Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Old Red

We spent last weekend in Baltimore with our kids and finally got a chance to visit a couple of the salvage yards that are so plentiful in Baltimore.

First, we went to Second Chance, which is absolutely huge and has everything from furniture, paintings, and rugs to hardware, lighting, doors, windows, cabinets, appliances, and church pews. Even the walls are decorated with vintage materials like tin ceiling tiles, fence pickets, and shutters:

Then we moved on to Housewerks, which is smaller but has lots of the rusty, "sweaty" stuff Doug loves, like gears and wheels and industrial carts. This is the yard outside, while the building is small but jammed with more inside:

We noticed a stairway going down but weren't sure whether it was open to customers so Ashleigh asked. The guy said, "Sure, it's a mess, but you can go down."

He was right about the mess:

But there was buried treasure down there. At the top right of the photo above, you can see the side of a tall, narrow, white cabinet. Ashleigh and I both spotted the front at the same time:

I was in love. I've been looking for something more vintage for our kitchen for awhile to replace a newer hutch in our kitchen that we bought when we first moved into our house. I didn't hate it, but it wasn't old....

Alex worked a deal with the guy by "bundling" the cabinet with some marble tiles that he wanted. We came back on Sunday morning to pick it up and wrestled it into our Honda CR-V. I didn't take a picture, but our poor Lab, Jodie, was pretty squished on the hour-long ride home!

The cabinet was sturdy and in good shape but in need of some cleaning and some paint. 

Although the door handles and drawer pulls were legitimately red (Bakelite), what we thought were original red hinges turned out to be embossed metal that had been painted red. We removed the paint by simmering the hardware in water mixed with a few tablespoons of dish soap for about an hour. They went from this:

to this:

We bought some paint to match our kitchen cabinets, and by Monday night, the piece was painted and ready to be installed. But first, I changed my mind about where it would go, so some more furniture rearranging was in order (in addition to moving a bookcase from our extra bedroom to the basement and moving the new kitchen hutch--minus its doors--to the bedroom, where it's now serving as a bookcase).

Here is our freshly painted vintage cabinet in its new home, filled with vintage Pyrex and other kitchen items:

I am so happy to have rescued this little cabinet from the Housewerks basement and brought it back to life for our 1930s kitchen.

And one of the best things about this purchase is that it will always bring back memories of a really fun weekend in Baltimore with the kids.

Finally, a special thanks to Doug, not only for the photos, but also for helping me wrestle furniture and doing "just one more thing" on Monday so that I could get the entire project finished.


  1. That cabinet is so stinkin' cute! It looks perfect in your kitchen. Your day is our favorite kind. Nothing we like better than to spend an afternoon poking around and looking at old things.

    1. Thanks, Rita, I keep thinking of excuses to walk through the kitchen just so I can admire it! And we had so much fun--that is our idea of a perfect Saturday too!

  2. Thanks--it's quickly becoming my favorite piece in the house!