|It sure didn't look like this when I found it.|
I didn't know it was possible to love a piece of furniture this much. And the fact that I was the one who refinished it? Not to tout my own horn, but this is like the cherry on the cake of my furniture restoration (and I get to keep it)! So, I have no before picture because this is a bit of an older project but let's start from the beginning.
I was perusing Craigslist one day at the office and knew that I was looking for some sideboard-type thing for the entry in my apartment. I remember clicking on this specific post because it was a sideboard for $40! Even shitty sideboards in NYC are at least $100 (don't even get me started on the ridiculousness that is NYC used furniture)! So I clicked through and what did I find? Boy, was it ugly! Not dark wood, not light wood, but that blegh stain in between with disgusting brown tile work on the top. But this piece had a very redeeming quality. BRASS. I am really into brass. I'm pretty sure it is the inner 5 year old in me, but give me something shiny and I'm sold. Out went my email hoping to beat the rest of the 8 million people in NYC.
I heard back and set up a meeting the next night, and I'll write more about this later, but there is a very interesting line that you dance around when responding to Craigslist ads (my quick advice: go with your gut). So when I arrived at the very nice Clinton Hill apartment building where my goldmine was lying in wait, I realized what kind of Craigslist meeting this would be. Adorably, the buildings residents have created a garden committee for their building and their block and they were selling off unclaimed furniture from their storage room to raise money for the plants. Right? I did say adorable. I was met outside by the man from my email and several little old ladies with garden trowels. We journeyed deep into the depths of their basement and I found it, just as gross and brown as in the photos, but it had potential! Not only was the brass INCREDIBLE, but the gross tile was not in fact tile (I had horrible images of hammers and chiseling away grout in my head)! The tile was the weird 70s stuff that looked like tile but was actually just a heavy piece of something set into the wood, thus making it easy to pop out and get rid of all in one fell swoop! That alone would have been a win.
I came back the next day with my good friend Jill and her trusty Subaru and slid this puppy into the back. With some help from my favorite 18 year old roommate, we got this badboy inside and promptly dropped it in the dining room. And there it stayed, parked unceremoniously waiting for inspiration to strike. But something else struck first...Sandy. Right before Hurricane Sandy I was visiting Massachusetts and my mom very wisely suggested I grab some paint before I left "in case" I had a day off from work. Why are moms always so freaking smart? Well, I had five days off, and for the first two of 'em I definitely wasn't going outside. So I painted. And painted. And painted. And then poly'ed. But that was it! Other than the poly's smell (god bless you Benjamin Moore fumeless paint) this was an easy project that had probably the most striking transformation of any of the pieces I have worked on. So Hurricane Sandy for me was a week of Breaking Bad episodes and lots and lots of blue paint; I felt extremely lucky.
|A Thing of Beauty.|
After several scrubbing sessions with the brass (sea salt and lemon juice works wonders) it was time to deal with the top. After my triumphant tossing of the gross tile work, it was just a big, gaping hole taunting me everytime I walked out of my apartment. The mirrored furniture trend is very in right now, and it seemed like the logical solution, so after a quick trip to my local glass shop I was ready to (finally) cross this project off the to-do list!
I love the history that an old piece brings into a home, not to mention that I was happy to find a solution without needing any cheap IKEA cardboard. I hope you're all inspired to find your own brassy goodness in the entrails of Craigslist. Get to it! And let me know if you need any help!