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Posted by rafor
Wed, Sep 5, 12 at 14:55
|And this is certainly the place to get them :)
I just purchased the following item on craigslist. Do I keep it in its current condition or do I refinish it? Or paint it? I'm torn. It's a little too shabby for me but the seller said he had talked to antique experts and they told him not to refinish it! It's 10 feet long and 7 feet high. It's really just the top of the bottom piece that is in rough shape. These are his pics off cl so they aren't really good ones.
Okay, hit me!
|cool! I think it might depend on where it is going? What is the setting?|
|I would guess that antiques experts would tell you not to paint any piece of old furniture. |
The question is, what is it worth unpainted?
|I have a center entrance colonial in New England. It was built in 1780 and was a tavern and stagecoach stop. The center hallways upstairs and down are a little over 10 feet wide and run from the front of the house to the back. |
There is a long uninterrupted wall area along one side of the downstairs hall opposite the staircase. This blank wall is between the door into the dining room and the door into the kitchen. This span measures a little under 17 feet. I need something with storage and that also can be decorative. I thought this could fit the bill.
It would replace this 5 piece wall unit:
|Why don't you see if there are labels or anything else indicating the maker and take some pictures of the drawers (dove tail joints?), legs and the back of it? Then post it all on the antiques forum here. I bet you will get an indication of its history. It doesn't really look old to me. And if it isn't, I don't think you would be hurting its value to repair/paint it. |
|If it were mine, it would make me happy to paint it. Actually very happy. Now I might not paint it if I was someday going to sell it and make enough money to take a trip around the world, because that trip would make me even happier than painting this piece. I also might not paint it if I could sell it to fund a grandchild's college education one day. But I would definitely paint it, if it meant it was only going to be worth a low three figures instead of a high three figures. But assuming it is not going to be worth anything in the five-figures, painted or not, I would do whatever would make my heart sing every time I walked past it....|
|powermuffin: I agree that I don't think it is really old. He said maybe from the 20's but I'm thinking more like the 50 or 60's There is a label in the drawer, but it didn't have a date on it. I can't go double check as it is still sitting in his Inn! |
I also am not too concerned about the value as I don't plan on re-selling it anytime soon.
bestyears: Yes I agree!
|Hard to tell from pictures, but I would guess 50's or 60's too. And I would absolutely paint it!! It would look great in a soft green like your trim. |
I think it would be an enormous project to strip and refinish on your own. Painting would be much easier!
|PAINT! It really doesn't look that old, I have seen similar pieces (not as long). Some antique and old things shouldn't be touched witha paintbrush, but items like this, and my old sideboard - paint away! I have striped and refinished furniture in the past - very time consuming... so again, I'd paint!|
|I hear chalk paint calling me :) !!!!!!|
|Post pictures when you are finished please! |
|Yes paint it, it's from about the late 40s to 50s and there are plenty around. Depending on the room I would choose a tone that's in the room.|
|yayagal: While I do dagree that there are plenty of smaller ones around, this one is loooong. 10 feet wide. I think that's what makes it unique.|
|I would paint it. To me, it looks even newer than people are guessing. The style and finish say 1970s-80s to me.|
|Without any hesitation, I would find a chalk paint in a color that worked with my furnishings, and go for it! It appears to be a perfect candidate for that, and could look smashing. Not so crazy about the wood or the stain color as it is......|
|If you ever find out the age, would you please post? I am interested! The seashell looks '80s to me . . .would love to know if this is truly an antique or retro!|
|That thing is awesome! I'd guess 60s or 70s too. It certainly has to be refinished or painted but I'd get it home and get a feel for the wood before deciding. It might be lovely wood hiding under the finish or it might be boring maple and not worth the effort.|
|That is a massive piece! Its size commands respect :-) |
Seriously, its size counteracts anything in the style that might be a little too new or too repro. On that scale it is fabulous! I would paint that thing in a red hot minute. Love the gray/green idea to echo your trim. While that color is of fairly common in Colonial palettes it is also often seen in French homes and color schemes. I could see that color of grayish green in a chalk paint finished with a rubbed wax, and then judicious Old gold rub and buff on the detailing of the drawers and doors and edges here and there.... Not painted on but rubbed on as though it had rubbed off over time.
