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Buying Furniture on a Budget at McMillan Bros. Auction

By Kate Williams on April 1, 2014 in Salvage Shopping, Upcycling Furniture

I recently moved from England to the USA and I’m living in the Skagit Valley in Washington State. I’m house hunting and also exploring my options for buying furniture and other home decor and home furnishing items, with an eye to upcycling and re-purposing materials and items.

My search started with a trip to McMillan Brothers Auction Gallery on Dunbar Road in Mount Vernon, Washington. What a great place! And to think I never visited them when I lived in Mount Vernon before I went to move in with my kids in England. I guess I was just too distracted by my job and commute. Becoming an auction junkie commenced in England.

First Visit to McMillan Bros. in Mount Vernon, WA

First Visit to McMillan Bros. in Mount Vernon, WA

I found some great furniture — and I got a personal tour around the auction room and storage areas.

Display inside front door of McMillan Bros., Mount Vernon, WA

And there’s plenty of furniture ready for your bids to buy furniture on a budget!

One way to buy furniture on a budget — at McMillan Bros. auction.

And here’s one that got away….Bids were just too high on auction day. It went for more than I wanted to spend at my first experience buying furniture on a budget at auction.

I have my heart set on a piece like this at some point…but first things first…I need to hold out for some basic pieces to set up a new place to live (like a couch, kitchen table, etc.). And when I buy furniture to refresh and refurbish, the price has to be right. <Sigh>

There will be many more auctions and flea markets to come!

Check out the website for McMillan Bros. Auctions  if you are on the trail, buying furniture on a budget. They have some exciting auctions coming up. There’s something for everyone from furniture to jewelry and other collectibles including fine art and toys.

Warm regards,

P.S. My next post about treasures found at auctions will be this week or next. I’ll focus on treasures to be found outside, in the architectural treasures to be found in auction yards. Don’t miss out! Sign up for my list (right hand sidebar) and get my blog updates.

P.P.S.  More McMillan Bros. pictures available at my Facebook page. Take a look (and please LIKE my page)!

Milk Paint Powder: What is It? From Wikipedia: Milk paint From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Milk paint is a nontoxic water-based mixture used as a paint. It is made from milk and lime with or without pigments added for color.[1][2][3] Borax may be added to the milk paint recipe to assist the lime in dissolving the casein and as a preservative.[4][5] Though milk paint has been used for thousands […]Continue Reading 0

Vintage Costume Jewelry: Kate Upcycler Following Her Nose

By Kate Williams on March 30, 2014 in Vintage Jewelry

Is This Vintage Costume Jewelry? I have a new source of income to add to my multiple streams (trickles for now  ) — a part-time gig as Instructional Coordinator for a training company whose entrepreneurial founder and executive is not only growing a school providing  career and technical education, she’s drop dead gorgeous and a […]Continue Reading 0

House Hunting with an Upcycler: Finding a house to do up and make a home

By Kate Williams on March 17, 2014 in Kate’s Adventures

Larry is a really nice guy, a real estate agent who is house hunting with an Upcycler. I am the Upcycler searching for a house to do up and make a home. I don’t have a big budget so I’m competing in a hot market full of bargain hunters who want to find a house […]Continue Reading 0

Kate is Upcycling Furniture — and Upcycling Her Life

By Kate Williams on March 3, 2014 in Kate’s Adventures

About Kate Hi I’m Kate Williams… …upcycler, re-imaginer and re-puposer, do-it-yourself-er; adventurer in antiquing and vin-tiquing; adult learning specialist and social media strategist and trainer. I am shopping for salvage and upcycling furniture — and upcycling my life. UpCycling My Life is a new and evolving creation inspired by a process over the past 5 […]Continue Reading 0

Kate’s Upcycling Projects in the UK: Upcycling a French Country Cupboard

By Kate Williams on March 2, 2014 in Twisted Wood, Working with Antiques

In 2012 Kate moved in with the kids and daughter Georgia and Kate had some wonderful adventures in antiquing and vin-tiquing in East Anglia. This upcycling project was first featured on the Facebook Page for Twisted Wood, our furniture business in the UK. Upcycling Projects from the United Kingdom: Our First French Piece This cupboard […]Continue Reading 0

