4design - August 31, 2013 - 3:18 PM

    It turned out so awesome.ReplyCancel

  • Iz - September 2, 2013 - 7:27 AM

    Looks great, but I can’t help wondering if it doesn’t roll around when you’re trying to work on it? I don’t see any kind of brake for the wheels….?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - September 3, 2013 - 8:55 AM

      Hi Iz, it does have 2 wheels that lock, but it doesn’t lock down really securely. It will stay in place, and we’ve prepped several meals on it so far with no problems! However, Scott doesn’t like chopping vegetables on it, whereas I have no problem (probably because I’m not chopping as hard, if that makes sense?).ReplyCancel

  • ashley - September 5, 2013 - 1:00 PM

    what a great idea! i love how it turned out!ReplyCancel