Leaving Well Enough Alone

Definition of let well enough alone - Merriam Webster

  1. :  to stop changing something that is already good enough

The hardest part of being creative and wanting to make a mark on a piece of furniture is knowing when to leave well enough alone. It sounds like a very simple concept to master but nothing could be further from the truth as demonstrated by the lovely pair of shoes in the title picture. Things can always have more bling or more... well, ..embellishments.

It takes a trained eye, inner discipline and trusting one's own instincts to know when not to improve upon what is already fine the way it is.  In my experience, you know immediately if a piece has that quality and the purity of design. 

  • First and foremost the structure of the piece is usually sound or in great condition.

  • Secondly, the condition of the wood grain or related surface is free of major damage. 

  • Third, the piece hasn't been refurbished more than once or in a haphazard manner.                                                                                    

  • It is highly unusual to find furniture in this state while exploring yard sales and flea markets and that's what makes it so exciting when you do come across such items. 


I happened to come across this authentic early 1900's wooden catalog box at the Rose Bowl Flea Market on the very edge of the grounds, past all what seemed like endless booths of vintage clothing.  I mean, if you are looking for any sort of vintage apparel one can think of, this was the place to find it!

Well, as usual, I'm getting off track here.  Thinking of dresses, shoes and purses can do that to a lady you know. Back to that treasure of a vintage catalog box. I knew it was authentic and made of solid tiger oak, but at the same time, it was extremely grimy with the Globe label missing some lettering. You have to immediately see what you can negotiate with to get the price down.

I truly believe that it is a golden rule for vintage pickers to never pay the asking price!  It would be a badge of shame if one could not garner some kind of deal on the price and all the vendors know this as well.  They come with a price in mind and allow for a little give on the price to secure the customer's honor. You didn't know there was so much nuance in flea marketing did you? Oh sure you did, just checking. Did he go for my first offer? No, but we did meet in the middle which left us both with our pride intact and satisfied by our negotiating skills.

The stars seemed to be in alignment later when I caught a glimpse of some salvaged amber oak table legs.  Why not make a nice base for the catalog box and turn it into a cool accent table. After hauling this home, I reached out to one of my Instagram contacts @mylandsfinishes of www.mylandsUSA.com with their own line of wood finishes, oils and waxes. He was very gracious to suggest the best way to clean the grime off of the wood.  With an idea in mind, finding out the best way to secure the table legs and the fine carpentry assistance from my devastatingly handsome husband, the table turned out exactly as imagined. Classic, simple and craftsman that will never go out of style.

I couldn't imagine covering up the history of this unique piece or trying to add too many bells and whistles. With all good things in life, you've got to know when to leave well enough alone.

Love and Laughter,

Julie Hickman

Project Vintage US




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