Tuesday, January 27, 2009

tricks of the trade: old credenza, renewed

Need a terrific console for your foyer or living room, or a sideboard for you dining room, without spending too much? Here's a solution that's both budget-friendly AND planet-friendly! Here's what to do.  Armed with accurate measurements for the space you want to fill, take a look in your favorite local consignment or charity shop.  Chances are, you'll find a console table or sideboard, or even a dresser or credenza (lots of awesome storage in a 40s/50s credenza -- picture the piece behind the businessman (always a man!) on those old AMC movies).  Everyone else will have passed this piece by, because maybe the top has water marks, or scratches, or just looks beat up.  But you, being a smart shopper, will snap it up, because you know it's a jewel in the rough.  Take this credenza, bought for a song at our favorite local antiques/consignment shop.  It had languished for months, despite its pretty woodgrain front and hardware, not to mention loads of storage for mail and kiddie stuff, and was marked as low as it could go.  Time for our favorite trick of the trade . . . We chose a favorite wrapping paper (here, whimsypress's bestseller Bluebird), trimmed it carefully to fit the top of the credenza exactly, and covered it with acrylic, custom cut to our specifications at our local hardware shop (cost: two sheets of paper at about $4.25 each, and 3 cents a square inch for the acrylic, or for a piece this size, about $40.) Voila!  A charming, light and bright entry piece, customized to work with the art and accessories in the space.  Three big pluses here: it looks adorable, it was inexpensive and easy to do, and the look can be changed very easily by just replacing the paper if you move the piece, or if you're, say, having a birthday party, or a baby shower, or it's the holidays  . . . the possibilities are endless! And, you're recycling furniture instead of buying new, saving money and, potentially, landfill space. One caveat:  be sure to use thick, high quality paper, like stuff from whimsypress, Papersource, Elum, or other similar vendors.  You can find it online, or at your local stationery shop.  It's totally worth it!   You can see the same principle applied to a damaged (and therefore cheap!) floor model console from Restoration Hardware, using Elum paper, above on the left.  You can do this on kid's dresser (make sure you have the fabricator trim the piece so there are no ragged or sharp edges), on a game table, on a desk.  Be inspired, let the piece tell your ongoing story and reflect your individual spirit, rather than that of a mass market retailer . . . 

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