Photoshop and Restoration

It’s pretty rare that I find a piece of furniture that I like in my price range that doesn’t need some kind of attention, whether it be a thorough cleaning, tightening of screws, paint job, Windex or something. In order to decide which direction I will take on its upgrade, I use my graphic design chops. My most recent case in point: this door-less Empire style tiger oak buffet. It’s got amazing bones and the original bevel mirror, and all of its drawers are in tact and accounted for. But how do I make it look fabulous with no doors below and old, unsightly wood exposed?

tiger oak empire buffet

Tiger Oak Empire Buffet

Well, that’s just it. I don’t know. So I start playing with the image on Photoshop. I can add whatever color I want, whatever texture I want, whatever design I want…

I just started playing with colors on it, and the jury is still out on what to do with it, but I have some ideas now. It appears as though someone tried to give it another stain/poly job and it didn’t do it any favors. So we’ll see. I don’t want to have to paint the whole thing but this poor thing has been through so much, I just don’t know if she has another life exposed in her.

I found a few examples of buffets like this that were painted. I’m weighing all options.

What do you think?

Empire Buffet painted by Moxy Liberty

Excelsior Springs Soda Jerk Sign

Talk about a step back in time! I found this lovely at a garage sale here in Liberty this morning. The house was half of a block from William Jewell College, and the home was a gorgeous Century home with three stories, each 1,000 square feet. The man having the sale said he was downsizing. He didn’t look all that happy to be selling, but he was friendly enough.

The sign came out of a diner in Excelsior Springs, Missouri. He bought it when the place closed for good. But he couldn’t for the life of him remember what the name of it was. It drove him crazy, like it was on the tip of his tongue. So the mystery, for me, still exists. He probably remembered the name as soon as I drove away.

I love its simplicity. I love that it’s a little dirty and just a little beat up. I also love that there are tape marks over the .25 price for Malts & Shakes. And I love that this still exists! And that it’s still in Clay County! And that we know where it came from!

Garage sales are so cool. It’s finds like this that keep me going every week.

Excelsior Diner Sign.jpg

Pretty, Purple Princess Chandelier

I’ve been dying to get my hands on a chandelier with potential so I could redo it for a pretty, pretty princess. Enter Goldie here. I picked her up at a garage sale over the weekend and immediately started cleaning her up.

Pretty Purple Princess Chandelier

Pretty Purple Princess Chandelier – Before

She wasn’t in horrible shape, she really just needed a warm, soapy water wipe-down. I loved her shape and I loved all of the bling. The crystals (plastic, by the way) all came off and got cleaned, and so did the light cup/fake candle combo. The glass dome got hand washed and set aside while the frame got detailed and painted.Pretty Purple Princess Chandelier 04 before collage.jpg

The fun part, of course, is the painting, so I got busy on this beautiful day, and painted all day, starting with the underside. In the sunlight, it almost looks white, but it’s actually a flat lavender color from Valspar.

Pretty Purple Princess Chandelier 02 during and after collage.jpg

The end result is a little big magical. I can only imagine the fabulous room this beauty will end up in. I’m a little bit jealous already. On to the next one!

Pretty Purple Princess Chandelier 03 after.jpg

Roached-out Silver Still Holds Its Appeal

I started with one. One that my belonged to my great-grandmother. Then I saw one at a yard sale for next-to-nothing. Then some time went by and I saw another one, all seemingly cheaper than the last.

And so it began. I didn’t set out to collect old silverplated pitchers, but I do. Some are art deco, some are frilly and some are so old, they don’t even shine anymore. Hahaha!

When I was in Miami, I saw these OFTEN. The things people sold down there always killed me. Folks in Southern Florida have little appreciation for everyday antiques, so I was in heaven. But I digress.

I snatch these up anytime they’re marked at my magic number or less. Today I actually paid a little more for one, but I don’t usually go above that “number”. So that brings my number to nine silver pitchers. I met up with some old-timer antiques dealers a couple of weeks ago and wasn’t all that surprised to see that they had a collection of them too. They were asking more than three times my magic number, so I know I’m on to something good here.

My favorite use for them is as a vase. They kind of elevate the presentation of the flowers in a charming way.

Silverplated pitcher with roses

Antique silverplated pitcher as vase.

I decided not long ago to start using some of these things in my everyday life. So I use one of my small silver trays for a catch-all on top of my dryer. It holds things like buttons and change and lots of lint I’m sure. I don’t know, it still makes doing laundry seem more… civilized.

image

Pretty, Little German Spice Cabinet

On my recent lazy, meandering, antiquing trip to Lexington, Missouri, I came across this beautiful little German mini spice cabinet. It was found in a little store on the outskirts of town and trust me when I say there was NOTHING interesting in the store but this. (Think vintage furniture, the ugly stuff.) I was ready to leave until the store employee showed me two more rooms to the store than I had realized. It was in the last room that I came across this little nugget of fabulousness. The price was steep; I had some work to do.

