Lacquer Love: A Mid-Century Credenza Transformed
From the desk of Amy Frederickson: vintage enthusiast, revitalization fanatic and Revitaliste founder.
Having spent the majority of my life in urban environs (read: small apartments), I developed an affinity for multi-function furniture. One of my personal favorites is the credenza, or in my world, storage cum bar cart. I’m particularly drawn to the clean-line designs of Danish mid-century case pieces, with their sleek sliding door faces that conceal the clutter within. The Danish credenza that now houses my cocktail paraphernalia and off-season decor was the fortuitous by-product of a long search for the perfect dining chairs (you can read the full story of this amazing score, as well as gain some pro tips on being the ultimate Craigslist treasure hunter here).
After two generations of continuous use, the credenza had begun to show its age; the protective oil coating had mostly worn away, water stains patterned the top and the legs on the right side were loose. In other words: this credenza was a perfect candidate for a Revitaliste makeover.
Repair and reinforce legs
Improve door glide function
Fill open grain of wood
Refinish with color lacquer
While the shape and scale of this credenza were perfect, the color wasn’t. In the adjoining dining room were a teak Hans Wegner dining table and chairs, thus maxing out my teak threshold for this area of the house. The piece was the perfect vehicle to bring a fun pop of color into the room. We decided to lacquer the credenza body and door faces in a rich yellow semi-gloss and stain the subtle beveled edges, legs and drawer pulls a dark walnut color for contrast.
Because the piece would be used as a bar during cocktail and dinner parties, I wanted to add extra interest to the interior of the credenza. We decided to line the shelves with a whimsical fabric from Katie Ridder called “Attendants,” and the drawers with a white hair-on cowhide.
This yellow lacquered credenza has become one of my favorite pieces in my home. While the fun, brightly colored lacquer makes it stand out in the space immediately, its the details that we added that make it extra special. It brings a flicker of joy to my heart each time I open the and see that fabric!
Things to keep in mind when restoring vintage furniture
The foundation is key to a good lacquering: A lacquer finish is only as good as its substrate (technical term for base surface). If a furniture piece has an uneven or textured surface, lacquer will highlight those imperfections. Expert sanding (and wood grain filling when necessary) are critical to a professional looking finish.
Don’t give up on weary legs! Broken or wobbly legs are easy fixes for skilled refinishers.
Beautiful on the inside, too: Lining the interior of case pieces is an easy way to add extra personality. Drawers and shelves can be lined with fabric or wallpaper, or lacquered a different color.
Too much brown furniture in your home? Let Revitaliste help you find the perfect finish for your piece–colored lacquering, ebonizing, cerusing, bleaching–there are so many ways to customize your wood furniture!