The Barnum – SOLD!!!

Greetings!  Happy Saturday.  Last Saturday was spent shopping and picking up some great new pieces of antique furniture to add to our inventory hoard.  I went a bit overboard and ended up buying too many dressers…there were just so many good deals!  If you are following RPhD here on the blog and not over on our facebook page you have probably not seen most of the new additions to our inventory.  Over on the facebook page you will find a album of our current inventory that is available for customization.  If you live near Denver and appreciate our work it is definitely worth checking out our inventory.

Now, on to the latest Renewal.  This antique desk found its way to our workshop last summer and other than missing some hardware and flaking varnish, it was actually in pretty decent shape.  Because of that, it was hard for me to figure out which direction I wanted to go with it.  Generally, I start each renewal with a plan.  It’s funny.  It’s funny because I can’t remember a single time that the plan came to fruition from start to end without the creative process intervening and seriously altering things.

The Barnum was no different.  When I pulled the desk out of the hoard and started cleaning and prepping it I had this vision of warm black with layered teal and green accents and polished brass hardware.  It was going to be a stunning, masculine piece that provided a rich warmth to it’s surrounding environment.  And then the orbital sander happened.

With every piece of furniture I work on, I make certain to strip and sand through any finish that may be hiding beautiful woodwork beneath.  This desk was solid wood and had a medium walnut hued stain all over.  I’ve worked with enough wood that I know certain stains can actually hide beautiful grain rather than accent it.  And so it was with the Barnum.  As I removed some of the stain I began to see part of an amazingly gorgeous veneer hidden beneath.  I immediately stopped sanding (sanding can scratch and ruin a lot of veneers) and switched over to my bottle of citristrip.  Stripping is extremely messy, but as you’ll see in the pictures of this desk, it is definitely worthwhile.

Once I had this beautiful veneer exposed, I knew it was time to reevaluate the initial plan.  The first thing on the list was researching the veneer.  Consulting some of my wood-working friends, Google, and the always handy wood identification catalog my grandfather gave me, I came to the best educated guess I could make: santos rosewood.  When wet it turned a deep orange-reddish color and was stunningly beautiful.  Definitely not something I was going to paint over, nor pair with black.

After some contemplation, I settled on this fun and cheerful design:



In the center of the ring just like a circus.

I want to keep it.  Really, I do.  I just can’t keep everything…and if I did keep every piece that I love…well, I would have a house full of furniture and I would sell nothing.  I truly love every single Renewal that I create.  A mentor of mine, someone who has been in the business for a looooong time, once told me something that I’m sure is pretty common advice: “Design spaces and items that YOU love.  When you do, you put love and energy into your work and THAT is what people fall in love with, the energy and passion you’ve embedded in it.  And if they don’t like it, screw ’em, you get to keep it for yourself!”

Because I put so much love into this desk, I know someone is going to come along and fall in love with it, too.

The Barnum is painted in Old Fashion Milk Paint “Federal Blue.”  The red detailing was ‘finger-painted’ on with latex paint.  The distressing and chipping is all the natural process of the drying milk paint.  In order to prevent more chipping paint, I have sealed the entire desk with 2 coats of hand-rubbed, satin finish polyurethane.  The original rosewood veneer that lay hidden for decades under it’s previous bland stain was left natural and its color deepened under the amber tones of the poly.

The dimensions are:

42 inches wide by 21.5 inches deep by 30 inches high.

Please email Pelham @ in order to set up an appointment to check this beauty out in person or with any questions you may have.  Thanks!

Sharing at:

Elizabeth and Co.

Furniture Feature Fridays


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