Monday, August 2, 2010

Antique Dresser -- From Hidden Gem to Swedish Jewel


This antique, solid wood dresser was sitting in a closet (literally) for years when a client showed this to me.  The construction was very well made, the finish still in fairly decent condition for it's age (1930's, most likely) and the original, thick brass hardware, was still nicely secured and worked perfectly.  When I asked her why she had such a nice piece of furniture in the closet, she answered, "I hate the look of it.  The brass hardware is dated and it's too dark.  It doesn't really fit in any part of my home."

While I would always recommend considering refinishing a quality piece of furniture to its original finish first (which this piece really didn't need) or selling it to make room for something you do like, this piece had been in the family for many years and was not something she wanted to part with.

In that case, updating a piece of furniture so that you can actually use it (and not have it hidden) is often the best option.  We talked some more and she told me she needed a dresser for her child's room and thought to use this one but again, she thought it too heavy, dark and severe looking for a young girl.  I agreed.  But how to make it fit?  Painting such a quality piece a bright "kid's" color would be a no-no, but a sophisticated neutral is sometimes the right way to go.  So, we decided on a slightly distressed, dove grey finish, in the Swedish style.

Here's the result:


Sometimes, painting over what seems like perfectly good wood is better than hiding an outdated but functional, well made piece of furniture.   And since the original finish was still in good shape (acting as a protective layer underneath the paint), should she change her mind in the future and want to refinish it, stripping this would not be that difficult as the paint will not be going on (and into) the wood itself, but rather, over the finish.

Now this looks like more of what it actually is: a family heirloom that has been around for years but that is so well made it has stood up to the test of time beautifully and with some character to boot.  The paint is applied in layers, distressed carefully, and then waxed by hand, using beeswax and natural pigments to make it look like this was found in the attic rather than hidden in the closet.

1 comment:

  1. Would this interest you? I saw it today on Craig's List: