Tuesday, March 15, 2011

shabby chic & barrister: do those words go together?

I buy furniture for the store at auctions, and occasionally estate sales, garage sales, and craigslist. I work hard to keep prices low, which means I have to buy very low. Which means it usually needs work---some combination of cleaning, painting, waxing, sanding, staining. I like rustic shabby chippy furniture and I always have to calculate what and how much to do to---bottom line---sell it (and have a happy customer). My current dilemma:
I bought a 5-stack antique barrister bookcase, which I'm very excited about. I love the faded robin's egg blue paint. I've never seen a painted barrister bookcase before. This one is oak. The top is not painted and when I saw the beautiful oak I thought maybe I should strip it--the wood is gorgeous and so much more barrister-like than robin's egg blue.
Also, one of the knobs is funky. I unscrewed it and realized if I put a smaller knob, like the others, on it there would be a sizable unpainted area visible. Another reason to strip it.
I don't think the Globe-Wernicke Co. envisioned their bookcase in a shabby cottage/farmhouse setting. They built them to be placed in paneled law libraries and filled with hefty volumes of statutes and cases.

But you know what? I'm going to leave it shabby and blue. It's unique that way. Oak barrister book cases are easy to find. This one is special. And about that knob--I'm going to put that section on the bottom. If it bothers me I'll figure out a solution. (One of the cool things about barrister bookcases is they come in sections--you really do just stack them--no screws or bolts. That makes it easier to move them--and you don't even have to take the books out; there is a handle built into the top of each section.)

I plan to take it to the store this weekend. I can always change my mind and strip it; but I'm pretty sure I'll leave it. What would you do?


  1. Hi Jen, I would leave it. I like the colour. Like you said you can always change your mind and strip it.

    Lisa x

  2. Oh, you lucky, lucky thing. It's gorrrrrgeous! I love pieces like this, with their won unique character all ready for you to love!

    I rather like it all shabby-chiced up like that....and like you said, you can always change it in the future if the mood takes you.


  3. Well of course you know what I am going to say.....LEAVE IT!!! It's awesome!

    Take care,

  4. I agree with the others, leave it! maybe distress it enough so that some of the oak shows through, though? Your business sounds like SO much fun!!