MINE: Vintage Rosewood Credenza

It started off all casual-like and innocent. I was sitting on my sofa in Brooklyn, checking my email. I noticed one from a reader——we’ll call her Priscilla, because her name is Priscilla——informing me of a new thrift store opening near Kingston. I sent a quick response saying that I’d driven by it and was excited for it to open, and thanked her for making sure I knew about it. My readers are the best readers because they understand that a new thrift store is a big important event in my world and take the time to email me about it.

*hugs*

But then she messaged me back saying that they’d actually already had a soft opening and were quietly selling furniture already, basically rewarding the hardcore thrifters who will even try to go to a thrift store that doesn’t look open yet. “I’ll go check it out!” I told her.

“They have a nice rosewood credenza right now,” she told me.

And that’s when things went from friendly and casual to gravely serious and intense. Nice. Rosewood. Credenza. If I smoked crack, these words would be a lot like someone saying “hey there, want some crack?” I said something about how I hoped it would still be there when I got back the next day, but Priscilla somehow knew what I really wanted, which was for her to send me pictures of Nice Rosewood Credenza and also measurements and also offer to buy it and let me pay her back later. I didn’t ask for any of this because I have a little bit of shame left in me, but I was very complicit in it when she kindly offered all of these things. She and I don’t know each other, mind you, but there’s nothing like a little long-distance thrifty furniture shopping to turn complete strangers into old friends.

Lest you’ve never had the pleasure, let me tell you: rolling into a thrift store parking lot in a borrowed truck to pick up old furniture purchased on your behalf by a stranger? Totally new levels of fancy. This day also happened to be my birthday. Then the cashier told me I had nice teeth. Then I met another reader while waiting on line (hi, Kirsten!). Maybe hauling furniture around is not everyone’s idea of a fabulous way to spend their birthday, but I’m not one of those people. There’s pretty much nothing else I’d rather be doing, particularly when nice rosewood credenzas are involved.

credenza3

Oh heyyyyyy girl! Right now it’s in that front parlor room (which I’m thinking should be a library) because this is the only wall long enough to hold it! I’d like to put it in the dining room eventually, but that will involve removing the door to a non-original closet and patching in the wall and baseboard, which is a pretty large project that I don’t want to get into quite yet. I really want to focus on finishing the entryway before I start tearing apart more rooms in the house (I think I’d literally lose my mind if things were more chaotic than they already are), but that’s the long-term plan for this thing. It’ll be nice to have a serving surface in the dining room, and it’ll provide easy access to all sorts of handy things. And by “things,” I really just mean booze.

credenza2

I dig this thing. It’s six feet long and a little taller than countertop height. I like the weird proportions and the wood grain, and I really love all the storage. This is basically our first and only piece of storage furniture, so after months of stuffing things into closets and keeping them organized in piles on the floor, we finally have a place to store things in a more civilized and adult manner. It could use a little oil on the feet, but otherwise it’s in really great condition. I know maybe this whole scene looks very dated and kind of nuts (and it doesn’t help that I really need a new camera)——what with the wallpaper and the chipping paint on the moldings and the messed up floors and the old electrical outlets and light switches——but SOMEDAY. Someday the house will be fresh and clean and not covered in insane dizzying patterns and this credenza will look really good.

I think. I hope. We’ll find out together!


96 Comments

  1. Wow. That is gorgeous. Good teamwork!

  2. It actually looks fantastic with that wallpaper!

  3. LOVE!!!

  4. That is SO NICE of Priscilla. It’s almost like the olden days of the internet. *sniff*

  5. Oh, that is seriously pretty.

    (Why do I look at that and think it’s just asking to be a bar? With a really well-stocked liquor collection? ’cause yeah, that would rock, too!)

  6. Sweet!!!!!!!

  7. And Happy Birthday!!!!!!

  8. I want a Priscilla.

  9. sweet find!! and seriously, that’s one awesome blog reader.

