b“Your home should be a story of who you are, and be a collection of what you love.” – Nate Berkus (Interior Designer)
We have a number of lovely pieces of furniture in our home. Many are vintage and all help tell the story of who we are, where we have been, or who we are connected to. A number of years ago we acquired a gigantic oak cabinet that adds to that story.
A church nearby leaned house so we passed by to see if there was anything we could use. My husband, who can never pass up a good rummage expedition, spotted a large wooden and rather dilapidated oak cabinet in the basement.
It needed serious work, but the price was right and that afternoon, it ended up the the front room of Masion Steinbuchel. We had no definite plans for it and there were limited places it would actually fit, even in our generously spaced home. However, storage is at a premium in our 1888 historic home, so it sat while we contemplated its uses.
She was very very sad and neglected and needed a professional restoration:
- The top needed repair and refinishing
- The entire structure sagged in the middle so many of the drawers did not work
- Labels unceremoniously stuck to the fronts of many of the drawers marred the finish
- And it was sooooo BIG! We had no place to properly work on it inside.
- I was also concerned about the cost of having the work done
So it sat.
Time To Act
A few months ago, I decided it was time to deal with this beast, so using a referral from a friend I contacted a restorer. We communicated by text and photos. I explained the work expected. The:
- top would need to be removed, straightened, repaired, and the refinished
- frame would need to be straightened and support legs put in the middle to keep it from sagging again.
- drawers would need to be refinished and,
- Oh yes, one of the drawers was missing its bottom!
We agreed on a price and set a date for pick up. When he arrived his eyes got big. Even though I had sent the dimensions with photos, seeing it in person, was a bit of a shock. I was concerned we would lose the deal.
Also, we made other arrangements to have it transported to his shop. With the use of a friend’s trailer and some sturdy backs, it was moved. I could tell the restorer was excited about the project. He sent us regular photographic updates and finished in record time. It was time to go see what he had done.
- she sat tall and straight on all eight legs. Four legs that match perfectly sit in the center for support.
- the top – beautifully repaired and refinished
- the rest of the cabinet’s finish refreshed.
- All the labels – gone
Done just right, with the original patina remaining but with a fresh glow.
We prevailed upon our friend once again for transport. You can see a video of its arrival in our home here.
The cabinet now sits in our kleinstube, the back parlor. It fits just right on the west wall. We plan to use it to organize and store our family history. Archival sleeves and acid-free paper on hand to ensure proper preservation of precious papers and photographs.
The Connection To Maison Steinbuchel
In addition to this being a lovely, useful piece of furniture, there is a connection to our historic home. Bertha Stackman Steinbuchel Goulder was a member of the church it came out of. We have a dear friend and neighbor who was a longtime member of that church and knew Bertha personally. It’s another piece of the puzzle we are assembling to tell the story of our home.
So what is it? A file cabinet? An apothecary cabinet? Frankly, we don’t know. We just know this circa 1920s oak cabinet fits in our home.