Bureau, Bureau on the Wall

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Now, I have never really said this before, but it is very hard for me to paint wooden furniture at times.  I grew up in an absolutely gorgeous log home (a dream home, actually) set in a state park, and I was taught to appreciate wood in its natural state. Once when I was painting a truly gorgeous piece for myself that wasn’t completely made out of wood, I had to keep telling myself, “It’s okay, it’s got some pressed board” over and over again.  Ha! I will say the “pain” has worn off to an extent, but when you see this next piece, you will understand why I can’t bear to paint everything I get. Enter in this gorgeous bureau…

Vintage Bureau Makeover | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com Isn’t that inlaid mahogany woodwork just stunning?
Front Face of Vintage Bureau | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com
The original owner would never believe this is the same piece he sold me. Take a look at the before…
Damaged Vintage Bureau Top | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com
Obviously this piece has been forgotten in some basement with broken pulls, damage to the top, and missing veneer.
Before of Vintage Bureau| Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com
When I had agreed to purchase this piece having not seen it in person, I was pleasantly surprised to find this desk – hence the bureau name.  The cubbies are so fun!
Inside of Bureau| Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com
Cue the Mighty Mouse theme song… “Here I come to save the day!” (I know that dates me, but I don’t care. Everything gets better with age. tsk.)

I hit this bad boy with my favorite sander like none other, and it totally paid off.

Bureau Door Before After Comparison | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com
 Just swoon-worthy…sigh…
Sanded Down Vintage Bureau | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com
My original intent was to stain the top and faces of the drawers and doors, but the top has some peeling veneer at the one edge and was too thin to be saved.
Working on Vintage Bureau | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com
I even tried some linseed oil to see how it wood draw it out and it was just too much.  Although it didn’t work for the top, it really emphasized the woodwork on the doors and drawers.
Applying Linseed Oil to Vintage Bureau | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com
Vintage Bureau Veneer Damage | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com
Not only did the linseed oil draw out the imperfection, but it just didn’t jive with the faces being made of a different wood.
Bureau Ready for Paint | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com
So…I painted the top. I am so glad I did because it really set off that mahogany and now your eye is drawn to the faces instead.
 
Take note of the smaller drawers pictured above.  Like I mentioned earlier, two of the pulls were missing or broken and I didn’t want to replace the entire set because these are the real deal – nice, heavy brass swag pulls that are irreplaceable.
 
It took me a while to wrap my brain around what to do with those small drawers.  I searched over 4,000 listings on different sites trying to find a similar style or something that would coordinate. Nothing appealed to me.
 
Then bingo, it came to me what to do (gave myself a head-smack for not thinking of it sooner). I found a couple of antique pulls with back-plates that were the same length as the width of the hole spacing. Score! To fill the holes, I cut some wooden dowel plugs and glued them in, making sure to drill the pull hole before nailing the back-plate on. I’ve done this method before on other pieces, but those were painted.
Cut Dowel Pieces for Bureau| Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com
Antique Drawer Pull Back Plate| Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com
Simple enough, right?
Vintage Bureau Before and After| Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com
Refinished Vintage Bureau Open| Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com
Side of Vintage Bureau Open | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com
Love it?  It has sold from my shop, but there’s always more on the way! *Just a little note about my shop: We do ship and typically are able to give you a rate close to half of what it costs to freight furniture elsewhere.  Just send a message if you’re interested.
Pin and share the makeover love! ♥
Vintage Bureau Gets Makeover | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces com
 Now I can at least say I’m a partial wood purist.  Being strictly one or the other is just too boring.  Which are you, painter or purist?
Stay tuned to my next project by signing up for my newsletter either in the side bar or at the bottom of this post. Let’s get our DIY on!

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More makeover goodness like my bureau:

An Antique Vanity Transformation by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces
20 Different Table Transformations | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

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28 Comments

  • Namely Original

    Wow you really brought if back to life! I love that you kept some of the wood showing,and I’m curious on how you do shipping on your etsy shop.

    July 23, 2014 at 1:54 pm Reply
  • MrsMajor Hoff

    Gorgeous! Well done!

    July 23, 2014 at 3:34 pm Reply
  • Bliss

    Larissa, this is BEAUTIFUL!!!!