  10. Your credenza is very, very beautiful! Love it! Happy Birthday to you! Kisses!

  11. “It could use a little oil on the feet” …”It puts the lotion in the basket…” Sorry. My mind just went there.

    Also: Oh my goodness it’s beautiful.

  12. The more I see of the non-weather damaged wallpaper, the more I kind of dig it. You really need to find a way to keep some of it. Maybe find a way to cut out a reasonable square-ish sized portion of it and frame that shit, because mementos and such?

    Also Priscilla, how lucky.

    • I know the walls look fun in pictures, but they’re not really so good in real life! This room is actually just painted from what I can tell, but there’s a lot of cracking in the wall plaster, peeling paint, not to mention probably 40+ years of age and fading and dirt on the paint…it’s just not a good look! I think maybe preserving it in pictures is enough for me, honestly! :)

  13. Restoring my faith in humanity, one post at a time. That’s a beautiful piece, too. And Happy Birthday!

  14. “And by “things,” I really just mean booze.”

    Gorgeous. And what the fuck is wrong with dated and kind of nuts? I love dated and kind of nuts! Also: your blog is my crack. Post, damn you, post even more! I’d offer you BJs for blog posts, but I suppose Max would object. Can I write this here? Now I feel very ashamed.

    See??? Your blog is EXACTLY like crack!

    • Oh, Florian, this is a safe place. Of course you can write about BJs! I’ll try to post more, regardless of sexual favors!

  15. When you reach that someday, you’ll probably be itching to start on a new mess. :)

    BTW – Happy Birthday

  16. This is the best story ever. Thrifting really does bring people together.

  17. what a beautiful thing! And Happy Birthday!

  18. What a beaut!!!!! Happy Birthday!

  19. Bonus that she has a groovy name like Priscilla. We all need a Priscilla every once in awhile.

  20. Best birthday present EVER. In my book, it’s totally okay to buy pretty things to beautify the chaos around it. Keeps me sane. A little.

  21. I agree, nothing better than finding an awesome piece of furniture and hauling it home on your birthday. Nothing.Better. And she is gorgeous, right where she sits. Enjoy the moment. Ahhhh

  22. It’s gorgeous!

  23. Lovely! But eat your heart out, Daniel, we have a dining room set (table, 6 chairs, and 6′ china cabinet) of solid rosewood. Bought from an importer, made in China, probably out of endangered trees :-(

  24. I could fill a house with mid-century credenzas and chairs. Too bad we need other furniture (like beds and tables). Pfft!

  25. What goes around, comes around. Don’t be so surprised that people are willing to go the extra mile for you. Most of us would do the same thing for you, especially since you saved the dogs. Enjoy.

  26. Of course, you had to have it right now. You should start stocking the liquor in it immediately. After all, nothing is going to make you forget the less-than-desirable condition of your house faster than booze! With enough alcohol you will wander the house lovingly touching the peeling paint and declaring the wallpaper beautiful. That’s a lot easier than remodeling.

    P.S. I love that credenza and Priscilla!

    • Ha! I didn’t take a picture of the inside because it’s already filled with liquor! I’m not really a big drinker at all, but my parents are moving and I inherited like 3 BOXES of weird old booze, including all this stuff I really don’t drink…rum, cognac, lots of weird liquers…I look like an alcoholic, basically. I guess I’ll have to get really good at making cocktails to use it up!

      • use it for cooking!

      • Weird old booze is fun!! You certainly have the creativity to do some awesome things with it. At the very least, you and Max will have a blast coming up with all kinds of original recipes. Right now I’m having some Scottish tea (with whisky and milk), dang that income tax return deadline that’s looming. And if nobody you know appreciates a plain cognac, just pop some in a caffe latte. Oh dear, now I’m sounding like a lush (Hic!).

  27. love!!!!

  28. It already looks good! And Happy (late) Birthday.

  29. Happy Birthday! Priscilla rocks! The credenza is excellent. Time to get another dog.

    • Ha! Bite your tongue! No more dogs!

      (for now…)

      • NO DANIEL! I want you to go out and save a CAT (or two)! That will make your little family complete. I just know it. Do it. Please. You won’t regret it. Honest.

