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Office Progress: Library Cart Makeover

2013 April 10
by Becky

Our new house is a tiny bit bigger than our old one. OK, a LOT bigger.

But I don’t plan on running out and buying expensive new furniture when we’ve been living just fine with the stuff we have, so I’ve been doing quite a bit of craigslisting…mostly just searches with a couple amazing finds.

So I was browsing the site for a console table for behind our living room couch the other day (which I did not find and will be making instead) when I ran across a listing for an old library cart.

It was from a place called “The Warehouse of Stuff“.

No joke, this place (when my parents, Ethan, and I finally found it) was located under a Highway 40 bridge in a very large warehouse—apparently once used by Famous Barr (a St. Louis department store). We had to call a number to be let in, follow a very nice man into one of those giant industrial elevators with the closing gates, and go up four floors to this—what looked like a huge empty room.


I won’t lie. For at least a second I considered the possibility we were about to be abducted.

But then we turned left…


This place is like “Craigslist in a warehouse”. Piles and piles of stuff fill almost an entire floor of the building. Row upon row of computers, display cases, shelves, and racks and file cabinets and school desks and…anything. Whole commercial kitchens. Professional sound and light equipment.

Ethan had a blast walking around with Grandpa—my dad owns and manages a huge warehouse like this one so he felt right at home. My mom and I were less comfy but very intrigued by the cool junk piled around us.

Luckily all I had to say was “library carts” and the friendly “inventory specialist” showed us right where they were located. TONS of them. I tried to pick one with as few dents and dings as possible.

Ethan approved.


After that experience, I was all fired up to get this cart cleaned up and in my home office. It took plenty of Goo Gone and a very special tool (a metal ruler) to remove the plethora of decade-old stickers and tape. I took a wire bar-b-que brush and some soapy water to give the cart a major scrub down to remove the warehouse gunk and grime.


I then hosed the cart with my fav primer—in spray form.



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PS, this is all being done in our “work space”!! After living for so long with no room to do anything crafty (though we did find a waywe now have a whole garage to DIY to our hearts content. I just draped a corner with a drop cloth and opened the garage door for some ventilation and bam, spray paint booth.

It feels good to have space.

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My limited color options in the spray paint aisle of worked out just fine…aqua is never really a bad choice. And while I was worried about the satin finish not being shiny enough, it looks great.

I’m thrilled with the result.

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library cart diy, library cart makeover, painting metal furniture, office organization, office furniture craigslist
I was inspired by the cheery blue to fix up a little corner of our 2nd floor landing…my “office” is such a mess right now it felt good to have part of it look finished. It was also a great excuse to hang up the darling map bunting my girlfriends made for our going away party (sob).

So one little part of the landing looks OK. The rest is eh…


We need wall art, desk organization, a rug for sound deadening, and some storage. Plus,  I said I would live with it for a while before making a decision, but I just don’t know how long I’ll be able to stand the beige paint covering the first and second floor hallways. It’s just so BEIGE. A cool gray would look really nice with our floors (once I get motivated to start painting). 

Cost rundown:

  • really old cart…………………$25
  • spray primer………………….$7
  • spray paint…………………….$4
  • TOTAL…………………..$35

Not too shabby for something reclaimed and character-filled!

Here’s to my first successful DIY project in St. Louis! Creepy (yet very cool) warehouse aside, it was a cinch.

Where’s the weirdest place you’ve ever shopped?


23 Responses
  1. April 10, 2013

    That’s funny – my husband and daughter went there yesterday to look for shelving for the little one’s daycare. They bought library carts too.
    Kristin recently posted..part oneMy Profile

    • Becky permalink*
      April 14, 2013

      Awesome!! There was some very cool stuff…I will be back.

  2. April 10, 2013

    Also – what kind of console table are you looking for? We may be selling our walnut library table / console table and matching coffee table – big round one.
    Kristin recently posted..part oneMy Profile

  3. April 10, 2013

    Glad we were there to help make that awesome purchase. It turned out better than ever. Next time we visit I think we’ll bring the truck! Can’t wait to see more DIY projects.

    • Becky permalink*
      April 14, 2013

      Me too! Thanks for sticking with me on one of my crazy missions.

  4. Cara permalink
    April 10, 2013

    Lookin’ good!!!!

    • Becky permalink*
      April 14, 2013

      Thinkin a Chicago trip is in order this summer…

  5. April 10, 2013

    LOVE. That is all.
    Jen recently posted..crafty mama: felt travel toysMy Profile

  6. Shannon permalink
    April 11, 2013

    Love that you hung the map bunting! The cart looks great. Miss you guys!

    • Becky permalink*
      April 14, 2013

      Miss you too! The bunting is so cute.

  7. April 16, 2013

    Oh library carts are awesome, especially when they’re painted bright colors like yours. Love the blue, it’s gorgeous and love how your stuff is displayed on it :)

  8. Grandpa & Grandma Voboril permalink
    April 17, 2013

    Your house looks amazing!

  9. Elizabeth permalink
    April 28, 2015

    Hi! I know you made this post awhile back, but I found it. I was inspired to fix up my own library cart find by your tutorial. I just put my second coat of spray primer on it, and it appears gritty/sandy. Did you encounter this as well? If so, how did you proceed? I’m thinking of sanding it a little before adding my final coat of paint.

    • Becky permalink*
      May 4, 2015

      I did not have that issue Elizabeth, but I’m sure all materials are different. I’d do a light sanding and it should be great! Good luck!

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