This piece was such a fun transformation! When I bought this I was convinced it had some historical significance.
In fact I drove it straight to O’Galerie, a reputable auction house in Portland. They looked at it and said these pieces are somewhat common and not more valuable than what I paid it. So from that point on, I was relieved of any guilt for giving it a makeover! But still I had to dig further.
There is a visible label on the back that says Waymarks’ Depository, Tunbridge Wells with a signature. From what I discovered, Waymarks’ was either a bank or a library in Tunbridge Wells in Kent, England. Today it is called Royal Tunbridge Wells when it was declared a borough in 1909 by King Edward VII. I presume that this piece pre-dates that event.
In original condition, the height of the piece and curved area for a chair was both oddly proportioned and just not modern for today’s requirements. So keeping it a desk was out of the question. The hardware, of course, would be staying. So to modernize just the form, we added new legs and a new inset top in white oak. See here. The original inset was a patchwork of wood and the entire piece had been heavily waxed, therefore embedded with years of grime and dirt.
We stripped the body and stained the entire piece black. The mahogany body vs. the new oak does take the stain differently, but I think that adds to its one-of-a-kind charm. Finally a top coat in a matte velvety finish, ready to be reclaimed and loved for many more years to come!
Take a gander at Wells final finished glory, here!