Sunday, May 14, 2017

A Federal Sideboard in 'Raw Sugar'

This piece is right up my alley. This piece, I would absolutely put in my house. It's the form I love, it's colors I love, and it was a pleasant piece to work on. I'm a weirdo- probably because I've spent way waaaaaaaay too many years crawling around my workshop, with just dressers and chairs to keep me company- but I firmly believe that furniture pieces have souls, or at least personalities.

       Some pieces that I do make me crazy, it's like every road block you could imagine, every problem and flaw, every thrice damned obstacle, they throw it up in front of me and make the refinishing process a sisyphean trial. But other pieces of furniture are a joy from start to finish, this piece included. It played nice, and now it's gone off to its new forever home in a superb dining room with two awesome owners.

        The form is Federal, it's from about 1930-1945, when most of these elegant second period Federal pieces were made by furniture manufacturers all over the East Coast. It's a combination of exceptional mahogany veneer and tulip poplar, which is hands down the most common material one sees on these. This sideboard has some nice extras, however. The fluted legs are really outstanding, as is the bow to the top drawer, and the piece of mahogany selected for the top is absolutely first rate. The original owners must have had a cat because not only did I find tufts of white fur caught under the backsplash, but there were claw marks at the tops of every single one of the legs. Those all had to be filled and sanded before painting could start.

        After an initial design meeting with the clients we opted for a neutral tone in the beige family that could highlight the warm colors in their dining room carpet, and also contrast well with the smoky blue wall paint in the room. I mixed up a custom color which I named "Raw Sugar", and did the interior behind the doors in a chalky white that's aaaaalmost a gray. We of course kept the terrific original oval pulls. A fun project from start to finish!







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