    July 23, 2014 at 3:46 pm Reply
  • Acorn to Oak

    Wow! I think that may be the most incredible furniture transformation I’ve ever seen! I can’t believe what was hiding in the before and what you were able to find and do with it. It’s beautiful!

    July 24, 2014 at 2:17 am Reply
  • Pamela

    Larissa it turned out beyond amazing!!

    July 24, 2014 at 3:43 pm Reply
  • suzieQ

    My late husband would not let me paint wood. We had some pieces that were his mom’s that I really didn’t care for but if I could have painted them, I would have loved them. I understand the conflict, since sometimes I will see posts of pieces that make me cringe when they are painted. You did a beautiful job and made a very smart compormise.

    July 24, 2014 at 7:11 pm Reply
  • Darrielle Tennenbaum

    Gorgeous! what a find and transformation!

    July 25, 2014 at 3:06 pm Reply
  • Christy K

    That is stunning!

    July 25, 2014 at 6:13 pm Reply
  • Beth Hockenberry

    Just stunning! You did an amazing job! I am also curious about how you ship through etsy. I also repurpose lost and forgotten furniture. I’m just getting started in my business and I’m discouraged by the cost of shipping furniture. Any advice you can give me will be greatly appreciated.

    July 27, 2014 at 8:25 pm Reply
  • Eliesa Prettelt

    Seriously, I’ve seen a million furniture makeovers, but this one really is stunning. Those drawer front are gorgeous. Great job!

    July 28, 2014 at 3:05 pm Reply
  • Rapunzel

    Just discovered this project from your 2014 post–I must have missed it this summer! Did you stain at all or just used the linseed oil and that’s how it came out?

    December 29, 2014 at 8:57 pm Reply
  • Becky

    Beautiful Larissa! And if you share on Hometalk, the readers won’t freak out on you ;)!

    June 14, 2015 at 12:44 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Hahaha…that is exactly why I stated that, Becky! Thank you. 🙂

      June 14, 2015 at 9:53 pm Reply
  • Tammy

    I am speechless! This is stunning.

    June 14, 2015 at 1:47 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you, Tammy! 😀

      June 14, 2015 at 9:53 pm Reply
  • Mary-In the boondocks

    Be still my heart!!

    October 3, 2015 at 2:56 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Crazy what was hiding there, huh Mary? I’m so glad I got the chance to give it new life.

      October 3, 2015 at 9:39 pm Reply
  • Jill Flory

    Larissa this is just gorgeous! I love what you did with it so much! Great job!

    October 3, 2015 at 3:24 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      I had a notion to keep it, but just no room in my house (that’s a really good thing). 😀 Thanks for stopping by, Jill!

      October 3, 2015 at 9:40 pm Reply
  • Mary Beth|Cupcakes and Crinoline

    Absolutely beautiful, Larissa!

    October 3, 2015 at 4:00 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you, Mary Beth!

      October 3, 2015 at 9:40 pm Reply
  • Diane Lavoie

    Absolutely magnificent job! Good creative thinking, truly a “Prodigal” piece makeover.

    November 16, 2015 at 8:13 am Reply
    • Larissa

      That’s wonderful to hear, Diane. Thank you!

      November 16, 2015 at 10:03 am Reply
  • Cynthia F

    I think it’s great that you were able to save some of it, while painting out the rest. Great idea and thanks for sharing your inspiration on such a lovely piece.

    November 16, 2015 at 10:37 am Reply
    • Larissa

      It was my pleasure to help this hidden beauty shine again. Thank you!

      November 17, 2015 at 9:23 pm Reply
  • chris

    I am still kicking myself for not buying this when I saw it on craigslist! I love your work

    January 29, 2016 at 5:48 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      I am still kicking myself for not having the room to keep it! hahaha…thank you, Chris. 😉

      January 31, 2016 at 6:31 am Reply
  • Anjel

    Hello. Did you do anything with the mirror? I bought a vintage vanity and the mirror has dark spots and streaks that can’t seem to go away with anything I’ve been using. Any help would be appreciated! And well done on this transformation!

    May 28, 2017 at 12:21 am Reply
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