When we first purchased our century home in 2018, we realized very quickly that our dark, modern furniture was not going to work. Over the next two years we worked really hard to furnish our home in a way that honored its history and charm. Although we purchased several pieces of new furniture, we also tried to find vintage and antique pieces that would add charm and depth. Some of the pieces were in good enough condition to use in their current state but most required a bit of work. Keep reading for an overview of my top five favorite furniture flips in our century home.
Number 5: The guest room piano bench
Our guest room is very nice because it has an on-suite bathroom, but it is also quite small. On one of my in-law’s first visits (as we were still working on the room design) they made two requests. The first was to have some sort of storage or shelving on which to unpack their belongings when they visited. The second request was to have somewhere to sit in the room that wasn’t on the bed. By chance, we found a lovely bookshelf that fit into the walk-in closet for storage. We found it much more difficult to find seating that fit both the dimensions and feel of the space.
I had a bench in mind for the space, but it needed to be quite small. Ultimately, we found a vintage piano bench at an antique shop that was the perfect size. It was in rough condition. It had been painted black but the paint was chipped off in several places and it had a number of significant scratches. We thought we could make it work so we brought it home and got to work.
I didn’t have a clear picture for how I wanted this piece to turn out. I wasn’t sure if I was going to paint it or stain it or even what color might look best in the space. So, I got started by using CitriStrip to take off all of the existing paint. Once the paint was off, I decided that I liked the color and variation in the exposed original wood, so we sealed it and left its original wood tone. You can read more about this flip in my post on some of our COVID spring home improvement and décor projects.
Number 4: The morning room cedar chest
The vintage cedar chest in the morning room was in rough shape when I first found it at the thrift store. We were in need of some shoe storage by the back door and thought that a storage bench would work well in our space. After checking the measurements to ensure it would fit, we brought it home to give it a facelift.
Thankfully, the inside of the chest was in excellent condition, but the outside needed a lot of work. Ultimately the veneer was too damaged to salvage. There were deep scratches and places where the veneer was missing. We even had to reconstruct some of the decorative details on the piece using wood epoxy putty. Because of this, we decided that we had to paint this piece. Once it was cleaned and the major damage was fixed, I chose a blue color and used our paint sprayer to give this piece new life.
Brian added inserts to help organize our shoes and soft-close hinges so that we don’t smash our fingers. He then constructed a coordinating coat rack using a similar egg and dart trim to complete our ‘mud room’ space. This piece works great for shoe storage and gets daily usage. You can find out more details of this flip along with information on the supplies used in my original post on this vintage cedar chest update.
Number 3: The entryway church pew
Like the piano bench and cedar chest flips, our entryway church pew restoration was a COVID project. We were lucky to find it at our local salvage store but it was in rough shape. It appeared as though it had been at one time painted but then stripped. This was nice because it saved us quite a bit of work, but we still had to make some significant repairs on this piece.
Once we got it home, we scraped off the remaining paint and then spent hours sanding. There were a lot of rough and unevenly saturated areas on this piece that required a lot of time and effort. In addition, one of the pew arms was so damaged that we had to remove it to do a significant repair it and then reattach it. Once we finished sanding, we sealed it with Tung oil for protection.
After living with this finished piece for several months, I ultimately elected to stain it a darker walnut color. I think the slightly darker color looks better against our medium-tone wood floors. I love having this piece of church history in my home. It works well in the space as a place for guests to remove their shoes when they come in the front door. You can read more about this flip in my post on some of our COVID winter home improvement and décor projects.
Number 2: The kitchen buffet
The kitchen in our home is laid out so that there is an empty wall on one side. The previous owners had a small dining table there but we wanted something that would increase the available storage near the backdoor and act as a drop zone for keys, bags, and the like. We eventually found a piece (again at our local salvage store) that we liked and that fit into the space.
This piece was in rough condition and was stained an unfortunate orange-ish color. There were some pretty bad scratches on the top and several of the original wood knobs had broken and were glued back together. As with the piano bench, on this piece we used CitriStrip to remove most of the original stain and finish. After quite a bit of sanding, we got the piece stripped down to its original wood color.
As much as I liked the color of this stripped down piece, we were concerned about having contrasting wood tones in the kitchen which has cherry cabinets. So we decided to stain the piece using a black stain. I have to say that this was the most frustrating piece I have ever worked on. I had multiple problems with the stain and polycrylic but with Brian’s help was finally able to finish this piece. We added new knobs and ended up with a unique piece that works really well for our needs. The finish has held up well even with daily use. You can read more about this furniture flip in my original post on this vintage kitchen buffet makeover.
Number 1: The main bedroom vanity
My absolute favorite furniture flip that we have done so far is my bedroom vanity table and stool. I looked for a long time for a vanity that felt like it was made for an adult. When we found this piece at the local salvage store I knew it was just right for the space, even though it was in rough shape and the legs had clearly been chewed on by someone’s puppy dog. The coordinating bench was in equally rough shape and featured a green checkered vinyl fabric on the seat.
Because this piece had so much damage, we felt that painting it was our best option. This allowed me to use some wood epoxy to fill in some of the more significant chew marks as well as the holes for the original hardware which I intended to replace. I again used my paint sprayer to paint this piece a medium gray color. Next, I reupholstered the bench cushion and added some lovely mercury glass knobs.
I love this piece and use it regularly when getting ready for the day. It looks great in our main bedroom and I really love having this dedicated space for hair and makeup. You can read in more detail about this flip in my original vintage vanity update post.
Now that I am working full time, I don’t have as much time to work on furniture flips, but it was really fun to work with Brian to update these pieces for our home. Getting a compliment on a piece that you personally worked on means so much.
Which of these flips is your favorite? Do you have any flipped vintage or second-hand furniture in your home? Please share your projects in the comments!
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