Vintage Furniture Restored: Summer 2013 at Twisted Wood

By Kate Williams on July 12, 2013 in Twisted Wood, Vintage Home Decor

Vintage Furniture Restored: Recent Twisted Wood Projects Solid Oak School Desk The desk graduated from our backyard workshop after: Rust clean up Removal of some permanent marker graffiti Light sanding Danish oil treatment This piece was not polished, varnished or heavily waxed as we found it. We used Danish Oil to finish. From Judith Miller’s […]Continue Reading 0

How to Flatten Bubbled Veneer with Hand Weights

By Kate Williams on July 9, 2013 in Twisted Wood, Working with Antiques

A Project: Flatten Bubbled Veneer with Hand Weights One of the projects for this week is to flatten bubbles that developed in the top of a dining table we are refurbishing. Lacking the tools from the restorer’s guide I was using, here’s how I’m achieving the result with the weights I borrowed from my grandson: […]Continue Reading 0

UpCycling and Recycling for Money: How to Make Some Money on the Road

By Kate Williams on July 6, 2013 in Recycling for Money

Upcycling and Recycling for Money Do you have a way to make money while you are on the road? A side gig that you can do even while you are traveling? When I moved to England recently (moved in with my kids), we needed a way to make more money that we had coming in […]Continue Reading 0

Our Own Antiques Roadshow 2012

By Kate Williams on January 31, 2013 in Adventures in Antiquing, Kate’s Adventures

On the Road in East Anglia, UK: We take in the sites and begin our education in antique and vintage furniture with our own Antiques Roadshow on the road in East Anglia, UK. In the late Spring into Summer 2012, Georgia and I (Kate) combined exploring the UK, especially East Anglia, and exploring the world […]Continue Reading 2

Seared by the Memory

By Kate Williams on January 22, 2013 in Moving In With the Kids

“We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war. (Applause.) Our brave men and women in uniform, tempered by the flames of battle, are unmatched in skill and courage. (Applause.) Our citizens, seared by the memory of those we have lost, know too well the price that is […]Continue Reading 7

Vintage Furniture Restored: Summer 2013 at Twisted Wood

Vintage Furniture Restored: Recent Twisted Wood Projects

Solid Oak School Desk

The desk graduated from our backyard workshop after:

  1. Rust clean up
  2. Removal of some permanent marker graffiti
  3. Light sanding
  4. Danish oil treatment

This piece was not polished, varnished or heavily waxed as we found it. We used Danish Oil to finish.

“….oil has fallen out of favour during the past century. However, it is extremely durable, produces a lustrous satin finish and provides very good resistance to heat, liquids, and knocks and scratches.”

From Judith Miller’s “Care & Repair” of Antiques and Collectibles”

Curio Display Cabinets…

…in all sizes and shapes.

…all lovely.

This lovely girl doesn’t need more than a clean up and a bit of evening out of the color where time and light have bleached out the color in some places. Did you know that mayonnaise will sometimes do the job? I also have a couple of products designed to feed the wood at the same time they add color to even out the color of wood with rings, marks and places lightened by sunlight and/or drying out.

The patient is waiting for her next treatment on the operating table. LOL. This beauty had its wood worm treat outdoors. Next step? Fix wobbly legs. Some glue and some small nails needed, I think. The inside back wallpaper is in good condition despite needing to rush out about 4 a.m. this morning to bring her inside out of the sudden downpour of rain. Good thing the thunder and lightening woke us up in time to rescue her.

Not every girl can have such lovely sturdy and shapely legs!

The chairs in this pic sold as a set before the table. The table is the same one in the first picture in this post which is having weight applied to let the top surface dry to its final hard surface without bubbles. The legs and frame have been waxed to a soft deep glow so the wood will be protected and last another one hundred years.

The table was finished with a lot of elbow grease but not much complicated “fixing”. The new set of chairs are getting a final sturdiness tune up and some wax to finish off the wood. They are a upholstered in a wonderful red color.

