Saturday, April 28, 2012

Grand * Furniture Stories

If you like antiques, grab a cup of coffee, sit down 
and join me for some good old fashioned furniture stories...  

I love antiques.  
I have collected them since I was in college, 
but admired them since I was small and following my Mom 
from antiques shop to antique shop all over New England.  
Mom was an antique collector, dealer and expert on things like sterling silver and glass.
I developed an appreciation for beautiful old things-
things with patina, things with unique qualities, 
things with the kind of craftsmanship that is not available today.
Things with soul.

I bought my first piece of antique furniture during my senior year in college.  
It was in rough shape, a bargain, and still more than I could really afford, 
but my Mom advanced me some graduation money, and stored it for me until I was ready to use it.
At the time, I had no place to put it and no real plan, but it cast a spell on me 
and to this day, it is still my most prized piece of furniture.
Introducing - the walnut server!

 Fast forward a year or two. 
Mr. Grand and I are newlyweds, living in Milwaukee, furnishing our first home.  
The walnut server would finally have a home, as a feature in our dining room
I stripped it and refinished it and had the marble top cleaned and polished. 
Check out the book matched grain on the doors and drawers, 
the burl of the grain and the Eastlake carving details.

The handles marked the beginning of my love affair with all things twisty. 

 The mirror above it has a story, too.


My Mom gave it to us years ago.  
I think she just bought things she liked and then figured out who to give them to afterwards.  
This frame actually held an old, early black and white photograph 
of a very dour looking family from long ago.  I guess no one ever smiled in those old portraits.
The glass is original and has wonderful bubbles and waves and imperfections, 
but I really did not care for the photograph. 
To make matters worse, Mr. Grand used to delight in telling dinner guests
 that it was actually a portrait of my ancestors, and did they notice the resemblance?
I finally decided they had to go.  
Actually, they are still in there, 
but I put a new mirror in the frame, behind the original old glass and it's much better.
The old glass makes it look like a wavy old mirror.  Only we knew the truth.
And now all of you do...

Next up is the first antique Mr. Grand ever bought, 
found at the same shop in the Poconos where I discovered the walnut server. 
He used to enjoy accompanying me on these adventures and
he had visions of using this as a bar in his first apartment
 in his new city, Milwaukee, where he held his first real job.
Off he went, across the country, his car loaded to the gills, 
with this antique, solid oak, very heavy, Victor ice box
I am not kidding.  
I know a picture of his departure exists, because I was there, sobbing, 
but, alas, I cannot find it. 

As you can probably guess, I was eventually, happily reunited with him and the icebox 
and we have all been together ever since.  
It's now a piece of our own family history.  
And here's another family member who likes it, too....

This lovely walnut wardrobe was found at a shop in Ohio, 
when I was hunting for something that would serve as a coat closet 
in the Victorian home we were about to move in to.  
The house was lovely, but it lacked many modern day amenities, 
like a place to put coats anywhere on the first floor.

Inside, it has shelves and hooks for hanging coats.  

After we moved to our current house, which was built complete with coat closet, 
this piece became an entertainment unit.

 The best part about this wardrobe's story
 is how we got the wardrobe home from an antique mall in Indiana.
I had gone with a friend who was on the lookout for a Hoosier cabinet for her kitchen.  
As good luck would have it, we both found what we were looking for.
The only problem was, we were four hours away from home 
and delivery was going to cost way too much.
Way back in the eighties, before SUV's were all the rage, 
we had access to a station wagon, much like the "Family Funster" in the movie "Vacation".
The guys at the antique shop laughed at us when we said we would try to get both the wardrobe 
and the Hoosier cabinet into the station wagon.
Well, this wardrobe has a secret!  
It's what they call a "knock down", meaning it comes apart for easy moving.
Other than the hinges on the doors, 
there are no screws or nails or anything else holding it together.  
It's like a puzzle, it fits together perfectly.
  The bonnet on the top lifts off, the base is separate and the walls and doors lie flat.
That all went into the wagon, easily.
The real challenge was getting the Hoosier cabinet in, too.
That was built in two pieces, and so, to the amazement of the onlookers, we crammed it all in.  
With some bungee cords and the tail gate
strapped down, it was a long cold drive home, but we made it and saved lots of money!
 Clark would have been so proud of us.

More recently, as in only twenty some years ago, 
and I was looking for a Hoosier type cabinet of my own.
Again, as good luck would have it, at the Kane County Flea Market,
I found not one, but two cabinets that I thought might fit the bill.
They both have great display space in the upper part and storage below.
Great leaded glass in the arched doors and the original glass knobs.
We had two corners in the new room and I thought these vintage pieces 
would help the new room work with the rest of the house.
They just fit.
And I didn't have to do a thing to them.

The dealer said they had been taken out of an old house 
that, because of erosion, was falling into Lake Michigan in - Milwaukee
Don't you love it when a story comes full circle???

Linking to:
Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch
Masterpiece Monday at Boogieboard Cottage 
Nifty Thrifty Tuesdays at Coastal Charm 
Twice Owned Tuesdays at House of Grace 
Tutorials and Tips at  Home Stories A to Z
Tuesdays Treasures at My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia 
Show Me What You Got at Not Just a Housewife 
Wow Us Wednesdays at Savvy Southern Style 
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Furniture Feature Friday at Miss Mustard Seed 
Open House Party at No Minimalist Here

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  1. Wow, you have got some great antiques there! But that ice box really caught me eye...and I love the story behind it. Thanks for the tip on left on my blog that you had one like mine. I'm so happy to seen there are a few of these still around. Love the rest of your blog too I'm you newest follower!



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