American Empire Conversion: Tumble-Down Dresser to Smart Buffet

As I have mentioned before, these old Empire dressers are ubiquitous. And, age does not mean value every time. Since this one was in such terrible condition inside, it wasn’t worth rebuilding and trying to restore. It was, however, worth sharpening my skills and creativity to make something new out of it. A buffet came to mind: keep the top drawers and make a new open space out of the bottom.

IMG_1687

The bottom drawer sides, the actual supports for the drawers on the runners, were so worn down that each drawer had to be lifted into the frame to close it, causing chipping to the face veneer. The drawer sides would all need to be replaced (dovetails and all), which was not going to happen. The drawer supports (I call them runners) had all been poorly replaced sometime in the past, as you can see from the back (which was also missing).

IMG_1686

There were no dividers between the drawers anymore, so the soft old wood dust was raining down on whatever was stored in the drawer below every time they were opened or closed. The drawer bottoms were falling out from shrinkage and expansion over the years.

So, I gutted the insides. A few whacks with the hammer and the drawer runners came right out. No regrets.

IMG_1688

The newly freed open space got a lining of new wood, filled and sanded.

IMG_1689

I remembered some hardware I bought at a picker’s paradise in Pennsylvania called Shupp’s Grove. They were very old, stamped metal shield pulls. These pulls, and the stiff, upright nature of the piece’s side columns, inspired a military/nautical style paint treatment, using navy, white and gold. Like so:

ATTENTION!
ATTENTION!
(Despite the photo angle, those stripes are actually perfectly centered)

Navy and White Empire Buffet 3

DSC_2315

DSC_2289

DSC_2309

So fun to do, and far more appealing than the old brown ubiquitous dresser. Check it out in my shop: city girl arts on Etsy.

Let me know what you think on the post on my facebook page, or in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

Advertisements

Bohemian White Antique Buffet with Large Brass Acanthus Leaf Pulls

This dated mahogany behemoth came to me from a CL seller in Ybor City. It had promise. However, the guy had taken the back off (and threw it out) and drilled cord holes in the drawers for media equipment. Not an unusual use, but he seemed to think that “feature” added value. Um, no, just work. The huge hole in the top was also a minus.

The Mahogany Behemoth
The Mahogany Behemoth

Once I simplified it, removing all the little 1920’s wood spool-like decorations, and that cow skull shaped veneer shield on the door fronts, I knew I had the perfect hardware to glamorize it: cut-glass round knobs from Anthropologie, with the most amazing large acanthus leaf brass pulls I bought (eight of them!) at a vintage market some months ago.

This buffet is so big that white seemed to be the most fitting color, especially with the glass and brass thing going on. White allows the simplicity of the piece to show. The lovely details–turned legs ending in stylized feet, the subtle routings, and the backsplash pediment–all stand out better. See for yourself.

White Antique Buffet with Acanthus Pulls and Anthropologie knobs
White Antique Buffet with Acanthus Pulls and Anthropologie Knobs

White Antique Buffet with Acanthus Pulls 2

DSC_2278

DSC_2279

DSC_2277

The insides of the cubbies are painted dark grey. A water-based satin finish thoroughly protects the new paint, and gives this buffet the subtle sheen that complements the bohemian look. Check it out in my Etsy shop.

Join me on facebook; comment there if you’d like. Does anyone read blogs anymore?

South Beach Inspired: The Blue and White Dresser

Okay, so I may not know when to say when. I probably held on way too long to the pink and orange color combination that I loved so much. No one else did. 😦 Actually, I should say that it was favored many times on Etsy, and got many nice comments on the original post and on facebook, but remained unpurchased. That is the telltale sign. I finally got it.

I thought this would be a great color combination. No one else did.
I thought this would be a great color combination. No one else did.

So, after a trip to Miami, I was inspired by the sun-bleached colors and the architecture of the South Beach area to repaint this pink piece blue and white. Now it’s a soothing, glossy, sea blue and white piece with the great original knobs.

How do you like me now?!
How do you like me now?!

South Beach Dresser3

South Beach Dresser2

This piece is available in my Etsy shop.
The painting is by me.
Join me on facebook.
Please feel free to comment. I respond mainly by email. I enjoy your feedback!

Quatrefoil Dresser: Pretty Fantastic in Pink

As a kid, I always loved Legos. My dad insisted on short hair and brown leather lace-up shoes for my sister and me. I never wore a single dress in high school. I don’t particularly like sappy movies or chick flicks–give me a good spy thriller any day. I didn’t have any daughters; I have three sons. So, why is my favorite color pink? I have pink sweaters, pink shoes (yay), pink shirts, and even a pink skirt that I actually wear.

Now, I have a pink dresser. But it’s not for me, ironically. It was kind of pink when I found it. That deep, glossy burgundy that sometimes looks brown:

quatrefoil before

Boring, scuffed, peeling. But hit it with my favorite color, pink, and it takes on a whole different persona.

Quatrefoil dresser

Add a quatrefoil, hand-painted white swirls shadowed with grey, a spot for a monogram, and it’s almost irresistible. What lady, young or old, wouldn’t want this delicious berry colored piece in her bedroom? Well, pink haters, I guess, but forget about them. This one is too cute.

Quatrefoil Dresser Top Detail

Quatrefoil Dresser Side

UPDATE July, 2013: This gorgeous pink piece went to a young lady in Texas, who asked that I paint her initial on the quatrefoil. I was happy to make this her own!

DSC_0588 (2)

This piece is featured on the popular Project Nursery blog!
Join City Girl Arts on facebook.

Antique Black and White Striped Bookcase: Bun-Footed Bounty

I have this thing for bun feet. Just like curvy table legs, they tend to attract my attention. Sometimes almost single-mindedly so. I recently bought a disaster of a dresser just because it had great feet. I assumed the rest would be just as great, but I didn’t really notice the rotten construction until I got it home. I’m going to have to save the drawers and hardware and junk the body. But that’s another post. Back to the feet that drew me to this piece:bun footed bookcase before

Look at them! Adorable and round; they have such presence, and promise. My dubious husband looked at them and noted, “They’re cracked!” And I said, “Yeah, isn’t that cool?” Really, you can’t ask for a cooler antique feature than cracks in the feet. Of the furniture, of course. But, further, the other elements of the antique piece worked so well with the feet: the drawer, hardware, scrolling, and wood–worn, dinged, scratched, and perfect for paint!

bun feet

Now look at them! Polished, distressed, and really, really, cute. Along with the rest of the bookcase. By the way, the shelves are cracked, too. Bonus!

bun footed bookcase front

bun footed bookcase stripes

bookcase pull

Can you imagine this warm, witty piece in your study or den?

Follow me on facebook or instagram.