And There’s More

More posts coming up to highlight specific projects and work in progress. (And as always, we love your thoughts and ideas and reactions/feedback left in the Comments section below this post.)


Ultimate Blog Challenge #12 July 2013


About Kate Williams

Kate Williams is an upcycler — re-purposing the elements of her life (and things) to create something with better quality and value. Find Kate at work in the Pacific Northwest, USA, and East Anglia, UK. Upcycling: antique furniture and vintage home decor. Profession: adult & social learning specialist. View all posts by Kate Williams →

Join Kate in Upcycling Adventures

Join Kate in her adventures in upcycling her life, shopping for salvage and re-imagining, reclaiming, re-purposing and recycling.

Related Posts:

Upcycling a French Country Cupboard

Kate’s Upcycling Projects in the UK: Upcycling a French Country Cupboard

In 2012 Kate moved in with the kids and daughter, Georgia. Georgia and Kate had some wonderful adventures in antiquing and vin-tiquing in East Anglia. This upcycling project was first featured on the Facebook Page for Twisted Wood, our furniture business in the UK.

Upcycling Projects from the United Kingdom: Our First French Piece

This cupboard was discovered one Friday morning in The Covered Pens at the Diss Auction Rooms of T.W. Gaze. We rescued this piece from rain damage and wood worm and hauled it up the stairs to its first home in the hallway of the base house at Lakenheath Air Force Base (where I had moved to live with Georgia and her family).

As a rule, pieces of French vintage or antique furniture sell for more than English brown wood, and this piece was not an exception. We had to bid higher than our comfort level (for beginners) to get this piece. And, we had no intention of re-selling it so no plan to recoup our investment and make a profit.

You can’t see what Kate Twisted Wood had to do on the folding stool (far right) but it involved a lot of cleaning and treating of the wood on the back and top of this beauty. Also notebooks propping up bottom of cupboard where foot broke off when we carried it from the van to our upstairs landing. — at RAF Lakenheath.

Bees Wax to rub into the wood which was very dry and splintery.

Exterior starting to shine (so much the flash is reflecting off the wood). Elbow grease!

Wood Glue to put the foot back in place.

Wallpaper added to shelves.

Upholstery and curtain fabric and sewing supplies stashed on the shelves.

Fabric stash for a couple of new “secret” projects.

Finished with Tim’s trophies and mementos replaced for safe keeping.

Twisted Wood: A Commitment to Up-cycling Old Wood with Natural and Traditional Restoration Products

As we spent many hours learning the ropes at auctions and trying our hand at repairing and restoring old solid wood pieces of furniture we (Georgia and Kate) learned to avoid restoration projects that involved too many volatile chemicals. We developed a preference for products that fed the wood and refreshed the finish versus stripping and refinishing. The wood worm treatment of pieces became routine but this is the last piece I treated for wood worm indoors. Outdoors with mask and rubber gloves became my rule!

We acquired some solid wood furniture pieces that were destined for paint. Our favorite paints became those based on older, more traditional paint formulations, like chalk paint and milk paint.

More about wood refreshment and furniture finishes coming up!

Warm regards,

P.S. I’d love it if you took a moment now to “LIKE” my Facebook page for UpCycling My Life. There’s a LIKE button in the sidebar to the right of this post. If you’d like to receive email updates from me, sign up in the sign up box also in the right-hand sidebar.

P.P.S. If you haven’t already shared this post, the place to share is below. Click on the icon to share at your favorite social network. Sharing REALLY is caring!

About Kate Williams

Kate Williams is an upcycler — re-purposing the elements of her life (and things) to create something with better quality and value. Find Kate at work in the Pacific Northwest, USA, and East Anglia, UK. Upcycling: antique furniture and vintage home decor. Profession: adult & social learning specialist. View all posts by Kate Williams →

Join Kate in Upcycling Adventures

Join Kate in her adventures in upcycling her life, shopping for salvage and re-imagining, reclaiming, re-purposing and recycling.

Related Posts:

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