do I dare?

I have a confession to make today.  I often encourage other people to live on the edge a little when it comes to décor, but I am seldom daring enough to do it myself.  I say things like ‘it’s just paint’ or ‘it only cost $30, so who cares if it only lasts a couple of years’, but then I don’t follow that philosophy myself.

Today’s post is kind of about that.

But let’s start at the beginning.  For a while now I’ve been looking for the perfect vintage sign to hang between the doors on my carriage house.  I have hung things in that spot in the past, like the sled I painted last Christmas …

and I have also had that fun galvanized container in that spot for a few years now.

But I want to change it up.  For the last couple of years I’ve just put a big fern in that container for the summer and called it good.  My carriage house faces north, so that’s a pretty shady spot.  But just shoving a fern in there every summer seems kind of lame.

A couple of weeks ago I accepted the fact that if I wanted a good sized sign for that spot I was going to have to make it myself (or spend a ton of money).  So I dug through my stash and came up with an old cupboard door that I’ve had for quite a while.  It’s on the large side, and I’ve been using it as a work surface on top of two saw horses.  I measured it and realized it was the perfect size for that spot.

Next I ordered a large stencil from Wallcutz to fit.In the meantime, I painted the door in Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth in anticipation of the stenciling.  The stencil arrived in no time (Wallcutz really does ship things fast).  After playing around with the placement a bit, I decided to just use the wording from the stencil but not the border.  The border didn’t quite fit properly on my door.  To give the sign a more custom look I taped off a simple border and painted it black.

After I had the sign painted, I thought it might be fun to hang some of my watering cans from it.  So I added some hooks and hung the cans.

So far so good, but now comes the part I’m not so sure about.

A few weeks ago I was visiting my friend Jackie and I happened to mention to her that I was looking for a potting bench to go outside, something like what she had, and she said she had the perfect thing!  She showed me a primitive wood cabinet that was tucked away in the corner of her garage, behind a couple of other things.

It was awesome.  I knew right away that I wanted it.  And Jackie’s husband was even kind enough to deliver it once they’d dug it out of the garage.  But once I’d taken possession of it, I started to feel like it would be wrong to waste this piece by using it outside.

It won’t hold up to the elements forever.  Of course, I can mitigate some of that by only leaving it out in the summer, and tucking it away inside the carriage house in the winter, so that would help.

But still.  Do I dare?

I have some large, industrial wheels that Ken is going to help me put on the bottom to get it up off the ground and to make it more portable.  And I plan on giving it a good scrub and then a couple of coats of sealer to help protect it.  So both of those things will help as well.

But still.  Do I dare?

It’s going to get rained on in that spot.  The inside probably won’t dry out well, especially since it’s so shady there.

I’m not a huge fan of the blue on the doors, so I might want to re-paint those if I keep it, but I love the multi-colored, worn out boards that make up the top.

And it really is the perfect size for that spot.

Although I just have some clay pots and other garden implements on top for these photos, it would make the perfect spot for some potted plants.  Especially house plants that come outside for the summer and can’t be in direct sunlight.

I’ll have to move the sign up a bit to make a little more room under those watering cans, especially once the wheels have been added, but that’s easy enough.

All of which brings me back to my original question.

Do I just go for it and use this piece outside knowing that it won’t last forever, but I’ll probably get a few good years out of it?  Do I dare?

What would you do?

46 thoughts on “do I dare?

  1. I don’t love it, but that doesn’t matter. If you want to preserve it, why not a galvanized tray on the top to protect it from the plants and rain? You could also put a similar galvanized tray under it, and bolt the wheels onto the tray rather than onto the cabinet, just in case you decide to use the cabinet in another way….

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  2. I love it, but I think more of an antique open potting bench/work bench would look better just because of the openness and a shelf or two for plants, pots or tools. It seems too big and boxy there – but that is only my personal taste. It’s still a gorgeous piece (which I know you will make look fab!) so do what your heart tells you to do!

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  3. Put the chest inside. The sign and the watering cans are enough in that spot the chest just detracts from the sign.

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  4. I agree it seems a bit large for the space and is too gorgeous to leave outside. These primitive pieces are becoming more rare. Please let us know what you decide!

