Mid-Century Sideboard

I live in a house with traditional and antique furniture but I love mid-century modern design.  It’s partly nostalgic for me because I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s and partly because I love the clean lines and the look of the wood in a lot of the furniture.  I am particularly fond of Scandinavian glasswear such as the beautiful salad bowl that is visible in some of the pix in this post.  It is an Oiva Toikka Flora made by iittala of Finland.  If you are interested in the history of mid-century design, you can read this piece or read my earlier post on Atomic Design.

This is a before photo of the sideboard that I bought.  It was made in Canada by Gibbard, a well-known manufacturer of mahogany and walnut furniture.  It’s walnut and the design is typical of furniture from the time-period with straight lines and decorative door handles.  Gibbard knew their customers wanted something modern looking but not teak and sleek.  You can often tell whether something is Scandinavian or North American by the wood since most pieces made in America were walnut.


I stripped the drawers and the top section for a colour block effect.  I decided not to use stain since I wanted to see the beauty of the grain as much as possible.  I could have put straight poly on top of the clean wood but I opted for Tung oil.  There are 2 advantages to using an oil finish like Tung or Danish oil:  they penetrate the wood and really raise the grain and they can be easily fixed with sanding and re-application of the oil.  The disadvantage is that they are not waterproof like poly.  They are water-resistant but you have to treat the surface like fine furniture.  I have a mahogany side table with a Tung oil finish that has never had a mark on it in 25 years.sideboard1


I painted the body in a mid-grey milk paint.  For an added touch of colour, I painted the insides of the drawers in AS Provence and added a Provence stripe inside the cabinet.



You can see the ittala salad bowl in the above pix.  I went for a colour-block effect which gives the sideboard  a contemporary look.  The wood is very beautiful and I am happy with how it turned out.













Spool Legs and Graphite Chalk Paint

Spool furniture, also known as Bobbin Furniture, originated in the 17th century.  The shaped legs often looking like sewing bobbins were turned on a lathe.  The popularity of this leg goes in and out of fashion but we generally associate it with older furniture.  Who doesn’t love those spool beds that were common 60-70 years ago, such as this one found on Pinterest: spool bed

I found this unique dresser in a thrift store and was attracted to the legs and its different shape.  It was made by the North American Furniture Co. which manufactured furniture in Owen Sound, ON in the early 20th century.  The knobs on the piece seem incongruous with its age, so I am not sure that they are original.  The dresser had been stained a reddish-brown and given a shiny poly coat.  I decided to paint it in Annie Sloan’s Graphite- a great colour for a rustic, old look.  Graphite is not pure black but more charcoal and it looks good with dark wax and a bit of distressing.

graphite dresser#1

graphite dresser#2

I originally painted the knobs gold but they were too bright so I added copper gilding paste on top .  Now they have a bronze look.  The insides of the drawers were stained and dry looking.  I sanded them a bit and put some oil on them to revive the wood.  I could have painted them to freshen them up but decided to put paper inside.  I really like  wrapping paper that is made out of butcher’s paper; it’s easy to work with because it isn’t slippery but is still pretty.

graphite drawers

What I like about the dresser besides its shape, is that it can be used in multiple places.  It’s small enough for a hallway or would look good in a dining room.