Where some see donation pile fodder, creative minds picture opportunity. Los Angeles designer, Julie Kim of Plic Design, shared an impressive before and after project, showcasing what one can do with a Salvation Army find and local resources. The midcentury sewing cabinet was reborn to see another lifetime as a beautiful display/storage unit for one of our favorite local bakeries...
Julie: I bought the sewing cabinet for about $35 half-off at a local Salvation Army, converting it into a counter for Proof Bakery. I kept the old and new distinct through materials: slender iron frame lifts the cabinet, exposes its top (now filled with new birch plywood drawers), and adds a surface for a see-thru glass piece. New birch legs with a taller yet still tapered midcentury profile replace the existing hind legs. The cabinet hides a trash can inside and one of the drawers contains a bus bin.
From my research on Craiglist, vintage sewing cabinets are easy to find, over-looked, affordable and full of potential. I outsourced the metalwork for the iron frame to a local fabricator in Silver Lake, Iron Works 21. Per their recommendation, I obtained the tempered glass from Atwater Screen and Glass.
Sourcing fabricators and materials in a city like Los Angeles can be a fun adventure. You drive past these small-scale manufacturing businesses every day and not know anything about the magic that happens there until you pop in. One word of advice: get more than one quote when working with fabricators, preferably three. Prices vary drastically from place to place so it's worth your time to shop around.
I completed the woodwork at Knowhow Shop LA, a fabrication cooperative
open for public membership and based just north of Downtown.
When deconstructing/reconstructing a piece of furniture, try to retain the existing "bone structure" and add or subtract where it makes sense - i.e., replace the drawers or cabinet faces, swap out the legs, or build a frame for the piece to sit in. Trying to pry off pieces of glued wood or cut into the existing furniture is a huge pain in the behind unless you are deft with a chain saw. You will invariably run into hidden screws, nails, or pin nails. I learned this the hard way.
More Info:Plic Design
(Images: Julie Kim)