UrbanDEN is back at it!

It’s been a while since I last updated here…life sometimes gets busy and last summer market season was spent painting houses and buildings rather than furniture, canvas, and wood.  This spring, though, allowed me the time to not just paint some great new pieces of furniture, but also to upcycle some traditional/vintage pieces into something entirely new, build some new custom plywood occasional tables, and focus more on wall art! It’s been a wonderful few months and I’m extremely excited with the responses I’ve received on my new endeavors.

In May, I kicked off this summer’s open-air market season with the always wonderful Horseshoe Craft and Flea market in the Berkeley neighborhood.  As always seems to be the case with the first market of the season, I was racing the clock and trying to complete everything on my ambitious list in time which meant many late nights and many long days.  But when the day came, everything was ready, everything was gorgeous, and I was excited to share it all with the wonderful crowds that the Horseshoe Market always brings out.

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The booth all set up as the market officially opened

Of course, it wouldn’t be an UrbanDEN space without LOTS of vibrant and cheerful colors!
We were all set up and ready for an awesome day by 9am.  Mother Nature had other plans, though, and the day started off overcast, dreary, and cold…it stayed this way for a couple of hours and then progressively got worse.  Around 11 am the drizzling rain started, and soon gave way to pouring rain, which soon gave way to hail and thunder and lightning and flooding.  I had to rearrange the entire booth to squeeze everything in under the tent to protect it from the weather, and then we ended up having to zip the entire tent up, essentially closed up shop, to wait out the hail and thunderstorms.


A peek in to the bunker where we waited out the worst of the weather

Thankfully, at some point around 1, the market organizers came around and announced they are calling off the market and we were allowed to pack up and head for the warmth and dry of home.

Even though we endured some crazy weather and the market was shut down early, it was still a good day.  I sold a few pieces of my Colorado pyrography (see next post) art, including the beautiful centerpiece to a very excited couple, and met some great people who really enjoyed seeing the beautiful work I pour my heart into creating.

Here are some pictures of the furniture pieces we had at the market, many of which are, or will soon be, available for purchase in our Etsy shop:

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Sweet Pickin’s

It’s been a while since I have revealed a new Renewal…other than refinishing this small coffee table, I haven’t had much time to paint furniture.  Not only has real estate been super busy, I have also been spending more time in the saddle of my road bike.  Due to various injuries and inclement weather, it’s been a looooong time since I have had any sort of regularity in my training.  I’m still only putting in around 100 miles per week, and trying to find time to paint, too.  With the onset of Monsoon season here in Denver, the available hours of daylight are limited…short of waking up at 5am to get my rides in, new Renewals are just going to be rolling out a little less frequently.

Another reason for the lack of new reveals is because I have been spending quite a bit of time picking!  Picking is a vital part of having a furniture painting/renewing business…and I love it just as much as I love showing off my latest, beautiful Renewal.  Being a good picker and finding great deals requires some effort…and there are plenty of do’s and don’ts, as well as other tips that I have learned along the way, that I will happily share with all of you in a future post 😉

For now, I’m just going to show off some of my recent finds so that we can all revel in the fantastic history of the items:

Antique Buffet The Apollonia

Starting with these two fantastic, antique buffets.  Later on in this post I’ll show you some progress pictures of the 2nd one.  The first one is currently residing in my own house and is likely going to stay there for quite a while.
Then, I found this beautiful french set with gorgeous veneer inlays from Joerns Bros Furniture company.  My educated guess is that these are from the early 30’s:

Joerns Tallboy Joerns Chest Joerns Headboard

I’m probably going to have the set appraised, and possibly sell it to an antique dealer…I’m not sure I could bring myself to paint those beautiful veneers!  Or, I’ll sell the headboard (I’m just not that into antique beds…even ones as beautiful as this) for more than I bought the entire set for and keep the other two as-is for my future master bedroom.  Clearly, I’m slightly attached to the dressers.  The chest-on-chest has a cedar drawer on the bottom and is just a stunning piece, and the 3-drawer gentleman’s chest comes with the original cuff-links sliding tray and the bottom drawer is sooooo deep.  It’s also the most massive chest of drawers I’ve ever come across; it measures in at almost four and a half feet long and two feet from front to back.  As you’ll see further down, the hoard, at this point, was bulging and overflowing from the garage and there was no way I could just re-stack and leave everything in there, so these two beauties are already moved indoors…the chest-on-chest is in my bedroom and the chest of drawers is serving as the sideboard in my kitchen.

Now, onto everything else.  All of the following is available for customization.  If you are interested in any of them, email me (contact information found at the top) and we can discuss everything.  More photos, as well as more available inventory can be found over on the facebook page, so be sure to check that out, too.

13 drawers!  Another stunning antique French Provincial chest-on-chest. Chicken wire is included :)

13 drawers! Another stunning antique French Provincial chest-on-chest. Chicken wire is included 🙂

Part of a mid-century, french provincial set.

