Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Vintage Drexel Nightstands

I know these nightstands aren't too new, but I have no idea just how "vintage" they are. My guess is anywhere from 1970's to 1990's. They were manufactured by Drexel Furniture and the company is still in business. Drexel's website has a link to inquire about the history of their pieces, so I emailed the company about a month ago to get more information, but I haven't heard back from them yet. The back of each nightstand is stamped with "7105-449-2839 FMSF-71-7A Drexel Furn. Co. 4 774"I'll update this blog post if and when I have more information. 

What I do know is that Drexel is known for its high quality manufacturing of furniture, and this pair of nightstands is no exception. They are made of solid wood with a veneer over the top.


I found the pair at a local thrift store. Overall they were in fabulous condition except for needing one minor repair. The previous owner painted both pieces at some point and replaced the original hardware. The previous paint job actually held up quite well, but I did not like the red and black color combination. Also, it was a bit messy in the unfinished areas, for instance there weren't clean lines in the back or inside the drawers.

I didn't care for the red and black color combination.
Ugh! Messy paint lines in the unfinished areas.
Luckily the furniture manufacturer information was still visible.
"7105-449-2839 FMSF-71-7A Drexel Furn. Co. 4 774"
A minor repair was required on the front trim on one of the nightstands.
More messy paint lines. I sanded this area off.


I repainted both nightstands in ASCP Louis Blue with Graphite on the top. I try to keep original hardware whenever possible, but in this case the hardware was not original so I selected new knobs which coordinate nicely with the overall look. I didn't snap a photo of the back of the finished pieces, but I did tape off a new border and painted the previous messy edge lines. It's the back of the piece and I suppose it doesn't matter, but I wanted to give the furniture a polished feel. I also sanded off the red paint from the drawers.

Next I sanded both pieces to give a light distressing. After waxing both pieces I added a lightly aged patina which gives a subtle depth to the color. It's a little hard to see that in the photos due to the bright sunlight -- one of those rare events lately as it has been quite cloudy and gloomy. I am not complaining about the sunshine!

Graphite top. It's a little washed out in the photo from the bright sunshine.
But oh the sunshine felt wonderful!
Each nightstand offers plenty of surface storage, as well as storage in
the drawer and deep storage on the open shelf.
Light distressing on the edges.
I love the details and elegant lines!
The open shelves offer great storage for a stack of books.
Or add a basket for storing odds and ends.
New hardware compliments the new color combination.
The drawers are in great shape.
I love the color combination of Louis Blue against black.
Both nightstands were waxed and buffed for a strong durable finish.
One last "after" photo.

Updated 1/2/2015: I was in a hurry to put these in the booth and forgot to take the measurements. I stopped by the booth this morning, and each nightstand measures: 22" wide x 14" deep x 24" high.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Vintage Dresser with Mirror

This is a stunning piece of furniture with original hardware. It has a bow front, five drawers and an attachable mirror. The drawers are deep and offer plenty of storage. The mirror is attached in the back and is removable. The overall lines are simple with elegant touches of carved medallions and rosettes on the front. It has graceful legs and sits on coasters. It is painted in Arles (Annie Sloan Chalk Paint) hand waxed, and finished with an antique glaze. The top was given a fresh new finish in Espresso.

I date this piece early 1900's, possibly circa 1920's. The label on the back indicates it was manufactured by the Rushville Furniture Company (established in 1893) in Rushville, Indiana for the Duning Furniture Company.

The top had some surface damage which was repaired prior to refinishing. The mirror is showing minimal signs of age but still retains its reflective quality which I believe adds to the character of the piece. It would make a beautiful addition to a historic home or to add a touch of history to a newer home.

I need to rearrange the current items in my booth in order to make room for this. I hope to have it available for sale in the next week or two.

Before Photos

The finish is damaged, but the piece has elegant lines.
Surface damage on top.
The Rushville Furniture Company of Rushville, Indiana.
Made for the Duning Furniture Company in Richmond, Indiana.

Attaching the Mirror

Back view of mirror. The screws are taped to the back.
Supports for the mirror are included. First insert one support.

Next insert the second support.

The mirror rests upon the supports and is secured with screws in the back.


Bowed front.
The original hardware was cleaned but otherwise left unfinished.
Graceful legs.
Carved medallion on the front corners.
Espresso finish on top.
Inside of drawers.
The drawers are deep and offer plenty of storage.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

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.

Monday, December 1, 2014

A Pair of Elegant Nightstands

One of a pair of elegant nightstands.  
A client contacted me to see if a pair of nightstands she had were suitable for repainting. She purchased the pre-owned nightstands at a local shop a number of years ago. Unfortunately when the nightstands were originally painted the surface wasn't properly prepped before a latex paint was applied which resulted in the paint peeling away. Taking some time to sand and apply a coat of primer would have avoided the peeling paint issue. 

Nevertheless these are a great pair of solid wood furniture and they offer plenty of extra storage. She thinks she paid about $50-$60 for the pair. For comparisons purposes, a new nightstand made with engineered wood and laminate would retail new about $60-$70 each. For a comparable new product with solid wood and quality construction it would retail each for $200 or higher. So refurbishing this pair is definitely worth the additional investment to give them a second chance.

I sanded off the old finish on the tops and then applied a coat of pure white followed by a coat of Duck Egg Blue on the exterior. The edges were lightly sanded to reveal hints of white. A shelf pulls out above the doors, but it was difficult to slide it in and out. So I applied wax to the wood runners and now it slides easily. My client requested Duck Egg Blue on the exterior and was going to keep the interior as-is. Although the interior paint was holding up it didn't coordinate well with the new finish. Since I had some extra paint I went ahead and freshened up the interior, too. I finished the entire piece with a soft wax to give it a smooth durable finish. These nightstands will last her for many years to come.

Before. Note the peeling paint on the top. 
The frames around the doors were lightly distressed to reveal a hint of white.

Elegant lines with a hint of distressing around the edges.

The client did not want an antiqued or aged patina.
However, light distressing gives the piece added dimension and character.

The shelf now slides in and out easily.
Light distressing around the edges.
Elegant legs.
A fresh coat of pure white on the interior.
A long lasting and durable finish.