Coastal Before & After ~ $5 Fisherman’s Basket

Tue 2nd, Aug, 2011

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Good morning!

How you cooking?

All is very very good here…the sun is shining as only the Australian sun can…we have a month to go of Winter but it has been warm as pie…temperature dipping up to about 21 to 22C…though in my back garden sitting with my veggies in a little suntrap it’s much warmer…love that!

So the other week I when we had about a 5 day run of rain, and I don’t mean drizzle I mean like lashing down, waterfall-in-your-garden rain, the lovely lg and I had all our mummy-sporty-weekendy duties cancelled because sport was well and truly rained out.

And so we decided to go on a vintage treasure hunting adventure…interspersed with Italian coffee and lunch at a favourite little Frenchy boutique…

I found this basket…just right for a coastal abode ;-)



Unfortunately I am seriously down on thrifters luck at the moment…and that’s pretty much all I cam home with…to be honest I have found nothing much for a long time…and this time I didn’t fare much better…in fact neither of us did…

It’s much more fun when you go out looking for treasure with someone else, though you must pick your fellow thrifter with much care I believe…you have to find someone who likes what you like…we found out we had some strange shared likes…I thought I was the only person in the world who loved fondling vintage Tupperware and sniffing it (yes really), but no it seems she does too, I thought I was the only one who stares at odd patterened fabrics wondering what I could do with it, but it seems she does too…plus she strokes vintage linens and loves nothing better than to rifle through a stash of vintage old china…

There are a few subtle differences though…I like wading through the saucepans…and I wear Uggs in public…


she likes bright colours


and re-arranging things in thrift stores so they are more aesthetically pleasing to her very well trained architect’s eye…it’s all in the lines ;-)


after a morning of thrifting and coffee we were very sparse…I had one very orange basket and a rusty old tin..


…she had some fabric

…but we had sniffed a lot of Tupperware




So this is the basket…I love baskets and I think it is essential to the beach cottage coastal look…I pick them up whenever I come across them, especially if they are large and have good handles…

I got this one for 5 dollars







I liked the shape and the handles but I didn’t like the dust or the colour…

I see baskets all the time in the beachy boutiques I frequent and am always surprised at the obnoxious prices of some of them in certain shops, because for sure I am certain that the person who made them didn’t get that price…

Anyway…if you see a dusty basket…which often they are when they are found on treasure hunting trawls, do not be repelled…do not be afraid of the dust….this is very very easily rectified…and with a little bit of effort you can turn a $5 dusty old basket into one that you might see in one of those boutiques for oh about 30 times the price..

All you have to do is vacuum it…or as they say in Old Blighty hoover it…just take your brush attachment and attack it..this will lift and suck the dust..

..next I do the Dettol on mine…if a scientist were to examine the difference between my before-Dettol basket and my after-Dettol basket there would, in all honesty, probably be little difference…it’s just what I do…and for a few reasons…firstly I love the smell of Dettol..it cures many a thing and secondly I think zapping with a bit of disinfectant cleanses it for its new life in Beach Cottage land…ha!

After you have performed the above operation you are ready to paint…in a coastal wash of beachy chic… ;-)

For this look all you do is get a dollop of water-based white paint (for this I used about 2 tablespoons or so) and then add water to the paint until you have a milk-like consistency…the more water you put in the more ‘washed’ the basket will look…

If you have a particularly orangey basket like mine (not that there is anything wrong with orange lg :-) ) you will not want the paint to be too thin and watery otherwise it won’t cover the colour enough…if you have a paler basket to cover you can do it much more watery and you will end up with a lovely whitewash look rather than a painted look…

…and that is it…after the vacuum, the Dettol and the paint….

not too bad for 5 bucks huh?



whaddya think?  you like?