Part of a mid-century, french provincial set.

The mid-century french provincial set.  Beautiful curves on both the chest-on-chest and the triple.  The triple has a gorgeous vanity mirror with rosette detailing.

The mid-century french provincial set. Beautiful curves on both the chest-on-chest and the triple. The triple has a gorgeous vanity mirror with rosette detailing.

Lovely ornate mirror.

Lovely ornate mirror.

Antique farmhouse oak dresser from the turn of the century.

Antique farmhouse oak dresser from the turn of the century.

Lovely scroll posts and cheval pins on the vanity mirror.

Lovely scroll posts and cheval pins on the vanity mirror.

1930's Secretary desk with serpentine front, 4 drawers, and eagle's claw feet.  Beautiful!

1930’s Secretary desk with serpentine front, 4 drawers, and eagle’s claw feet. Beautiful!

Solid maple, vintage buffet.  Available with or without hutch.

Solid maple, vintage buffet. Available with or without hutch.

Wonderful MCM bar cart

Wonderful MCM bar cart

Ice-box reproduction.  Originally a TV armoire. Will soon be a beautiful bar cabinet!

Ice-box reproduction. Originally a TV armoire. Will soon be a beautiful bar cabinet!

1940's telephone table with harp back.  Great condition!

1940’s telephone table with harp back. Great condition!

Great MCM peg leg chest.

Great MCM peg leg chest.

As you can see…I’ve been a very, very busy picker lately!  The downside, if there is one, to all this productive picking is that the Hoard, which was already consuming more than half of my garage and workspace, was swelling and overflowing!  I could barely close the garage door!  What’s not so funny, is that all this picking occurred in two waves and the Hoard outgrew it’s quarters not just once, but twice!  Within the span of one week I had to pull it all out and re-stack it TWICE!

Re-Stack 1Re-Stack #1 was a complete overhaul.  I have a few custom orders coming up for pieces that were all the way in the back…so on the Sunday after the Fourth, I enlisted the help of a few friends, pulled EVERYTHING out, and then spent another hour or two playing Tetris with massive pieces of furniture.  At the end of the day, I had a beautifully stacked Hoard and lots of space to work in, as you can see.

And then came one of the most unexpected and best picking weeks of my life…which led to Re-Stack #2:

Re-Stack 2

In the span of 5 days, I had the wonderful fortune of adding 7 new dressers and a beautiful antique telephone table to my Hoard.  It was all very spontaneous…and I actually felt a little guilty while running around town picking everything up…I simply had NO room for it all.  In fact, I turned down some great pieces, too, because I knew there was just no way I’d find room for them (and while they were good deals, they weren’t smokin’ hot deals like everything else I bought).  After it was all said and done, I convinced the boyfriend to help me out for an hour (he’s not a big fan of manual labor) and we were able to stack a few things higher and higher, move the gorgeous dresser set into my apartment, and make enough space for me to be able to work…on one piece at a time…

And so, finally, after an amazing couple weeks of sweet pickin’…I’ve been able to make some lovely progress on The Apollonia, one of the antique buffets.  I’ll leave you with some progress shots…a full reveal should be up by the end of the weekend or early next week!

The Apollonia The Apollonia

Changes, changes, changes (like the weather)…and a REVEAL!

It is springtime.  Trees are sprouting new leaves, flowers are blooming, weeds are overrunning my yard, weeds are growing in my sidewalks and driveway, weeds are everywhere!  But enough about the weeds; my point is, everything is changing…including the RPhD blog.  That’s right…so many changes heading our way.

To start with, I’ve been contemplating whether or not to extend this blog into an all-around nesting/home decor/DIY blog.  Owning a historic mansion that has been converted into an apartment building means that I have a never-ending list of home improvement projects.  I generally do all of the work on my own.

Many projects start out, I reckon, the same way everyone’s do, with a lot of trepidation.  I am always afraid that I’m going to uncover a monster of a clusterfreak or open a can of something I’m totally ill-equipped for.  But after countless days of talking myself into it, gathering all the supplies I will need (because driving to Home Depot fifteen thousand times a day is NOT fun), and researching the possible hiccups I will face along the way, I put on my work clothes and I set to work.  Then, after many headaches and google searches, I eventually finish the project, admire my work, and feel inspired to tackle the next big project.  Wash, rinse, repeat.

With every project I complete, I learn something new.  And one of the things I have learned is that there are a lot of DIY tutorials out in the blogosphere.  I have also learned that many of those tutorials proved worthless to me.  With that in mind, I have decided to bring my DIY skills, my passion for home improvement, my long lost love of writing, and my warped mind together in order to bring tutorials to my faithful readers and to the googlesphere. My hope is that these tutorials would prove useful to other people that think and operate like myself and, consequently, find many of the available DIY tutorials to be less than helpful.  Or they can just skim right past those particular posts and move on to the pretty pictures of furniture I post!

Like these pictures of The Vanderpump!

