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One Man’s Junk Is This Woman’s Treasure

photo-544And before you even start rolling your eyes, there is not a stitch of Pyrex in this post. So there.

Nope, today I was on a mission. A mission to find new table tops to take food photos on. Before you go thinking that I’ve totally lost my marbles this time, hear me out.

I’ve been learning a lot from food stylist professionals. I’m reading books, going to conferences and devouring websites. One of the tips I got from an amazing food stylist is to use old cabinet doors as fake table tops.

It would be very hard to fit several antique tables into my house. Not to mention big bucks. So, the next best thing is to use old cabinets which will look like tables in cropped food photos. Brilliant.

But where does one get old cabinet doors? It’s not like you can go to an antiques shop and buy old cabinet doors. Enter New England Demolition and Salvage. Located in New Bedford MA, this salvage is like a graveyard for old homes….

photo-546Need an antique tubby? They’ve got ’em. Lots of them. Like for as far as the eye can see.

photo-545Or maybe you need a pastel colored toilet? They’ve got you covered there too. That pink one would look great in my bathroom. Never mind that the boys would never use it. Wait, now that I think about it maybe I should buy a pink toilet. Maybe the toilet seat would finally stay in the proper position if the boys wouldn’t use it.

photo-547Or maybe you need a vintage radiator. My Nonna used to have one of these. So pretty!

photo-548And who couldn’t use a full size bar that would take up their entire first floor? What an easy way to feed the family. I can see plates of spaghetti flying down the bar.

photo-549Oh this door. I so wanted this. Never mind that my house doesn’t have a wall big enough for it. Matters not. Can’t you just see Gaston bursting through the door with his pitchfork screaming “Kill the Beast” while the last rose petal sadly falls to the floor? Scratch that. Too much drama and Gaston was a jerk anyway. It’s still a cool door.

I bet you’re humming right now, aren’t you? No one hits like Gaston, Matches wits like Gaston, In a spitting match no one spits like Gaston.

You’re welcome.

photo-550Back to the reason for this whole adventure, old cabinets….

They’ve got those too! Tons and tons. I couldn’t believe that not only did I find exactly what I was looking for, I found more that I didn’t even know I needed! Funny how that happens.

photo-551Ok, so I know you are looking at this and scratching your head. Looks like a total piece of junk to you, right? Oh Ye of little faith…

photo-552Beneath all of the dirt is an old farmhouse table just waiting for a fresh blueberry pie served up on a dainty white plate atop a vintage linen. Can you see it yet? Work with me.

photo-554And look at the flipside! It’s ultra fabulous. Because fabulous wasn’t enough of a describer. It’s ultra fab!

What you don’t see are two more cabinets that I purchased that I’ve yet to scour. That’s tomorrow’s project. I bet you are wondering how much this junk treasure cost me? $5 per cabinet. Can you believe that? I did a little hop when the guy in charge asked if that worked for me. Um, yeah. I think I can handle that.

So, that’s how I got my $5 antique farmer’s table. The end.


  1. Cannot wait to see it in action!

    Next time I see you, I have a set of Pinkberry Pyrex for you! 🙂

    • That is so very sweet of you Janet, but I couldn’t dream of accepting such a gift. You need to go on flea bay and see how much they are worth!!!

  2. Jessica D says:

    Love it! And the Gaston part too!

  3. Well played!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Too funny Melanie! Yes, I am now humming a certain Disney song in my head and it won’t go away! What a great find! The bath tubs remind me of the warehouse scene at the end of Indiana Jones, endless. I think I have seen food pix as you describe at the Tasty Kitchen and other recipe web sites. I think I get it! I can’t wait to see the other two cabinet doors now turned into antique table photo props.

    • I didn’t even share my favorite door. I’ll wait until I get a pic of it up on A Beautiful Bite. It’s lovely.

  5. All those antique tubs are making me a little weak in the knees. I long for a clawfoot tub. Someday!

    I love your find, looks wonderful. Your fantastic photography deserves the best styling.

