A Touch Beyond Shabby-Chic

These simple and elegant side tables were designed for the dump when I saved them. Like many of the discarded pieces I find, they struck me with possibilities.

Sadly, my enthusiasm got the better of me and I didn’t take the before pictures I usually take. Here are some after the initial cleaning, where we can start to see the different woods and laminates used to enhance the clean lines of some beautiful craftsmanship.

Before Scandanavian Side tables

The choices were clearly deliberate when the carpenter chose his woods, as he has the grains going in perpendicular directions and the smoothly cut and sanded surface is more solid than one could imagine. The pieces aren’t heavy to look at, but are very weighty to carry.

When I first saw them, I thought I was looking at a Scandinavian design, but there are subtle elements in the construction that makes me think this artist also loved Mid-Century Modern lines (the legs are slightly narrower than the top) and the simple strength of Shaker construction (due to their massive weight).

After cleaning them, I did my best to remove the multiple layers of shellac on the surface. Some parts proved too difficult to remove by sanding alone, and when I wet wiped the dust, I found myself enjoying the distressed feel and look of the spaces where some shellac remained. I finished the drawer fronts with s clear finishing wax and the rest with a darker finishing wax, to bring out more of the grain in that different wood, which I believe to be teak.

Dimensions: H- 24″ (61cm) x W- 15″ (38cm) x D- 11″ (28cm)

Price: $250 for the pair.


Minimalism With A Twist of Lemon

Bauhaus Minimalist Set

  • Original Materials: Laminated (pine veneer) plywood, with pine legs.
  • Refinished With: Charcoal Black Milk Paint for the drawer faces & sides, Canary Yellow Furniture Paint for inside the drawers, the shelves, and legs.
  • Dimensions: a) Sideboard W – 42″ (107cm), D – 13.75″ (35cm), H – 20″ (50cm); b) Side tables W – 21.5″ (55cm), D – 13.75 (35cm), H – 20″ (50cm).
  • Retail Price: $500.00

I almost didn’t take this set of sideboard and side tables, because it lacked pizzazz. Something told me there was more to it and since they were small, I grabbed them to see what I could make of them.

It helped greatly that the owner told me the story of their origins: his uncle was a master cabinet maker who came to canada after the Second World War to make a house full of beautiful furniture for his much beloved and soon to be married brother. While simple in design, it is crafter with the precision of a German Engineered car. The hand of the artisan is felt in every joint and hinge. Even the glass tops seem to be hand polished and beveled.

As usual, my wife loved the simple design of them and urged me to work on them right away. By know you know that means, she wanted to keep them somewhere in out home (a.k.a. The Gallery) . So, I started with a good sanding.

The wood came out crisp and clear. It was also clear how thin the veneer was, as the 120 grit sandpaper went easily through it. So, not I had the challenge of making it look clean. I started with stains and finishing waxes, but nothing masked the ruined veneer for me. Oh, well, I’m a perfectionist. Then the voice of un-reason called out to take more chances with it, and I started testing new Chalk paints on them. It turned out even better than I expected. Now they need a new home! Will it be yours?

Curio Cabinet Of Sorts

A Simple Mid-Century Design Brought To Life

Curio Cabinet of sorts 4

  • Original Materials: Solid Teak Wood & Glass
  • Refinished With: Canary Yellow Latex Paint, Minwax Dark Finishing Wax
  • Dimensions: W – 48″ (121cm), D – 11.5″ (29cm), H – 28″ (71cm)
  • Retail Price: $850.00

Lost in the clutter of a downsizing, this little beauty belonged to the brother of the original manufacturer; A German immigrant who made beautiful cabinetry before the second world war and came to Canada in the fifties to make a better life for himself.

Probably a man before his time, or right in it, as this Mid-Century Modern design has earmarks of Bauhaus design all over it. The joinery is perfect and with a clockmakers precision. There’s more pride in craft in this piece than imaginable. It must be seen to be believed. The only shame is there was no label or mark of the original maker. only the story of the grateful nephew who gave me his uncles impeccable creations along with the story of their creation. This was part of the furnishings to populate their first home, as a wedding gift to his beloved brother. This was the smallest piece he made!

It is so exciting to find ways of bringing out the minute details in the design during the refinishing process. It was gorgeous when I got it. I’m grateful I could give it a little more love and life.


Classy Design Recaptured In A Mid-Century Modern Commode

The Story of a Rediscovered Classic Designer

Refurnbished Kroehler Dresser 2

  • Original Materials: Solid Birch, Maple, & Walnut, with Oak veneer & composite board in the door.
  • Refinished With: Robin’s Egg Blue Latex Paint, Minwax Dark Finishing Wax
  • Dimensions: W – 58″ (147cm), D – 17.75″ (45cm), H – 31″ (79cm)
  • Retail Price: $1,299.00

This beautiful dresser sat in my parent’s guest-room for nearly forty years, mostly neglected. As far as I know, no one ever looked at it much, but my Mom loved it all the same. Of course, before I got it, it was painted with an opaque brown varnish that all but obliterated the luscious grain of the wood veneers.

Refurnbished Kroehler Dresser 1

To my surprise, the wood beneath the oak veneer was a combination of birch and maple.  In sanding down the veneers, we get to see some glorious joinery and the signs of a true master cabinet-maker.

Refurnbished Kroehler Dresser 5 Kroehler has been making custom, high-end cabinets and furniture for well over a century and my Mom only knew it was something special, because the friend who gave it to her said: “We bought it in the ’50ies and it was expensive. We went to the manufacturer in the states to get it.” After doing a little research, it appears it was expensive for that time and now. It seems to have sold at that time for over $1,000.00 USD. And they bought a whole set of many custom made cabinets that went to their children. I’d love to see those!

The drawers are all solid wood and are made with maple for the small drawers, and the big ones look to be fronted with walnut.

Refurnbished Kroehler Dresser 4

It currently is being loved by my daughter in her room, where she is carefully cleaning and enjoying it.

A Very Cute Cabinet (Sold)

The rebirth of a World Traveller

A Cute Cabinet 2

  • Original Materials: Solid Teak Wood & Glass
  • Refinished With: Sage Green & Paynes Grey Latex Paint, Minwax Dark Finishing Wax
  • Dimensions: W – 48″ (121cm), D – 11.5″ (29cm), H – 28″ (71cm)
  • Retail Price: $1,000.00

All the way from Abu Dhabi, this family heirloom has traveled across time and space, landing in Montreal, Canada almost 30 years ago with the Zukari family.

Well loved and used for years in this form:

Amal's Credenza before

Full of beautiful lines, it had endless possibilities for it’s rebirth as a Mid-Century Modern  piece.