Refurbished Vintage 1920's China Cabinet


This is a 1920's era china cabinet that I found recently at a thrift store. My first thought was that it is a perfect candidate for painting. There was some damage on the bottom of each of the sides that the previous owner attempted to repair but gave up in the process (been there done that). It looked like they slapped on some sort of bonding agent about 4 inches high and didn't bother to sand it off. The actual damage was minimal, so I'm not sure exactly what the purpose of the repair was, and I hate to second guess someone else's work. Their loss is my gain.
Previous owner's repair.

I Paint Furniture. Usually.

As I said it was a perfect candidate for paint, and boy-oh-boy it would be lovely. But as I was cleaning it prior to painting, the beautiful detail of the wood kept grabbing my attention. Usually I paint furniture to give it a second chance. A painted finish can certainly give it a fresh new look. But in this case it was a challenge to try to restore the finish while dealing with the prior owner's repairs.  And some days I like a challenge.

I sanded off the offending repair and had the idea to add trim to cover it. I consulted with my husband, since he does any and all carpentry work for me, and he agreed it was worth a try. Matching the stain was the most difficult part, and frankly it looked like a perfect match in the garage, but once it's in daylight it (sadly) is obviously not a perfect match. But I think I got the scale of the trim right so that's a win. I used wood glue to re-affix a couple of spots of veneer that was loose. I refurbished the rest of the finish inside and out. Is it perfect? No. But the wood finish is authentic and beautiful. Do I still want to paint it? Yes. But I will put it in the booth for sale. If it doesn't sell I will bring it back home and happily paint it. In the meantime I can pull my car in the garage, and with Winter here THAT is a win for sure.

There is no furniture maker's stamp on this piece. But it is well crafted and made of solid wood with a beautiful veneer and has the original hardware. I call it a china cabinet, but I think back in the 1920's or 1930's it would have been referred to technically as a "china closet". Most china cabinets had glass on all sides to enhance the display aspect, and a china closet was used to store china. I think this China Closet (or cabinet) is still suitable for storing china, but I could also see it being used to store linens, crafts, etc.
After: Trim added to bottom of each side.
Another view of the added trim.
Before: The finish was scratched and faded.
After: Finish restored. 
Original hardware.
Before: The finish was dull and lackluster.
After: The finish is beautiful once again.
Before: The veneer was pulling away but was easily repaired.
After: Close up of veneer and details.
After: Close up of scalloped top.
Nice deep drawer for storage.
Ready for a new home.

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