Contemplating My Commode Chest

IMG_2349Thinking Thursday Presents,

I am unsure about my very recent purchase…

So I set off into the sunset a few hours ago to pick-up a vintage dresser tonight that I found for sale online. I wasn’t sure about it from the get-go however I was on the hunt this time for storage rather than historic looks.

After a 25 minute drive in the country I arrived at my pick-up destination. I didn’t notice this until it was in the truck but it was a 523 Made in Canada Commode Chest Rosewood Pro.221. It had a stamp stating this on the back. I paid $85 for it which was not a steal of deal but warranted because it sure is solid.IMG_2347

I had a short chat with my neighbour who helped me lug it into the garage (its temporary home) when I got home and we laughed about my cupboard on legs which may of one day (prior to today) contained a washbasin [for washing hands] and/or chamber pot [also know as a piss pot].

I am usually a stickler for detail however two guys helped me bring it out of the house and since the lady used in as a dresser I didn’t think anything of it -appearance wise. Anyways no excuses…there is a lesson here -that being – so called dressers can have a secret -that once upon a time they were used for commode-like purposes.

Commode chests are usually more ornate and fancy looking however it appears newer age ones may be more subdued. They generally have cabriole legs and were quite prevalent in the 17th century.

In the 18th century the wording commode started being used to describe a cupboard with a chamber pot. Antique commodes are definitely selling these days and can feature serpentine mahogany and walnut. Marble tops were a big thing for a while too. Some of the older commodes look more like a chest full of drawers -contrary to the way mine is with the side cubby with shelving.

IMG_2348I sure got my lesson of the day! Look over things with a fine tooth comb.

P.S I am still going to use it as a dresser anyways…nothing a few Lysol wipes can’t fix.







Find of the Week: Antique Desk Chair on the side of the road

IMG_2308Hiya Readers,

It’s Sunday and time to share this weeks…

Find of the Week

I found this solid wood chair on the side of the road in Navan, Ontario yesterday evening. We drove by it and quickly did a turn-around to check it out. The chair appears to date back from the turn of the 19th-20th Century.

It has a formal look and some character for sure. It would fit well in a lawyer/legal office or court room. I checked out the value of this sort of chair online and they retail between $150-295 if they are in good condition.

As with most furniture, it’s value is also based on where it came from (who owned it previously) and who made it. In some instances you will find a marking or something that can assist you with figuring out the history behind it (the chair) on the bottom of the chair.

A few details or items to consider:

  • Solid and heavy: This kind of chair is not light and there are a ton of moving/working parts below in some of these designs. Some of these chairs swivel and/or tilt. Newer models may have wheels on the legs.
  • Condition: If they are in good shape they shouldn’t have any cracking. The wood should be smooth. Normal fading of the finishing/wood is normal.
  • Comfort: The chair is surprisingly comfy. I thought the shape of the seat was pretty cool.

If you find one these chairs on the side of the road – PICK IT UP.



Tip of the Week: Uses for Old Furniture & More

ID-100225004Nobody said recycling couldn’t be creative!

I am happy to report I finally found my country homestead and will be moving in on July 14th.

Time to get my decorating hat on and bust out the old items that will lead a new life in my new home. I have come across some mega inspiring tips over the years and some crafty uses for old furniture and various objects- check em out.

  1. Take a vintage Rake and hang it the wall -it will make an amazing necklace holder. You may wish to saw off some of the long handle for a different look.
  2. Use a Large Ladder or a Mini Ladder as a shelf. One can be a floor shelf (the larger one) and the other a wall shelf. I am going to paint mine vibrant colours or give them a shabby chic “distressed” look. I have also seen someone chain a full length rustic ladder to the ceiling and hang pots & pans from it.
  3. Suitcases, Trunks and File Cabinets can be dressed up and used as occasional/side tables. Or you can open up the suitcase and turn it into a chair by adding some cushy stuff to the inside and some sturdy legs. I have heard of the more solid (outer shell) suitcases being turned into medicine cabinets.
  4. A Mattress Spring posted on the wall (I like portrait direction over landscape) can make an awesome message board for all your memories, to-do’s, mail and more.
  5. Saw-Horses can act as desk legs and a wood palette as a desk top. Or Chair Backs can also double as super ornate table legs.
  6. Got some old school Soda Crates? Paint them fun colours and attach them to the wall in a funky pattern. Use them for shoes, storage or anything that sits around your front door.
  7. Decoupage your favourite Dresser that may have some deeper wear and tear with some interesting comic strips, aged music sheets or any other paper that strikes your fancy. I saw this beautiful shaped dressed the other day that had some bad dents and sharp cut-outs in it -it was selling for cheap and this would of made the perfect camouflage.
  8. Wooden Doors can be turned into a delightful day bed. If you have tons of wooden doors consider using them as a bed head-board or a snazzy room divider. Meanwhile Shutters can make funky back drops (wall hangings) for photos (frames are attached to shutter) with a little bit of work. Some folk turn shutters into organization wall hangings as well.
  9. I have seen antique Bottles and Jars wired to make exceptional lights. Or if that doesn’t turn your crank try turning a candy machine into a lamp. P.S A Chandelier that you don’t feel like wiring can be used as an outdoor bird feeder with a few small tweets -I mean tweaks.
  10. This one time I saw someone fasten old Hardcover Books to the wall (with L shaped brackets) and use them as shelves. The only thing that topped that was when I saw a piano turned into a stunning water Fountain. Next time you see a free piano give it another look.