OK, I am off now, I have something else that I am painting for the Family Room and I am going for coffee with Mr BC…

Oh and thanks for the shop love…I am working on new things for my shop (and old vintage things actually) and I put a few things up in there the other day and they flew out the door pretty quickly….you gals are fast…more goodies coming soon to my little shop and yes this time I am just doing the bits that I am good at …not the going-to-the-post-office-headless-chickeny-bits…so hopefully this time it won’t magically disappear again for a year hahaha

See ya around

p.s. Good Life Wednesday linky party tomorrow…get ready to show off…


read lg’s Beach Cottage guest post here…all about our thrifting, vintage plates and cake stands



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43 Responses to “Coastal Before & After ~ $5 Fisherman’s Basket”

  1. Oh i am sooo glad i am not the only person who wears uggys in public, i am quite fond of my uggs but there are many people who are not :b boo to them i say .. Love love your basket it has turned out lovely

  2. Karen says:

    Soooo cute! It works beautifully with your room.

  3. Catie says:

    Hi Sarah, Your basket turned out lovely! I LOVE baskets. I have quite a few in every room. They’re great for keeping things organized and in their place. Not to mention the texture they add to a room. Ahh, just love…
    ~ Catie

  4. kari says:

    Love the white washed basket!! You are like the “queen” of getting things white washed in a way that they look perfect… Quick question.. Can’t you get on some list for UPS or FedEx that just stops by to pick your shipments up each day? It would save you a ton of headache :)

  5. Zosia says:

    Looks great. What brush do you use and how do you get the paint into all those little nooks and crannies of the basket?

    • sarah says:


      I just use a regular old brush and just paint over down and across…I don’t bother too much about the nooks and crannies cos I want some natural basket showing through…plus if you use watered down paint it gets in there easily on its own



  6. Beth says:

    Nothing wrong with Uggs in public! I ventured out ‘by mistake’ in mine the other day – they are just soooo comfy. Eight year old daughter wasn’t too impressed though!
    Thanks for the tips about making over the basket. My local Salvos usually has loads of very orange looking baskets and I must admit to being put off by the dirt, dust and colour…not any more!
    Enjoy the coffee with the hubby.

  7. kalanicut says:

    The basket is lovely. Your little cottage by the beach is looking quite fantastic. Well done! You made me want to go thrifting. I’ve been on a thrifting diet this summer with a small apartment, not a lot of needs and no room to hide anything for the future. I may need to get back out there.

  8. Oh I like-y! I have baskets that I end up selling at my garage sales because I don’t know what to do with them. Duh! Paint, of course!

  9. Jen says:

    It looks perfect. I have no idea what Dettol is, but it sounds magical.

  10. Tammi says:

    Ooh me likes :) Baskets are so handy for the endless supplies of ‘stuff’ that I seem to acquire :) and are just perfect when whitewashed.


  11. Kat says:

    Love it!
    Hm, is this how I can revamp my old baskets from my teaching days that are in storage?
    I was going to say that I don’t know how you always seem to manage to find such great treasures.
    Here I find things always have ridiculous prices on them and it is so hard to find a bargain.
    I have however got my hands on an old small trunk, which has the original name stamped on it and stickers from when it has travelled from place to place.
    It is a very dark brown/blackish colour and pretty dirty.
    I have washed it, but am unsure if it is going to leave dirty marks on my carpet and little hands. (I want to use it to store books in our lounge room under the coffee table for the kids.)
    My big question is how to clean it really well. I am loathe to paint it, as it may lose it’s orginal old charm.
    What do you think Sarah? I vaguely remember you had an old trunk/case that you debated painting as well…
    Would love your feedback please! :)

    • sarah says:

      yes I did find an old trunk…actually I have more than one in the garage and under the house lol

      I think the vacuuming makes a huge difference…it really sucks the dirt out…and if you use the brush attachment at the same time it kinda dislodges dirt/dust/cobwebs etc and lifts it off of the surface

      …after that if it is filthy I have attacked things with a scrubbing brush and simple soapy water…sounds like you might have tried that already…maybe have a few attempts?

      I also think disinfectant makes it feel cleaner…I just use it neat or if the piece looks delicate I dilute it with water (as you know I use Dettol)

      hope that helps


      p.s. if it is no better after all of that I would paint…nothing beats a coat of white for a clean feel and you are still saving it from landfill :-)


      • Kat says:

        Thanks for those tips Sarah. I will try all of the above (aside from painting, as a last resort.) :)

  12. loulou says:

    hello Sarah

    I love it and I love your shopping / hunting / prowess.

