Not long ago I restored and re designed an old cabinet that had belonged to my client’s grandmother. It is a typical china cabinet, a dinning room piece with drawers on the bottom and glass doors above. To make it more functional and improve its proportiones we created a middle section with a marble top.
The original piece was too short and had too much ornament, including an ondulating crown molding that we replaced by a straight one. We reinforced the legs, did new backs and removed a lot of the decorative molding. The cabinet wasn’t of particularly great craftmanship but the strong memories made it worth keeping. The job was to make it more functional and refresh its look.
Finally we finished the cabinet with a warm, earthy patina. We sanded down the old cherry finish and did a three step glazed process: a beige colored base with a darker glaze on top and clear satin lacquer as a final protective coat.
The brass handles and knobs were stripped down, re oxidized bringing the dark brown patina back to life. In the right side of the lower cabinet we created a wine rack.
When working on an old piece, if it is very valuable for its design and craftmanship I would restore it as it was originally. But if it’s not of such high standards, it’s OK to keep some things, delete others and add some new ones that hopefully will enhance the original design.