  30. I have a very similar one and it’s full of booze. It’s a great booze holder! She’s a beaut and Priscilla makes me remember there are good people still left in the world. Props to you Priscilla! Happy belated birthday!

  31. Wow, that is gorgeous!! I would love to: A) Have a rosewood credenza! B) Have the space for it! And yay for inherited booze ;)

  32. I have credenza envy ;)

  33. Ohhh very very nice and I can totally see that baby holding pretty plates, serving pieces or bottles of booze in your dining room! Or all of the above, go wild while you’re still in your twenties! Speaking of sending emails, couldn’t find max’s but if you’ll be kind enough to pass this along to him when you get the chance (buffalo related – don’t know if he’s seen it.)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBsi5FGbY2Y&sns=em

    Hope the rest of your birthday was amazing too!

    • Ha! So I clicked on that video and made it about 4 seconds in before max yelled from the couch “ARE YOU WATCHING THE VIDEO??” Small world——Tim Tielman (the guy commenting on the city both in the voiceover at the beginning and the one on screen) is Max’s dad! So funny. Thank you!

  34. Beautiful! It is a gorgeous piece. I use Howard wood products on all my wood furniture. The stuff is miraculous. A friend who restores antique furniture told me about it and I use it all the time now.

  35. Apart from the insanely amusing story of how the credenza and you found each other: I already fancy it in its current surroundings – looks like right out of the pages of my handbook of good housekeeping from the fifties!
    Also: happy birthday!

  36. Daniel-I’m so happy that you’re happy. It was my pleasure.

    PS-The inside of the credenza is even more beautiful than the outside.

    • Thank you again and again, Priscilla! I took pictures of the inside (well, the part with the drawers and fancy mirror and stuff) but they came out blurry! Argh! Some other time. :)

      • I have to say, this is definately the positive side of the internet, but I can’t help thinking: so American. Not sure if the oh-so-cooool Europeans would have been so quick to be as generous as Priscilla. It’s a great story, one that proves there are people who are simply generous (above all, with their thinking) and offer their time and help unconditionally.

        You obviously had a nice birthday Daniel! I’m glad! You should always do something that makes you feel really good on your birthday. Perhaps you are a Libra, like me? My best wishes to you!

  37. Ooh, another interesting wallpaper print! …um… if it still exists on the wall, could you take a picture of it closer up and straight on like you did for the “Removing Wallpaper Forever!” post? I think it would make a pretty fabric print. :) (You know, in your ~copious~ amounts of spare time, in between demolishing and buying things and attacking wallpaper and spackling and stuff. lol. ._. )

    • Ha, all my free time! I’ve considered doing something like that. I actually like this pattern (MUCH more than the hallway one) and it’s in better condition, so easier to get a good photo of the repeat. It might make a fun fabric…maybe just in different colors :)

      • Yeah, I -knew- you were hiding free time in there somewhere! Hahah. But yes — definitely in different colors! :D

  38. That credenza is huge (and beautiful)!!

  39. Wow – YHL posted about a baby on the way, and I love all of you amazing DIY bloggers, but I think… I might… be more excited about the credenza.

    • HAHAHAHAHA. It’s JUST like a baby! Except it weighs 300 pounds and is 50 years old and made of wood. But basically it’s a baby.

      (that’s great for John & Sherry——I hadn’t heard yet! yay babies!)

  40. I know I’m not the only advocate of the wallpaper but it just looks SO good with that sideboard! What about painting everything white and leaving a weird rectangle of wallpaper unpainted behind the sideboard? I think that would look slightly creepy/awesome!
    Give in! Save some wallpaper!

  41. Happy Birthday!

    What a beautiful piece and a great way to spend a birthday!
    The last birthday I had ended in the emergency room, with no beautiful furniture!

    That gold light switch thing is pretty awesome.

  42. Happy birthday, sir! What a great gift to get yourself :)

  43. Hi there!

    Love the credenza, it’s beautiful.

