If I've learned anything from reality tv (and believe you me, I have), it's that for a successful "before and after reveal", the "before" shot has to look pretty bad.
Harsh light, bad angles; the worse the better.
I was in need of a side table large enough for a lamp and piles and piles of books that don't fit on our crowded bookshelves. I looked in the antique stores in Park Slope, and came up empty. I checked Ikea and Target (though what I really wanted to pay was under $20) and still came up with nothing.
Until one fall night, walking from rehearsal to the subway, I spotted this little beauty.
Gathering discarded wares is an accepted form of thrift in New York (seriously, I'm not just saying that), and is also a heritage passed down from my Grandma Irvine, who was doing it long before Park Slope said it was cool. Since my phobia about bedbugs reached epic proportions (we've never had them, but that doesn't mean I don't fear them) it's been my strict personal rule to not pick up anything from the street. Buuuuuut, I really needed this, and I looked really hard before I picked it up, and everything looked kosher.
I almost passed it by, because, I was in Chelsea, and how in the world would I get it home? But, I picked it up, and it wasn't too heavy, so I shrugged and carried it onto the subway.
I rehabbed it (which involved me half-heartedly sanding and painting), covered it with books, and (dusts off hands) ta-da.
The after reveal: