Saturday, April 28, 2012

Coffee tables in historic homes

The tricky thing with furnishing an antique house is that the pieces of furniture we need for our day to day lives are frequently different from the furniture used in the 18th and 19th century home. No one now uses candle stands, pembroke tables, or tilt top tea tables (well you should! they're all great pieces of furniture). And our early American ancestors did not use coffee tables, kitchen islands, or TV consoles. So how should the thoughtful homeowner find a happy medium between modern convenience and period appropriate ambiance? Let's take the coffee table for example. Here are some images from design savvy folks around the web using blanket chests, farm tables, and various other tables to fulfill the coffee table need, and keep their historic home looking historic.
Love the simple airiness of this, and those casters add so much flexibility

Can't find the perfect coffee table? Make one! This one is Swedish styled and restrained, you could do an equally fabulous one out of salvaged barn boards.

Made from a wonderful antique door that the home owner found in their barn. LOVE. That love seat's pretty fantastic too.

A coffee table that I did last winter. With the classic Queen Anne lines, it would be perfect in an 18th century home!

From Pottery Barn's new catalog. I'm currently looking for a coffee table to re-do for our jazz studio, and this is very close to the look i'll be shooting for.

An antique table, cut down. The length and dimensions are playful and functional. The patina of the aged wood makes it perfect for an antique home

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A dramatic transformation

When hunting for furniture to refinish (as with house hunting), it is easy to get scared away by cosmetic issues. These are always the easiest to fix, and as long as a piece has good bones, it's worth saving. This was the case with a dresser and nightstand set I picked up a few weeks ago. They looked AWFUL, but I knew, with a little paint and some fabulous drawer pulls, it could be a really smashing set perfect for a cottage retreat. You're not going to believe the transformation. Check it out below! These are up for sale, so don't hesitate to let me know if you're interested!
world's worst drawer pulls, and that color blue makes my head ache!

with a very soft cream color that I mixed myself. The drawer pulls are from a vintage dresser that couldn't be saved.

pretty cute huh? They're solid pine, and the drawer action is great!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A set of tables

Three weeks ago I got a pretty huge haul while tag saling. Both of these tables were from that haul. The pine console table just had the most beautiful lines. I spotted it from the road before I had even parked the truck. I knew I had to have it. The little side table was snagged at a different sale. It's surface was in pretty sad shape, but it was structurally sound. I added a piece of antique bead board to the top. I know the shape is a little out of the norm, but I like that. It would be so perfect either at the foot of a bed or in front of a window. I can just picture it in front of a window with a bunch of terra-cotta potted house plants on top. Both of these are up for sale- so let me know if you're interested. And don't forget you can click on the picture to see a larger version!
Someone had carved their initials and various other nonsense in the top.

look at those gorgeous legs!

A pair of antique oak dressers

Sometimes things are just drawn together. This was definitely the case with this pair of antique oak dressers. The wide low one was picked up by my mom in Saco, Maine and I found the tall one at the flea market a few weeks ago. Despite the fact that they were found more than a hundred miles apart, they make the perfect pair. The oak matches perfectly and they have an identical serpentine shaped top. I painted them both a soft antique white to set off the stunning antique oak tops (which were sanded, stained and poly'd). The effect is so wonderful. I really want to sell them as a set, they could instantly transform a bedroom into a wonderful cottage retreat. Before and afters below!
someone had painted the tall one the world's ugliest brown!

the wide one was in great shape, but just needed freshening up!

ta daa!!

There are few things as beautiful as antique oak

Monday, April 23, 2012

Antique Desk before and after

Last weekend I got the chance to go to the flea market with my mom. Since she lives in Maine, a three hour drive away, it was a rare treat. She got a great little 19th century sewing box and a hooked rug. I got a fabulous antique shelf (to keep for myself) and this wonderful antique desk. The desk has definite Queen Anne style with the bold, fine cabriole legs, but I think it dates to about 1910, as it also has wonderful Art Nouveau carved trim that runs along the apron on all four sides.
The lines are undeniably attractive. When I first saw it, it was covered in a fairly old, chippy, salmon pink paint. It had a certain charm with the paint, but I thought it would look even better, and more elegant, fixed up a bit. Before and afters below. It's for sale, haven't put it up on craigslist yet, so if you want first dibs, send me a message!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Pacing myself

