Monday, June 17, 2013

Flea Market Armoire

This past May my mom and I attended the Springfield Antique Extravaganza where I came across this armoire with the most amazing painted paneled doors.  The armoire itself was made of what appeared to be a high-quality old wood and had square flat-head nails, hand-carved door stops, iron hinges and funky drawer pulls.  But what I liked the most were the hand-painted designs on the door panels.  I love the orange and green color of the flower motif and the way the wood grain interacts with the design.

Whenever I like something this much at an antique show I get nervous because I know I really want it but I may not be able to afford it.  So when I asked the vendor how much it was and he responded $200 I was surprised.  In my head I thought, "There has to be something wrong with it." 

Well, when I opened the doors I quickly discovered it did indeed have a major flaw - there was a huge hole where someone had cut out the back to accommodate a TV.  In my head I was thinking, "You remember the more purchases where I have to do something to the item when I get home.   This includes clothing that need to be hemmed or altered, items that need to be framed, and most certainly furniture that needs huge repairs."  The vendor could see I was struggling with this issue and he then dropped the price to $160.  Without hesitation I said, "I'll take it."  It was like the words came out of my mouth before my mind had time to realize what had happened.

So for the past month my husband and I have been slowly re-building the back of the armoire and adding shelves.  After several trips to the lumber store, running out of stain three times, bugging my neighbor Mark to help shave off a hair here and there (twice) and several cracked shelf supports, the project is finally done and I couldn't be happier. 

This armoire may not be a "fine" antique but to me it is priceless. Not only am I am crazy about all of it's wabi-sabi character but it is already chock full of memories.  I will always remember what a great time I had with my mom that day.  Plus my dad had to come help pick it up because, of course, I didn't drive my truck that day.  A huge thank you must also go out to the strong group (Frank, Tim, Dad, and George - and Amy for moral support) who risked bodily harm to carry this incredibly heavy hunk of wood up to my second floor.  I also want to thank my neighbors Mark and Mary for putting up with me bothering them with my wood-cutting needs.  I now no longer need a hammer to put the shelves in and the doors now close.  And of course a big thank you to my husband George for his forced-carpentry and patience with my crazy projects.  Oh, and John for his moral support and design consultation.  Wow, you would think I had won an Emmy or something!  In the end I have a kick-ass armoire plus a beautiful reminder of all the great people I have in my life.    


Margot Madison Creative said...

Love. You are a wonder with persistence and patience! And I love the word wabi-sabi--must use it more.

Amy said...

I love it, Vanessa! Great job!
(And I loved the "Emmy speech"! When it comes to moving heavy furniture, you can always count on me for moral support and Frank for the actual lifting!)

She Who Carries Camera said...

Great find and great job of fixing the inside! I can totally relate to the weight of this thing. I have had an armoire this size for many years and it's been moved about 4-5 times. Each time, it's more. It stays with the house this time! :-)

Unknown said...

Georgeous ! I can understand that strong draw to this piece. I love it when that hits me. I admire your perseverance.

Unknown said...

It's been a while since you posted this, but we are in the process of restoring a beautiful old armoire to use as a TV cabinet. Would be very grateful if you could share how you put in the shelves. Beautiful job on your great find!

Nessy said...

We used 1 inch by 1 inch by 18 inch (the depth of the armoire)pieces of wood that we drilled into the side of the armoire (4 times). We used that size to match the one shelf it already had. If I had to do over again I would use slightly bigger wood vertically to prevent splitting. We had one slat split a little bit. So maybe use a 1 inch by 2 inch by 18 inch (or whatever your depth is). Or maybe even thicker if you are going to put something heavy on the shelves.