Have you ever seen anything discarded and just had to save it? Well, that’s exactly what happened to my husband and I one Saturday morning. We found this hidden gem, broken and tattered and I just had to bring her home to give her new life.

We think all the pieces are here and if not, Steve will be able to make her whole again. I started with a good cleaning and a lot of research on the her heritage.

Her original shipping label was still firmly attached to her backside. Shipped from Spiegel Furniture Company Chicago, IL to Philip Levy & Company Complete Home Furnishings Richmond, VA. This explains how I found her here only 50 miles from Richmond with all her pieces and parts pilled up waiting to be discarded as trash.

Most have heard of the Spiegel Catalog, here’s a little history. The Spiegel Furniture Company was founded in 1865. After spending the final few months of the Civil War in a Confederate prison camp, Joseph Spiegel settled in Chicago. He opened J. Spiegel and Company, a small home furnishings retail operation located on Wabash Avenue in Chicago’s loop. In 1871, the Great Chicago Fire destroyed most of the area’s business district including the Spiegel store. After the fire, Spiegel Company was rebuilt and by 1874 the company was prospering again. In 1893, the company reinvented itself as Spiegel House Furnishings Company.

I still can’t pin down the exact date since Spiegel was in business for over over a century. So next, I researched for anything I could find about Philip Levy & Company. I found it, Philip Levy and Company Complete Home Furnishings. First just a beautiful photo of the historic building in Richmond by Frank H. Jump the publisher of the fading ad blog. Further research uncovered their 1921-22 Year-end Income Statement. I also found a listing of the leading firms in the 1920’s which included Philip Levy and Co. Unfortunately nothing else was unearthed with my extensive searches. So my estimation for this soon to be beauty is early 1920’s. The story of Philip Levy & Co is available on Amazon, but I feel very confident about the timeline for this lovely. Maybe sometime in the future I will make the investment and read this book.

She’s going to be amazing

Steve took her into his workshop and put the broken mirror frame back together again. A little wood glue and a lot of clamps and presto almost as good as new. He did have to fix a missing piece of the middle frame as well. Once she has a layer or two of paint you will never know. We were lucky that we could salvage the original mirrors. So happy with how the repairs turned out.

Now its my turn. After another good cleaning and some sanding and a touch or two of filler (concealer), the wood is really smooth. I decided to go shinny and silver to achieve a true face lift. I used General Finishes Milk Paint in Perfect Gray as a base coat and then applied two coats of General Finishes Argentine Pearl Effects. I even painted the beautiful vintage handles. She got three coats of General Finishes Top Coat Flat for a perfect finish. I love how she shimmers.

I couldn’t be happier with this girl. She’s ready to find a home with just the perfect spot for her to live out the next 100 years. If they only made furniture like they used to.

All I can say is don’t discard or pass by a ready for the dump beautiful in the rough, bring her home and make her new again.

8 thoughts on “Salvaged and Beautiful

    1. Thank you, Thank you,I just ordered power gel and about to give it a try on my next piece. Can’t wait to see the results. Catherine

    1. Judy, Thank you. Most of the time a transformation goes smooth until you hit something you have experienced yet, like crazing, bleeding, etc. I really am loving this hobby turned business. Catherine

  1. I love how you saw some beauty in something most people would see as ugly and broken. I’m the same way. I think your piece turned out beautiful! You really did a great job. I love going to antique stores and finding projects like this.

    1. Brittany, Thank you, I really love how this piece turned out. I have a beautiful federal period buffet that I’m about to start and I’m using a new technique. I can’t wait to get started. You should see it soon on my Living Grand Vintage Furniture Page. Catherine

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