I found this ratty old thing around 2000 or 2001 when my friend Derek was living in Brooklyn on Franklin and Gates, before those who shant be named showed up. It was either there or in Elizabeth but I’m pretty sure the red piece on the right side of the picture was the one I found in Elizabeth.
That trunk is from Pleasantville but I was never able to do anything with that but make someone else’s problem my own. Lost that in one of the floods.
It was totally unique piece that I could see needed a lot of work but if there was a way to make something of it, the payoff would be worth it. But I had no clue where to start. I had been painting houses for maybe a year and may have even gotten into some staining but nothing on this level. The drawers were solid and the joints were strong. The top was shot and it needed some patchwork on the mouldings.
The inside was still pretty clean and served as a secretary desk would with compartments, decorative curves, nooks and a small lockable door
This was probably in early 2001. I had zero furniture refinishing experience and had been painting houses for a few months. I had no clue what to do but I knew I had to do something. Ultimately though, it sat in mom’s basement for years as a standing tribute to the countless unfinished projects I’ve started.
Things began to circle back around when I got a job at a furniture repair and refinishing shop in early 2006. I was able to start at least gameplanning an idea but I would still be years away from getting anywhere with this thing. I decided that it would become a dresser top, all I needed was the dresser.
I started the process of building that dresser but I just didn’t have the equipment or a good workspace in moms basement to get anything done. My friend Derek and I are always taking on projects and understand what a difference working with the right tools makes in trying to get something done right.
One thing I was able to work on in the basement there was resurfacing the piece. You can see where I was playing with color by staining the drawers. I also had begun to build the surface for the base by veneering a piece of 3/4″ plywood. That’s a fresh walnut veneer on the tops and the sides.
That was around 2008 that I got to this point and while I had my eyes open for a suitable base that would at least have similar lines that I could work with, nothing was revealing itself to me. So once again, the piece sat untouched in the basement for years.
Until one day, mom texted me with this picture:
As soon as I saw it I was all over it. A fire was lit under my ass and I got right to work on finishing this thing, 13 years after it all started. I stripped and refinished the base and stained the dresser to match using Minwax red chestnut stain.
I’m rushing through the telling of the story now because it probably won’t be interesting t0 read about the hours I had to put in on this in order to get it done while also working full-time as well as spending a fair amount of time helping my dad recover from major surgery. To say that I had become obsessed with finishing is an understatement.
So I’m just gonna do the big reveal at this point and show you what I got and the image that I’ve had kicking around in my head for over a decade.
And now, without further ado:
I’ll be updating this page with photos and descriptions of some other projects that I’ve completed along the way. My goal is to furnish where ever I live with pieces that I salvaged and restored.