Monday, January 25, 2016

An Antique Empire Table in 'Envy' Green

Furniture is beautiful, and this antique empire table is particularly beautiful, though it needed a bit of convincing to get that way. I picked it up last week from Carl the Furniture guy along with several other pieces that you've already seen 'before' photos of. I didn't share a 'before' photo of this one initially, or offer it up for custom refinishing because I was not entirely sure how it would turn out, or if it could be saved.

       The table is classic American Empire with a spectacularly bold geometric vasiform base supported by four deliciously scrolled feet. The apron features a handsome ogee curve on the ends, but it was the top that I was worried about. You see, this table started life as a drop leaf. I love a good drop leaf as much as the next gal, and this one was particularly fabulous in that both the center top and the two leaves were single solid mahogany boards, not veneer, solid mahogany. The problem, though, is that the two leaves had warped rather badly over the last hundred and fifty years. The cup wasn't particularly pronounced with the leaves down, but when raised into the upright position they looked bad. But this table was too spectacular to give up on, it HAD to be saved one way or another.

       First I removed the warped leaves and set them aside. Next I had to unscrew the entire top board to get at the hinges that had held the leaves on. I had to work at the hinges for a loooong time; those flat head screws hadn't budged since around the Civil War and were more than a bit reluctant to start now. Next I needed to add trim to the long sides of the apron. There were unsightly open sections where the swing support arm had been, where the hinges had been, and down at the bottom there were a few notches that I guess the original designer hadn't troubled about since the leaves hid them when down.

I selected two pieces of molding to mimic the ogee curve on the end sides of the apron, cut them to size, and applied them. I then patched a few places where the veneer on the base and feet had chipped, and painted. The paint is a custom mixed green somewhere between duck egg and emerald. I've named it 'Envy'. I sanded, stained, and sealed the top. That solid mahogany board all but sings now, and it's smooth as glass and absolutely flawless.


  1. This table is gorgeous, I have one very similar to the original in the picture. If I gave you an old piece do you restore it? Just trying to figure out how it works.