This is the first tagsale season where I've really been purchasing with the intent to refinish and sell (rather than to keep for myself). I was unprepared for how abundant the pickings would be, and this is really just the very sparse start of the season. After months and months of endless hours and big prices to get inventory to refinish, I've been a bit like a kid in a candy shop these past two weeks. I'll admit it, I over bought, over indulged, but It's just so hard to walk past good furniture for good prices. Now I feel like I'm really under the gun trying to get projects complete so I can have a bit more space (the furniture has overflowed from my basement up onto the back of my driveway). Luckily, it hasn't rained in weeks, so the furniture's pretty safe at the moment. Here's what I picked up this past weekend. Not pictured is an absolutely amazing 19th century solid oak farm table, which is going to get it's own post, and an early 20th century library table which I'm going to gently refinish and use as my dining table.
As soon as I complete some projects (I've got five going at once right now) I'll post some before and after pics. As always, let me know if you like anything that you'd like custom re-done!
I know these look a bit rough around the edges, but it's nothing some fresh paint can't fix. And we'll need to get rid of those robot drawer pulls. They take the cake as the ugliest pulls I have yet encountered.

My mom picked this up for me months ago in Maine. Luckily, it's an exact match to the oak tall chest I got last week. I've refinished them to be a set.

Sometimes at the flea market I'll see pieces that stop me dead in my tracks. This desk and the little shelf below were standing together in one of the first booths I stopped at. The lines are amazing. I wanted to keep it for myself, but couldn't find a place in my house. Look at the carved molding around the apron, so lovely!

This cute little shelf I plan to keep. It was $10. If i didn't hate the color red, I would have left the chippy paint. I've painted it black and plan to put it in our master bathroom once it's finished. Perfect for holding soaps and lotions and such.

Great little maple coffee table, side table set. I'll probably paint the bodies white and do the tops in a dark walnut.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Outdoor dining

The weather is getting steadily warmer, and though the lack of rain is putting a slight damper on my garden efforts, Spring is in full swing. Warm balmy evenings inevitably make me crave outdoor dining and a glass of wine to sip while watching fireflies float around our lawn. We just recently updated our patio, moving our arbor to make it an entrance to the space, and swapping out our patio furniture for a set of white picnic tables and benches. The effect is very sweet and fresh. If I wasn't so slammed with furniture projects right now, I'd spend every evening sitting out there with a book and enjoying the sunset. I'll have to pencil that into my schedule soon! In the mean time, here are some utterly inspiring outdoor dining spaces.
Beautiful, though obviously it would be a crime to leave that pretty table out in all sorts of weather.

I love how rustic and remote this feels.

Stunning, from the brick patio to the wrought iron set to the wisteria canopy.  I wish my patio looked like this!

tropical and exotic. You've got to love those chairs.

This is my favorite time of day, those last few moments of light before the sun sets on a warm summer day. The mismatched jars as candle holders are the perfect element of casual.

Another stunning canopy of flowers. so lovely.

Permanent and antique feeling. Kind of reminds me of the secret garden.

Right in the garden, with a no frills dining set and Queen Anne's lace, it really allows the garden to take center stage.

Friday, April 13, 2012

New acquisitions and A great house call

I love this feeling, when I have more projects upcoming than I can possibly finish in a week. An inventory full of potential. I met a lady on Sunday at the flea market who was selling a great antique solid oak tall chest. She lives in the next town over from me, and mentioned that she has lots more furniture, so on Tuesday I dropped by to see what else she had. This was one of those house calls when I pushed the holding capacity of my pickup to its limits. When you have a mountain of furniture in your truck bed, it aways reminds me of tetris. ("where can I fit this chair without it falling out the back??"). I scored a matching set of five antique oak chairs- I LOVE the style, two shield back side chairs that I'm going to reupholster, three awesome funky bar stools, and a cute antique oak side table. Pictures below. If you see anything you like and want custom refinished, don't hesitate to let me know! Also, don't forget that if you click on the pictures, you can see a larger version.
this is already almost done. I've painted the body white and sanded and stained the top. It's very pretty.

My husband doesn't believe this is salvageable, but I beg to differ. It just needs sanding, paint, and a little TLC to be a great little table.

it always blows my mind that people paint furniture like this. In no time, no era, no style, was this ugly cutesy floral nonsense acceptable.

Tell me that's not awesome. A fleet of antique oak school house chairs. Love love love.

painted white and with new soft upholstery these are going to be fresh and swedish and fabulous.

 I'm debating whether to paint these gloss black or bright white- Really I'd love to do them in a bright bold color custom for someone. 

this is what I managed to fit in my truck. Boy do I adore my yellow ford ranger. It is soooo essential for this business.

Good truck, job well done :)