If you’ve been here before, then you might be familiar with “the closet” that started it all for me. I won’t repeat it here but provide a little bit of context. You can click the link here, to read the full story and see a video clip. When putting an addition on my home back in 2015/16, I knew I was going to have to build out the closet space. I explored closet organization companies, but I didn’t like the plastic-type finishing on the cabinet components. I asked if my carpenters already working on the house could just do it…too expensive. Simultaneously I had been shopping for other furniture on Chairish. Eventually it dawned on me to purchase some vintage pieces for the build out. I thought I was genius!
I eventually landed on two Henredon china cabinets. The lower sections were drawers, perfect for typical dresser storage and the uppers were all glass/mirrors and with lighting, great for dust-free shoes, jewelry, bags, etc. The whole project took me about 6 months, but it was so worth it in the end. When I sold the house, the new owners didn’t want the vintage “built-ins” so I took them back. They are now in my showroom and part of my office area. I’m thrilled I got to keep them! Of course now, I’m going to change the color. I can’t help myself!
That project got me hooked on the design challenge these large pieces present. They are often dark solid wood with beautiful brass hardware. I see them listed for sale and then sit for months without selling. I think part of it is the weight of them, the dark toned wood and maybe they are too big of a DIY project. Who knows! Eventually they are heavily discounted and I can take them off their hands. So now I'm always on the hunt for more pieces like these….but now, I’ve got a new idea!
In January, I obtained an entire collection of Henredon dining and bedroom pieces from an estate in Salishan on the Oregon Coast. It included two tall bookcases. These presented me with the perfect backdrop to test my new idea. Why not combine my two loves: vintage and art! What would it look like if I used a single piece of art to fill the large blank surface behind the shelves instead of wallpaper?
These Henredon pieces were perfect for the concept! The lines are clean, the proportions are modern, these pieces are substantial and in great condition. Their large expansive backs provide a great blank canvas for a piece of art. I immediately knew who I would approach for this collaboration!
Catherine Freshley is a local Portland artist, with a large loyal following across the country. Her art is large, bold, bright and often reflects the gorgeous landscapes of Oregon and her other travel destinations. We are both drawn to color, so it was a great match! I approached Catherine in the spring about a collaboration and she was immediately on board.
Together we iterated on various color and painting combinations. Catherine provided a variety of paintings that would have the right scale and resolution for a print that large.
I first did digital mock-ups, but eventually took images of three different paintings and blew them up at scale before landing on “the one!”
I had our CGS team lacquer both bookcases in different colors to fully explore options. We did one in a deep and bright navy and the other in white. Together we both agreed, October Over Chehalem was the right painting, and white would ensure the art was the focal point.
So with decisions made, Catherine directed how the art should be cropped, what print substrate would be best, and provided suggestions for mounting. A 48h x 30w canvas print was ordered from her local printer, and we continued on with our lacquer process.
During the final stretch we cleaned and polished the original hardware and collectively decided the old wood shelves had to be replaced with glass. The final touches always matter.
We are both thrilled with how it turned out! Catherine came to our workshop last week to see it in person. We shot a little interview and other photo footage to capture how the process went. We’ll share more of that content soon.
Lastly, Catherine personally signed the print in the back of the piece with her signature silver pen. It’s now complete and ready to be reclaimed by a new owner.
Art and vintage furniture brought to you by Catherine + Casey! Please be sure to check out Catherine’s gorgeous originals on her website.
Here is the link to the Freshley Henredon Bookcase, posted and ready to ship!
We can’t wait to see who embraces our collaboration and adopts this collective work of art for their home! Don't hesitate to reach out with questions!