When I bought this cute but unremarkable vintage desk I thought for sure it was cherry. It was about the right color that old cherry gets under a thick varnish after 85 or so years, and the grain that I could juuuuuuust barely see through that yucky thick red seemed to confirm that. But I was wrong, delightfully so.
Don't mistake me, I like cherry, hell I love it, but cherry, oak, and mahogany have one downside; they are very inflexible woods when it comes to coloring. You can go light, which is still fairly dark, and dark, which is as black as midnight, though beautiful, wonderfully dramatic. You can also graywash and the effect is fun in a coastal sort of way, but that's it, end of story, do not pass go, don't you dare collect $200.
So I had steeled myself up for the cursed cherry stubbornness when I began sanding the top to this desk, and immediately realized once the old red had been removed, that it was not cherry after all, it was poplar, and actually solid poplar all the way through. I LOVE poplar. Poplar is, in fact, my favorite wood, not least because it's a bit of an underdog, quite literally, you almost always find it under something fancier, like walnut veneer. Most often when I get to play with poplar it's only after having a bastard of a time removing angry veneer (which means I am already bleeding, full of splinters, and cursing an indigo blue streak). This time I lucked out, and just look at that top! Look at all the silly joyful dance in the graining, the variations in color, and best of all, you can stain poplar any color in the world and it takes it like pine, willingly and true to shade. So I went with a honey tone because I painted the case in a custom mixed green. I kept the original chippendale batwing brass pulls because they're lovely, especially against that new green.
ALSO- look at my spectacular new custom coffee mugs by the miraculous talent that is Rachel of One:Eleven Pottery. I bought myself a set of eight for my birthday present. Tomorrow I get to christen the first one with the morning elixir of the gods (coffee), though I'm so fired up I might christen another tonight with the evening elixir of the gods (dry dirty martini). What does it say about me if I drink a martini out of a handmade coffee mug on a Wednesday night. Epic awesomeness, surely?