For those that have not been following this blog (or don’t know me) the past few months have been a rollercoaster to say the least. After many months selling my condo, one deal that fell through on inspection, an up in the air deal that never went through and many rural inspections – it is all over.

Come back real soon for my series – which will essentially be me taking a blank canvas and decorating it in all that is vintage and antique. If your a dude or diva on a dime or just are plain into recycling you won’t want to miss it.

Want to see photos of the above mentioned creative pieces? I will be making most of the items above so stay tuned.







Furniture styles over the years Part 1

2Hey Readers,

It’s almost the weekend and that means you’re getting closer to wandering through a sale or showroom just to find that wicked piece of furniture.

I appreciate the craftsmanship of older furniture, I just do. It is long lasting, solid and there is something so natural about it.

While buying brand new can be somewhat fulfilling, I much prefer searching through a pile of someone else’s junk and giving something a new life in my home. Since my home is petit I often buy stuff for other peoples bigger homes.

By purchasing old works of art you are likely not just getting a better deal but you are recycling, thus being eco-friendly which solidifies why this is the delightful way to go.

Over the years furniture has changed just like our fashions have changed. Next time you go furniture hunting try to classify the furniture you see – its rather fun.

Even if you don’t see these antique styles of furniture everyday it is still empowering to know the progression of furniture over the years. Here are some furniture design characteristics and elements (in keyword format) from the earlier years.

Jacobean Style 1603-1688: Straight lines, ornate carvings, darker wood finishes, arcades (succession of arches), pilasters (flat columns decorating furniture), medieval look, English style, classy shapes and solid construction.

Early American Style 1640-1700: England influences, very basic design, functional, large in size, made of local woods and have minor decorative aspects.

William & Mary Style 1689-1725: Oriental influences, heavy, trumpet legs (end ball piece), prominent carvings, caned chair seats and strong Dutch characteristics.

Colonial Style 1700-1780: Conservative and encompasses different period furniture styles such as Jacobean, Early American, Queen Anne and Chippendale.

Queen Anne Style 1702-1755: Elegant, tall looks, simple curved lines, cabriole leg, delicate, refined, sophisticated, walnut wood and bat wing shaped drawer pulls.

Georgian Style 1714-1770: Pediment at the top, ornate carvings, gilding, claw feet, cabriole legs, mahogany wood and a luxurious/royal feel.

Pennsylvania Dutch Style 1720-1830: American style, decorative hand painted motifs, distinct, German influences and large in size.

Chippendale Style 1750-1790 (not to be confused with the touring male dance group): Straight or classic curved lines, cabriole leg, ornate natural images, (example birds), distinct knobs and mahogany wood.

Federal Style 1780-1820: Circular top, geometric shapes, square tapered legs, very ornate, elegant, maple wood and cherry wood.

American Empire Style 1800-1840: Decorative, visual, elaborate, heavy fabrics, luxury, gold filigree and mahogany wood. *Some linkages to Federal Style.

Shaker Style 1820-1860: Simplistic, functional, clean lines, woven chair seats and no carvings or moldings.

Victorian Style 1837-1910: Heavily carved pieces, dark finishes, gothic style and loads of embellishments.

Edwardian Style 1901-1910: Smaller, mahogany wood, relaxed and an eclectic mix of styles.

Art Nouveau Style 1880-1910: Dynamic, asymmetric shapes, patterns or motifs of natural forms like trees, curvy waves, leaves and branches.

Part 2 will capture some more recent furniture styles including  Art Deco, Scandinavian Contemporary Style and Mid Century Modernism. While Part 3 of this series will be all about architects & designers that made a name for themselves and classified their own furniture styles.

Part 4 and 5 will dive deeper into the furniture styles and the history behind each time period. I will be sure to include images where possible.

Come back soon for more on popular furniture styles and what make each of them unique.

*Please note the time periods (dates) noted above are represented as accurately as possible. They do not only indicate when specific ruler (of a set period) passed away but may be dated long after to incorporate when the furniture style was prevalent until.   


dont miss it! furniture styles over the years

furniture styles

Thursday and Friday of this week

I will be talking all about furniture styles. My favourite time of year is upon us…

-Tis Spring Cleaning Season-

There is nothing better than a multitude of furniture sales but what is even better is when you know exactly what style of furniture you are looking at. Art Deco, Victorian, Art Nouveau or maybe you just feasted your eye on some good old Chippendale.

Visit me right here at VintageAntiqueOttawa and I promise,

You Won’t Miss a Beat in the World of Vintage & Antique.