vintage bureau revamp

Friday, 3 February 2012


For the past three years, I've been on the lookout for the perfect piece of furniture for an awkward spot in our house. I've searched high and low, from op shops to expensive stores, and either found nothing the perfect shape and size, nothing in great condition - or nothing that made my heart race. And Lord knows I hate almost everything new. It's all so mass-produced and ugly (or ten times what I want to pay).

Then yesterday, as the kids and I walked past the Salvo's - we did a quick pop in. And this is what we found . . .


Now, don't judge a 1960s bureau by its veneer, but for me, it was love. I ADORE these retro veneered pieces and have rarely been able to find one in good enough condition. This one was structurally incredible - only one teensy strip off the veneer on one draw, but otherwise really sound. It's only problem was a tacky back mirror and ugly strips of sticky left by an overzealous sticktaper.

I didn't want the mirror, so I left it behind and paid the grand total of $20, including help from a handsome young man to get the piece to my car.

It took me all of an hour and a half to clean up the bureau. This is what I did -


First, I sawed off the back struts that used to keep the mirror in place, being careful to saw down at an angle towards the back.


Then I enlisted the help of my powerful friend - Eucalyptus Oil - and began de-stickafying the surface.


If you leave puddles of oil to soak awhile, removing all traces of sticky is a breeze.


Stubborn pieces that need peeling off can be helped along with a scraper.


I then polished all surfaces with euc oil, including the starburst handles. Then I tightened all handles with a screwdriver and cleaned out the drawers (which were pretty spotless anyway) and wiped the insides out with a cloth dampened with euc oil - great for getting rid of that musty Op Shop smell.

And . . . here is the finished product!


What do you think? I may strip the veneer and paint it white eventually but for now I'm loving that retro veneer vibe and whimsical imperfections. I've crammed the surface with my many in-need-of-a-home books, but am sure the display will change frequently. We so lack surfaces in our house, so it's fun to be able to play with a pretty new spot.

Now, I'm on the hunt for some super cool shelving . . .


5 comments:

tiarastantrums said...

you are so incredible - do you know that?

Kelly Morton said...

I love it! It looks incredible xx

Em Callaghan said...

Absolutely fab! You certainly have the magic touch when it comes to breathing new life into a neglected piece of furniture. Have you stumbled across the retro store in Stephens rd in Qbn? Now that is a magpie's treasure trove. Cheers Em

Dani said...

Perfecto!

Posie Patchwork said...

Total score, what a find!! Almost wrote 'fiend' both suitable, non?? Talk about a storage masterpiece too, love Posie

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