German Spice Cabinet with Porcelain tile and six drawers

German Spice Cabinet with Porcelain tile and six drawers

After some casual chatting with the store’s only employee, I decided to make an offer. Beings as how I know nothing about cabinets like these, I was really guessing at what I thought was “fair”. After some fourth-party (me to employee to wife on phone to husband working in the yard) dickering over the phone, we settled on a price and I hit the road with my new treasure. The 45-minute drive home was longer than usual, as I couldn’t wait to sit down in my office and do some research on it.

Here’s what I know: these little spice cabinets used to be a thing. When? Well, that’s where I’m fuzzy. Similar cabinets claim to date from as early as the late 1800s, but I just can’t verify that for mine. They’re also called baking cabinets I believe.

Whereas they were popular, they are again. Decorators love epothecary cabinets, and anything else with a thousand little drawers. I know this because they’re hell to find in the rough. I saw an old metal card cabinet (like you would see in libraries growing up) at an estate sale this past weekend; it was gone within an hour, and it wasn’t cheap.

This cabinet is made of wood, has one cabinet door with a porcelain vented tile in the middle. It was covered in a grease/dust mixture that equated to glue, but cleaned up nicely. Inside the cabinet is a shelf, which looks to be original.

There are six drawers: Paprika, Gewurz, Pfeffer, Zimt, Kumel and Nelken. They are white porcelain with black lettering, black frilly scrolls on the sides and a pretty little image in the middle of each of the silhouette of a woman with a parasol. It includes just the right touch of blue to make the whole piece sing.

German Spice Cabinet with Porcelain tile and six drawers

Close-up of German Spice Cabinet Porcelain Drawer

I did find a lot of fabulous antique cabinets in my research though that I fell in love with. Aside from mine, I think I like the metal ones best.

What do you think?

German Spice Cabinet with Porcelain tile and six drawers

German Spice Cabinet with Porcelain tile and six drawers

German Spice Cabinet with Porcelain tile and six drawers

German Spice Cabinet with Porcelain tile and six drawers

German Spice Cabinet with Porcelain tile and six drawers

Close-up of interior cabinet of German Spice Cabinet with Porcelain tile and six drawers

German Spice Cabinet with Porcelain tile and six drawers

Backside of Porcelain Tile in German Spice Cabinet with

German Spice Cabinet with Porcelain tile and six drawers

German Spice Cabinet Porcelain Drawers: Paprika, Gewurz, Pfeffer, Zimt, Kumel, Nelken

German Spice Cabinet with Porcelain tile and six drawers

Close-up of German Spice Cabinet Porcelain Zimt Drawer

Pretty, Pretty Princess Cabinet Started As Anything But

I snatched this little beauty up in a rural flea market on the drive from Mulberry, Florida to Miami. I loved the legs and thought it surely had more to offer than roached out wood and dust. It had a beautiful shape and the original glass and door pulls, so I knew I could do something with it.

At the time, we were living in a hotel a stone’s throw from Coral Gables. With space at a premium, I cleaned it up and used it immediately. Once we were settled in our Coral Gables apartment, I got to work on it, thanks to a mis-tinted can of paint from Home Depot ($5, thank-you-very-much).

I couldn’t have been more pleased with how it turned out. The color was close enough to Tiffany Blue that it really elevated it. I gave it a little class by painting the window jams white. Painting the inside white was a no-brainer, because it served to lighten up the entire piece, making it look clean, intentional, stylish.

I hated to see it go at one of our garage sales once we moved to Missouri, but it just didn’t fit with our current decor. So when someone expressed interest in it, I waved a long good-bye to this pretty little thing and carried on.

Flea Market Flip 01

Small cabinet found in rural Florida shows true beauty

*Note: When I took the after picture, I noticed some areas that needed touch-ups. Those areas were fixed. 🙂

Coolest Thing I Saw Today! And it Hides a Secret!

I go to estate sales all over Kansas City these days. It’s a good day when one is happening in my very own town. Today was such a day.

I was one of 30 people in line when the doors to this shoemaker’s estate sale opened up at 9:00 this morning and I’m so glad I was. I had my eye on something in particular – this 1920’s cast bookend, which I was lucky enough to grab up.

1920's cast bookend - boat captain and wheel

And I also put my hands on this beautiful walking stick, and didn’t let go (estate sale-goers are crazy!). All I knew about it was that it was old and gorgeous.

late 19th century walking stick with hidden blade

It wasn’t until I got home and was playing with it that I realized that it had a secret hidden inside: it is also a knife.

late 19th century walking stick with hidden blade

A little research and I was able to determine that the item is probably from the late 19th century and made in India. It features carved bone and hand carvings in the wood, which has been ebonized. And I love it.

As much as I think I would love to be a little old lady who walks with a cane that has a hidden 22″ blade in it in a few years, I have decided that I am not ready for a cane just yet. So on eBay it goes. Isn’t it fantastic?!

UPDATE: eBay doesn’t allow hidden blade items. If you have an interest in this item. Let me know. I’ll be enjoying it in the meantime. 🙂