Furniture produced after the Second World War shows a definite shift from darker heavier woods and colours to those that are light, less bulky and even whimsical. Heywood Wakefield is credited with bringing this shift in American tastes by introducing a line of blonde furniture that became very popular in the 1950’s. There is a definite revival of interest in this furniture because it is retro looking and it is very well-made. You can read about this revival here.
Blonde furniture was usually birch or maple with a golden or pale stain. The set that I bought is blonde mahogany which was achieved by bleaching the wood before staining it. It is made by Gibbard, a well-known manufacturer of fine furniture in Canada. It came with a frameless mirror but that look is too dated for most people.
It is mahogany veneer over solid wood. The original owner had kept a glass top on both pieces and they were in near perfect condition. The brass knobs are distinctive and original.
I refinished the tops and painted the bodies in Pure White with a bit of French Linen mixed in. It is still white but has a grey tone. Pure White has no pigment and needs many coats; by adding some colour to it, you get a lot better coverage. Because the wood had been bleached originally, it would not take a dark stain so I opted for a chestnut colour which was close to the original but richer in tone.
I cleaned the beautiful brass knobs then added some gilding paste to make them brighter. It makes a great desk or could still be used as a dressing table in a bedroom.
It definitely has a glam look to it.
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