Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Cookbook Bookcase and a new lamp!

Good morning my friends!!  I have been busy working on furniture lately, hence the silence on my blog.  I mentioned a while ago that I was working on a bookcase. I picked "her" up more than a year ago at an auction. I thought she would be the perfect size to hold my cookbooks in the kitchen.

I believe she is from around the 1890-1920 time period. I thought she was made from oak. Someone had started to strip the paint off her, but never finished the job.

She still has the original sellers label. You can click on the pic and then zoom in for a closer look.

This is a side view....partially stripped. You can see what looks like a nice oak grain.

Heirloom brand chemical stripper doing its job!!

After I had been tediously slathering on stripper, leaving it to work for about 10-15 minutes and then scraping off the gunk, I discovered that the wood was actually Ash that had been "grained" to look like oak.  In the process also, the glue for the appliques dissolved, so I was able to very, very carefully remove the appliques to clean them up better.

The grained over stain was black and I had to use more stripper and "elbow grease" to get it all off.

I also ended up removing the back so I could really get at "her" to clean her up more.

Here she is stripped bare!!!

After sanding by hand with 120 grit sandpaper.

I absolutely loved how the grain "popped" out when I applied a coat of Minwax brand "English Chestnut" stain.

Better pic below.

Applique back on and stained.

The weather has been cool here for the last week, so I left her to dry for a few days in the garage.

Then I applied three coats of semi-gloss urethane, sanding between each coat.
I brought her into the kitchen this morning (after I applied felt stickies to her feet, so she glides across the tile floor)

And replaced my cookbooks!!
How does she look?
I know that she would look very pretty with a new "white dress" on, but after spending so much time stripping off the old paint, I wanted to enjoy her natural grain look. Who knows.......maybe in twenty years I will want to paint her white!!
She actaully matches the table and chairs now.  They need refinishing, too. I was going to paint them, but after seeing the results of this bookcase, I am pretty sure that I'll strip the table and chairs and stain and urethane them also. BUT.....I'll be doing that next spring!!!

I took my daughter into town yesterday and dropped into the St Vincent de Paul Store and scored anew floorlamp.

I think you would call it  "Florentine" style. The lamp, shade AND bulb are all in great shape. Cost me all of $7.00!!  It has even been rewired!! All I had to do was plug it in!

I love the detail.

I may paint her white, but for now I am just going to enjoy her slightly,chippy, giltness!!!

I hope you all have an exquisite day!

Warm hugs and crisp apples, Laura


  1. Dear Laura:

    My goodness, what a lot of work you put into your bookcase but she's turned out so GORGEOUS! I am loving the natural wood! I cannot believe the process you went through to get her to this stage. Once all the stripping was done and your final sanding, it looked like brand new wood! It's just so lovely & how wonderful to still have the original tag on the back. Wishing you a marvelous day!

  2. Beautiful job on the refinishing, Laura!

  3. Amazing job on the book shelf. If I hadn't seen the before and work-in-progress photos, I don't think I would have believed it was the same thing in the after photo. You did a wonderful job on "her."
    GREAT find with the lamp, too. That's always a good day when you find a little treasure like that.
    Patricia :o)

  4. I really enjoy before and after images. The finished product is beautiful! I love the wood grain. I enjoyed the sign on the back...undertaking too?!? You really did a beautiful job. Take care, Connie

  5. Laura, that was quite a job, but it looks Wonderful! The woodgrain is beautiful and it's so nice to see her restored to her original beauty. Have a nice weekend! Twyla

  6. OMGosh Laura,
    that was a lot of elboy grease that you put in restoring your bookcase but you achieved an astonishing result. it looks fabulous and you found the right place for it.
    have a nice weekend

  7. You made that piece look brand new! It has great detail...I love the lamp, too! Lezlee

  8. Laura...I am so impressed with the gorgeous, painstaking job you did on that bookcase...It is just stunning now!
    Love your floorlamp, too!

  9. You did a perfect job of transforming something into something else that is gorgeous. So happy you didn't paint it and let the wood grain show through. It looks like a lot of work, but ever so worth it in the end. Char

  10. Oh my goodness. I love the shelf. I was partial to the chippy white - because that's my style preference but you took it from shabby to a beautiful piece. Love the lamp you scored and for only $7. We have a St Vinny's here between all my favorite thrift stores and I've never gone in except a few weeks ago desperately searching for vintage clothes for a costume party for my son. I was actually quite impressed with it (ours is kinda shabby on the outside and never enticed me to enter) and I plan on going back. Have a wonderful week :) PS: LOVE the cabinet next to your shelves.... so envious ;)

  11. Hi Laura, I'm stopping by from Lisa at Suburban Retreat. I'm another Ontario blogger and I love finding Canadian blogs. The lamp was a great deal, and wonderful that it was rewired to prevent fires. The cookbook shelf looks so beautiful. What a lot of work you went to in order to bring her back to her solid self, but so worth it. I'm your newest follower. Take care!

  12. WOW!!
    She is beautiful. While I like the pastel colors of cottage chic, I'm glad you went with the natural wood. When you have wood grain that pretty, it is a shame to hide it. You inspire me to try something like that.

  13. IN CRED I BLE! OH MY GOSH! BEAUTIFUL transformation!

    You have more energy than me! YOU DO! LOVELEEEE!

    PS: Thanks for posting my giveaway! Tomorrow is the day it ends! Whoot! Whoot!