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.







The Awesome Alta Vista Garage Sale

Hey Readers,

Just a reminder that every week on Thursday nights I post upcoming antique and vintage events on the right side of my blog main page. Before last weekend (June 7-8) I was advertising an upcoming Alta Vista area sale. I totally checked it out!

I was barely even a minute into the neighbourhood of Alta Vista this past Saturday when I started to become distracted by all the neon signs, arrows and cars (bad drivers lol) as far as the eye could see. Apparently everyone was putting stuff out on their lawn and it was epic.

IMG_2221We parked the car and travelled by foot. The first sale I went to I got this classy yet country serving tray. I was surprised when the guy said it was $1, I didn’t even bargain this time around. This tray boasts some hen imagery and is signed by H.Arndt. After doing some research I was left a bit empty handed but think this image may have been created by an artist by the name of Hermina Arndt. I have come across plates with the same image on it selling between $20-$30. I am curious how much my new sturdy tray is worth.

After a few turns we found ourselves in the mansion-filled few blocks and unfortunately came out of those parts with notta. Back to the main drag we went.

There was this adorable 1.5 storey home and a whole ton of antiques out front. To my dismay the man had jacked up his prices to market value because he knew what all his little treasures were worth. It was okay as I did a bit of bargaining and ended up with these horse book ends for $8. These vintage carved stone agate onyx horse head book ends can sell online for between $30-$85 depending on their condition and if they are a matching set or not.IMG_2222

Next door also proved to be profitable as I scored this $5 table (seen a little further down in post)  which I have future plans of refinishing. The lady said it had been in her family forever.

IMG_2220A few hours later I returned home and went for a walk to my local book store where I found this awesome book titled, Woodworker’s Handbook by Roger W. Cliffe.

The book covers everything including hand tool woodworking, wood finishing and power tools. I will let you know what new things I learn as I get through the chapters.

All this to say that this Alta Vista Garage Sale sure was awesome.

Come back daily to check out my finds. discover the history behind the pieces and keep up -to-date about what’s happening in the world of all things vintage and antique.IMG_2224

Searching is half the fun: life is much more manageable when thought of as a scavenger hunt as opposed to a surprise party.

-Jimmy Buffet

Things to do in Ottawa on May 24: Neighbourhood Sales Whipped into a frenzy (includes tips on how to prepare for the sales of the year)

Sometimes I enjoy seeing fancy knick-knacks, go figure!

Wowza. A suprisingly amazing, oh my gosh, out of the ordinary expression. Source Urban Dictionary

Two giant sales, one day, what is a girl to do? Attempt to visit both!

This Saturday I am going to be in a frenzy and hopefully so will you. Ottawa area shoppers get your car starter ready, bike basket intact and granny cart by your side.

What’s on the agenda you ask? My game plan…

My first stop will be just a short walk away from my dwelling over to the Glebe. The referrals are spreading as I type and the word is definitely out. The Great Glebe Garage Sale has become a landmark Ottawa May event. The homes are old and the objects within them are even older. I will be ready [with bells on] to go at 7:00am.

This event promises to be a treasure trove!

If the day is still young I will hop in the car and make my way to Fallingbrook. I used to live in Falling and Ridgemount so shopping in this part of town is no surprise to me. The sales will be plentiful and the people, sweet as always.

The community of Fallingbrook will be hosting its annual garage sale on Saturday May 24, all day long. Make your way through the streets and do not forget to bring your eco-friendly bag. I always forget and end up in an awkward juggling act by the third house visit.

So here is the deal I am moving in a month and a half (my place officially sold) and still need to find a new home to buy. Nothing says I can’t imagine it and get some sick new furnishings in the meantime. I will report back on the things I see, the people I meet and the items I buy this Saturday.

Before going to promising sales I do 3 (well it’s sort of 5) things:


1. Brush up on my values and identification. I bought a book last week titled, Warman’s Bottles Field Guide 3rd Edition for $6 at a local book store called Black Squirrel Books. 

The plan is to read all about bottles over the next few days so my eyes are sharp to spot the top bottles.

2. Go online and search my local classified resource to see what homes I should visit at the neighbourhood sale first. Note: All of the best places put there own ads up with photos. I have two three hot spots in mind for this weekend already.

3. Gas up, clean the car and run to the bank and grab some moola the night before. Nice gesture: Break bills into small change if you have the time…it is courteous. Sellers don’t like when they get a $20 bill for a $1 object. Holding small change also helps you to bargain more – the more cash you show – the more they know you have.

Friday is upon us and Saturday is only a few sleeps away.



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.