With paint brush at the ready, I decided to build on the momentum generated from last weekend’s quick and easy project.
My attention was focused on a simple Windsor chair, purchased ages ago from Ethan Allen. The seat was very scratched and not in a lovely time-worn way. Happily, the rest of the chair still had a beautiful finish, so I proceeded with a restrained hand to only address the seat portion. My goal was to create an aged look.
Sometimes I wonder about the past lives of antiques and vintage furniture. Who owned them, what type of home did they reside in and what stories could they tell? Especially this one. I have always felt that something was not right with this curious family piece. It’s like that excentric great-aunt no one could quite explain. I have a suspicion this piece was reconstructed once upon a time. So we’ll call this post, “Mystery of the Secretary”.
My first clue the secretary was altered, was when I examined the odd trim around the top, which was the same trim that was used inside the cabinet section, for the shelf supports. It was a decorative addition but not refined by any means. And of course, there was the cornice which was too wide for the overall look of the secretary. It had to have belonged to another piece of furniture. What were they thinking? Whoever “they” were.
Unfortunately, I knew the mystery of the secretary would never be solved. Therefore, off came the ostentatious cornice which was barely held in place by three screws, followed by the trim with a gentle tug. Old nail heads and glue were revealed when the trim was removed. No wonder someone covered it up.
Wanting to give the furniture a “normal” look I decided to add a piece of simple moulding to the top. I probably measured nineteen times, before cutting the pieces with a saw and miter box…manually!
After the pieces were cut to the correct length, I made tiny pilot holes with a drill to make nailing the trim in place easier.
Once the moulding was in place, I decided it needed one more piece of trim. The additional trim finished the top with just enough height and width to look balanced. I’m justifying the use of oak and pine, since the secretary was already mismatched with several types of wood. 😉
Staining was the last step after installing the molding. I used a small brush to carefully apply the Minwax stain, which to my surprise went on quick and easy. I’m not sure why but I was expecting the staining process to be messy. I gathered up a dozen rags and towels for the job. Yay, no drips on the carpet or my clothes. I must have done something wrong.
The inside back panel of the cabinet was updated with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Louis Blue. It was a bit too bright, so I used the dry brushed technique with French Linen over the Louis Blue to soften the color. I’m still not sure if the color is right. It’s growing on me but may need a little more tweaking.
Two of my favorite features of the old secretary are the dovetail joints on the drawers and the fold down desk. I consider them to be redeeming qualities for a secretary with a questionable past.
The fold down desk top has layers upon layers of water marks and ink stains from a fountain pen. At one time it was heavily used as its character shows.
Maybe these were clues, but left by whom and for what purpose? Case reopened.
This may be very shocking to you, but my house is not always company ready. I’m mainly referring to the downstairs family room and kitchen area, where we hang out with our puppy dogs. Many times while expecting friends to stop by, I’ve gathered up the detritus scattered around the room, and stashed it in the storage container that looks like a table. It’s like having a secret room. Amazing how much this unassuming container can hold!
Drum Storage Table
When your decorating budget is tight, you want to get the most for your money by making calculated purchasing decisions. For example, our entry table can also be used as a sofa table, a buffet or a media table. We may not always live in this house, so a table that can be used in different ways is something to consider when furniture shopping.
Perfect size table by the sofa
Getting back to the highlight of my blog is the hard-working storage table sitting at the end of the leather sofa. Last year while searching for an accent table, I visited all my favorite retail sites and spotted the Cala Hammered Drum Table at World Market. I ordered it on-line and it arrived within a week. Shopping at it’s best!
Drum Storage Table
The drum table is about five feet from the back door. Very convenient storage for towels to use at the pool and for drying wet paws. Last winter, I used it to store extra throws and a blanket for sofa snuggling. Imagine how many stuffed animals, toys, flip-flops, kids books, frogs, and magazines this baby can hold!
Nice to know, if the doorbell rings, everything can go back into the storage container like magic.
Drum Storage Table
Currently, I’m using the storage table by the sofa, but it could be easily moved to a bedroom, the bathroom or outside on the patio. Hope this give you some good ideas when shopping for furniture with big possibilities!