The first time I saw this bedroom vanity, my client was sending another piece out with me for refinishing. As with most of my clients, she wanted to run a few other pieces by me to get my opinion: refinish or trash? She stored this vanity in her barn for a number of years, and I remember thinking it needed a lot of work. It’s not exactly a prime piece, and I almost said to get rid of it even though I love furniture refinishing! But my client said it had personal meaning to her, sentimental value.
She insisted it was something she wanted to keep.
A couple of weeks ago, she brought the vanity to me. I love a challenge, and this piece looked like it was its last days. It needed:
- veneer repair or replacement,
- the right side edge molding was missing,
- the left side was cracked and water damaged,
- the mirror frames were separated,
- the back panels had delaminated and needed to be replaced,
- the whole piece needed to be re-glued,
- and multiple other “injuries” that needed some TLC.
In short, this piece is just the kind of challenge I love. Furniture refinishing is my heart and soul.
Antique furniture needs to be treated a special way. You can’t just slop a finish on and call it done. If restored by a professional, your antique will hold its natural beauty for years after we are all gone.
To start on this piece, I removed the hardware and mirrors and completely stripped it. The stripping agent can loosen joints, but that isn’t a problem – especially on a piece like this where I’m going to have to remove a lot of loose pieces anyway. Then, like a puzzle, I fashioned all the pieces back together and recreated one of the decorative spindles that was lost long ago.
The thing I love most about working with furniture is bringing a piece back to life. Even this piece, the one I almost advised to trash, holds beauty when you know how to reveal it.
Furniture refinishing is an art. When restoring an old piece, you must think through every step and imagine what the original builder wanted and merge that idea with what your client expects.
But, technically, you complete the restoration similarly to every other piece. Strip, glue, repair, sand, stain, repair some more, stain, and finish. Furniture refinishing has a process behind it; follow the steps to success.
This was one of vanities I have really enjoyed working on. Notice how all the repair work has put life back in this beautiful vanity. The final pic with mirror will be inserted in this blog later. I’m putting the mirrors and hardware on it in the morning.
I’ll leave you with the before and after of the bedroom vanity cracked top.