Cannot wait to see this in place! Glad it is replacing the wall unit!
|i think it would look great painted-it's size is really nice! the wood reminds me of the EA 'pecan' of my parents dining room... i don't see a beautiful grain, so i don't think i'd mind painting it rather than refinishing... |
it makes absolutely no sense to me to keep it in it's current condition unless you really like that look--but, then i'm not an antiques dealer! all furniture gets old eventually, but it doesn't all become valuable with age. i would guess if the seller had talked to an antiques expert, he would have kept it or sold it to them if it was particularly valuable...
|I have to agree with the assessments that this piece dates from the 1960s to 70s. If the piece had been in otherwise great condition, I could see the top of the base with a soapstone or marble top. Because of all the curves, the price would probably be prohibitive, though, unless it was faux-finished. But, since I do see other condition issues, I think this piece would look fabulous painted. |
|I don't know about the age (reminds me of a bedroom set I had that my parents bought in '69 or 70, so I'm inclined to think the late 60's to 70's may be correct), but it isn't old enough to make me think "don't paint" -- and I'm not that quick to paint. I agree with the above -- my first thought was to lay a marble or soapstone top on the base and then maybe go over the rest of the wood with a deep conditioner, but with the close up, it appears the rest of the piece may be a bit rough for that. |
Given it's size, it really needs to look great. It looks sad now, but I think you can paint it and make it a showstopper. I'm not a green person, but that and white or cream do seem to be the colors people paint more furniture. The white or cream would make me think of the popular bedroom furniture of that time, so I'd definitely go with a color. In my dining room, it would likely be a pale gold, but I could see it being a silver grey, a charcoal grey, a deep burgundy or other rich color, but it depends on the room, your colors and the china you plan to display. You get more options with paint colors than you do wood tones. Given the size and amount of open shelving, I would definitely consider painting the back wall a different color and really accent both the piece and your china.
And if you decide it doesn't work, let me know. ;-)
|Seems there is lots of inspiration for painted furniture on the web these days, but thought I'd pass this along anyway....|
Here is a link that might be useful: Weathered Cottage
|To me, it looks even newer than people are guessing. The style and finish say 1970s-80s to me. |
Happy painting! ;-)
|I'm obviously in the minority here, but I love the piece just like it is. It has great patina. I'd just wipe it down with some mineral spirits to clean it up and maybe do a bit of touch up with some touch up markers, or actually, do a bit more very selective "distressing" rather than immediately slapping a coat of paint on it. Wood brings a warmth to a room that a painted piece does not.|
|Holly, I wanted to love it as it was, maybe just do the top of the base, but looking at it closer reminds me of an old radio cabinet I got from a friend of my mom's after it had been in their garage for years. There is old and there is neglected and some neglected will never be wonderful again without a facelift. This piece could be in that later category. I don't know if that can be brought back, especially if it is a newer piece and a veneer or one of those supposedly bulletproof finishes they used in that time frame. Not sure if the wood is really dry or if it is a greyed finish -- or both. I have also used Restor A Finish on some older pieces I did not want to paint -- helps smooth out the finish more subtly than markers, though that one might need some of both, if it works at all. If in doubt, it might be worth seeing what happens. She can still paint it. |
But if a clean up doesn't work, I wouldn't hesitate to paint it. The contrast between wood (probably in the DR table and chairs) and a painted piece can add warmth and interest too while creating a wonderful showcase for china and crystal. If it doesn't clean up well and the distressed look doesn't fit the rest of the room, it will just look old and tired and easily bring down the whole room. From the one photo of the piece that is being replaced, I wouldn't venture a guess, but the OP should make it right for her and her home and not feel any guilt over the choice.
|Hmmm, I'm kinda liking the suggestion to replace the top with soapstone. That could be interesting and would get rid of most of the worn look. I'll have to give it some thought. |
The seller said he thought it was walnut, but I don't agree with that. If anything it's one of those cheaper fakes they used in the 50s-70s range. The top that is so worn doesn't seem to have a noticeable grain in it. Those pull out boards are in great shape and show the original color.
|Whatever you do, let us know. I'm dying to see it finished and in place. I haven't seen that much dish display outside of a china shop or the White House china room.|
|If that top hutch and the top counter can be salvaged and refinished I think it would look really special to refinish those wood areas in a like wood tone (like the pull-outs) but paint the bottom and paint the back wall only inside the hutch. I'm a color person so I'm thinking some sort of colonial red.|
|Even if it is late midcentury whatever, I would guess it's not junk. It had to have been expensive and would probably have been built out of good stuff. The pullouts are sorta traditional walnut color, kinda. |
It doesn't really look beat up, either. It looks like it's had too much sun and wasn't done with a UV resistant finish. I have some dining chairs from the 1940s that had a similar effect on the half of the set that stayed by the window.
Once you get it home and get photos of the hardware and joints you can probably get a much better idea on date.
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