Stored Away, RePurposing Pays Off

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While I love to travel, I am truly happy at home. Especially when I have a project to do!

In the last 12 years, I’ve moved six times.  From South Carolina to Northern California and then cross-country again to Tampa.  One more was just five feet, from a cottage to a bigger house, but everything still needed to be packed and moved, and then unpacked and put away.

When I moved from South Carolina to Northern California in 2008, I had to sell my best friend.  My sweet little house. I cried many times before I moved.  I truly put my heart and soul into my house on Sunset Drive in Columbia.  When I moved – a friend of mine reminded me that when I moved out my home just became a house, someone’s dwelling.  Very true.

In 2008, I flew one way to Northern California and picked up the VW convertible I bought a couple weeks before. Instead of driving a truck across the country, I shipped 40 boxes to myself; and many things didn’t make the cut (including some gorgeous furniture!).  But I just couldn’t bring myself to get rid of the two sets of valences I had hanging in my dining room and living room.  With each of those moves, they remained packed in a box, moved and restored.  I know valences were OUT, but I just couldn’t let go of the fabric.

Last year I traveled to Morocco and bought four rugs.  My favorite was dyed with mint leaves.  Originally I put it at the front entrance, but then a week later thought it looked better in the breakfast nook.

At some point we noticed the vintage cushions were starting to wear on the breakfast set we brought with us from California.  We talked about the different kinds of fabric we could cover them with and planned a trip to the fabric store the next morning to look for some replacement fabric.


Before we left, I said “Wait! Maybe the valences I had my dining room in Columbia would work on the chairs!” My mom laughed (visiting from the East coast of Florida).  She knew exactly which ones I was referring to — we bought the fabric together at Forest Lake Fabric 15 years ago (way before I knew my husband!).  It was LOVE AT FIRST SITE with that fabric. I painted my dining room a different color to go with the fabric after the valences were made!

I pulled the fabric from a plastic container at the very back of the closet and BAM! it coordinated perfectly in the area.  My mom pulled the seams out from the valences and we were rolling.  While I made breakfast, my mom cut the fabric around each of the four seats.


When she was finished, we debated which side we liked best and picked the one where the brown was in the forefront, like a cheetah.  My husband brought our two staple guns in and we got to work.  We covered all four chairs in a matter of minutes because we didn’t need to remove the current cushion covers.


When the cushions were covered, I shed a little tear of pure JOY when we put them on the chairs.  I couldn’t believe I was FINALLY ABLE to repurpose this fabric!


We couldn’t BELIEVE how well they coordinated with the rest of the breakfast nook! We couldn’t stop walking over there and looking.


The fabric coordinated perfectly with the rug, the furniture, including the china cabinet we had repurposed.  Even better, we loved the way the area looked with all the tropical plants we had put in the courtyard.



We were all so happy we were able to repurpose the fabric.  And even more so, my husband was thrilled he didn’t have to make a trip to the fabric store!

Final lesson — while I am not a proponent of moving boxes and boxes of curtains, blankets, etc. each time you move — especially two cross country moves, keeping that one special piece can pay off.

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