Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Controversial Drop Leaf Table

You know when you ask someone a question and they wince a bit and say 'Well it's a funny story, actually'. And you know it's not actually a funny story, it's just a long boring convoluted story?
Well buckle up.

So I purchased this darling solid cherry six leg drop leaf dining table from a gorgeous estate in Haddam a few weeks ago. The place had the most incredible view of the Connecticut river, it was so good it was a bit distracting. I had been lured there by an adorable vintage (c.1930) mahogany highboy, and ended up buying this drop leaf table and a pair of one drawer stands as well. I spent a little more than I like to but I could tell at first blush that this stuff was all top shelf.

           The one drawer stands were clearly first period c.1820-1835 with delightfully long straight tapered legs and boldly figured crotch mahogany drawer fronts, teetering at the perfect tipping point between Federal and American Empire. I'm giving them to my mother for Christmas.

           The highboy, which you can see here, was without question second period, Colonial Revival
c. 1930, but beautifully built of solid mahogany in an amusingly diminutive take on the Massachussetts Queen Anne highboy of the 1760s. It sold this past weekend to a favorite client of mine- Hi Colleen!

            So then there was the drop leaf table. I was in two minds about it, the furniture refinisher and the antiques dealer, for as you may know, I lead a bit of a double life. The furniture refinisher in me saw water stains and a very tired finish on the top holding back a table of the most spectacular form and the highest quality material. The antiques dealer in me saw a Federal six leg solid cherry drop leaf table c.1790-1815 in the original finish. So I put it to a poll. I asked all my antiques dealer friends on my personal Facebook page, and all the blog followers on the Heir and Space page. The resounding agreement of all parties was to leave the piece as it was.

           And so, here it is refinished. wait WAIT! Here's the funny part of the story. After all that drama (a couple of the blog people said some rather harsh and choice things about painted furniture as a whole), I tucked my tail between my legs and carried the table into my workshop to be stored until gods know when. As I was carrying it, upside down for the first time, what do I behold but the label of the maker... The maker of this fine vintage reproduction. Yes, that's right. It's an excellent, really really excellent, trust me excellent, reproduction solid cherry table made around 1980. And with that in mind I happily restored the top to its original glory. I left the base in the nice old surface since it needed no work and I feared the wrath of the wood defense brigade if I brought brush to it.

And there's the long story, which I'm guessing only about 7% of you read. For the rest of you, here are some pretty pictures.

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