Thursday, July 19, 2012

Throw it on the Burn Pile!

My grandma called me the other day.  "Your mom said that you have been buying old furniture and fixing it up.  I have a little old table you can have, but if you don't want it, just throw it on the burn pile," she said.

I had no idea what to expect but of course told her that I would gladly take it off her hands.  When she pulled this sweet little piece out of her truck, my heart sank.  Throw it on the burn pile?  If I saw this little cabinet on a burn pile, I would crawl through soot and debris, risk spiders in my hair and scraped up knees and elbows to rescue it!

The story is, at 5 years old, my grandma was friends with an elderly neighbor man who was selling the contents of his house and moving to Pennsylvania.  She walked into his home and announced that she wanted to purchase his antique secretary (keep in mind, she was 5 years old at the time!)  When he asked her what she would do with it, she said she'd hoped to have it for her doll collection.  He then asked what she would be willing to pay, to which she replied, "five dollars."  He sold her the secretary and threw in this little cabinet, just because he was so fond of her.  She has treasured the beautiful Victorian secretary and it has been a prominent fixture in her home for as long as I remember, but she said she had never cared much for the cabinet and that her mother used it in her room for many years but most recently it had been tucked away in the storage garage.

My best guess and first thought was that this little cabinet was intended to be a child's washstand.  I am curious to know if anyone else has come across a piece like this and can offer any more insight.

I just love the beautiful, intricate hardware!


Chances are, this sweet little cabinet will soon be receiving the royal Annie Sloan treatment.  One things for sure, it won't be going anywhere near a burn pile!  I am thinking of using it in my new studio space, maybe to store rubber stamps or small boxes of embellishments.


Thank you so much for your sweet visit!  I hope you are having a lovely week! 

Best Wishes and Blessings,

Sharing this post with these fun link parties:
Vintage Inspiration Friday at Common Ground
Home Sweet Home at The Charm of Home
Inspiration Friday at The Pickett Fence
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Home
Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home
Furniture Feature Friday at Miss Mustard Seed
Potpourri Friday at 2805


  1. I'm with you - no burn pile for this one! The hardware is beautiful and it has good bones.

  2. Oh my goodness! I can certainly understand why you were so anxious to call this your own. It's an amazing piece with the sweetest story behind it. Your pictures are lovely!

  3. Oh I am so glad you rescued this sweet piece from the burn pile! Isn't it amazing how some see trash and another wonderful treasure!

  4. I know you will make it pretty! I have a similar cabinet waiting for me to tackle, and assumed it was once a washstand, too.

  5. It's a beauty! Will be waiting to see what you do with it!

  6. Your piece looks like an old commode. The cupboard door would conceal a large ironstone pot into which one would relieve oneself in the night in the days before indoor plumbing. Barbara in Mn

  7. That is just so gorgeous, and what a great story behind it. Cant wait to see what you end up doing with it.

  8. I love when this happens...glad that you have vision for this. Maybe it was for a chamber pot in its earlier life.

  9. My aunt had something like this when I was growing up and did use it to hid a "slop-jar". This was emptied in the "outhouse" in the morning, washed out and replaced. Your example is beautful. Regena in TN.

  10. What a fabulous gift. I will look forward to seeing what you do with it.

  11. Yep, the cupboard held the chamber pot. Nice piece and can be current for today. Just try to forget its original use!

  12. Oh my goodness... the burn pile?! Noooo! It's so sweet!


  13. Hi Amanda,
    What a sweet little piece of furniture your grandma gave you! I love how you shared the history of it with us. The hardware is SO lovely on it. I really adore how you chose to photograph the piece. I am smitten with old baby shoes. Those go perfectly with it!

    Thank you very much for stopping by and sharing a bit of your beautiful painting secrets with me. Very nice of you to do that!

    Happy Friday to you!!


  14. Hi Amanda,
    That is the sweetest story ever. Don't you just love those random surprises like that. : ) That is such a cute commode cabinet; my great-grandmother had one also. I love the simplicity of the lines and then the pop of ornate hardware.
    I'd love if you find the time to add to Frugal Treasures party going on through Sunday!

  15. What a treasure! I would keep it too, such a great story to go with it. I'm anxious to see what you do with it.

  16. Oh don't even get me started on people who shall remain nameless (grandmother) throwing out or burning perfectly good furniture and keepsakes. My grandmother was burning old postcards and my aunty stepped in and saved them over 20 years ago now. They are actually love letters on postcards between my great grandparents..... So glad you little piece was saved. Do you have any idea of it's age and what timber it is? You don't think it's an early american colonial piece do you? If so could be worth quite a lot but not if painted...just suggesting.

  17. O my word as Shirley Temple would say..It's adorably sweet and you made it look even sweeter with the cute little shoes. So nice your grandmother thought of you with Mom's help..I wouldn't change a thing of it..I think it would ruin the Character of it. It does look like child's washstand Lovely lovely piece...I'm your newest follower, from @ Mz. Witherspoon's place Happy weekend with love Janice, come by sometimes and join me...

  18. Grandma's and thier stories are wonderful! Enjoy!

  19. THATS A KEEPER!!! From one sweetie to another~~~~Roxie

  20. Amanda,
    What a sweet story! Something I would never think to see in the headlines at your blog is "throw it on the burn pile." Lol! Thank you for joining me at Home Sweet Home!

  21. What a fabulous piece, certainly not due for the burn pile! Love the way you styled it! Thanks for sharing to Potpourri Friday!

  22. I agree 100%, it is totally worthy of climbing into a burn pile (a small low burning one).

  23. How adorable, and such a necessary thing in the 19th century and beginning of 20th century, it's a chamber pot cabinet. What a lovely keepsake from your Grandmother, looking forward to seeing what you will do with it. It has gorgeous hardware!!!


Thank you so much for your sweet notes! I love hearing from you!