I was hoofing off to the sci fi bookstore on Valencia yesterday and my path wandered by Community Thrift, my favorite junk store in captivity. Naturally, I had to pop in for just a quick scan, even though I wasn’t expecting anything. Noodling through the furniture (which lately has been reduced to nothing more than Ikea’s trash heap,) I ran across a charming, small mahogany china cabinet.
Until the 1960s, dining rooms had traditionally been fitted out with furniture inspired by early 19th century Georgian designers. The American version was referred to as Duncan Phyfe. Even though I have a passion for mid-century modern and sleek Asian design, when it comes to dining furniture, I have the same tastes as my sainted grandmother. So when I saw this little baby, I was charmed.
I was even more charmed when I pulled open a discreetly hidden drawer in the bottom and found it stuffed full of silver. Of course, I shoved the drawer shut, rushed up to counter and bought the cabinet. At home, an hour’s worth of scouring it with furniture cleaner turned it into the perfect addition to our salon. It’s probably built in the 1940s, sturdy and in good shape, except for one corner I need to re-finish.
the cabinet, in situ
The silver turned out to be a real mixed bag.
Some of it appears to have been boosted from a mid-level hotel and then some of it (mostly odd little spoons and forks for a variety of very specific tasks) is really good stuff. Also, there’s a set that amazingly is the same as R Man’s mother’s. Obviously it was meant to be.
Also, I cleaned it with a technique I’d heard about for years, but had never tried. Line the sink with aluminum foil, pour in really hot water, add salt and baking soda and drop the silver in. Boom, some chemical reaction makes all the tarnish vanish. It works, honest. Come to mrpeenee for al your household tips. And beefcake.