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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A Wink of Leather || First Flip of 2019

Welcome back StyleMutts! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season with family, friends, and food-but-not-too-much-so-you-feel-bloated food.

I myself tackled several projects around the house between Christmas and New Years (as I often like to do) and realized something...  It’s not so much the time off I enjoy most this time of year, but the moments leading up to a new year where all the challenges from the past year become eclipsed by the possibilities of the next.  What projects will I tackle? What ways will I surprise myself? What trouble will I get myself in to and then have to figure my way out of?

I like this mixture of hope and possibility.  And I’m not-so-much hoping I’ll become someone new or a better version of myself in 2019, I just want to keep being me. Doing what I love. With the people I love. And I recognize that I’m blessed already for having been doing just that all through 2018.

And I love what I do with you - sharing finished pieces or new ideas and pushing myself to try something I’ve never done before.  Friends, I managed to squeeze in one last project in 2018 to be the first project to share in the new year!

Meet Blondie:

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She’s not much too look at - just a neon shade of yellow wood finish but she had great lines so I brought her home to the workshop.  One of the things that stood out to me most was that she had such tall legs - and I got to thinking... I could really have some fun with that.

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First order of business: paint.  The original buttered wood wasn’t doing her any favors so I went with a good neutral: Silver Drop by Behr.

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The color is a soft blend of white and a delicate light gray.  It’s not too harsh but still very warm and fresh.

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To play up the height of the legs, I decided to add some interest with a “wink of leather” as Chelsea would say.

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I added crossing leather straps in an X shape that are secured to each leg.  They are completely removable if you need the under dresser storage but add such a fun surprise detail to an otherwise “Plain Jane.”

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Let’s take a closer look shall we? 

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Originally I tried riveting the leather together  but couldn’t get the straps to bind so I ended up using brass screws with a nut on the back to hold them taut and in place. 

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I also replaced the original ring pulls with bright brass whistle knobs.

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I love using these knobs in projects to give a easy modern upgrade (like here and here).

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If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind piece, this White + Leather moment is available for sale!  Email my contact info below for purchasing or third-party shipping options.

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White + Leather Dresser
Now Available for Sale
63”L x 18”D x 34”H
$695

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