    • You are so sweet! I’m finding that good food photography is more like optical trickery. Certain props just make the picture shine. And using the same cutting board over and over again to shoot on is just plain boring, lol. And I’m with you on the tubs. I want one. I also want the old farmhouse it should be in. 😉

  6. This is a great idea. I hope I can find a salvage shop. I would love to take a little looksie around. Thanks for the idea, Melanie. I love the faux table top (…and that bar!)

    • You must have one in your area. With all of the old historic buildings there, I’d imagine it would be a total goldmine. You need to start taking serious photos of those blondies you’ve been tempting me with. I think you could really go somewhere with baking!

  7. TheresaEH says:

    I could so loose my self in that place for a few hours eh!! Now to figure out how I could fit one of those tubs in or on my Toyota for the drive back to western Canada!

  8. I love this post so much, because of the bargain, because of the deal you got and because I know have an overwhelming desire to watch Beauty and The Beast….and remember Gaston uses antlers in all of his decorating 🙂

    • I swear my life is played out with some type of Disney tune playing in my mind. I can think of a song that fits just about any life experience, lol. The kids have ruined me for life. 😉

  9. I so want to make a little field trip down there now! I’m hopeful some spring yard sales can fill in my food prop wish list.

    • Yes! I’m counting down to yard sale season too. I need some vintage linens, cutlery and of course some more Pyrex. Sadly, I think we have to wait til May. 🙁

  10. You should have negotiated with the guy. I bet if you sang Gaston to him, he’d have knocked off 10%. My husband once thought I was going to try and make a trade with a Toys R Us employee using a particularly attractive red scarf I had on!

  11. oh my goodness this place is a DIYers dream. And now I feel like I definitely need a teal bidet.

  12. Oh my goodness, I so want some of those shutters! I think I would need to haul a trailer with me if I shopped there. I will be humming that song for the next week! Great finds Melanie!

  13. Fabulous find!

  14. So not fair!!I need to find a store like that down here!!! ooo and ps. YES! I want those doors too! haha

  15. Oh how you always make me laugh Melanie! And, yes, I’m guilty of thinking this was going to be a post about Pyrex. :O)

    Following in your footsteps, I too love a good bargain! Too bad I didn’t live closer or I might just visit this place myself!

    I’ve enjoyed watching your photography skills grow over the last few years. I can’t wait to see what you’re going to serve up next! Thanks for sharing your talent with us!

  16. I’m afraid if I entered that salvage place, I’d never come out! Such treasure!!
    We have a couple of these places around here as well, but mostly they have factory close-outs or things that have been special ordered and returned, etc…not the wonderful stuff you found!

  17. Elizabeth says:

    I live about 20 minutes from this old mill, it is a really awesome place! I bought the fireplace replica(from Alice in Wonderland movie) they used to have in the window displays of The Disney Stores in the mall.It looks cute in my kids toy room.You really never know what you’ll find in there, they also get items used in movies.Great place to spend a few hours browsing!

  18. I think I saw this place on This Old House….I could spend days there!

  19. There is a fabulous salvage place about 6 blocks from me. It takes up a whole block. There were doors like that, and I wanted them, too. I think they were over $2K. Besides, my house would have to have those doors installed upstairs and down. Even though I have ten foot ceilings, they would be a little much. That did not stop me from really really wanting them. I have not bought doors for props, but I find different fabric beats my lemon yellow (yes, old) counters. I am afraid I will blind my readers with them.

  20. Patricia N. says:

    I discovered NE Salvage just before Thanksgiving and went their with my oldest son. They had the tall, pointy candy/cookie jar that was featured in my old Good Housekeeping cookbooks. I always wanted that jar so badly. It stands about 2 feet tall and is so elegant and I pictured it with dozens of cookie in it. It was in a glass case and I longed to get my hands on it, and then I noticed the sign. NOT FOR SALE!!! Aargh. Did you see it in the display case on the left as you entered the second room?
    Love this place. Can’t wait to see what you do with your finds. My son reclaimed some old wood and made a metal and wood coffee table that is magnificent.

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