    I too love a good op-shop, garage sale, trash & treasure at any time.

    I picked up a basket on the weekend at a jumble sale for $1 and I definitely had painting it in mind.
    Thank you for your tips of how you like to do it and you have done a wonderful job on your fabbo basket for $5.
    Keep your saved money back in the bank – saving ready to buy another beach cottage :)

    lovely photos as always Sarah

    thank you



  13. Deanne says:

    I would love a weekend off sport to do some garage saling!
    We didn’t get any of that rain that lashed down for days on end- just a bit of cloud and wind.

  14. Alice says:

    I love that basket… I have been looking for one like that for ages to put my kiddies toys in, in our living space (currently using a plastic washing basket – not good I tell you). It Looks perfect… I know what you mean as you so perfectly put it obnoxious prices at retail stores! Disgusting! Hence why the plastic washing basket is still in our living space. Will have to go op shopping this weekend, I have noticed that there seems to be an increase of stock on floor at my local… Looks great Sarah!

  15. I like what you did with the basket and you make it sound so easy to DIY.

  16. Melissa- Miss Sew & So says:

    Hey Sarah-
    For the record my very cool b.b (Brit bestie) here wears her uggs very stylishly outa the house on our thrifting mornings!
    When I’m in my Hunters rummaging through some freezing sale in a paddock she is looking seriously snug as a bug and lasts longer than me-who needs a tea & a hot water bottle down each wellie by 9 am!!!!

    Ripper basket-love ths shape. Perfect for storing ‘lounge blankets’!!! There’s five of you-that’s a lot of throws to snuggle under!
    Didn’t you have a basket on your deck that you also ‘stencilled’??
    Or drew numbers on free hand-this baskets the perfect square shape for a bit of BC type face!!

    Lg & you are a lovely mix-matched perfect match…
    Melissa x

  17. Anonymous says:

    Good fun to have a friend to go Op -Shopping with, ( must confess I do a little arranging to sometimes..eek).
    Baskets are safe for cleaning….and your looks gorgeous too.
    I just yesterday had a vintage cleaning disaster. Grandma had given me her travel cups, complete in the little zip up case. My lovely ( aluminium, i think) cups were pretty sugar lolly colours of blue,pink,pale green,pale gold, etc. I used them all the time for lots of things. …My sweet husband put them in the dishwasher yesterday…and now all the pretty sugar colours are gone, I am left with grey little cups. I must confess I cried…….. The dangers of vintage I guess. ..sigh….

    • Anonymous says:

      Sorry the Anonymous just above is me…. jojo3b.

      • sarah says:

        I did exactly the same! I am sorry to hear that…mine were lovely little ones too..in a leather travel case…sounds like they are the exact same…I was so sad when that happened and have been looking for similar ones ever since


  18. Heather says:

    Dontchya just love those kind of deals? Your elbow grease served ya well Sarah!
    Your shop looks awesome! Keep shining :)


  19. Jodi says:

    Love the basket…in fact I, like you, love just about any basket however my husband thinks I am crazy. Regardless there are many baskets about my home and I love them all! Hope you have better thrifting luck next time.

  20. I love the basket makeover! I am the queen of throw pillows, floor pillows, etc., and I would LOVE to have an oversized basket to throw them in when we stretch out on the couch. I’m in the process of decorating our living room (we just moved into a new super-old house!), and this is a must have! :)

  21. Katherine says:

    Hi Sarah!
    Enjoyed reading about your little thrifting outing – it has been a while! And like you, I haven’t found a real treasure in ages – do you think our thrifty shops are running out of….thrift??!! Gasp! Hopefully not!
    You did well with the basket for $5! It looks great, & I cannot understand either why these things usually cost a small fortune – that no one should ever pay!!
    I did some retail therapy today – of the accessory sort : ) Loving the spring colours coming in. The weather is great here in the Nth East Vic. too…..I feel spring in the air – yeah!!
    Love the uggs too!
    Happy thrifting always,

  22. Sarah says:

    Gorgeous! I love baskets too. You can never go wrong picking one up while thrifting. I went to an art show last month and found the most gorgeous seas grass basket. Can you guess the price? $2,000! I about fell over! I have to say your $5 basket is just as lovely!

