12.15.2010

The Thirty Drawer Library Card Catalog - Custom Refinish Before & After

Before We have been working with Brooke Walker from Studio 5 to help her find and refinish an old library card catalog. While combing through the KSL ads one evening I spotted one and immediately texted her. She quickly made contact with the owner to let him know that without a doubt she wanted it and would pick it up asap.

She debated on the color which is exactly what we have been doing with our own. Should we go black or white? Brooke landed on white and it certainly helps sway me to the white as well because hers turned out so lovely! All thirty drawers lovely!

After
This piece is going in Brooke's home office and it is stunning! It has so much character with the two pull drawers used for referencing. Mike shined up each brass label pull which looks so nice against the clean white.
Be patient with all of the pictures. I could not help myself. There were so many fun angles and details.
While Mike was pulling it apart he ran across a tiny piece of paper that said University of Utah.
Aha! We wondered where the piece originated and I think we now know.
How many of you readers out there used one of these to locate a book at a university library? I am aging myself here but I sure know that I did. This card catalog was designed and built by Remington Rand. Card catalogs were purchased in pieces. Brooke's consists of five pieces. The actual table, two sets of card drawers, one reference drawer section, and the cap.
I cannot wait to see this piece in her home office. Her home is absolutely beautiful and I think it will compliment her decor perfectly!

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100 comments:

Ann Marie @ Twice Lovely said...

Wowee!!! I bet that was a labor of love! I was just thinking about what a chore it must have been taking off every little pull and knob! Wow! Looks amazing. Seems like there should be more of these floating around. I'd love to get my hands on one someday.

Hollie Rae said...

This is lovely! Thanks for sharing!

www.MaisonStGermain.com said...

Wow, it came out amazing! Your hard work paid off:)
~Debra xxx
Capers of the vintage vixens

Marie said...

It is absolutely stunning! How long did it take to paint all those drawers? I'm sure it's a lot of work, but it turned out perfect!
-marie

Amanda said...

Wow! That is just too cool! I'll bet that when the libraries got their systems on computers they looked at those big cabinets and thought...what do we do with these now? So glad this one found a fabulous new life! I wonder how many ended up in the landfill...that's a sad thought! I would love one! Thanks for sharing!

Cassie @ Primitive & Proper said...

it turned out beautifully! i REALLY wish you were keeping it though. it is so unique. i am crying over here for you for when you have to say goodbye... ;)

Jeanine Burkhardt said...

OMG!*!*! YOU did a FaBuLouS Job!!! For the most part I love a natural Time-Worn Chippy Paint Patina ~ but Your Look came out BeSt!!! I'm inspired to "freshen-up" a 2-drawer I have... Thanks for the inspiration...
Jeanine, ChiPPy!-SHaBBy!

Faded Charm said...

This turned out wonderful! I have something similar that had been painted lovley gray at sometime and is now a little chippy and distressed.....just howwe like it!

Thanks for sharing this project.

Kathleen

stefanie said...

oh, its just gorgeous!!! you did an outstanding job!

Mandi @ Vintage Revivals said...

Oh.my.gosh. I am FUMING jealous right now. If you ever see one of these again PLEASE let me know I will be indebted to you forever.

Love your guts
mandi

ps how much did she pay for it?

Urban Farmgirl said...

BEAUTIFUL!! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this piece! You did a fantasic job!

Mary

Korrie@RedHenHome said...

This turned out beautifully! I can imagine the time and effort all those drawers took, but it was certainly worth it!

Petite Michelle Louise said...

wow...must have been very labor-intensive but oh how gorgeous it turned out. SO worth the elbow grease i'm sure! this is an amazing transformation. TFS and Happy WW!

vintage vine said...

That is a beautiful finish!!!! Be proud, that was alot of work, but it sure paid off..Thanks for sharing

kathi @ traybella said...

be still my heart!! all i can say is "wish THAT was mine!" so so beautiful.
kathi

michelle said...

Oh if you could see my face right now!! GORGEOUS!! I am so glad that she picked white as well, it looks so perfect!! You both did an amazing job cleaning everything up and I love how displayed all your treasures on it!! Please hint to her that you need a picture of it when it finds a home in her office!! :D

I can see why you took so many wonderful pictures, I can't stop looking at it!!

Chelsea said...

Such a cool project, but those wreaths are my favorite!!!! You always are right on the mark with classy, vintage style :)

Cap Creations said...

Wow it is amazing! I so would want to put numbers on the drawers.

Thanks for sharing!

