Orchard Ladder

Last Fall, I picked up an old apple-picking ladder at the Nashville Flea Market. The vendor had both sections of the ladder, but I was only interested in the top…

I breathed a big sigh of relief when Rhoda and I finally managed to fit it into the compact car I was driving that day…

It stretched all the way from the front windshield to the back window!

We’re planning to use it in a room we’re re-doing right now, so I figured it was about time I cleaned it up a little. There were quite a few blobs of white paint on it…

So I used a sanding block wrapped in 80 grit sandpaper to (carefully) sand them off, and then I coated the entire thing with some leftover Varathane Floor Finish…

We’re super happy with the way it turned out, and we look forward to using it as a magazine rack in the new room soon.

And speaking of repurposing flea market finds, Nate Berkus is going to feature one of our HGTV projects on his show on March 29th. (The gal we talked to said he wouldn’t be able to actually mention who made it during the segment, but we’re super tickled that he liked our little shutter turned sofa table project!) If you’re interested in learning how to make one too, you can find our step-by-step instructions on our new ‘Our HGTV Articles’ page. You’ll find it in the blue menu bar at the top of our blog.
And speaking of “how to’s”, don’t forget- next Tuesday is our monthly “How To’s Day” linky party. We’re lookin’ forward to seeing the projects you’ve blogged about this month! I’m hoping to blog about how to make a throw pillow. (insert fingers crossed because I’ve never made a throw pillow before, here.)

*the new guest bedroom is in the reading room and we’re racing against the clock to finish up what we’re doing so my Mom sleep comfortably in there this weekend!


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  1. kelly says

    oh i.love.that. ladder.
    need it for my bookcases in the den…
    can’t wait to see what you do with it!
    and big congrats on the nate berkus p.r.

  2. says

    I’ve been blogging about an old farm ladder of my grandparents that I want to jazz up. I just can’t get it separated though so the project has stalled until my handy brother-in-law can give it some attention.

  3. says

    The varnish really transforms the ladder…which looks great! I found a wonderful old double wooden ladder at an estate sale a couple of years ago. The vendors actually wrote the price directly on it with a marker! Ugh! I haven’t tried sanding it off yet, I should. I’ll have to check my varnish stash, too!

    Happy Spring!

    : )

    Julie M.

    • Layla says

      Oh my goodness, I hate it when they do that!
      I have a pretty bowl with Sharpie marker on it.
      Says, “99 cents”.

      • says

        Loving that ladder…

        Just a tip for you. You can use WD-40 to remove the marker for that bowl. An antique dealer shared that trick a few years ago and it has saved me a couple of times.

  4. says

    Hey! I love this ladder. I was on the lookout for an orchard one, but I couldn’t wait. My grandfather-in-law gave me one he has used on his farm for 50 years. I had my husband work on taking it apart to give me two. I am still pondering the painting techniques and colors I want to use on them! My wood is not a pretty as yours. I think it has been outside in the weather for a LONG time! http://twentysomethingtransue.blogspot.com/2011/03/decorating-with-ladders.html

  5. says

    Wow…what an extreme makeover. It looks so pretty paint free and all varnish :) How exciting about your feature coming up!!!!!

  6. Joanne B. says

    love the way the ladder turned out! Jumped over to see your shutter sofa table and it is so cute ! What a clever idea! Looks great and wondering where I could put one in ouu vacation beach house! Don’t mean to ‘stir the pot’, but as much as I do love Nate Burkus, I feel if you guys created the shutter sofa table you deserve some sort of shout out! I’m just sayin’…

  7. says

    Layla, Congrats on the Nate Berkus event…that’s awesome! I always love seeing what you and Kevin are up to. :) Love the finish on the ladder…looking forward to seeing how you use it.

  8. says

    LOVE LOVE LOVE! I think you and I have similar taste! I moved to Nashville last summer from Atlanta and oh girl how I LOVE the flea market! I sure would love to meet you girls next time you come to town! I’ve been stalking the flea market and the antique stores here for over a decade as I moved here in 1995 and moved to Atl (job promotion) in 2005. I’m back and LOVING IT! I am new to this world of blogness (like just over a month) and am trying to meet some cyberfriends and fellow bloggers with great taste!! Here is my house tour so far =)
    xoxo Shelli

  9. colette says

    what a great idea! that ladder is beautiful. How come nate gets to take credit for you shutter turned table, that’s hardly fair!

    • Layla says

      Hey Colette!

      No worries, I’m sure Nate’s gonna show a bunch of flea market find re-do photos, and there’s probably just not time to list everybody’s names. :-)

      • says

        Layla, there’s time for that — they could at the very least include you in the credits at the end of the show, and what they should do is put up your blog name during the table segment. They have both the time and the money for that.

        • Layla says

          Hey Kimberly!

          It’s all good in the the hood! According to the gal we spoke with, our names will appear in the credits at the end of the show. :-)
          But, again, we’re just excited he wanted to use our photo period! I can’t wait to see that episode….love me some trash (to treasure) talk!