    I thought I am the only weirdo that has “hauling gorgeous thrifted furniture” at the top of the treat-myself list for my birthday. OK, maybe a part of a very small minority.
    In fact, when my Dad asked me a couple birthdays ago “So what are you doing for your special day?” I answered “My favorite thing! Fixing up old furniture and hauling it upstairs”. It was an awesome mid-century bedroom, we love to this day.

    It makes me feel warm and fuzzy that a decorating DIY celebrity shares my quirks :).

  44. I love the credenza – a beautiful and elegant mid-century piece. Congrats to Priscilla for good bargain spotting and a reno Oscar to her for going above and beyond normal bounds of blog bonhomie in getting it for you. A birthday miracle – many happy returns!

  45. From henceforth she shall be titled “Priscilla – the enabler”. Love her work.

  46. Happy Belated Rosewood Credenza Day!

  47. Nice one Pricilla! Anyone else got any great ideas to get more posts out of Daniel? That worked a treat.
    Happy Birthday Daniel!

  48. Happy Belated Birthday! Wonderful birthday gift.

  49. It’s a testament to the way you write and share on here that strangers such as Priscilla would go to lengths like she did. Your voice is witty and candid and sincere, just like the kind of person most people want in their lives. Go, you! And rock on Priscilla, for being such a badass. Also, that credenza is the most mackenest. And, happy birthday!!!!

  50. happy belated birth- and rosewood credenza day!
    I almost expelled my coffee at the comment about inherited booze. I know that story. Ask me about what to do with green Chartreuse, Kümmel, and Goldschlager! I am working my way through them all….(hello, confused liver!)

    • I’ll see you and raise you a Sabra liqueur from Israel (approx. 30 years old) and a Riga Black Balsam (not a vinegar). Haven’t dared break the seal on those puppies yet.

  51. You should name the credenza Priscilla.

  52. Honey, it already looks fabulous.

  53. oooohhh! where in kingston is this magical thrift shop? must pop in next time i’m in town!

    • It’s a Habitat for Humanity ReStore! Like any other secondhand source, it’s full of some good stuff and plenty of terrible stuff, so no guarantees!

  54. Nice!! What a fun find (and generous reader)! I hope I don’t ruin it for you, but I can’t help but notice the wood grain on the doors has a bit of a “Georgia O’Keefe” vibe going on if you get my drift!

  55. OMG- new thrift store in Kingston. SHARE THE LOVE! Where? WHERE?!

  56. I just wanted to comment on the wall paper! I know a lot of people love it and feel you should keep it or frame it!…. But I think you shouldn’t feel guilty or bad for not liking it! You don’t have to justify why you don’t want it! its simply not you… It was added by someone else who enjoyed it and loved it and lived with it … and now its your turn to enjoy living here and put your own memories on those walls …. you are bringing life back to that house… Its your house now… and it should now represent you… not previous owners!!!

    • Thank you! I agree. These walls were painted this way in probably the 1970s, I assume by somebody who really cared about this house and wanted to make it updated and beautiful. I respect that, and that’s where I think its beauty comes from, not the way it actually looks (which, IRL…not nice.). I don’t think there’s anything wrong with respecting that legacy while also undoing it. I hope this house stands for another 150 years (or more!) and that whoever lives here next will feel like they can express themselves in their home, too. There are precious things about this house that I wouldn’t dare change, but 40 year old wallpaper? Not on that list!

  57. This post brought me out of lurker status and into full on creep mode on your blog. I got sucked in when a random person on reddit in a sub devoted to Thrift Store Scores linked this blog. I got really sucked in because you did a freelance project in my city: Portland Oregon. Then I got sucked in because you’re you; The “Make It Work, People” Tim Gunn of home bloggers. (Please find a way to blog that you’re secretly Tim Gunn) There’s my creep journey through your blog life, which is only slightly above pressing your underthings against my face in secret on the stalker scale, please don’t tell anyone my feels because this is between us.

