Tuesday, December 2, 2014


Before I get started with today's subject,
 I would like to thank Tim and Tami for their hospitality on Thanksgiving Day
 and the wonderful meal they prepared and, especially, to let them know 
that their love and caring for us is returned ten-fold.

I hope that all of you, as well,
 had a memorable and wonderful Thanksgiving.


Victorian Cottage furniture
from the collection at the Rodgers House in Watsonville, CA

Cottage furniture
 was popular in the United States,
 particularly on the East Coast,
 between 1830 and 1890. 
 As the American Civil War began winding down and luxury items were once again sought after,
 cottage furniture began appearing in workshops 
and then homes of the wealthy in places like Martha's Vineyard, Cape May, and the Berkshires. 
 Cottage furniture did not remain exclusive to the upper-class;
 soon simpler, but equally elegant, versions could be found in homes
 all along the East Coast.

Cottage furniture is true to the Victorian style. 
 There is some carving, usually in the form of finials and medallions,
 but most of the decorations were painted.  Flowers, fruit and other plants were the most common motifs. 
 Because the pieces were done by local cabinet makers, 
most of which did not have any formal training,
 the embellishments would have a slightly primitive style. 
 The most popular base colors were tan, blues, greens and pinks,
 though there were a few rare examples where the natural wood is varnished
 but left unpainted with the exception of the painted floral accents.

Restoration of Cottage furniture is difficult so tops of pieces were rarely painted in detail.

Photo taken from Victorian Homes magazine

Decorating magazines picture Victorian rooms filled
 with grained mahogany, light-colored maple or reddish cherry furniture.
  Rarely are painted pieces shown
 and there are several reasons for this:

*Painted pieces have not been reproduced, so the supply is limited.

*In the 1950's it was fashionable to buy a painted piece and strip the finish to have a more modern look.

*Painted surfaces are difficult to restore, and many old chests and chairs were worn.

You will remember a few weeks ago,
 I showed you our guest room dresser that I painted. 
 After living with it awhile,
 I decided that it was a little bland and needed something to spice it up!

 I must make this completely honest disclosure --
 I am not an artist and 
I cannot draw a lick --

 so with the use of stencils and some paint,
 I created my version of 
Victorian Cottage furniture.

We picked up this inexpensive night stand at a garage sale. 
 Although it is a far cry from the Victorian era,
 I liked its lines and it was a handy piece to put beside the bed. 
 With a small amount of work it fits right in --
 sort of like putting lipstick on a pig!

One of the biggest misconceptions regarding antiques 
is that our forefathers loved the appearance of the natural native woods in their furnishings. 
 They did not.
 That is a fad of this century. 
 As a result, most painted furniture has been stripped and fine-finished 
by well-meaning dealers and collectors.

Although costly mahogany and walnut was seldom painted,
 our fore-fathers paint decorated nearly all their other wood furniture 
to brighten their dark, oil-lamp lit homes.

Most facts about painted Cottage furniture were taken from Wikipedia. 
 All photos and some descriptions are my own.


Trucks full of these are arriving in town
 and as the song says, 
"It's the Most
 Wonderful Time
 of the Year".


Joining these great parties:


  1. Glad your thanksgiving was a wonderful time. I love that old furniture. Do you know why?? It's made of real wood, not that pressed board stuff. That's why it's still around, it lasts. Blessings, xoxo,Susie

  2. That was a really interesting post. I love painted furniture. You did a beautiful job on the old dresser with the pretty flowers and also on the side table. They look amazing. I have 2 tables that would be considered cottage style and came from my grammie's. One was painted dark brown (gag!) and the other grey (why?). My mother painted the grey one soft mint green but I painted it a cream colour and the other one is now white. No fancy painting on them though. I'm glad you had a nice Thanksgiving. Blessings, Pam

  3. Most of this I didn't know Judy and was so glad to learn more about the history behind these beautiful pieces of history. I am enamored with the dresser you have redone and now the beautiful detail you have painted on it. Just beautiful!!! The side table too!
    I was so happy to read that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving too.
    sending hugs...

  4. Wow what an informative post Judy! I love what you added to your painted pieces in the way of the florals...such a pretty touch and really does make the pieces more interesting to look at. Bravo...you did a fantastic job! Also glad to know you enjoyed a lovely Thanksgiving!!!
    XO Barbara

  5. Hi Judy
    You did a wonderful job on adding the painted details to your furniture!
    I love the soft colors that you chose, and just a touch of the gold really adds to the darling pieces.

    Thanks for setting the record straight about painted furniture as well.
    I have found through years and years of renovating old houses, that most trim was also painted.
    Kitchen cupboards, furniture, etc.. was more often painted than not.
    I still smile whenever I hear about someone conflicted over painting wood. Why not?
    Unless it is some sort of exotic wood, I say if you want to, paint away **smile**

    How sweet of Tami and Tim to host you for Thanksgiving. I know how you love them so :)

    Have a great rest of your week, my friend.


  6. Oh Judy, All I can say is YES on the stenciling of your painted dresser. I have to admit that when you first painted it my heart just sank because I hate it when people paint over walnut, rosewood or other darker Victorian woods, and I am familiar with cottage furniture even though you don't find it here in the Midwest at all SO your dresser looks REALLY good now with that stenciling! You did a great job on it and the little table. Cute, cute!
    Have a great day,

  7. Judy that furniture is beautiful! Love the shot of the trees arriving in the truck! hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving!

  8. Hi Judy, love this post and especially how you updated your gorgeous furniture. You did an amazing job with the painting and the sweet flowers and design work. Your stenciling is so pretty and make the piece a treasure along with the night stand.
    Great shot of that truck filled with Christmas trees.
    Have a great weekend sweet friend.

  9. Love old furniture too and the hardware!

  10. Judy, Stencil or not, you did a beautiful job on your dresser! And the night stand works well! Thank you for the mini history lesson! Blessings for a super weekend!!

  11. I absolutely love that dresser...great job.
    I love painted furniture 10 times more that natural wood tones.

  12. Wow Judy you did a great job. I love that dresser. The stencil looks like a handpainted item. Great job. So pretty.

  13. hello
    j'adore les petites fleurs peintes sur les meubles
    et la dernière photo et top ♥♥♥
    edith (iris) France

  14. You did a wonderful job on your furniture, it looks beautiful. Your post was so informative and interesting thanks so much for sharing this.

  15. Judy,
    This is how one post leads to another. I came here from your post on your Top 10 posts of 2014!!
    I don't know how I missed this one but I am so glad that I found it now!!
    Love how your dresser and night stand came out!
    I have my mother's waterfall furniture from the 30's that I plan on repainting this year. I love the touch of the stenciling!! Beautiful!

    Thanks so much for dropping by!!



  16. Interesting Article. Hoping that you will continue posting an article having a useful information. Victorian Style Furniture


Your comments are so special to me...Judy