The Chair That Changed Many Lives

This post was made in conjunction with Healing Transitions and their thrift store, Recovered Treasures. 

Feature Photo Thrift Store Chair

On the way to the open house that I attended with my middle daughter at her college, we stopped at a place that would make an impact on my outlook as well on my life. As I have mentioned before, when I talk about my dad that he left a huge legacy of giving back. It was basically what his whole life stood for, from giving back and lending a helping hand to his brothers and sisters, to the Marines under his command in the Marine Corps, and then to the communities that he served as Chief of Police and finally to the veterans and visually blind after he retired. He was always trying to make a difference in the community.

Dad and Chair

After he died, I decided I wanted to continue the legacy of giving back, looking for ways to help whether it be in person on through the blog. One such way was highlighting an amazing organization in Raleigh. It is called Healing Transitions. It is a facility that helps those struggling with addiction. They help their clients go through detox and give them a sense of self-worth.

mikaela sunflowers thrift store chair

Mikaela and I had a chance to tour the men’s facility on the way to her orientation, and we were impressed. Just to see the different transitions that their clients go through is incredible. They learn responsibility as well as better ways to cope. What I also loved about their program was that they didn’t turn away members who left the program – if they are struggling and want to come back, they are welcome. No one is refused.

One of the ways they keep afloat is through a thrift store they run in downtown Raleigh. Which brings me to the reason for this post. You know I am always looking for projects. So I met my contact Leah at their Recovered Treasures Thrift store to find a project to highlight not only the program but also the thrift shop. Mikaela and I arrived, a few minutes late mind you because I put the wrong address in the GPS. (my bad!)

Chair at Thrift Shop

As soon as I walked into the thrift store, my eyes fell on a rocking chair. Not wanting to miss out on anything, we continued to browse the store, But my eye kept going back to that chair. I found myself standing in front of it, thinking of all the possibilities.

Thrift Store Chair

And isn’t that what we all do when we look in the mirror think of all the what if situations. What if I was 30 lbs lighter, what if my hair wasn’t so gray, etc. and wonder how our lives would be different if we didn’t make some of the choices we make for ourselves. I know there are a lot of options we all regret some bad choices and some choices that we had to make for the sake of a loved one.

Thrift store chair nail head trim

So standing there in front of that chair, I thought of all the possibilities. Looking at it, it didn’t look like much but looking deeper; it had good bones, a solid foundation to build on. Once I decided on the chair, I then went about looking for something to cover to the cushion. I originally had wanted to find a sheet, curtain or something like that but then I saw this bucket of fabric and decided I had to have this fabric.

It was then that I started picturing what the chair would look like. Seeing the potential in everything can sometimes be a blessing and sometimes a curse. Just like that chair, I saw a little bit of myself in it as I am going through a transitional period in my life, my girls are almost grown and out of the house, and I am left wondering what to do next. I guess that is one of the reasons I took the job at Odom Farming this summer helping with their CSA program. But I could have easily turned to something else and almost did.

I will admit that for a few weeks that chair sat in the living room begging me to give it some love. But I just ignored it and walked past it like most people do when they see a problem instead of facing it head on.  So the week before Mikaela left for college, I decided to start on that chair. And start I did.

Chair painted before cushion

The first thing I wanted to do was to freshen it up, to brighten it up and give it a new brighter outlook. Sure I could have left it with the dark wood because it was still in good shape, but I decided I wanted a lighter color. I went with gray paint because it would bring out the flecks of gray in the material for the cushion.

Chair from thrift shop with Cushion

I am not going to lie I totally hot glued the material on the cushion. ( Folks I love my hot glue gun and do tons of projects with it.) Then came time to add that one wow factor that would make this chair pop.

Thrift store chair nail head trim

I bought some decorative floral nail head trim and went to work adding it around the bottom of the chair. Don’t you just love how it pops?

Pillows on Thrift Chair

Then came the pillow, I worked tirelessly one Thursday night sewing by hand a cover for the pillow and then I saw this adorable pillow cover and knew I had to add this to my chair. I mean who doesn’t love kitties and puppies?

Finally, the chair was done but what about a picture. I wanted just the right photo of the chair to show it off. To show that even those things may be a struggle and you might hit obstacles along the way that the outcome will be better and brighter if you believe that you can make it through to the other side.

farm thrift store chair

And that is what I did, the perfect place was one of transition for me, the place where I choose to turn a life changing situation into something positive and that was the farm, that has been my home away from home all summer and I intend to work there more years to come. The farm, I might add was my oldest daughter’s first job, and when she left for college, it became my middle daughter’s first job and maybe Gracie’s first job in the future. The farm that made me step out of comfort zone and get up and get moving. And it just so happened that the sunflower fields were in full bloom there.

Thrift Store Chair in Sunflowers

So on one Sunday afternoon, a photo was born. A picture that not only showed the transition of the chair, but also the transition of my life as well as the life of a photographer. I had asked my friend Shelley from Once Upon A Dream who had taken pictures for me in the past to meet me at the field for a photo session.

chair field

This photo session made an impact on Shelley as well because as I was telling her the story of the chair and how it came to be mine, she said you know places like these have a special place in my heart. I had forgotten that Shelley has a 20-year-old son who is currently battling drug addiction, and has been for two years now. It has been a real struggle for her family.

