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Bureau, Bureau on the Wall

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 | Isn’t that inlaid mahogany woodwork just stunning?
Front Face of Vintage Bureau | Prodigal Pieces |
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 |
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 |
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 |
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 |
 Just swoon-worthy…sigh…
Sanded Down Vintage Bureau | Prodigal Pieces |
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 |
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 |
Vintage Bureau Veneer Damage | Prodigal Pieces |
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 |
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 |
Antique Drawer Pull Back Plate| Prodigal Pieces |
Simple enough, right?
Vintage Bureau Before and After| Prodigal Pieces |
Refinished Vintage Bureau Open| Prodigal Pieces |
Side of Vintage Bureau Open | Prodigal Pieces |
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 #prodigalpieces
20 Different Table Transformations | Prodigal Pieces |

28 replies on “Bureau, Bureau on the Wall”

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!

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.

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.

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.

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!

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