Thursday, September 15, 2016

Lighten It Up a Bit

I've been musing over this wonderful c.1900 empire mahogany vanity for a month now, ever since I first spotted it freshly arrived and daintily tucked away in the back corner of the furniture section at the cromwell ReStore. I've refinished somewhere around two dozen vanities over the years, and most, actually almost without exception all, come from 1930-1955- fun fussy affairs with lots of carving and detail work. I have never EVER seen an empire vanity. I wanted to buy it badly but it was more than I could justify for refinishing. It was pretty rough though, so I hoped and wished, and said a silent prayer to the gods of furniture that it would be ignored by all others and eventually marked down. To hedge my bets further I also mentioned to my pal Dayna who runs the show there to please let me know if it did happen to get marked down. Dayna, as good as gold and reliable as death and taxes messaged me yesterday to let me know it had indeed been marked down. I zipped over as soon as my scheduled allowed, cackling madly to finally have this darling piece in my paint-y clutches!!

        You can always tell when I'm wicked excited about a piece when I refinish it immediately callously ignoring all the custom work that I really should be attending to (sorry custom clients!). Truly, I am sorry, but I just couldn't help myself. This thing is a treasure. I sanded the top and was delighted to see in what fine condition the mahogany veneer remained. It's so highly figured! and flawless after over a hundred years! It even retains the original skeleton key for the locks. I painted the rest of the piece and a matching antique mahogany chair in a custom quiet gray I've named 'Foggy Down'.  I wrestled with the idea of adding drawer pulls, but the piece never had them, and since the original designer's vision trusted the curves and materials to carry the piece without embellishment, I decided he knew best. The drawers have little carved under drawer coves for the opening and closing- and slide like butter even after all this time.

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