Lucky Dog Food Storage Cabinet

The finished project

A few weeks back, I discovered an old potato bin at a garage sale. It was green. Very green. Except for the top that had lost most of it paint and revealed some beautiful pine. Originally, I thought I would cover the green with a light shade of gray. In my mind, I saw a sort of white washed effect, with the green peeking through a bit. Instead I ended up with an ugly gray potato bin.

It was horrid.

Fortunately, as with most mistakes, there was a remedy. I immediately started wiping off most of the stain (it says stain on the container, but it seems more like paint to me!) The next day, I took a sander to it and quickly realized that I should have done this to begin with. The resulting patina is fantastic. From what we can tell, originally the bin was painted white or ivory, then a cheery sky blue, and finally green. Sometimes, less truly is more.


It doesn’t appear that the bin ever had a handle, so Randy took an old horse shoe, derusted it, and attached it to the bin. We had an interesting debate about which direction the horseshoe should hang. For centuries, people have believed that the horseshoe brings good luck and good fortune.  And while some people believe that the horseshoe should hang in a downward position in order to surround your home with positive feelings, good fortune, and protective powers, others (including Randy) firmly believe that for the horseshoe to do its magic, it has to be hung in an upward position (like a “U”). Otherwise, all of the good luck just falls away.

I think the horseshoe is a perfect touch, and any animal will be lucky to have this bin hold its food. A four pound bag of dog food easily fits inside of it, and there is plenty of room left for treats or even toys.

Susan’s table

The finished table

Randy inherited his love of wood from his daddy, Franklin James Jarrett. I never met him, but I have insight into whom he was since I was able to help clean out his barn, out buildings, and home after the death of Randy’s mom. Like Randy, his daddy respected and appreciated all things wood. Randy often says that all wood has character and it is our job to bring it out. Throughout our home, we have pieces that Randy’s dad constructed–some with the help of Randy.

When Randy started working again with wood, his sister, Susan, asked him to make her a sofa table. One Friday night, we loaded up some live edge pieces and drove over to her house. We had recently purchased several slabs of Chinaberry and two of them were perfect for what Susan wanted.


During the construction, Randy realized that the dimensions that Susan wanted were going to result in the top shelf possibly bowing. To prevent that from happening, Randy cut some cedar runners from old planters we salvaged from Susan’s yard. The planters had been built some 20 years earlier by Ken, Randy’s brother-in-law, from cedar out of the shop of Randy’s and Susan’s dad. To be able to incorporate a bit of that work–something done by hand years ago and loved by many for all of those years–into something new is exactly our goal for every piece that we create.

Sewing machines and “sew” much more

My first find–a 1910 Singer Sewing machine

My fascination with vintage machines started innocently enough. Randy and I had gone “junking” as we call it. Since we hadn’t started ILYM Design–or even thought about such a thing–I was simply looking for a cute bedside table. I thought I had found one, but when I tried to open the top drawer, the entire front side popped open, and I was looking at spools, bobbins, and various attachments. Low and behold, a beautiful, almost pristine 1910 Singer sewing machine had been electrified and placed in a 1940s Queen Anne style cabinet. And so started the search for a treadle table in which I could return my beloved sewing machine to its original glory.


We quickly discovered that vintage sewing machines are actually fairly plentiful. However, prices range from $50 to several hundred, depending on the condition of the machine and cabinet (and, let’s be honest, also on the condition of the seller’s understanding of sewing machines.) For whatever, reason, however, I am drawn to the castaways. I guess it is similar to always rooting for the underdog. The end result is that our next sewing machine purchase came straight out of a barn. It was being used to hold a hay bale. Most of the wood was unsalvageable, but Randy’s plan was to use the cast iron legs and hopefully the top as a template to create a new top.

A few weeks later, we came across another table on someone’s back porch. This one had most of the drawers still intact, so we quickly placed it in the back of our truck and took it to its new home. We joked that we would have a Frankenstein sewing machine table made up a piece from here and a piece from there. Since then we have added two more table to our little family of discards–including one find that is almost in perfect condition.


While organizing the shop one day, Randy came across a piece of wood we took out of his daddy’s barn several months before. At the time that we found it, we thought it was pretty but had no clue as to what it was. Imagine how tickled  we were when, after digging it out again, we realized that it was a top to a (yes, you guessed it) sewing machine. At that point, it became very clear that I needed to share my love of sewing machines–because one day, I really do want to park in the part of the shop that is supposed to be a garage.

Top of a sewing machine that we found in the barn of Randy’s father. We turned it into a storage caddy.

The result is that Randy and I are intent on finding new uses for the parts that make up the tables. These tables were loved and used, perhaps daily, for years–and then put away and forgotten. But they still have character and beauty. It is our goal, therefore, to use as much of each of them as possible and then find new homes for our creations, where they will be loved and appreciated again.