Second Chances: New Uses for a Midcentury Étagère

Second Chances: New Uses for a Midcentury Étagère

Sarah Firshein
May 14, 2010

What happens when a for-sale item from Craigslist gets a new lease on life? Here, in a new weekly feature, we find new ways to repurpose one man's trash into our treasure.
This week, I've followed in the footsteps of a whole host of friends hoping to make it big—to Silver Lake, in fact, tucked just outside LA. Perhaps it's the allure of Old Hollywood that made this midcentury Danish étagère catch my eye. Its glass shelves are held in place by curved wood and Lucite legs, offering a sleek combo that deserves its own sort of stage time in one of the following ways:

  1. Ditch the rickety wooden pantry and replace it with this one—give plates, serving platters and nonperishable canned/dry goods a pretty new place to live.
  2. Use it in lieu of a proper bureau or dresser in the bedroom. Pile T-shirts, jeans and sweaters in neat stacks. For unmentionables, stock up on a few maize bins from The Container Store and place them on shelves at irregular intervals. The rough-hewn texture offers a nice complement to the wood.
  3. Say phooey to function and use it to curate art, art and only art. Think bold, bright colors, varying sizes and contrasting patterns in the form of oversize vases, urns, votive candles, sculptures and more. Place on shelves at random.
  4. Prove that print is, indeed, still alive by neatly lining up a magazine collection within a set of wild bookends. Bonus points for chic spines: consider National Geographic, with its iconic marigold yellow.
  5. Turn it sideways and top with scrap material of choice—try something surprising, like stainless steel. The piece now functions as a room divider or sideboard. Place one long, skinny floor vase each between the shelves, which are now oriented vertically.

• Found on Craigslist Los Angeles

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