Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Mason's Chest

       I picked up two pieces last week that I absolutely love. I knew I had to have them as soon as I saw them listed on craigslist, and jumped through a few hoops including bribing a friend with furniture to have a lifting buddy. (Jess, you're a natural and we'll definitely be moving furniture again together!!).
       One of the pieces is a mahogany secretary which I will be refinishing custom for one of my favorite clients in the next week or so. The other piece is this amazing antique tall chest. As with most of the furniture I come across, it had a story to tell. When I removed the drawers I found several personal objects including a penny from 1964, an old shekel, and -most amazingly- two antique pocket knives, one of which is sterling silver and inscribed "Emanuel S. Berkowitz Dec. 6 1924" It also bears the insignia of the Masons and identifies him as a master. Pretty amazing, right? I'd say the chest dates to right around the same time as the pocket knife, 1920-1930. The personal artifacts will, of course, go with the dresser to its next home, and I hope remain with them always.
      The chest is mahogany and mahogany veneer. I sanded, stained, and sealed the top. I painted the case in a custom mixed deeply saturated blue that was inspired by a friend's photograph of a sunny London skyline in mid winter. It's called London Sky, because when I mix paint, I get to name the color, gosh darnit! I polished the beautifully ornate original brass drawer pulls to to give the piece a little extra twinkle. I would argue this is the best piece I've ever done. Am I allowed to say that? It's been well over 1000 pieces, but this is really really my favorite yet.

Before and After!

Big before. There was lots of molding loss, which I meticulously fixed.

The pulls with brass polish

polished the brasses, and then since I was on a roll, polished the vintage silver trophy they were in too.

Emanuel's pocket knives

Tadaa!! The deep rich blue of a winter sky

Cross Posted with:

Savvy Southern Style


  1. Those unique, solid brass pulls are worth a lot. Each! I did an antique oak dresser with gekko type handles made of brass. I held onto that piece. I hope you price this beauty accordingly!

  2. The shape of that piece is gorgeous! I love the color you picked and the pulls are so cool!

  3. Love this piece. The color is amazing and those pulls are gorgeous!

    Kelsey @ the Vintage Storehouse & Co.

    PS- Would love to have you share & link up at ReLoved Fridays! The link party is open until Monday!

  4. Love everything about this piece! Stunning!