We have all seen a piece of furniture that looked like it was beyond repair. It may have been really dry or cracked, missing pieces, broken, or just looked like it might not be worth the effort to save. Very often, it can be saved, it just takes some time and commitment.
The piece in the following pictures was a combination restoration/repurposing project. Our client wanted it to be a reception desk in her yoga studio. I believe it had been a built-in cabinet in an older home. When we got it, it was in rough shape. It was dry, fragile, broken, and just generally sad.
Fortunately, our client saw beyond that to what it could become and didn't just decide to junk it.
We cleaned it, and found there was virtually no finish left on it at all. The top was badly warped, and looked like it was not original to the piece. Pieces of the hand-carved trim had broken off. In this case, it was fortunate that the client had the pieces, but if she had not, I would have carved new pieces from old wood so they would not stand out as being new.
I broke the joints in the top and reglued them, then cut out the hole for the receptionist portion of the desk. I shored up the inside to make it more sturdy. We meticulously cleaned all the carved work with a tooth brush and a dental pick to get out the years of built up dirt.
We applied a new coat of natural finish, wiped on by hand and with a paint brush to fill all the crevices, to bring out the natural beauty of the wood.
To make the final transformation to the a desk, I inserted a desk top (which came from an old desk that belonged to my uncle), and a drawer from the same desk.
It was quite a process, but this is a case that the cabinet probably would not have survived much longer without some much needed love and work. The wood could have been reused for other things, but it is so encouraging for us when someone wants to put the money into saving a beautiful and unique piece.
It is not quick, or cheap, to do this kind of work, but, at least in my opinion, it is worth trying to save a piece that might otherwise be bound for the landfill.
This door had been baked by the sun. Years of sun exposure, through glass on the storm door, did a number on this beauty. We were fortunate to get to restore it.
After the varnish was removed, this is what remained.
Who would know this is brass?
Cleaning and oiling the lock. After years of use, it needed a little TLC.
We replaced the old glazing, so it will actually keep out the cold wind now.