Sarah @ threeboys-home.blogspot.com said...

oh wow! I want one! Gonna have to keep my eye out!
Thanks so much for the inspiration!

Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. said...

Wow, what a cool piece of furniture. And it looks fabulous in white! I would love that in my home. Nicely done!

Suzanne@Meridian Road said...

That is just awesome! On a scale of 1-10, I give it at least a 15! I love it white, and I have a real think for old brass label holders.

NanaDiana said...

Melanie, Melanie, Melanie...when I saw this I thought I had died and gone to Furniture Heaven. That is the coolest piece ever...well...maybe not EVER...but close...real close. Love it- and another great job! Hugs- Diana

Leigh Ann said...

Amazing! I'll be searching for one of these now. Awesome job!

oneoff said...

Gorgeous, simply gorgeous.

I always love what you do, but I think this one is giving me a bad case of furniture envy.

Bernie

Theresa said...

That. is. AMAZING. Theresa xoxo

Christa @ Stories of a House said...

Wow, wow, and wow! Mike really outdid himself this time. I can only imagine removing all that hardware and shining it up. Your client will be so happy!

Inspired by you said...

I'm in love! It looks great!

Cynthia Banks said...

Wow! This is gorgeous - and a ton of work! But what a great job! I think the white is the ticket - black would not show the beautiful details like white does. What an amazing piece!

Cynthia

Angie @ The Country Chic Cottage said...

This is AWESOME!!! Thanks so much for sharing!!

Toni @ That's Beeutiful said...

Oh my, that is such a gorgeous piece! I always pray to find something so fabulous. Beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Do you paint the inside of your pieces?

Becky@Beyond The Picket Fence said...

My computer may be ruined now from the drool on it. What a fantastic piece, thanks for sharing!

Betsy@My Salvaged Treasures said...

This is absolutely gorgeous. I've been looking for something similar for years. I want to find one that needs TLC so that I don't have to pay a huge fortune. You did a beautiful job.

Shelly said...

I've always wanted one of these! Love what you have done with it. Jealous too. :)

Shelly said...

P.S. Couldn't resist, had to Follow!

Leslie said...

I love it too. I think Brighton could find use for all 30 drawers too. Can't wait to see yours finished!

Brambleberry Cottage said...

Ok, you're torturing me here, Melanie! That piece is fabulous! I can't seem to find one of those anywhere around me. I guess it's not meant to be right now. Beautiful job!

Thanks for faithfully linking to my party each week. Please be sure to come by and enter my fantastic year-end giveaway. Click the picture in my sidebar for details.

Blessings and a very Merry Christmas!
Liz @ the Brambleberry Cottage
http://thebrambleberrycottage.blogspot.com/

Brandi said...

what a transformation! you did a beautiful job!

{the vintage wren} said...

What a gorgeous piece, it turned out fabulously. I would love to have a storage piece like that. Hugs-Carrie

Allison said...

That is gorgeous Melanie! One stunning piece! You and your husband surely worked your magic on that. I could kick myself because about 10 years ago I sold a card catalog just like that at a garage sale. If only I could turn back the clock....

Artichoke Alley said...

Beautiful and a lot of work! Gorgeous job. Thank you for sharing all the details too....sometimes one or two pics just don't do it justice!

Meredith @ Welcome to Heardmont said...

Wow!! I am loving the finished result. Brooke is a very lucky lady! I would love to see the piece in her office - I bet it brings the whole room to another level.

Sommer said...

Stopping by from MMS... this is fantiastic! I'd love to come across one of those catalogs. I couldn't even imagine the work going into thirty of those little drawers!

Jennifer Rizzo said...

That is a dream! I can't imagine doing all of those little screws though! You did an amazing job!

Karena said...

Melanie I am very impressed and I love the white color on it!!

Joyeaux Noel!

I have a new giveaway from My Sparrow, do come and enter!

xoxo
Karena
Art by Karena

Chrissie said...

What an awesome piece of furniture, I just love it!

Amy @MaisonDecor said...

Found your awesome blog on Met Monday! Following now. Anyone who can do that to a card catalogue is amazing. It is a cool piece of furniture!!

Yanet @ 3 Sun Kissed Boys said...

This is GORGEOUS! I saw a smaller version of this (all ready painted and distressed) at my local antique store but I was too cheap to buy it. Now that I see this one, I wish I would have bought it.

Yall did great work.

Donnie said...

What a labor of love that must have been. It looks beautiful. I remember the old card catalogs so well too but now they use computers. A computer will never refinish as beautifully as that.

Judy @ In His Grip said...

Holy cow! This is awesome. I would love to find a card catalog.

