Monday, August 10, 2015

They Just Don't Make Furniture Like This Anymore!

This dresser has a story. A story about quality construction in furniture they just don't seem to make anymore, and a lovely little town in North Carolina that I'd love to visit one day!

It had a very dated yellow finish. And it was dirty and grimy, with chips in the paint.

 And somewhere along the line someone had lost some of the hardware pieces and "matched" (and that's putting it loosely) the original hardware.

After I spent DAYS prepping this piece and sanding and cleaning away decades of dirt and grime, I realized what a solid, well-built piece of furniture it was. Gorgeous construction, perfect dove-tail joints, drawers that worked perfectly, no wobbles and 100% solid wood. I was kind of falling in love with this piece!

I noticed a faint furniture mark on one of the drawers that I couldn't quite make out. So I took a picture and magnified it to figure out what company manufactured it.

The bottom line says, "Mount Airy, North Carolina". It was hard to tell what the top line said, but it looked like it started with the word, "Mount".

So I did a little detective work. And to take a break from the stifling heat of the garage - gotta love hot summer days! Turns out Mount Airy, North Carolina is a quaint little town nestled among the hills of North Carolina that at one time had a bustling furniture industry. I'm pretty sure that this came from the Mount Airy Furniture Company and was so pleased that my clients had picked out such a lovely piece from true artisans! Sadly, the company is now defunct. A fire completely destroyed the factory in 1997.

Mount Airy Furniture CompanySource: North Carolina Museum

But wait, there's more! Mount Airy's other claim to fame is that the town is loosely based on Mayberry R.F.D. from the Andy Griffith Show.

Mount Airy, North Carolina

This was Mr. Griffith's hometown and he is lovingly remembered here with Opie outside the Andy Griffith Museum.


So with my curiosity satisfied, it was back to the furniture makeover! I primed the dresser, and painted it in a custom white color mix of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. I mixed Pure White and Old White, in equal parts. Sometimes Pure White is just too white, and Old White is too yellow. This seemed like a perfect compromise of the two colors!

My clients picked out new hardware from Hobby Lobby. The existing holes had to be filled in and sanded smooth. And then new holes for the hardware drilled (thanks, Dad!). The new hardware really gives it an updated, modern look!

My clients requested a worn look, so I distressed it slightly in areas where it would have been naturally worn over time. The entire piece was sealed with General Finishes High Performance Top Coat in Satin.

So that's the story of a makeover of a dresser that had seen better days and the lovely little town it came from. I'd love to visit this area one day and explore!  I'm so happy this gorgeous dresser went to a wonderful couple who are thrilled to be this generation's owners!

Photo courtesy of owners

Thanks for stopping by and enduring my little history lesson!

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  1. I loved your little history lesson, Beth! I think it is always nice to know where a piece of history comes from when we choose to use it in our homes. Knowing the story of it somehow, to me, gives it more value. And you came upon a great little piece of history for this lovely piece. You did a wonderful job of its restoration, too!

    1. Thanks so much for the compliment, Naomi! I get so excited when I get to work on furniture that is really well made - and has an interesting history!

  2. Amazing job Beth and love the history!!

  3. I love with when a piece of furniture comes with some history and a lesson in that history. Enjoyed reading your post and yes you are so right, they do not make them like that anymore. Stunning!