1870's Cabinet Saved

THIS has history. Hubby and I rescued this out of his grandma's basement. She said that it belonged to her husband's grandparents. That would be my hubby's grandfather's grandfather. She said that they were married in 1883 and were given used furniture to furnish their first home. This had a desk under it at one time, but when the family moved 'in-town' from the farm, they put this (with the desk under it) in the dirt floor garage and it slowly rotted away. Hubby's grandmother rescued the top and put it in her basement, thinking that she would someday refinish it. The bottom left glass is the only original glass that was saved. Hubby said that he remembers as a boy shooting pool in the basement and trying to hit the glass with a ball! Boys!!  On with the story. We asked if we could have this piece to restore in some way and she was all for that. When hubby and I went to carry it out, the bottom had rotted from her wet basement. Sounds all gross but I knew it could be neat and loved the family history. Hubby's grandmother dated this piece to 1870 and she knows her antiques. It is made from walnut on the sides, what looks like wood house siding on the back placed vertically and ruff pine shelves.

It had two layers of contact paper on the inside and the last layer was newspaper. I saved some of it, typed it into Google and it pulled up the date of Dec. 1910 from the newspaper. I cleaned it all up, passed it on to the hubby to construct a new bottom. He then passed it back to me for painting. It was just too ruff to refinish. So I painted it white and put a stain on that to age it.  We saved, cleaned and reused all the original hardware. I decoupaged the ruff shelves using a reproduction 1926 Sears and Roebuck catalog.  We replaced the three panes of glass that were broken and put it on a dresser in our guest bedroom and I just put fun stuff in it.

In the Timewell Museum area, without legs.
UNTIL we decided that it was needed in our basement where we have the Timewell, IL history museum. This is the tiny town where my hubby grew up and where this cabinet began it's life.  So down it went to house all the small Timewell advertising and memorabilia. But we thought it looked a little odd sitting on the floor.  So out to the odds-and-ends pile to see what we could do about that. We found four legs from an old stool. They were beefy and could work, so I painted them to match the cabinet and hubby attached them. Here is what it looks like now and grandma couldn't be more pleased. Enjoy
In the Timewell museum area with legs.


  1. Well, how cool is that?? You and your hubby did a fabulous job restoring this. I love the history behind it.

  2. I just love how this turned out! What a great memory to share. Just imagine what they would think of us now with their old things. My MIL doesn't like antiques because she grew up with all that old "junk" and doesn't want it! I just can't imagine that but to each their own. Love the legs on it!

  3. Very pretty! You went through alot to make this piece new again!

  4. Awesome! Love what you did with this. =)

  5. There is something so wonderful about a piece of furniture with history like this. I love that despite it being in rough shape you were able to fix it up. Another beautiful story!


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