One Man’s Junk is Another (Wo)man’s Pinterest Project

I’ve decided that the whole distressed wood look that has become popular lately was created for the Murray family. I think all these years this trend has just been sitting around waiting on our family to discover it. Lord knows we’ve been storing up in preparation for it, or maybe just storing up because that’s what we do. Either way, we are set for Pinterest projects this year and in the years to come.


As I started to work on a distressed wood project recently in an attempt to furnish my room, I googled how to distress wood – wanting to know how to distress the paint itself. What I came across instead was a guide on how to take a piece of wood, hammer dents into it, screw some screws into it, put some water stains on it, and in general make it look worn out and used. Then and only then do you have distressed wood. I laughed as I thought about people going out of their way to make their wood projects look distressed. All I saw was a really good excuse for me to take a piece of half-rotted wood, do nothing to it, and call it art, vintage, distressed, farmhouse…or any other trendy little term that fits the description. No need for me to create distressed wood – my life (and yard) is full of it.


An old picnic tabletop lying outside rotting. Oh, look, a piece of distressed wood.


A rickety falling apart table with paint chipping – distressed wood.


A torn up old pallet sitting in the barn. What are the odds? Another piece of distressed wood.


People, if you want some distressed wood for your Pinterest projects, the Murray family can supply you! We have barns, and pastures, and yards full of it! Some people call it junk, but you can call it distressed wood if you would like.


The other thing I love about distressed wood projects is that it is a perfect excuse for me to do a halfway job and act like I meant to do it that way. For the lazier people among us (that would be me), this is what I’ve been waiting my whole life for. I used to have to wash and fill nail holes and sand and prime and paint and all that stuff that ain’t nobody got time for. Now, I take a rotten old board throw some paint on it and we’re done. Oh look distressed wood! That is what I’m talking about people.


Distressed wood project #1 – the Rickety bedside table (you can’t tell it, but trust me it’s rickety)


Three things I love about this photo: 1. The pistol and a study of the Word side by side. The only thing that could have made it more Southern is if that book had been the Bible. (I don’t always keep a pistol on my bedside table, but when I do, Michael is out of town.) 2. The craptastic brush strokes on the back left corner. Apparently I think that the distressed look means I don’t have to try AT ALL. 3. You may not be able to see this, but I know it’s there – there is chipped paint all up the leg of that table and I just painted right on over it, because – DISTRESSED.


Distressed wood project #2 – our old family picnic table that was lying in the yard rotting. It sounds sentimental and all, but I’m pretty sure we never actually had a picnic on it growing up. It is now my headboard.


It may or may not have had mold growing on it when I found it, but a little steel wool took care of that. It may or may not weigh about 50 lbs and I couldn’t screw it into the wall, so I built a frame for it to sit on. And when I say built a frame, I mean I screwed a couple of two by fours to the bottom of it to prop it up and the whole thing shakes and squeaks every time I get in and out of the bed. Keeps life interesting.


Distressed wood project #3 – a piece of shelf that was recovered from the dumpster at a local school when they cleaned house one year. It epitomizes the word “distressed” by combining “Murray” and this piece of scrap wood into one unassuming piece of wall decor.


Alright, well, our house is all distressed out now. And all from just plundering the junk pile in our barn. If you want to take a piece of perfectly good wood and distress it, be my guest. Or just stop by our house and help us get rid of some of our crap.


***Disclaimer: Our barn is not actually available for plundering. While it may be full of potential Pinterest projects, the authorities above me have said that these items are not actually up for grabs. One day you will see us featured on the show Hoarders. On that show, you might hear me saying “I told you so.”

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© 2020 by Katie Murray