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  5. I love the piece, but it seems a bit too big or tall for that space. Maybe a bench with your ferns on it? Keep the watering cans. They really work. Your work is always amazing!

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  6. I think the sign and watering cans are perfect in that space. That cupboard is adorable and with a touch of your artistry, you could use it somewhere indoors or for someone else to snatch up.

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    1. I will ultimately have to sell it. I’ve gone round and round my own house looking for a spot for it inside, and I just simply don’t have one. And there aren’t any other pieces inside my house that I would get rid of to make space for this one. So … if I don’t use it here, it will have to go 🙂

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  7. I also think it’s a bit large there but if you like it, go for it! Nothing lasts forever right? And you can protect it for awhile with sealer. Keep it there til you find something else and you know you will 😉 The wheels will look really great.

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  8. If you can see yourself using it anywhere else, don’t do it. If you’ll never put a primitive item like it inside, go for it, it will make you happy for now..

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  9. Yes, I would dare. It sounds like you have it all worked out in your head how it’s going to look and what you need to do. I think you should go for it and it will look amazing!

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  10. Definitely go for it! I bought some flower transfers and attached them to the outside of my handmade planter box. It’s about 5 feet long 2 1/2 feet tall, really big. I knew the flowers wouldn’t last long but I love them and enjoyed them all spring summer and fall. I’ll need to sand it off and do something new but in the meantime it was a beautiful addition to my yard.

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  11. Well, Miss Quandie, I cannot lie…….I am underwhelmed by this chest/box. I think that some big industrial wheels will help it and you could paint it like a MCM-type piece with some new hardware!

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    1. The wheels will definitely help. And giving it a more uniform paint job. But after reading today’s comments, I’m really leaning towards not using it now. You’ll just have to stay tuned to see how it all ends up 😉

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  12. I think the piece is far too good to put it outside! In my area, as is, it would sell for $250.00 or more.

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    1. Really? I’m fairly sure that would not be the case here. Well, maybe in a hip, trendy boutique. But I don’t think I could get that much for it on my own.

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  13. To be honest I’m not a fan of this piece. I think with wheels, a new paint job and a transfer it could go from drab to fab. But then would it compete and not complement your current vibe? And while sometimes I prefer something unexpected in this instance I’m leaning towards a traditional style potting table that’s more open with a shelf underneath for storage.

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  14. First of all I love it all but if you’re concerned about the weather how about getting your handyman Ken to make a small crimped (well large) galvanized roof piece over it all it’ll go well with the lights and watering can and provide some protection just a thought

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    1. LOL, normally I’d run that past Ken, but I have him working on rebuilding my front window box right now and I don’t want to overwhelm him with too many tasks at once 😉

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  15. I think with the sign and the watering cans the metal washtub that was there originally would be great overflowing with impatiens. They would love the shady spot and you could have all white or add color.

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  16. I love it but I think that it is to large for this place. I think that it is to high and takes away from the look of your great sign! An open potting bench would be beautiful with some plants and pots on the top and it would let your great sign shine! 😊

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  17. That would be a tough one for me too. I don’t like to waste anything or ruin anything, but if you spent a good chunk of money on a new one you have to remember it won’t last forever either. The elements will eventually take their toll. So I say if you love the cabinet there then use it. Enjoy it while you do have it.

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  18. I can see your dilemma! It is a great primitive piece and leaving outside will take its tole but I believe it will add to its unique look. Now onto the look as a whole, I believe it could work if you painted the primitive cabinet, add the wheels, move the sign up a bit more, add plants, maybe open the doors on the cabinet and have potting pieces exposed, or completely remove the doors and then it will all be on display. Lots of ways to make this work if you want to keep this display. Everything you do is amazing!!!

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    1. I was considering removing the doors too. But then the cupboard really just becomes a wood box without much character at all. I think I may have to go back to the drawing board entirely on this one.

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  19. I’ve done that before with an awesome old cabinet – it just looked great outside on our deck and it was great for storage – lasted about 5 years so I was good with that. I say go for it! It’s so cool!

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  20. How ’bout next to your potting shed to use as a potting bench? I don’t remember configuration but maybe the back side? I’m kinda lazy and like my “tools” close. I love the doors to put all kinds of pots and geehaws behind.

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