The obvious answer: you haul it home, of course.
If you know me, you know I have a thing for anything with drawers and cubbies - the more, the better. (And a rather serious vintage mixing bowl fetish....but that's another story.) I've traveled hither and yon across the mid-state for card catalogs, usually just the 18-drawer stacking cabinets. hefty, but manageable, especially if you remove the drawers.
Last week, a grand-daddy of a cabinet came my way, and to be honest, I'm still not sure how two of us actually loaded it in my Armada. Adrenaline, baby.
Now the question is, what to do with this 400-pound beast?
Behold: a 60-drawer all-wood Brodart card catalog. Best guess, circa 1960s or 1970-something. Possibly out of a parochial school library, based on the faded paper file labels. Somewhere along the line, a handyman/plumber owned it, and left at least 20 pounds of random hardware in ALL.THE.DRAWERS.
Before taking it in the house, we removed the drawers (and most of the random bits-and-pieces), along with the bulky bottom platform that raised the files and pull-out trays up to a comfortable standing level for adult users. That lightens the load considerably but even without the drawers (2 pounds each), the case on this thing weighs every bit of 250-300 pounds. Thank goodness for furniture dollies and a strong husband.
As you can see in the second picture, my handy hubs added four poplar tapered bun feet to make it a little easier to move around, and then I replaced the drawers - without referring to the original picture. So for now they're in numerical order, with apologies to Dewey and my librarian daughter-in-law. And yes, one drawer is MIA at the moment, but I'm reasonably confident it is going to turn up soon. If not, eBay, here we come.
Next up: sweet dreams of all things I could do to freshen up my new-found treasure into a Belle. I am dreading the thought of sanding 60 drawer fronts (plus the case of the cabinet) down to bare wood. In the balance, there are good reasons to bite the bullet and sand, sand, sand:
Here are six inspirational photos I'm mulling over:
1. Add some soft hints of color with a wash, as Second Chance Charms did.
2. A bleached wood finish, like My Vintage Porch (that's actually a dresser-turned-faux-card-catalog, BTW.)
3. A rich oak patina like Liz Marie Galvan's antique cabinet.
4. A weathered-gray-wood treatment on the drawer fronts with a gray case, like Anderson + Grant.
5. A softer white oak with dark blue/gray or black case like Little House of Four.
6. A chippy patina on the case, with multiple wood tones on the drawer fronts (Apologies to the original source - I tracked this photo as far back as a now-defunct website.)
Feel free to weigh in with your vote for what you'd do to refinish my beast. This is going to be a fun winter project that will likely span several weeks (and at least a couple more blog posts before we cross the finish line with an "after" photo, complete with staging.)
WHO WRITES THIS STUFF?
I'm Terry Lea, owner of Re-Invintage Home, a vintage home goods shop just south of Nashville in Murfreesboro, TN. A lifelong passion for vintage picking led me to open a shop with my picking pal, Sherri in 2017. Come see us!