The Vanderpump is headed to the home of a very special client whom happens to love pink.  They saw a hot pink desk with heavy black glazing in another shop, snapped a picture, and came to me to see if I could replicate the look on this wonderful, little, roll-top desk.

Roll-tops are not the easiest pieces of furniture to Renew and breathe new life into…but they sure do make a statement and make it totally worthwhile!  I just love this desk.  Love it.  Now I want to find another one and make space in my apartment, which is already overflowing with more furniture than anyone could possibly need.  Oh well, maybe one day…like when I win the powerball and can move into a 20,000 sq foot house.

So, because we will be diversifying our posts here on the blog and expanding our content coverage, we will also be doing some re-branding.  We’re still trying to figure out exactly what that will look like, with a new name and all, and whether we want to keep the RPhD name under a larger umbrella, or just do away with it altogether.  Right now, we are leaning towards keeping the furniture business under the RPhD name and incorporating it into our DIY/nesting blog.

Stay tuned!

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Snow day in Denver…

And that means the workshop is closed.  Apparently an infamous March blizzard has set its sights on the Front Range and we are expecting a foot of snow in 12 hours.  The good news…it has been really warm which means I don’t have to shovel 200′ of sidewalk today.

Anyways, while trying my best to stay warm, I figured I’d post a little update on what’s going on around the RPhD workshop.  After renewing three dressers in a row, I thought it might be time to add to the inventory of occasional tables seeing as most of them have been sold. Take a gander at The Hartford, Bruno, and Lars.

I love all of these tables and would keep them for myself if only I had the room.  To give a hint of where they are headed: bold black and rich walnut, paint-dipped legs, and shabby chic touches.  Keep an eye out for the reveals.

Also on our plate is a custom order for a very dear friend.  Meet The Vanderpump.

This small, oak, roll-top needed an update.  Is there a more perfect way to update it than glamming it up in HOT PINK and GLITTER?!?  Okay, joking about the glitter.  But boy, I mean girrrl, is it pink!

Have a great week, everyone!  Oh, almost forgot, keep checking out the BetterAfter.net blog!  Lindsey loved The Yorkshire, too, and will be featuring it on the blog sometime soon.

New Renewals: 2 tables, 1 desk, and the workshop!

So, yesterday was one of those rare all-day rain days for Colorado and it made me quite irritable and grumpy.  Gloomy weather like that always affects my moods, but yesterday was even worse because it forced me to stay inside and thus not get anything done in the workshop.  Blah.

Today, however, was beautiful!  Colorado always amazes me with the schizophrenic weather.  Thanks to the sunshine and warmth, I was in quite a frenzy and very excited to get out to the workshop and start making a serious dent in the hoarder-like inventory. Over the past few weeks I have inadvertently added to the inventory even more when I found a handful of great curb-side pieces.  And, partly, because they were the last things to go into the garage, they happened to be the first things I began working on today.

The first of the curb-side beauties is this 40 year old, long, bench-style coffee table.  While the wood is in good condition and the “bones” of it are just fine, its condition when I found it was frightful.  So frightful that I almost decided to leave it right where it was.  Well, once I started sanding it today…slowly working my way through the candle wax, the water rings, the cob-webs, and some mysterious sticky substance…the smile on my face grew larger.  My ideas for this table are numerous and I’m very excited to take it on the journey from discarded junk to a beautiful and unique Renewal that will be cherished once again.  Here are two photos of it from when I just started sanding it:


The next table is harder to date, but it seems to be older than the long table.  It is also hard to determine what purpose it is intended for…slightly small as a coffee table, but slightly larger than most side tables.  It’s square with a single 4 inch drawer and sits upon 4 small brass casters.  When I found it, it appeared that someone had already begun (and forgotten) a restoration project of their own as it was missing it’s hardware and half of the sanding was already done. As I started sanding it myself, I noticed that the top has a great patterned inset and is well-suited for a two-tone stain.  The design possibilities are endless! 


The next of the 3 furniture pieces I began working on today is this beautiful art deco desk.  Unfortunately it went through a bad restoration at some point and the polyurethane was sloppy and thick.  I used quite a bit of sand-paper and time on this one! In addition to the sloppy clear-coat, the previous restoration attempt also replaced the original hardware with some cheap, ugly, ill-fitting handles that did nothing to compliment the wonderful art deco lines.  While I would love to restore this to its original wood splendor…the condition dictates the need for paint.  I am still waiting for the perfect design choice to jump out at me.


Here at RPhD we mostly focus on furniture Renewals…but we’ve let the workshop slide for long enough.  In addition to spending the next week or two giving new life to these wonderful curb finds, I also need to give new life to the workshop!  We are going to empty out every piece in the garage and make our workspace a place that is not just functional, but also aesthetically pleasing and easy to keep clean and organized.  As we pull each inventory item out from the garage we are going to photograph it in it’s original state and post it here for all to see.  Stay tuned because you may just see something that speaks to you and you can contact us to customize it to your specification!