Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Antique chest update

Not all projects have to be long, tedious, and include paintbrushes :)

Here is my newest 'baby', a chest of drawer that I purchased, you guessed it, on Craigslist. I paid $75 for it and to me it was a steal! It was in good condition considering the age (1939) but needed a bit of a fixin'. It did not need any paint, the clear coat was very good, but somewhere along its life someone decided to 'update' it with some 80's brass knobs. Who puts knobs on a chest? LOL.

So here it is in it's original form, just fresh off of CL. The mirror is the left hand side on the floor as we had to remove it for transport.

Here is a close up of where you can better see the 1980's knobs, and the inside of a drawer. 

This bad boy was full of surprises! Here's what I found once I removed the drawers for cleaning (I apologize for the poor image quality, I took this with my not-so-smart-phone).

But the best part, was finding this inscription under a drawer; it reads: "Howard Johan Van Garbeck. March 3-9-45- 1939. Bridgeport Wisconsin R.C." Wouldn't it be awesome if someone, reading my blog, recognized this name and location? This is the kind of stuff legends are made of! I love finding clues, about old souls long gone, on my vintage pieces! If you happen to have any information regarding this piece, please don't hesitate to contact me or leave a comment below.

Back to work! This is when I vacuumed it really good inside and out, and washed it with a detergent/bleach solution. Never can be too careful; who knows where this baby has been in the past century? At this point, the inside of the drawers still looked a bit rough. Since, this will be in my guest room's,  I opted to line the drawers with a crisp paper to make it more welcoming. I chose a print that would go with the vintage style. I found this at The Dollar Tree Store for $1 per roll, I used 4 on this project.

I started with one of the small drawers. They were easier to maneuver, and they provided me with a learning curve to use on the two larger ones. As in my previous tutorial I measured my contact paper and cut it to size.

I then proceeded to adhere the paper to the inside of my drawer.

I then trimmed any excess, around the edges, with an exacto knife.

Because old furniture is not always super square (to avoid gaps as much as possible), I oversized my pieces a little and directed the excess towards the bottom of the drawer.

Here is a close up to show you how the liner spills from the side to the bottom of the drawer. At this point I cut ONE long piece to fit over the front, the bottom and the back of the drawer. For the 2 larger drawers (to better utilize the liner's size) I did the opposite. I first lined the front and the back, and then made a HUGELY long piece that encompassed the right side, the bottom and the left side of the drawer. Again I cut my front and back sides a bit wider and spilled the excess towards the bottom.

Here is my huge piece of liner all adhered. I can't lie, it was quite a feat with the two large drawers. It did not come out smooth and tight on my first try. I had to peel and re-stick the paper to get it good and taught, but with a little patience it all worked out in the end.

Because of the paper's size, I ended up not having enough for the last rather than buying more paper, I made a second seam on the front of the last drawer. (I know it seems like the back would be the best place, but the front will actually show off less, since the back will be the first thing you see when you open the drawer). It's a bit hard to see with the busy pattern of the paper, but this is a close up of my seam in the front lower part of the drawer.

Since I knew the 80's brass knobs were a NO GO, I had to find replacement hardware. I wanted something vintage that would go with the style of the chest. So I measured from screw to screw, and found out I needed 3 inch centers handles. After scouring Ebay, Amazon and several hardware stores, I stumbled upon this delicate set on

I think they look like they belong on my chest and the price was a steal at $12 (including shipping) for the 6! The fact that they are truly old gives my chest even more character. Here is a shot where you can see both the handles and my lined drawers. Don't they look darling?

And here is my guy all ready to host some guests ^__^

I hope that this simple tutorial will inspire you to go out there and find something yours to love. With a bit of luck, and a dash of work, you could end up with a lovely addition to your home. Happy hunting!

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