why you always, always ask…

by | Sep 15, 2014 | Artistic Endeavors, Favorite Finds | 127 comments

The other day, I was working at the studio without a car, so I needed my dad to give me a ride home.  We had a bag of trash to drop off at the dumpster and, on the way there, something caught my eye.  It sort of looked like a large, wood box…maybe something on its side?  It was just sitting on the ground next to the building across the street.  Either way, it caught my eye and deserved a closer inspection.  I asked my dad to drive by it slowly on the way back and he did.  I saw bead board and old wood…

“I think it’s a counter!  Let me out!”

I jumped out of the truck and walked around the piece.  It was a counter with bead board sides and a wood top.  What in the world was it doing sitting on the concrete next to a building?  I felt that instinct to just ask about it.  It so happened that a maintenance guy was in my studio installing a utility sink.  I realized that and had a little conversation with myself.

It’s just sitting out here.  I should ask if it’s something they are using or getting rid of.  I mean, maybe they are going to put it in the trash or something.  But then, maybe they have it set aside for something special and me asking for it would be overstepping my bounds.  And maybe I shouldn’t even pay attention to the things laying on the ground around there.  Oh goodness, Marian…just ask!

So, I marched over to my studio and asked.  I hardly got out, “I noticed a counter sort of thing sitting out there and I was wondering…”

“Oh, would you like us to bring it over here?”

“Um…yeah, that would be amazing!”  I was thrilled and I do think they were glad to have somewhere to put it.

We stopped in on Saturday to drop off some lumber and it was there.  We put sliders on the bottom, cleaned it up a bit and slid it into place where I want to use it.  I picture using it as a checkout counter when we have workshops and sales and it’ll also make a great work surface.  (Just imagine rolling walls behind the counter, hiding the shipping area…

antique store counter | miss mustard seed

antique store counter | miss mustard seed

Isn’t it absolutely amazing and perfect?  (Yeah, I know someone sloshed something on the side, but I can fix that!)

I decided over the weekend that I loved it so much I was going to ask if I could buy it.  That way I can customize it to suit my needs without feeling like I need to get permission each time I do something.  Again, I had to have a conversation with myself about it, but I finally sent an e-mail to the owner, asking if he would be open to selling it to me.

I kept checking my e-mail for a response as I worked throughout the day and it finally came in.  He said I could have it for FREE!  Yes, f-r-e-e!  They were actually going to throw it away!  I was so excited about it that I was laughing as I told Jeff and my words sounded choked.  I think generosity like that isn’t often found, especially when someone is offering to pay you for something.  Most people would go on eBay and try to figure out how much they can get from the interested party who’s totally shown all their cards by professing their love for it.  I thanked the owner and told him this counter was going to have a wonderful new life and let him know he totally made my day.

antique store counter | miss mustard seed antique store counter | miss mustard seed

I started sanding the top this afternoon and I’ll clean it with mineral spirits tomorrow and give it a generous coat of Hemp Oil.  I am also planning on repainting it.  The chippy paint is pretty, but there is the big slosh on the side and it could benefit from a freshening up.  I’m thinking Eulalie’s Sky might do nicely…or Mustard Seed Yellow…?

antique store counter | miss mustard seed

We’re also going to add a shelf underneath and screw it to the floor (we have permission), so it doesn’t tip over on anyone.

So, that, my friends, is why you always, always ask!


  1. sally stansfield

    What a gift from above! Quite providential I think. Love it!!!

  2. MaryS

    I never hesitate to ask. All they can do is say No… So glad you got something that you can use and make part of your studio. Of course it will be wonderful when you’ve finished with it. Glad for you. Soon, that studio will be all full!

  3. Carol Murphy

    No question…Mustard Seed Yellow! It is already on it’s way there…and what a great Dad to support “drive boy’s”when you spy a treasure!

  4. Barbara Bussey

    I am SO jealous! You are one lucky duck!!!