  23. Shar Y says:

    Amazing what white paint can do! The basket is perfect, now. I must keep my eyes open for a similar find.

    BTW, love the photo above of the water and the white bird. The water is the most perfect shade of blue. You really should add some of your photography to the shop!!!

  24. Eileen says:

    Loving that basket Sarah! it looks to be the perfect size for throwing things in when cleaning up. I’ve been very lucky lately at the thrifts, here in the Cape May shore area. Love the coat of paint you gave it.

  25. Rose West says:

    I really like the size of your basket – you made it look so fresh and clean with the paint!

  26. I found a basket…a huge one in fact. I visited a thrift store that I usually don’t go to. there she was-she’s huge. But no price tag. I took her uo front and the man said she was $4 but that today they were half price. Oh happy day! Me and my $2 basket. I can’t wait to paint it….
    xo Jana

  27. LOVE.ly. Beyond words lovely. I know that “can’t find a thing” thrifting drought. Can’t wait for my next good find.
    Adore your blog.

  28. alison says:


    Having a like minded thrifter on my op shop/market day searches just adds to the fun. I can enjoy such expeditions even if I don’t buy. I just know something special will turn up another time. It’s shopping with spirit, not desperation or rampant consumerism.


  29. Courtney says:

    May I ask where you got your couch? I am in love with the faded linen style couches at Restoration Hardware but am convinced I can find something similar with a less painful price tag. I love your couch (and pillows…and everything) and am wondering where you got it. Thanks!

    • sarah says:

      Courtney it’s about 12 years old and we brought it with us when we left England for Australia…you can find very similar ones in IKEA

      hth xx

  30. alison says:


    Today I had a LOL moment when I went op shopping at my favourite Salvos. There, on a shelf, was an orangey brown fishing basket very similar to the one you painted. I couldn’t find a cup and plate to make lg’s cake stand.

    I rummaged through a box of beautiful doilies and narrowed it down to one small oval shaped one which was in a very delicate hand crotched fine cotton. With a bit of Napisan, a wash and iron it will look beautiful. $2 well spent.

    Oh, and tell lg I did a tiny bit of tidying. Always leave the shop better than when you entered in readiness for fellow thrifters.


    • sarah says:

      haha good work!

      love the doilies too


      • alison says:


        I need to thank you so much for all the fun your blog has given me since April when I discovered A Beach Cottage.

        In April I sat at my desk at work and decided I CAN”T DO THIS ANYMORE. After a few days of calm thought and consultation with Mr Alison I packed the contents of my desk and filing cabinet into the boot of my car and left.

        Four months on I have read your blog daily, foofed the house, exercised, read, drank tea, day dreamed, gardened, caught up with friends & relatives, taken photos, walked along beaches, gone for drives, sorted old photos, searched my favourite op shops and got quotes for a few new things for the house.

        I have been on an amazing journey where I discovered I can survive on a lot less money – with the support of my wonderful Mr Alison of course. Back in April I wrote a precise check list of things I wanted in my next job. I start my new job next week and last week I reread that check list. I couldn’t believe it! My new job ticks every item.

        Sarah, I felt like you were a friend on my rollercoaster the past four months. You kept a smile on my face and gave me lots of ideas, things to laugh about, think about and do.

        Thank you again,

        • sarah says:

          Alison, I am humbled to have been a part of it and so very glad you are feeling better :-)

          good luck with the job!


          p.s. happy foofing lol

    • alison says:

      oops… CROCHETED

  31. catherine says:

    did i miss something? i thought your sofa was white leather. this one is slipped? love the basket….you inspired me to go on a hunt.

  32. kelli says:

    I love it so much I featured you and your photo on my little blog: beachretreat.tumblr.com You’ve inspired me! I love baskets too but think they are way over priced and usually the wrong color. I’ll be keeping my eyes open for a project basket! Thank you!