Back in the 1920’s, newlyweds didn’t get married and move into a beautiful new starter home like they do today. Instead, they moved into a bedroom at Mom and Dad’s and saved for the day when they could move out on their own. To make their little piece of heaven their own, they would purchase a brand new bedroom set. Because cash was tight, the new bedroom set was usually a “waterfall” set, constructed from the latest construction material, plywood.
The ability to use plywood to make curves during furniture making caused these pieces to be labeled “waterfall” furniture. The distinct curved wood that “fell” over the edge of the front of these pieces and their clean lines made them feel modern to newlyweds and a far cry from the heavily carved pieces of their parents. Since these pieces were the first major pieces of furniture bought by many of our grandparents or great-grandparents, they have sentimental value and have remained in families for generations.
Today, as our grandparents pass on and leave their furnishings behind, you can find wonderful waterfall dressers, night stands and vanities at thrift shops, flea markets and the occasional yard sale. But, as charming as they are, because they are made of plywood with a specialty wood veneer, age and the heat and moisture from attic and basement living have caused most of this type of furniture to be in not so great shape.
For the purest of furniture restorers, waterfall furniture can be painstakingly glued, patched and polished to bring back some of its former glory. But for those of us who prefer painted furniture, these pieces can be the coolest blank canvas for all kinds of treatments.
I love the romance of this furniture and recently came across a dresser at a thrift store that I got for a song! (I didn’t actually sing, that probably would have been a bad thing…)
It was in pretty good shape, with just a few bad places along the bottom edges. The drawers were another story. The stops were still in place, but the backs were in serious need of glue as they were popping off. There were spiders’ egg sacks and big dust bunnies living inside and underneath and the veneer was covered in years of wax and grime. Of course, I fell immediately in love.
After cleaning, sanding, patching, gluing, priming, painting, distressing and varnishing, my drabby waterfall dresser has a new shabby chic look.
How cute is this? Couldn’t find the exact blog site for you, but you can go to
http://www.pinterest.com/pin/264164334368766588/ and check it out.
The smart folks at Furniture-Ology combined this dresser with my favorite – chalk board paint. Love it!
Not just dressers, but vanities look great painted.
I love that the top was in good enough shape to save. What a great contrast to the white.
Last, but not least, we all need a faux soda machine in our homes!
Hope you’ve enjoyed this little journey into the past and I hope the next time you come across a piece of waterfall furniture it’ll warm your heart just like it does mine.