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  • Chestnut Design

From a Worn Antique to a Chic Vanity


A client who chose Chestnut Grove to commission her tailored new-build kitchen, and two-storey rotunda home library came to Principal Designer, Francesco with a 1930s sideboard that she had inherited from her grandmother. The client envisioned the antique as an elegant vanity for her new powder room.

Although the table appeared worn with a faded finish, it still had life in it. When it arrived at the shop for the initial assessment the unit was deemed not structurally strong enough to carry the weight of the stone countertop needed to complete the vanity transformation. This meant that Francesco and his team of artisans would have to add structure to create a strong base for the stone top.

The original legs of the table were too tall, creating excessive height for a powder room vanity. For this antique to become a proper working vanity it had to be lowered in height. Francesco achieved this detail by purchasing cabriole style legs made of maple wood. The legs were slightly shorter than the ideal height needed for the vanity to be at a comfortable level. Francesco then stretched the height by adding two inches to the legs, which included hand sculpting the wood to match the existing contours of the purchased legs. This meticulous process makes for a seamless finished product that places the vanity at the best height for the client’s powder room.

The homeowner’s appreciation for French chic style presented the designers with an opportunity to enhance the piece with appliques for the centre panels of each door, enriching the timeless design of the vanity. The designers chose stunning clear crystal hardware with a satin nickel base to decorate the drawer fronts and cabinet doors. For the colour of the cabinet, a soft custom grey was chosen that pulls tones from the white marble mosaic pattern powder room floor. The paint is applied to both the interior and exterior of the vanity providing a solid colour throughout.

To keep with the antique heritage of the piece, a gray glaze is applied by hand to the exterior of the vanity, reviving the architectural character, and complementing the dark grey veining in the flooring. To top off the vanity the clients choose a sleek Cambria stone called, Menai from the Jewel Collection, with a decorative basin edge. This stone top adds drama and contrast with its black tones and chic flecks of silver that sparkle, connecting with the black accents found throughout the room from the classic furniture to the accessories.

This process proves true that an antique can breathe new life, enhancing the décor of the room, while maintaining the original character and preserving the vast memories this sideboard catered during many years of family meals and special occasions is what makes it an heirloom.



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