I haven't kept a piece of my own furniture in a long while. My house is pretty much set, and I've swapped and rotated and upgraded to the point where I'm quite satisfied with what I have and where it is. Which makes it hard when I see a piece come through my inventory that I just love. And usually I have to suck it up and sell it. I also very rarely keep furniture that is in flawless condition. If I can sell it, I will.
But every now and then something will come along that I just have to have, and then I justify keeping it in about seven different ways, to keep the guilt at bay. This little antique oak side table, it's the bees knees, and has two fatal flaws that were enough to tip the scales in favor of adopting it.
The side table was given to me, so I had no money in it (all the more reason to keep it!), and is from about 1890. It's got both an early paper label and an extensive stencil on the backboard. The stencil has a patent date of 1888. It's 100% solid oak and was at some point olive green, though it had been stripped and refinished a while back. At some early point, an owner, possibly the first owner, cut a notch out of the back left corner of the top, to fit around molding, I suspect. I know it was an early modification because the notch shows the signs of the early 20th century green paint, and of course the later refinish. One of the magnificent applied oak leaf carvings is also missing a tiny section. Surely this means I can't sell it. Surely this means I must keep it.
I refinished the top, and painted the case in one of my favorite spring greens, with a white interior. I used dark wax to highlight the flower carving on the door, and I kept the spectacular original oak leaf and acorn brass pulls, In all my furniture refinishing years, I've never seen such a handsome pair of pulls. I'll be putting the little side table next to an antique velvet settee in the reading nook in our master bedroom.