Dramatic makeover! Commode/sideboard/buffet transformation

Who out there loves a makeover? I do! I do!

A client had this piece of furniture in her living room. It was lovely but tired, and it needed repair. The client wasn’t sure whether it should stay or go.

Vintage commode

We weren’t sure what to call it. It didn’t quite seem like a sideboard, which is the term I use for leggy storage pieces in the dining room. It isn’t a buffet, which is a more solid storage piece. It’s not a credenza, which I think of a office furniture but technically isn’t…and it’s not tall enough to be a console table. (It’s not a table at all, actually, is it?)

Side view of vintage commode

The word I finally settled on was, “commode,” which also isn’t quite right, but it felt like the best option. I just learned, on a recent excursion to the Hillwood Museum (tagline: where fabulous lives), that the furniture term COMMODE comes from the word, aCOMMODate, because the piece of furniture aCOMMODated all of the items that a fancy family needed to have at the ready to entertain guests. Who knew?

But I promised you a makeover! The moment I realized that we were looking at unrealized potential, I called Evelyn Avery of Avery Art. They are the absolute masters of furniture restoration and refurbishing. (As a bonus, her artisans can build any piece of furniture you can dream up. And they make the most beautiful lamps, custom mirrors, frames, TV-concealing screens…Evelyn also is a dealer of wonderful art from the 18th through the early 20th centuries. It’s one-stop shopping, really.)

So here’s what the piece looked like in progress (eek!):

Commode during restoration

And HERE, Gentle Readers, is the picture Evelyn just sent me:

Refurbished Empire commode

Ta DA, right? Isn’t it just stunning? I can hardly believe it’s the same piece. And in addition to being prettier, it’s also healthier, in that all of the loose pieces were cleaned and re-attached, weak parts of the wood strengthened…this will last forever now.

I wonder if Avery Art could do a refurbishing of ME? Hmmmm….

Quoted in publications from The New York Times to The Washington Post to Real Simple magazine, Annie Elliott is considered an expert in color, residential space planning, and telling people what to do in the nicest way possible. Her interior design firm, bossy color, has been serving residents in the greater Washington, D.C. area since 2004.


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