1940s Art Deco Chifferobe
Today's project is a 1940's chifferobe that I picked up at an auction during the summer. A chifferobe is a combination of a wardrobe or armoire along with a set of drawers. This one was dark and dreary, but I knew I could lighten it up and make it shine again.
BeforeI suspected it was a 1940's era piece of furniture based on the design and materials. However, I was really excited to see that there was a sticker on the back that gave the exact date! January 24, 1942 to be precise. Of course that was during World War II, and knowing the date really made me stop and think about all the events going on throughout the world during that era.
|Label on chifferobe dated January 24, 1942|
The top of the chifferobe has a waterfall top and the cabinet itself sits on 4 wood wheels. One of the wheels broke while I was working on it, so I ordered 4 replacement wheels. Luckily I was able to find brand new wood wheels with a vintage look. It has a wood frame with wood panels and was stained in a walnut finish. The interior was unfinished wood.
I painted the chifferobe in my garage back in July. And boy was it hot! So hot in fact that I wasn't able to take any "during" photos because I was focused on completing the project and getting out of the heat. But I'll give you the short step-by-step:
- Cleaned the cabinet and vacuumed the interior.
- Applied two coats of shellac (interior and exterior)
- Applied 3 coats of Old White paint to Exterior (sanding between coats)
- Applied 2 coats of custom mixed pink to interior wardrobe and cubby (sanding between coats)
- Sanded the paint smooth and applied distressing and wear for a vintage look
- Sealed with soft clear wax
- Replaced hardware
- Added a tassel to key
- Replaced wheels
|Dying white tassel pink.|
|Original white next to custom dyed tassel.|
AfterThe new look is definitely much brighter than the original dark finish. The chifferobe has an amazing amount of storage: the wardrobe, the cubby, four drawers, and even the top can be used to store extra items.
|1940's chifferobe painted in Old White|
The waterfall top has a graceful curve which softens the otherwise straight lines of the cabinet. The top itself is flat which will allow for additional storage on top of the cabinet such as pretty baskets or boxes.
|Waterfall top on chifferobe|
|New hardware can change the look and feel of furniture|
The tassel on the key gives a hint of what color to expect when the cupboard is opened. I added a silver bead cap to the tassel to give it just a little bling.
|Hand dyed tassel on vintage key.|
|Chifferobe interior painted in a soft pink.|
There is a wooden rod at the top of the wardrobe for hanging clothing.
|Wooden rod in wardrobe section of chifferobe.|
|Secret storage in chifferobe|
To the left of the wardrobe and above the drawers is a cubby for additional storage.
|Extra storage in cubby.|
Art deco style and new wood wheels
|Before and after 1940's chifferobe|
Behind the ScenesSo you might be wondering why I'm just now posting the project if I worked on it in July. A few reasons actually, but the main reason being it was difficult to find a spot to photograph the piece. Because it's a larger piece I need enough room to fit it in the camera's frame. I did a couple of shoots, but the lighting just wasn't capturing the color correctly. I prefer to use natural light, but I couldn't get the right location with the right amount of light. So in the end I brought out my photography lights.
|Use photography lights to improve lighting.|
I used shades on the lamps to diffuse the light. The background wasn't ideal, but sometimes done is better than perfect! The lights are attached to tripod stands which are adjustable.
|Illuminating furniture for photography|
I'm also working on improving displays of my furniture photography. Nothing earth shattering yet, but here is one before and after of the new drawer knobs. Maybe the hearts are too much, but I was feeling cheerful and pink hearts seemed appropriate to my mood today!
I hope you enjoyed this project and appreciate you stopping by my blog today! I'll include a supply list below for anyone that might be interested in creating a project with a similar look.
Supply List (Some links are affiliate links; some are not)
- Shellac and disposable foam brushes brushes
- Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan (Old White & Antoinette) and Soft Clear Wax. Click on the link to find where you can by her products from local stockists. Some stockists also ship via online orders.
- Flexible sanding pad These come in a box of 20, but I cut them in half so I get 40! One box will last for a very long time. The pads also come in a superfine finish for even smoother results.
- 220-grit sand paper
- Tack cloths for quick removal of sanding dust!
- Drawer knobs, tassel & bead cap - Hobby Lobby
- Wood wheels - online from Kennedy Hardware