Monday, January 7, 2013

The Story of an Antique

Here's the story of a lovely table 
Who had its lovely spool legs chopped off 
Into an ottoman we were able
To make this antique piece worth cough nothing cough 

And that's my feeble attempt at rhyming. Forgive me, friends, and Mrs. Brady for ruining that classic tune. But please continue reading for a pretty good history lesson.

So about a month ago I received what I thought was a spam comment on one of my most popular blog posts, our ottoman makeover. Here's what the comment said:

I have the same table, and it has quite a history. Please see this link:

Half expecting to land on some enter-your-credit-card-number-here site, I clicked the link they left and couldn't believe my eyes. I called Mitch at work right away. And for those who never saw what my ottoman looked like before, here's a pic.

And here's a picture of the table this commenter has.

Can you believe that? Here's a side-by-side for ya.


So what I found out about my table (that I got at Goodwill for $10) is that it's an antique spool leg table built ca. 1850s and it's an American walnut table with the original brass bail pull. Those are spool legs on trumpet feet. And guess how much it's worth in its original finish? Just take a wild guess. How does six hundred bananas sound? Yeah. Can you believe that? Now granted, if this puppy had been in its original condition, I would have never sawn off its legs and turned it into an ottoman. I promise. You should know by now how I feel about painting old pieces of furniture. It's a sin, pretty much, in my book. But since this piece had already been slapped with paint when I bought it, I didn't think twice about mutilating it into what I needed. (ugh...that sounds horrible...poor table!) I'm still amazed and wish I could find out more about this little beauty's pre-ottoman days. There's just one question I have--WHAT THE HECK WERE YOU THINKING, person who painted this table?!?

There are two lessons we can all learn from this: 
#1. Goodwill rocks
#2. Don't even think about painting a beautifully stained OLD piece of furniture

We do still love our little ottoman and love it even more knowing some of its history. But man, I kinda feel bad that I ruined an antique:( What do you think? Would you have seen past the flaws of the console table I picked up, stripped it of its bad paint job, and restored it into the classic icon of American history it once was? Or would you have taken a saw to the legs and made it into a piece of furniture you love and use everyday? Or maybe you would have left it there at GW for someone else to deal with?? Thoughts (and consoling remarks), please.


  1. I don't remember seeing the before picture and I, for one, am in complete awe that you thought to make an ottoman out of that piece! You rock! You didn't ruin an antique - you invented an amazing piece!

    1. Aww...thank, Colleen! Way to make me feel like a million bucks:)

  2. I don't mind the paint on the table but you would have killed yourself if you had stripped it. I think you would still be working on it!

  3. You created something that you can use, I think that's a win-win. Pffft, who cares what it could have been when you have marvellous now! :)

  4. And that folks, is the rest of the story. And the person who painted it was probably someone like me, someone who had no clue what a piece of furniture was worth.

  5. The reality is that many Antique Icons on the market today are bought by collectors: collectors who have a deep appreciation for such icons and often own many beautiful Antique auction icon.

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