Thrift Chair

So sitting among the sunflowers that chair touched more than one life. It touched the lives of those that are in the program at Healing Transitions, the photographer, and mine, This chair is my reminder that it’s a choice you can make to see the potential in others and I hope it inspires you also. Don’t look at others and just see what they are right now. See what they could be if they are given a chance.

[su_box title=”More about Healing Transitions and Recovered Treasures” box_color=”#abbeef”]Healing Transitions (formally The Healing Place of Wake County) is a 501(c)(3) private, not-for-profit organization located in Raleigh, NC that began providing services in 2001. Their mission is to offer innovative peer-based recovery oriented services to homeless and underserved individuals with alcoholism and other drug addictions. The program is specifically designed to rekindle a person’s desire and ability to return to a meaningful and productive life.
Recovered Treasures is located: 4011 CAPITAL BLVD. SUITE 109 RALEIGH, NC (984)-269-7779 Their hours are Monday – Friday: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm, Saturday: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm and Sunday: 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm.[/su_box]


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  1. Thank you so much Melissa for this beautiful post. So glad that I got to meet you and I love what you did with the chair! it looks excellent 🙂

  2. This is so cool! I love the colors you picked and the sunflower field is a great place to photograph this chair. Thanks for the information about the non-profit store. I love finding items I can refinish.
    xo, Lee

  3. How beautiful that you are carrying on your father’s legacy of giving back. You did a great job with the chair, and those sunflowers are gorgeous; that field is such a great location for photos. Thanks for sharing this post. It was beautiful.

  4. I totally loved your story about giving back. That chair looks so cool and I wish I had the patience and the craftsmanship as you, to create something so awesome! I love DIY projects but wished mine came out better!

  5. So wonderful to carry on your father’s tradition and also pass it down to your girls as well! I love how you updated the chair; it looks really good!

  6. It’s awesome that you are carrying on tour father’s legacy and also passing it down to your girls! I love how the chair turned out. You did a great job!

  7. It is beautiful when things come full circle like that. I like to wander about what life the chair has had. Who was rocked on it. What it “heard”. I love that this program gives back to those with addictions as well.

  8. I love giving back! I’m currently raising funds for local elementary school teacher so that I can purchase them much needed books for their classroom. We can all be the change we want to see in the world!

  9. I love this chair! What a great DIY project. We used to go to thrift stores and antiques a lot before kids. I am hoping as the kids get older we can start going again. It would be a fun project to get some nice chairs like this and customize them.

  10. What an amazing story. I loved it. This looks like a fabulous chair. I wish I knew how to re-do chairs. I have some that need a new cover, big time.

  11. I love going to thrift stores so many cool finds all the time. I love what you did with the chair, it looks super cool and like new, but with the history that you know is there. You gave me some ideas of what to do with an old desk we have at home. I was going to give it away but maybe it just needs a little love and new image.

  12. I love that chair and the beautiful setting! Sunflowers are so perfect for a backdrop, I need to find a field asap. Also this has inspired me to finally get to work on a chair that I picked up from a thrift store a while back and never touched since. I really want to put some new fabric on it and paint it.

  13. What a beautiful story and a beautiful chair! I love the way that you redid it and also the story it tells! Pieces like this are so meaningful and tell a story for years to come!

  14. Oh wow what a transformation. I love thrift shopping and finding treasures with such history and now a story for yourself. I have a chair that I purchased from an estate sale that I absolutely love. I really want to paint it and change the upholstery.

  15. This is such an incredible story. I love how the things like this chair can make a difference for real people and I am so glad that you supported this cause – it is a great one for sure. The new and updated chair looks amazing. It definitely stands out and looks very welcoming

  16. This is a beautiful story. It is crazy that something that seems insignificant can change our outlook and touch the lives of others. It is a beautiful chair an I hope you enjoy it for years to come.

  17. That is such a beautiful chair too. I just loved your story as well. I love what you chose for the chair. It looks so nice.

  18. The Salvation Army in Metro Detroit funds its drug rehabilitation program through thrift shops located throughout the area. A nice way to support the program and find some good deals is shopping at one

  19. It’s funny how something like a chair can change us. I like how you gave this chair new life.

  20. Wow, you really did a great job on that rocking chair. How is the hot glue holding up? 🙂 I also checked out the healing transitions page and gave them a like on Twitter 🙂

  21. It is holding up pretty well. I used extra strength and then added the nail head trim. Thank you for supporting Healing transtions

  22. What a great find. I love thrift store shopping and finding fun projects to complete. This chair is gorgeous and even more so in the sunflower field. P.S. your dad sounds like an amazing man.

  23. What a beautiful story! I love that you allowed yourself to explore the possibilities of the chair. It’s amazing how certain objects can be so much more than things in so many ways. I love the transformation the chair took because of your dedication.

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