One of the things Sean and I are great at is finding a bargain, it’s not by chance, it’s by persistence, this is the story of some of y favorite upcycles along our way to our home build. 

There was a year or so while I worked at the state that our agency had no funding. We were pretty much told to sit at our desks and keep quiet to maintain current staffing levels aka our jobs. I hated it, I’m a project person, I needed to stay busy. It was about this time I got really good at using Craig’s list, this was before most of the apps and social media sales groups came on board. I established good searches, browsed a lot, and learned what to look for. 

I dabbled for a while in flipping jewelry, buying loose diamonds, setting them, and reselling, the same with furniture although I wasn’t refinishing at the time, just reselling. It kept me busy and made a nice side stream of income. I rarely buy anything without searching for it used first, and sometimes things I’m not even looking for jump out at me. That’s what happened with our first boat.

We had talked a bit about owning a boat, we enjoyed being on the water with family but whatever we got had to fit in our garage. We found a 16′ seadoo boat listed for $3400, bought it for $3k. It ran, but needed work, upholstery, some engine tune ups. It came with marine vinyl so Sean got a heat gun and reupholstered it, heat gunned the plastics to refresh the color, added hydroturf, led lighting, engine upgrades, all together @$500. We sold it the following year for $6500 and bought a 17′ bayliner for $7500. It was better, but really basic. We added decals, lighting, a few cosmetics and sold that the following year for $10,500 and bought our current boat, a sea Ray 185 for $11k. We’ve had that for 3 years now, still laugh about the one that started it all. Now @$5k into a boat that still works great for us.

Our camper was a similar story. With the idea of building a house on the table, we’d need a place to stay on our land. I found a Coleman pop up tent trailer for $1100 on Facebook and jumped on it. The inside was perfect, but the top had cracked from the sun and needed to be replaced so it was priced to sell. Sean sanded the top down, coated it in marine resin and weather proofed it. It was a million times better. We sold it the following year for $4500 without ever having slept in it. We bought our current camper, a 2004 hybrid for $3000 because it needed cleaning and small repairs. We scrubbed it, replaced the couch, recovered the cushions, New lights, stereo, faucets, and mattressses. It’s nearly new inside and we are @ a net zero on owning it.

Our truck was another necessity with my business growing and construction taking a toll on my suv. We found our truck, a 2004 Toyota tundra for $1700. It had a damaged quarter panel from a fence bender, but clean title. Sean got a new panel, we sold it the following year for $5600 and bought our current truck for $10,500.

The front doors to our house are big wrought iron double doors. I found them late one night online for $1500+$200 shipping and ordered a set before we even had plans. I Called the architect and told him what we needed to incorporate and he recommended we go with the bigger size so I placed another order and cancelled the original. The company mistakenly shipped both sets of doors! We considered rejecting them, but I kept the shipment. We called the company and asked for a credit to keep the second doors as they would have to repay for freight service and ‘re crate them as the first company had removed the shipping crate. They offered us $400 to not send them back. We then sold the doors for $2000. All in all, beautiful doors worth @$5k for under $1k. 

None of this is a story of luck. I literally search nightly for construction materials, anything I think we could use. It is part of my routine now. We think of everything in terms of whether we could improve in it and make it work, or at least use it as a stepping stone to what we really want. We aren’t afraid of a project, if we don’t know how, we will learn. We aren’t afraid to ask for a deal, discount, or make an offer. Each one has our blood, sweat, and tears in it. We have worked hard to have things we may not otherwise be able to, and we appreciate them so much more as a result. It is 0% Luck, 100% Hustle!

Author: Brandy K.

Bio: I wanted to take a chance to introduce myself, I am Brandy Kollenborn, a furniture painter from Sacramento, CA and owner and artisan behind  “Brushed By Brandy”. I'm a stay at home mom of 3 boys, Noah 11, Ashton 8, and Logan 5, married for 16 years to my favorite furniture cameraman, repairman and delivery person, Sean. I have a degree in finance and left my career with The State of CA to stay home when my youngest son was born, with no clue what my next step would be, it was a leap of faith! The first pieces I did were a bedroom set in 2016 that tenants left behind in our rental, it was beat up, but solid wood, and I had nothing to lose, it was either going to the curb or I could make something of it. I've always been on the crafty/artistic side so this was a great way to express that on huge canvases. My hobby has turned into a booming little business, most of my pieces are sold before I create them and designed alongside my customer. My style is blended, smooth, colorful statement pieces for any room. I'm proud to partner with The Dixie Belle Paint company and Prima Marketing group creating sample pieces, lives, and blogging tutorials at brushedbybrandy.com. We are in the process of building our forever home on 5 acres for our boys, it will be my biggest custom project to date :) and I love sharing that journey on my page and in a blog as well. We are project people through and through, don't know how to sit still.  I'm so appreciative of the support, my confidence wavers all the time, I love answering questions and connecting with other creatives, this community has been so welcoming to me and I hope I can return that! I’m so grateful for this opportunity, I never imagined there would be interest in me painting furniture in my garage!  Facebook.com/brushedbybrandy Instagram.com/brushedbybrandy  Youtube.com/brushedbybrandy Brushedbybrandy.com 

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