  10. says

    Congrats the Nate show, but I think its total boloney that they won’t (not “can’t,” because OF COURSE they can, they just won’t!) mention that you guys made the console table (which is brilliant, BTW). Jeez, at least give you guys the credit! Sorry, I work in the Intellectual Property Department of a large L.A. law firm, and this is exactly the type of thing that chaps my hide, because I hate people’s IP being used to bolster someone else’s reputation, with no credit given to the creators. /soapbox

    You did a magnificent job on the ladder, it looks amazing with the natural wood finish. I’ve had my eye out for a ladder to use for just this purpose. Congrats, you scored a nice one!

    Best to you both,


    • Layla says

      Thanks Kimberly! We’re lovin’ the ladder too. :-)

      I left you a comment above this one about the Nate Show… ;-)

  11. says

    I love ladders like that and yours has some wonderful details on the side. Can’t wait to see it function and in place. And congrats on the Nate feature, too bad he can’t say where he got the idea from.

    • Layla says

      Ness! So good to “see” you today! I hope all is well in your world and thank you for the sweet comment. Made me smile SO BIG!!!


  12. says

    oh! i saw a similar ladder at my favorite antique store about 2 months ago for only $30!!!! then i left the store WITHOUT IT, changed my mind, went back to get it, and it was GONE! :( i was so super sad!!!! yours turned out AWESOME! :)

  13. JustBeth says

    We found 2 apple ladders when we moved into our log home. The larger one has been used in my husband’s workshop. The smaller one has had 2 lives. First my husband created small shelves from old pallets and I used it in my kitchen to hold cookbooks. Then we remodeleld the kitchen. Now the ladder has a place of honor in the dining room holding my husband’s collection of teddy bears. We did not sand or repaint or refinish. I loved the old green flaky paint. Happy ladder and happy woman.

  14. says

    Thank you for stopping by my blog! I guess I have never been to your blog before and I am super excited to look through it! I have a degree in Interior Architecture and Design, so this will be fun for me!

    This ladder is so unique. I love it!

  15. says

    I love this ladder! fabulous vision on the decorating front. I love how you touched it up with the sanding and varnish so it was a little more refined.

  16. Susan says

    I love your orchard ladder!! The sanding and light coat of varnish look great. They just look cool leaning against a wall, even bare. I have a tall one that I hang quilts on and a small one that displays old handerchiefs. My husband thinks it’s strange to have a ladder inside the house unless you’re climbing on it. Silly man, what does he know. :)

  17. says

    Girl, are we ever going to meet and go shopping together??? I mean seriously… you are so amazing and I adore every single thing you do!!

    I’ve been on the hunt for one of those ladders forever… So far, nothing in my price range, but I won’t give up.

    Happy Spring day!!

    • says

      Hey Sasha!

      YES!!!! Come on over here and I’ll take you to all my favorite hot spots!
      You’ve always wanted to vacation in Alabama, haven’t you?


  18. says

    You find the most wonderful things out there in the South! The magazine rack idea sounds fantastic and the shutter console table is exquisite. Congratulations on Nate appreciating your wonderfulness!

  19. Dawn says

    Wow! great job on the ladder! I love it and wish I had one for the same purpose! I’d put it in the guest room with mags and an extra blanket draped over it! Thanks for sharing and inspiring once again!

  20. sarita says

    love that ladder…can’t wait to watch nate’s show to see your table..a friend and i once had the same situatin – how to fit a long bookcase into a smallish car..we laid the front seat down – and it fit – only thing is i had to sit behind her in the car! we laughed so much – then went through a drive through – and laughed some more!! is there anything better than laughing with friends!

  21. Kathleen says

    Love the ladder and the varnish made it come to life
    Just took a peek at your table project -great that Nate will feature it on the show
    Maybe next time you will get some press

    just wondering how do you put those screws into the legs so that they can screw into the shutter

  22. says

    I love the ladder! I can totally seeing it holding some floursack towels in the kitchen or vintage napkins on the wall…..oh the possiblilities are endless! :)

    Great find and cute post….love the idea of a magazine holder! (I am 20 minutes away from Nashville and I’ve never checked out the flea market….I am going to have to go! I should know this but when do they hold it each year…clearly, I haven’t been paying attention!)

  23. says

    Love the ladder! I have one in my family room that I use for a magazine rack. Now If I could just keep my two year-old from pulling them off and climbing on it!

  24. Robin says

    Where did you get the seashell pictures in this post? I adore them and am a beach girl from Kansas! Thanks in advance.

  25. Kim in MD says

    I LOVE the ladder! I can’t wait to see you on Nate’s show! I love Nate’s style, and DVR his show everyday so I don’t miss anything! Have fun with your Mom this weekend! :-)

  26. Kris says

    I have an old barn ladder in my entryway and have an old patriotic colored quilt hanging on it. Years later people still comment on it everytime they come over. I LOVE it and now just need to figure out where to put the other old ladder that is in the garage.

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