Painting a Table Doesn't Make You a "Furniture Maker" Louise — Tell Me About Your Harebrained Schemes

Did your crazy idea succeed?
Publish date:
April 4, 2016
furniture, big dreams, college memories, schemes, making money, small businesses

The summer before my senior year in college, I bought a shitty little cafe table.

It was cheaply made, was mostly wood, and smelled funny. (Was it rotting?)

Anyway, determined to spin my $5 St. Vincent de Paul purchase into gold, I bought a can of fire engine red paint and set to work on that table in my poorly ventilated apartment kitchen. I loved the "process". I FELT LIKE AN ARTISAN.

What I was, was a bored college student woozy on paint fumes, hallucinating about my Red Table Empire (I had bought WAY too much red paint).

I envisioned myself in some version of a blurry, 90s-style furniture commercial montage — Louise lovingly paints a chair red, Louise skillfully nails a rooster statue to the back of the chair, Louise grins contentedly after a hard day's work as a family carries her hand "restored" rooster chair into their den.

I should have opened a window in my kitchen.

The finished table was alarmingly red, and had cut up pictures of old-timey medical textbook eyeballs and scraps of Sylvia Plath journal entries decoupaged all over the top. Was it a cry for help? An indication of brain cell death? WHATEVER. I thought I was on to something.

Good God, Hung.

My plan was that I'd buy cheap furniture, "Louise it up", and sell the furniture to like-minded idiots! At least that was my plan.

I "sold" two items. One was to a friend who felt sorry for me (red side-table, cut out magazine letters stuck to it — it looked like serial killer alphabet soup), and the other was another shitty cafe table that my high neighbor offered to take off my hands "for a couple bucks" when he saw me dragging it to the curb. That one was red (of course) with some garage sale wooden donkeys nailed to it. I wish I still had those donkeys.

And that was the end of my furniture empire. People don't want shitty, wobbly furniture no matter how many barnyard animals you nail to it.

Over the years I've tried my hand at quite a few harebrained schemes, and I've loved every one of them. They include:

  • Eggroll company
  • Texas-themed t-shirt company (think punk armadillos... whatever that means)
  • A "unique pets" pet sitting company (ferrets, tarantulas, rats, scorpions...)
  • BrandyLou Body Care (Homemade, "almost edible" balms, sprays, scrubs — this one actually lasted a whole year)

What have been your schemes? Your dreams? Your wild ideas? Did they succeed? Did they go the way of the Red Table Empire?

I'm not going to lie, I still think most furniture can be improved by nailing a rooster onto it.