Trash-to-treasure adventures with neighbor Jenny Grumbles

Jenny Grumbles: Photo by Danny Fulgencio
Jenny Grumbles: Photo by Danny Fulgencio

Jenny Grumbles’ Preston Hollow home is light and airy, full of white or neutral furniture with soft edges and vibrant pops of color.

Pristine and inviting, it’s hard to tell that much of the home’s decor originated from a pile of trash.

“There’s nothing in this house that’s expensive,” Grumbles says, except for the rugs. “Everything is bargain junk.”

She scooped up an armchair discarded on the side of the road and had it reupholstered for a perfect accent in the master bedroom.

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She bought an empty, oversized frame from a thrift store, painted it pale purple, added a touch of gold to the corners, and turned it into a beautiful ornate mirror that covers the entire wall behind the dining table.

“You just study it for a minute and ask, ‘What else could this be?’ Find something that doesn’t need a lot of repair. The easiest thing to do is paint it,” she says.

Sometimes she just gets lucky. The eye-catching pink-and-green scallop-patterned lamps in her front living room came straight from the Salvation Army.

Grumbles is an expert when it comes to turning trash into treasure. She operated her own store, Uptown Country Home in Snider Plaza, for 11 years where she did just that — scoured the city, particularly repossessed storage units, for junk that she could convert into something valuable.

Her talents landed her a reality TV role on A&E’s Storage Wars Texas. She and other professional buyers have just a few minutes to sort through the lockers and identify items that could turn a profit at a high-stakes auction.

The show, which ended last fall, described her as a “blonde, bubbly type-A” and “not one to mess around.” Aside from the added entertainment value, Storage Wars essentially documents the routine work of someone like Grumbles.

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“They’re filming us doing our jobs,” she says.

Her most popular project on the show involved turning a pair of old nightstands into a children’s kitchen set.

After Storage Wars, Grumbles gave birth to her son, Thompson, and wondered whether she could continue to run her shop in Snider Plaza. The day she returned to work, the rent increased.

“I thought, ‘This is a sign.’ ”

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So she closed Uptown Country Home and set up a booth at the Richardson Mercantile. She also operates out of her home, allowing customers to drop off furniture for her to paint in the makeshift workshop temporarily taking up part of her back patio.

Grumbles is also an artist. She graduated from SMU with a degree in journalism and art, so she makes part of her living painting still life and portraits of people and animals — which is the easiest of her jobs to do with an infant in the mix.

“I can just sit at home with him and paint,” she says.

She still can’t kick her treasure-hunting habit, though. She often takes Thompson with her to estate sales, flea markets, and up and down the streets on bulk trash day.

“I can’t stop going to find junk and fixing it up.”

See photos of Jenny Grumbles’ Preston Hollow home below, courtesy of EA Photography Studio:

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