Monday, February 11, 2013

goodwill treasure: from buffet to media console

     Our eldest daughter is finally leaving the nest... She just landed her first Big Girl, post-college job. I have been looking for items to fill her small space. Furniture with good bones, style and character plus function are a top priority around here.
     A couple of weeks ago, I strolled into the local Goodwill store and stumbled upon an amazing treasure. This 1950s walnut buffet was ripe for the picking for the low, low price of $49.99. It's six feet long and solid.
     When checking out found objects, like this one, I always peek inside the drawer or doors to look for a maker's mark... And guess what I found? Made by Drexel Heritage, it is from the Declaration line. I found a smaller version on Ebay for around $1000.
     Here is a bit of history from Drexel's own webpage: Several  factors in the 1950s were significant contributions to who we are today. We pioneered the concept of partnering with outside designers to conceptualize new collections. 
     For example, California modernists Kip Stewart and Stewart McDougall worked with Drexel Heritage to create Declaration, which was a modern collection made of natural walnut. Immediately hailed as an important contribution to American design, several pieces were selected by the U.S. Government Design Committee for the Brussels World's Fair and an exhibit in Moscow.
     Drexel's name is synonymous with high end design and quality. I knew I had found a winner! Without taking my hands off it it, even for a minute, I informed a Goodwill employee of my intent to purchase. As I photographed my treasure, the bargain-sharks began to circle the area waiting for any sign of weakness or uncertainty from me. Sorry, folks. This one is mine!
 
     My husband, the banker carpenter of this renovation crew, removed the doors and drawers, cleaned the piece and began by lightly sanding the body. One end had quite a bit of damage to the veneer. 
     We were instructed, (by our diva daughter) to paint it a neutral linen color, but I couldn't bear to cover up those doors. They were in mint condition and the walnut grain was so lovely. (I'm exercising my finder's privilege.) We chose to leave the interior, the legs and apron natural as well, oiling all of the bare wood.
     The hubs is the painter, but I'm the finish artist. After he painted, I went over it with a belt sander and knocked off some of the paint, scuffed it up a bit, then rubbed several colors of stain over to dull the painted finish and age it. The whole thing is finished with paste wax for a natural, breathable finish.
     It will make a fabulous television console and storage piece. I am so proud of the final outcome, I almost want to keep it for myself. Maybe we've found a new side business! Here's the completed project:
 And here it is in her sweet, little  home. Sniff, sniff. I will miss them both.

2 comments:

  1. That is a great makeover, love it!

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    1. Thanks, LJ. I think we'll have to form a mutual admiration society. I've spent quite a bit of time discovering all of your talents!

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