  5. MaryLisa Noyes

    Eulilies sky would be incredible on it….I did a farm cabinet with it that had a similar color on it that your counter has…..

  6. Rebecca

    You are indeed one, sweet, lucky girl…………….to have a Dad like you have!! Carry on you two and ask away!!!!!

  7. Elizabeth

    Absolutely an amazing find 🙂 I just found your blog yesterday and am LOVING everything you do. I can’t wait until we buy a home so I can take all the inspirations from your blog and impliment them in my own house 🙂

  8. Bobbi Jo

    What a great find! It was meant to be!

  9. Bethany @ CranberryHorn

    I love this piece and the fact that it took perseverance and courtesy to get it. It deserves a place in your shop. Maybe it was sent just for you. 🙂 Enjoy!

    BTW, LOVE the mustard color on it!

  10. Grace

    That seems like a divine gift. 🙂

  11. Leslie

    Congrats! But you know, you really should bake him something as a thank you. THAT is the second unspoken rule “always reward generosity.”

  12. Dorthey

    “Delight yourself also in the LORD: and he shall give you the desires of your heart.” God always shoes up. Good for you! My vote is for Eulie’s Sky, but I am partial to blues over yellows. So happy for you.

  13. Tina

    That is awesome! That would look amazing in a big kitchen as a island.

  14. Betsy Smith

    I shared this post with my mom as she is the women I learned my road side grabbing/ dumpster diving/ thrift store searching ways from. She loved how you found such a gorgeous counter on the side of the road and weren’t afraid to ask if it was up for grabs, I believe her exact words were “A woman after my own heart!”. Love the counter, you’re a lucky gal!

  15. Joy Jenkins

    What a find! So perfect for your space and style!

  16. MG

    I don’t know why but this post brought tears to my eyes. Even BEFORE the guy gave it to you for free. I think because I know how excited I am to stumble upon treasures in this way. This counter is absolutely perfect and beautiful. The generosity is certainly icing on the cake.

  17. Cindy Tooker

    Love the old bead board counter, very cool and that it was free and saved from being destroyed is awesome. I always ask even if something is out at the road for trash pickup. Once I was offered some additional items they had not put out yet. I think people like knowing their things have gone to someone who appreciates what it is. I like the rolling wall idea, I saw a cool one once made of 6 old doors. Some painted and chippy others just great old wood panels and hardware. They made a base with heavy 2×10 or 12’s, used heavy industrial wheels, that were about 6inches wide. They made a trough to slide in the doors just wide enough for them to fit but not lean. I think they used 2×10’s it held them very securely. Of course you could always screw them to the base. It looked great with wreathes for holidays other decorations, things you would put on a door. Made a fun wall room divider.

  18. mary beth

    I too had similar experience but the “trash” were 2 large outdoor wicker chairs sitting next to a neighbor’s trash cans. I knocked and knocked on their door and she finally answered (maybe she was napping? but she was not angry). She confirmed she was throwing out the chairs since she purchased a new patio set. She even put the chairs in the trunk with me. One went into my client’s apartment and I’m holding onto the other. Terrific, so glad I asked.

  19. Susan Prillman, glorygiver

    SCORE!!!! I vote for Eulalie’s sky. 😉 I am a born and raised trash picker and there is nothing more thrilling than finds like this!

  20. Hope Allen

    this is amazing!!! and it was meant to be for you!! FREE is the cherry on top!! So jealous but if i can’t have it – i would want you to have it! ha-ha Enjoy and can’t wait to see the pics of it with its new life 😀

  21. lisa

    love,love, love, love and love. So perfect, I’m dying over here!!

  22. gail

    Best score! Love it.
    I hope yu paint it your signature yellow mustard seed color. It would be awesome to paint your logo smack dab in the center!

    Excited for you!
    A beautiful Autumn day to you Mariann!

  23. Cindy

    What a great find! It’s finding stuff like that gets us all hooked in the first place for sure. No wonder we’re all such scavengers, it’s totally fun!
    It’s just so cool how it is completely perfect for your space too…



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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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