    Anyhow if you have a price, and your friendship can be bought, and you return to Portland ever for any old reason I totally have nothing to offer you. In all seriousness this blog post answers my most pressing question about yourself:

    “What is Daniel Kanter’s sign?”

    Happy birthday from [Not Actually] a stalker.

  58. the adventures of priscilla queen of the birthday credenza!

    • OK, this made me laugh out loud. It’s not easy being a Priscilla. It’s either Elvis or that movie.

  59. That… but… I’ve been looking for that for two years. I might have cried a little. Ok. I did. Don’t judge me. I’m hormonal.
    Living in the Midwest sucks at times. Aside from the tornado shenanigans we simply don’t have 50 year old rosewood credenza’s in our thrift stores. Also, half the people don’t know what ac
    credenza is.
    Would it be weird to relocate simply so I have better thrift store options?
    Congrats on this awesome find and yay for Priscilla!

  60. Happy late birthday and you and Priscilla have very good taste!

  61. A belated Happy Birthday to you!
    What a wonderful story, and you know such things happen to you because you deserve them!
    I found your blog via another one and gobbled it up reading every little bit within a weekend. I love this place! So inspiring and witty and fabulous. And whenever I look around in my apartment, I think, WWDKD? ;)
    If ever you happen to come to Vienna (Austria), I’d be glad to show you around – and make sure you won’t leave without lots of impressions and some thrifty vintage souvenirs.
    Thank you for writing this blog!

  62. Great Fun – Best Post – in canada we call what priscilla did a hat trick and daniel – you brought home the h̶o̶l̶y̶ ̶g̶r̶a̶i̶l̶ S̶t̶a̶n̶l̶e̶y̶ ̶ cup that everyone gets to drink champagne from. Much cause for ongoing celebrations forever and ever. And Happy B’lated!

  63. I think you should rent out your house for fashion shoots, as long as you have the ever popular peeling vintage wallpaper, scratched baseboards and floors and so on. Just imagine a model, dressed in weird and expensive clothes, perched on your nice rosewood credenza!
    The money would just be pouring in. :D

    And yay for readers like Priscilla! If I were you, I’d name the credenza Priscilla in her honour. Yes, I name cherished pieces of furniture. And plants. I may be weird.

    • HAHAHA, you’re so right! Why hasn’t anyone approached me about my high fashion decaying home?? Clearly I am playing this all wrong.

  64. First comment on your blog, have been poking my head in for ages, but this story so heartwarmed me and put a giant grin on my face that I wanted to say hello, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I love the way you tell your stories… at some point, I will probably fall down the rabbit hole and try to read every past post of yours, but for now, I very much look forward to new posts as they show up! Can’t wait to see your amazing home transformed!

  65. Holy crap, I came over here to ask you a dog collar question, and now all I can think is CREDENZA! So good. You seriously have the best luck. And the best readers, I guess. =)

    So, dog collar. How are the ones you got from Etsy holding up? I favorited that shop when you first posted about them and I think I finally ready to pull the trigger on one. Do you have to do anything to them to keep them looking nice, like treat them with any kind of oil? Are they cracking at all? Tell me all about your collars! And if you want to post adorable puppy pictures on Instagram that happen to showcase their beautiful accessories, who am I to stop you? =)

    • I LOVE our dog collars! They’ve held up super well——they developed a great patina after a couple of months (just absorbing the dogs’ oils, I guess), and I love the way they look. I haven’t done anything to them at all. I think they’ll last the dogs a very, very long time!

      (I post pics of the dogs constantly! It’s pretty much all I post ever! haha!)

  66. SUCH a fabulous find! I’m so happy for you. (And only a tiny bit envious.) With all the hard work you are doing, you deserve some major thrift/credenza/awesome-reader mojo. And belated happy birthday to you!

  67. chipping paint on the moldings? messed up floors? old electrical outlets and light switches? I hadn’t noticed them (I had seen the wallpaper, which I kind of like, actually)! I was too busy DROOLING over your gorgeous vintage rosewood credenza! Talk about a wonderful birthday gift!

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