Monday, May 9, 2016

An Empire Dresser in Mint

I refinish a lot of furniture, and I look at ten times as much as I get to work on myself. When I'm not painting and sanding the pieces for my own inventory, I'm relentlessly scouring other blogs, pinterest, design magazines, antique shows, auction catalogs, and craigslist, always always thinking about furniture. And after many trillions of untold hours staring at furniture, you'd think I'd get a little over saturated, a bit blasé. But no. I still go "EEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!" when I get my paws on a piece that really makes my knees weak. This antique empire chest of drawers is an excellent example.  I bought it at the flea market two weekends ago, but couldn't start it right away because the weather last week SUCKED. Now it's gorgeous flawless perfect spring weather, the perfect kind of weather to finish up such a gorgeous flawless perfect antique dresser!

       The piece is American Empire c.1870-1890, and has the classically bold scrolled feet and top box drawers that you so often see from dressers of the era. When I first got the dresser home I took it apart because every now and then one of these early ones will be signed by the maker. It wasn't signed, but I did find the remnants of a newspaper from 1901 wedged into an early repair (that I re-repaired better). And on the backboard is a giant scrolled "S" which I'm certain is the handiwork of the maker, and finally in the 'cool discovery' department are race knife marks on the undersides of the drawer bottoms, from when they were first milled and marked a hundred and fifty years ago. Does that give you goosebumps? It should.

           So I painted the dresser in a custom mixed deep spearmint I've named 'Lady Luck', and removed the dorky Chippendale brass pulls that someone added probably in the 1920s. The dresser would have originally had large turned wood knobs, and the center holes for them were hidden behind the later brass pulls. I decided to go with cut glass pulls in the original holes, to further lighten the feel, but also streamline the look a bit. I already had four teeny antique glass pulls, and the other larger ones are from Home Depot.

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