Copper Harbor Lighthouse

Copper Harbor Lighthouse

Monday, March 28, 2016

Antique Cheval Dresser - Refresh

I'm taking you back into Guest Room 1 today - to show you what's on the wall behind the door.

This piece also came out of my late grandmother's house. It's an antique cheval dresser from the late 1800's. Cheval refers to the long mirror mounted on a swivel frame that allows it to be tilted. A 3-piece dresser of this type was often marketed as a gentleman's dresser. The small chest that sits on top of the low chest had 2 drawers (for gloves) and a door that opened to store a hat.

This piece of furniture was sitting in the other guest room since last April (mirror was in the basement), but we've now moved it to Guest Room 1 and Steve attached the mirror. In the year I've had this in the house, I've obviously dusted this piece many times, but I never conditioned the wood. Once again, I was so excited to start deep cleaning and applying furniture oil that I forgot to take before photos. These are actually during photos.

This was sitting upstairs in my grandma's house and sustained some water damage when her chimney leaked years ago.

Of course, it also has plenty of nicks and scratches from well over 100 years of wear and tear. . .

and the mirror is far from perfect.

But, you know me - a little wear and tear doesn't bother me in the least. It just shows some history! Soapy water and glass cleaner made a big difference. Just ignore those large horizontal black marks on the mirror. Character!
 The furniture oil greatly improved the look of the wood. . .

and I like the details on this piece.

Could I paint it or refinish it? Yes. Many people took these dressers apart back in the 1960's and 70's & often discarded the small chest and mirror and refinished just the bottom dresser. In fact, my older brother has a similar bottom dresser that my mom refinished back then. I doubt I'll ever paint or refinish this one. Every nick and scratch has a story to tell, and I don't have the heart to cover them up.

Again, I think Grandma would be really happy to know this piece has a new home.

All is well in the Keweenaw.

22 comments:

  1. I completely agree, there is much more value in both money and history to leave these gorgeous pieces with all their flaws. They've earned them! Beautiful piece, and great sentimental value too.

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    1. Thank you so much, Carole. I'm emotionally attached to this dresser, and I actually like the black marks on the mirror. The pieces I use as night tables in this room also belonged to my grandmother - as did the headboard. We'll modify the bed frame to attach the matching footboard - eventually!

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  2. What a beautiful piece of furniture! I like how you are using it also... so glad the project turned out so nicely for you. :)

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    1. I appreciate your kind remarks, Gentle Joy!

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  3. Such a gorgeous piece Julie. Your grandmother must be smiling down from heaven right now. I'm so glad it's been restored rather than painted. The history of the piece can shine through instead of being hidden under layers of paint. It's truly lovely

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    1. Thank you, Michelle! Yes, the history is definitely shining through! Grandma is probably smiling & giving one of her giggles of satisfaction! When my mom spends the night at our house, she sleeps in this room. Since this dresser was in her childhood bedroom, it always makes her smile, too.

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  4. Beautiful Refresh, some pieces are just meant to remain in their natural state it retains the history and charm, and I love the mirror with its oxidation, a very sought after trait by some. People like me even try to replicate it!

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    1. I agree. We have several imperfect old mirrors around here. Thanks, Brenda!

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  5. Now that is one gorgeous piece of furniture and amazing you still have AND use it! It's lovely to see and looks perfect

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  6. Oh Julie this turned out SO lovely! I love things that show their age--our old farmhouse has a floor that has seen better days but we decided to just seal and use it. The imperfections show it's been loved! Those marks on the mirror remind me of the marks on a birch tree : ) Thanks for linking up to The Friday Frenzy. I pinned this post as well in hopes it inspires others to rethink old pieces.

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    1. Laura, I can't tell you how much I appreciate your comment (and your pin)! I love that you just sealed your old floor with the imperfections on full display. I often say that I'm an "imperfect perfectionist," and I'm certainly glad my husband loves me despite my imperfections! I was also surprised you compared the marks on my mirror to a birch tree, since that's EXACTLY what I've thought - plus our property has many birch trees! Thanks again for your kindness.

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  7. What a beautiful piece. There is nothing like having a piece with so many memories. You can enjoy them each day. I have a piece similar to yours but it has a hanging area instead of the small self. I love it.
    Hugs,
    Bev

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    1. Thanks, Bev! I appreciate the history of antique and vintage things. Your piece with the dressing cabinet sounds wonderful!

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  8. it is lovely just the way it sits. I'm a new visitor and so very happy to have happen by.

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  9. Such a pretty piece of furniture. It looks awesome in it's new home. Thanks for sharing at the Inspiration Spotlight party.

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    1. Thank you for the nice comment, Theresa!

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  10. What a beautiful dresser! :) Thanks for sharing at Sew It Cook It Craft It.

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  11. That's a beautiful piece of furniture. How lucky to have an heirloom like that. I for one am glad you didn't paint it. I know the trend has been to do so but I guess I'm not trendy enough because I could never do that to a piece like this. It showcases so nicely against the beautiful clear pine wood!

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    1. Agreed! Not ALL old furniture is meant to be painted, and the painted trend comes and goes. I appreciate your comment.

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