Heywood-Wakefield Restoration

Yeah ok. I was warned. Newborndome is no joke. Midnight feedings… sleep deprivation… a bazillion dirty diapers. How have people been doing this for centuries?!? Jk. Baby H is totally worth the effort - even if I officially can’t have a cup of coffee in the morning without it going cold.

Caleb has been fabulously supportive. Even though he is back at work, he’s found ways to give me little breaks when he can like downtime to make a craigslist run or have a glass of wine on our deck. He even gave me a block of baby-free time to knock out a new piece:

A Heywood-Wakefield Airflow Dresser

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I actually scored this dresser somewhere in my 3rd trimester (I think I might have played my last preggo card to convince Caleb to help me pick it up one morning before work) - ha!  It was obvious that the previous owner did not realize what a rare find they had considering they put it in their sticker-loving son’s room.  Just look at the damage to the signature H-W finish! 

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The watermark on the back revealed that it’s a “wheat rub.” This means it was truly vintage and not a reproduction since newer H-W pieces sport their signature Amber finish.  This piece could date somewhere in the 1930’s-1950’s when Heywood-Wakefield art-deco-inspired mid-century modern style rose to popularity.  I debated long and hard about how I was going to tackle this project and eventually decided on:

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A restoration

I was seriously on the fence about restoring vs transforming.  After consulting my brother-in-law the wine-cellar-building-carpenter-and-fellow-vintage-furniture-lover I realized it would be practically criminal to alter it with paint or new hardware.

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First order of business to get it back to its former glory was to SAND THE HECK OUT IT.  Yeah that sticker residue had to go.

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After the thorough sanding came a thorough waxing.

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The wax gives it a buttery finish that’s much closer to that trademark Heywood-Wakefield buff.

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This is actually not the first Heywood-Wakefield piece I’ve gotten on my hands on.  Some of you may remember this gimpy coffee table find from 2017 that I ended up keeping for myself.

 
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Although a little patinaed, the coffee table had an original H-W “champagne finish” which, if you ask me, looks practically the same as the “wheat rub” on the Airflow dresser.  That could be due in part to the fact that all H-W pieces are made out of the same wood: northern yellow birch.

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Sealing the Airflow dresser in a wax allowed the natural golden tones of the northern yellow birch to shine.

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Besides the finish, another trademark feature of a H-W piece is the sculptural lines - like the unique curves in the drawer fronts and the architectural details in the handles.

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I know Heywood-Wakefields can read a little too George Jetson to some so I wanted the styling to show how it can still have its moment in the modern day. The quirky lines of this vintage dresser play well with the mod lines of my velvet cantilever chair flip and cheeky llama prints.  

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And I just had to pull out my face vase and add a touch or two of terracotta.

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This newly restored bad boy is now available for sale if you’re in the market for a piece of American-made history!  Email me for purchasing or shipping options.

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Heywood-Wakefield Airflow Dresser
Now Available for Sale
42ʺW × 20ʺD × 34ʺH
$795

If you are interested in this piece or a custom order like it, email me at cate@stylemutthome.com

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Pop of Red Dresser

When it comes to repairing old dressers, I’ve seen quite the spectrum of original conditions.  Water damage, bent hardware, chunks missing, splitting veneer, broken legs, and even dog pee.

But this piece...

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…this piece might take the cake. 

The previous owners had been keeping it practically unsheltered in their carport for who knows how long.  Exposed to the elements, every inch of the cherry veneer was clinging on for dear life.  As soon as I touched it, the veneer started flaking off like bad dandruff.  Poor thing. The state of this thing meant I couldn’t restore all of it back to its former glory. The drawer fronts, although in need of excessive touch-ups, were mostly salvageable.  But the sides were an irrestorable tragedy that would have to succumb to a good coat of paint. But this meant I had a fun opportunity on my hands… a chance to play with color:

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So if paint had to be on the agenda, I chose a sassy red-orange to play off the red cherry tones in the drawers.

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The drawers had a lot of chipped veneer around the edges which I painstaking patched and painted to match by hand.  Then I reoiled the wood to bring it back to health like a good moisturizer for cracked hands in winter.

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The original wooden pulls were also too damaged to keep so I replaced them with brass whistle knobs that match the brass keyholes in the top drawers.

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I was able to keep the original gold capped tapered legs however!

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To style it, I used my painter’s pallet and the most exquisite golden foliage I could find.

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GAH! This is why it’s my favorite time of year to style with tree branches!!! (I can’t help myself - just see here and here and here).

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Pop of Red 8 Drawer Dresser
Now Available for Sale
33.5”W x 18”D x 48”H
$495


If you are interested in this piece or a custom order like it, email me at cate@stylemutthome.com

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Cantilever Chairs || Plus a Dining Room Reveal!

Today is the day.  I finally have a room in our new place to share: our dining room!

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Ok so it didn’t look like much when we moved in.  Basically three things had to happen to get us to this reveal day: 

1) The dining room HAD to be painted something a little less light-sucking
2) We needed to find some chairs - because what is a dining room without chairs amiright? 
3) I needed to decide what art to feature in here!

We (I mean er my familial paint crew - thanks again guys!) knocked out the painting on week one but finding some chairs that could really make a statement was proving more difficult.  But eventually, I found them:

Brass... Breuer... CANE... Cantilever chairs.

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Up until I found these, I didn't even know Marcel Breuer chairs came in anything but chrome.  But when I saw these glittering gold chairs, I scooped them up - carrying two at a time through the maze of dusty furniture at the thrift store, slightly panicked that the other two wouldn't still be there while the check-out clerk waited for me to navigate them safely out. 

My original plan was to flip and sell them. But I wasn't sure what direction to take them in.  My gut wanted me to recover the seats in leather but I was having some doubts.  Between the warm cane and bright brass, I feared that richly-toned leather would stick out like a sore thumb.  It needed something to tie it all together.

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I sought council from my favorite sounding board Chelsea.  She actually suggested a soft, light velvet instead - wouldn't that be lovely?!  But after more research at the fabric store, I realized velvet was out of my price range.  Plus, I already had some yardage of leather in black and didn't want that to go to waste - but what could I do to marry the look?  

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Eventually, I landed on adding an unexpected touch of black on the back of the cane.  Suddenly, this discreet black lip is what I needed to realize I was in love!  Alrighty - let's see it all together shall we?

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Ah the paint color already makes a WORLD of difference in this space.

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And these chairs are the stuff my dreams are made of!

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Can you see the touch of black on the inside lip?

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At certain angles it even peaks through the cane.

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It’s funny to me that rooms with molding used to always read really "traditional" to me.  But when we toured this rental, it was the idea of making this space a fresh take on traditional is what sold me on this house in the first place - despite the dingy tan walls.

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As for the art, I tried hanging all sorts of arrangements in this dining nook and was despondent to all of them.  I had wanted something long and low to lean a cluster of art on but the dining room didn't have space for a buffet or credenza.  But when I hung the art low and along the chair rail I realized it created the same effect that I love without the added furniture footprint!

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Even though they were originally supposed to be for sale, once I brought them in around our table - I was done.  These babies were mine.  And the perfect crowning jewel to our freshly finished space.  Hoping to have more of our new place to share over the coming months so stay tuned friends!

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