This past week I spent a more-than-normal amount of time on Pinterest and at Lowes, in preparation for my first encounter with fixing up old furniture. We've accumulated several pieces in varying stage of repair, so I've been researching and getting materials for a little bit of everything.
I thought I'd start with the easiest project, which was polishing de-musty-ing the dresser and vanity that we picked up last weekend. Both pieces, dating to about 1910-1920 were in pretty good repair, but had about 20 years of dust and grime on them -- and smelled every inch their age.
Step 1 - Wipe down the grime with a damp microfiber cloth
I can't show you photos of the dust and other foreign grossness that came off both pieces because you would probably vomit. Basically, it was much dirtier than I had expected. And that poor microfiber cloth will probably never be the same.
Step 2 - Create a custom mix of Old English scratch repair liquid
Internet society, home of trolls and agitators, has finally found common ground in its universal appreciation of Old English scratch repair. Based on several recommendations from those who have gone before me, I chose to mix half of the "light wood" and half of the "dark wood" bottles to form a mid-tone scratch repair liquid that would suit my precious pieces.
Step 3 - Apply the liquid as directed
In a nutshell, you dab the liquid directly on scratches, then rub a light coat of the mixture all over the piece. Finally, you buff the piece with another clean cloth until it shines. This step was extremely satisfying, and took a fraction of the time that it took to clean the pieces in the first place.
Step 4 - Decide where to put the pieces.
It was at this point that we had to decide where the furniture was going to go. It was a toss-up between the guest suite dressing room, the second floor hall, and our master bedroom. Since I loved these pieces and wanted to see them everyday, I convinced Bill to let us put them in our bedroom, even though they didn't match our other furniture. Or did they? (Did you see what I did there, dear reader? It's called foreshadowing...)
Step 5 - relocate other furniture to make space for your new pieces
There wasn't a natural place for the new dresser, so I decided to place it directly next to my bed, necessitating a move for my previous bedside table (which now sits somewhat awkwardly next to the fireplace.
Then we carried the new piece up the stairs and tried it out. Perfect! I could hardly believe how well it worked in that space. I might had done a little happy dance.
Step 6 - Find an awkward spot for the vanity.
We're still debating the final placement of the vanity, but for right now it's got a home next to the window. Eventually, I'll get a small seat to go with it and hopefully move some of my hair and make-up items there from the bathroom.
Step 7 - Marvel at your work and consider future options
The panorama photo below (click on it to enlarge) gives you a pretty good idea of what we're working with. (Behind me--and unseen--is the door to the bathroom, with my closet door on the left, and then immediately adjacent is the door with the transom leading to the main hallway. The door in the middle of the photo, between the new dresser and the new vanity, leads to Bill's office. You can just see the fireplace on the right, with the door leading to the second-floor patio just peeking out on the very right of the photo.)
Here are a couple options to consider:
- The vanity would probably work best where Bill's current dresser is, on the left near the bathroom. But where would Bill's dresser go? The best option would be to place it where the current arm chair is -- but that is where the dogs sleep each night and they would be VERY put out to have that chair and ottoman relocated to another room (we tried it where the vanity currently sits, but it makes that corner look really crowded, and make the door to Bill's office basically unusable).
- We could move the vanity out of the room entirely, and put it in the guest suite dressing room, but it seems a shame to split these matching pieces.
- We swap the vanity and the arm chair, or move the vanity to where the arm chair is now and move the armchair into another room. See "sad dogs" above.
- We learn to live with it. That seems the best option, at least for a couple of weeks.