Vintage Tennenbaum Clothing Armoire

Antoinette Pink chalk paint.

This project took a couple of twists and turns as I changed my mind about the color and design.

Before

This clothing armoire had a number of problems and was in poor condition. The wooden wheels were broken, the finish had a large gouge across the front of the doors as well as other scratches, the inside locking mechanism was broken, the key was missing, and the shelves inside were gutted and long gone. But otherwise it was in great shape!

Armoire manufactured by The Jake Tennenbaum Company (Cincinnati, Ohio) Circa early 1900s
Armoire manufactured by The Jake Tennenbaum Company 

The piece was made sometime in the early 1900s by The Jake Tennenbaum Company located in Cincinnati. It was originally built as a chifferobe, but the shelves were removed at some point. I considered rebuilding the shelves, but decided instead to use it as a clothing armoire/closet instead.

Previously it was a chifferobe but the interior was gutted.
Previously it was a chifferobe but the interior was gutted.
I tested out my skeleton keys, and luckily I had one that fit the lock, so I ordered a replacement key as well as four new wooden replacement wheels.

The original wheels were broken.
The original wheels were broken.
I initially painted it with a few coats of Old White and then sealed it with wax. It looked OK, but somehow it didn't feel quite right to me. So the project stalled for a few months until I finally decided what to do with it.

Handmade Furniture Appliques

How to make your own furniture appliques.


As I mentioned, the white was OK, but in the end it was just too plain. I felt it needed something else and I wanted to give it a touch of romance. I played around with a few different designs until I decided to make a floral swag with clay for the top. Then I made lots of rosettes to create an oval floral applique on each of the doors.

Rosettes made of paperclay drying on tray.
Rosettes made of paperclay drying on tray.
I explained the process of using clay and silicon molds to make furniture appliques in an earlier post which you can read HERE.  It's quite easy actually:
  1. Use a paint brush to dust the silicone mold with corn starch (this prevents the clay from sticking).
  2. Press the clay into the mold
  3. Bend the mold to release the clay. 
I let the clay dry on a tray lined with foil for about 24 hours. (I'll include a supply list at the bottom of this post.)

Bend the silicone mold to release the clay.


I used E6000 glue to attach the dried clay to the armoire. The glue doesn't dry instantly which is good for tinkering with the placement of the clay pieces. On the other hand gravity can play havoc with the placement while it's drying, so I laid the armoire flat to attach the clay appliques.

Armoire on floor in preparation of applying appliques.
Armoire on floor in preparation of applying appliques.

I left it to dry for about 4 hours before moving it back into an upright position.

Rosette swag being applied to top of armoire.
Rosette swag being applied to top of armoire.


After

I painted over the first coat of Old White with a coat or two of Antoinette Pink and added light distressing to reveal some of the white beneath it. I sealed the pink with soft clear wax, and then applied a Winter White glaze.

Vintage armoire painted in Old White & Antoinette Pink
Vintage armoire painted in Old White & Antoinette Pink

The interior of the armoire was painted in Old White.
The interior of the armoire was painted in Old White.



Plenty of storage is found inside the clothing armoire.
Plenty of storage is found inside the clothing armoire.

A new clothing rod was added and also painted in Antoinette Pink.
A new clothing rod was added and also painted in Antoinette Pink.

The original rod from the chifferobe remains intact and adds a touch more space for storage.
The original rod from the chifferobe remains intact and adds a touch more space for storage.

Rosette swag hand made with paper clay.
The rosette swag was hand made with paper clay.

Handmade oval rosette appliques add an extra touch of romance to the armoire.
Handmade oval rosette appliques add an extra touch of romance to the armoire.

The original key was missing, but a replacement key was found!
The original key was missing, but a replacement key was found!


Light distressing was applied to reveal hints of the underlying white paint.
Light distressing was applied to reveal hints of the underlying white paint.

Wooden replacement wheels were obtained.
Wooden replacement wheels were obtained.
This armoire will work beautifully for anyone that needs some extra storage or closet space. It's sweet enough to be used in a nursery, but still sophisticated enough for any age. 

Armoire painted in Antoinette Pink chalk paint.

Turn old furniture into a stylish storage solution.


Thank you so much for stopping by the blog today. I hope you enjoyed the project and like the finished piece. I'll include the supply list below in case you're interested in creating a similar look.

Supply List

Below are the supplies I used for this project. Some links are affiliate links.
Supplies used for the appliques:


Tutorial shows you how to make your own furniture appliques by The Black Sheep Shoppe

How to make your own furniture appliques and save money! by The Black Sheep Shoppe


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