Hey guys! Ever have that feeling like you're just not where you'd hoped to be on a project? That's been my week with the One Room Challenge guest room/office space. Between photoshoots for other interiors projects, planning for holiday and workshops, filling orders and getting ready for a show on Saturday it felt like I was working at a snails pace. After the dramatic push to get the space painted, working on a bunch of small stuff this week felt a little less dramatic. But nonetheless important, 'cause it's all in the details, right!? So let's dive in!
I'm apparently having a little early American moment, maybe it's the fact I'm surrounded by so may influences here in Philly, I'm nostalgic for my childhood (I grew up with lots of early American style pieces), or I just wanted a cool desk with all sorts of nooks and crannies to stash my treasures. I've been thinking about getting an antique secretary for a while. I'd actually seen a really cool one when I was down in Fredericksburg last December and I've wistfully thought about how I should have bought it at the time these last months. Perhaps they might still have it? I almost made the 10-hour round trip drive to check #obsessed. So I turned to my resources Craigslist and Ebay and trolled them for MONTHS searching for the perfect old secretary. I don't have a lot of time to go shopping in person, so I like to check out these sites in the evening when I am looking for vintage/antique furniture. After months of searching, nothing. I was trying not to get discouraged because you can't rush a good vintage piece, but the One Room Challenge was quickly approaching and I was feeling a little bummed that I wouldn't have THE PIECE.
On a whim one afternoon after swinging by one of my favorite nurseries, I stopped by a great vintage/junk shop a few doors down. I have found a few things here and there before and just wanted to pop in to see what they had going on. I never expected to find a secretary, but there it was, buried behind frames, mirrors, and an old sled. My heart skipped a beat and I quickly pulled the items away from it to get a closer look. "Good lines, yes...oh, I like those little spindle legs...and no ornate details at the top...good, very good" I thought to myself. The color was a little more orange-y than I preferred, but I could look past that because the form was the closest to what I was wanting. Sold.
She's missing a little hardware but that's an easy fix. I spent some time earlier this week cleaning off years of grime with Murphy's Oil Soap. The color still wasn't quite to my liking and I thought about using a refinishing product to darken the color a bit but after talking to some other folks and thinking about it a little more I'm gonna keep it as is. I don't want to loose the wonderful patina it's developed over the years, plus with the dark green walls I think it might get lost if it was too much darker.
Here's a closer look at the lovely interior....I'm imagining I'll be super organized with those little drawers and cubbies-ha! A girl can dream....
I really love buying older furniture because a lot of times it is more well made than new, and oftentimes at a much better price. Check out these dovetailed drawers! The case of the piece is solid maple (SO HEAVY!) and the sides of the drawers are sycamore. Also, the wall looks aqua in this photo, it's not that color at all...what can I say, I'm lazy and use my iPhone for these shots...
The piece is stamped with a Conant Ball Makers Mark. At the shop where I bought it they told me that it was likely manufactured in the 1940's. Conant Ball was established in the late 1800's in Gardner, Massachusetts and specialized in crafting Colonial furniture reproductions and cane seat chairs. Russel Wright was a designer for Conant Ball and designed many of their most popular furniture items, I wasn't really able to find anything in my brief search on this particular secretary but I wonder if Mr. Wright had a hand in it's design.
Since some of that hardware is missing and I think it could be modernized a bit anyway, I'm planning on replacing the drawer hardware and knobs. I'm still waiting on one more option to be delivered, but I'm liking the way these are bin pulls are looking.
Ok, I've definitely drawn out the story of this secretary long enough. One to a couple other things. I removed all the hardware from the closet and bedroom doors and followed Manhattan Nests magical formula to remove those old layers of paint to reveal the brassy layers beneath as seen on the back side of this hinge.
Here's the before:
I started a bit of work on the hook rail that is going to run along the wall where the closet is located. It'll be a great spot for guest to hang things and also to display a couple special pieces. My brother fabricated the hooks and I've been working on getting the limed ash prepped for hanging, here's a sample of the general look.
Next up, the wallpaper mural, it just arrived this afternoon and I'm planning on installing it tomorrow-Eeeeep! Thanks for following along guys! Don't forget to check out the progress being made by the other guest participants right here. xo, nicole