Polly said...

Now that is one fabulous makeover! I DROOL over card catalogs anyway, but seeing this one in white, is making me swoon like crazy!

bj said...

OMGosh...well...I am TOTALLY
IN LUV.
Wow, this is amazing. An awesome piece. Now, of course, I want one, too.:)
Come by when you can..and I am linking up to follow.:)

Kristin @ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia said...

This is fabulous, I love it! I wan't one :)
Thanks for linking, merry Chrismtas
XO
Kristin

Allison @ House of Hepworths said...

Wow, that turned out amazing! I need to get my hands on one of those card catalogs!

~Allison @ House of Hepworths

Gina @ The Shabby Chic Cottage said...

OOOHHH! I'm drooling over here :) I do remember using those in the "good old days" - sometimes I think they were easier than the new computer age!

Yours looks STUNNING!

Merry Christmas!

Bon said...

Love this piece!We are now followers!

http://www.gorgfabgoodies.blogspot.com
Drab to FAb girls
BOn

Pam said...

What a great piece. Love the color choice.

Maryann @ Domestically-Speaking said...

What a project to undertake... it turned out gorgeous! I'm putting it in the Spotlight at the PoPP.

LV said...

No doubt that was not an easy task. I glad am you stuck with it. It certainly turned out to be a very pretty piece. So many ways to use it. You did a great job.

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

How fantastic! this is a great find and you restored it beautifully!

http://inthehammockvintage.blogspot.com

Annie said...

Although you did a great job of painting, I still like the looks of the original wood much better! It's warmer. All libraries had similar card catalogs before everything became computerized. I miss using them!

Rebecca said...

Wow I would have never thought that it would turn out sooo good-!!!!! COOL!

jennifer said...

That must have been SO much work but it was SO worth it. Your card catalogue looks fabulous!

fitty's pinky rose cottage said...

woohoo! lucky you and job well done! love the pieces! Happy New Year!

Margie said...

Wow, wow, WOW! I have ALWAYS loved card catalogs ... ever since I laid eyes on it at the library when I was about 5 ... what a thrill it was the first time I got to use it ... after the school librarian taught us all about it and how to use it!

I often see these in antique stores, and long to bring them home ... and now after seeing how beautifully yours turned out ... that longing is going to be even stronger!

Have a happy new year!

Kristy said...

This so adorable!

Brenda Kula said...

You are right! But it is beyond stunning in my opinion! Lucky gal who got this piece!
Brenda

Debra@Common Ground said...

totally fabulous, you all did an amazing job on this. LOVE the slight distressing. Thanks for sharing this with all of us, now I want one too!!
hugs,
Debra

Jess @ Frugal with a Flourish said...

Beautiful!! I would love to find a card catalog like this!!! Amazing! Had to share on my FB Page!

Erin said...

Oh wow, absolutely gorgeous!! I would love to have storage like this in my sewing room. Wonderful job!!!

Lisa said...

This is gorgeous! Definitely looks like a lot of hard work and patience went into making it look fabulous!

Karen Tapahe said...

That is absolutely wonderful! I used to work in our school library and got to be really good at finding things in the card catalog. I would love to have a furniture piece like this some day.

Charity said...

I would die to find one of these. They are beautiful before and after!

Ali @ Honey and Maple Syrup said...

I have always loved the look of those and it looks great white!

White and Rust said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!

Lisa said...

I have one just like this but 45 drawers. I really want to paint mine white too with some aging and distressing. I don't know where to start and would hate to ruin it.

Katie @ On the Banks of Squaw Creek said...

Beautiful! I Love the white with the gentle distressing!

We found a mini version (3x3 = 9 drawers) on the curb when we lived in campustown of Iowa State, and it is stamped with ISU # something. I stuck it on an end table next to my rocking chair and kept nursing supplies in it - breast pads, lanolin, burp rags, diapers, wipes, etc. It worked great!

gail@myrepurposedlife.net said...

wow! it's gorgeous! Love the little pull out things. great pics.
thanks for linking up!
gail

Funky Junk Interiors said...

Oh my gosh, what a fabulous piece! And yes, it's incredible in white! Swooning here...

Donna

Christine Edwards said...

Looks great! I refinished a 15-drawer cabinet last year...in black. And I'm currently working on another similar cabinet now. Definitely labors of love.

Jane said...

Came over from Savvy Southern Style. This piece is absolutely gorgeous! You did a fabulous job! I love it in white, it really makes a statement.
Jane

Kim @ Savvy Southern Style said...

That looks great white and the brass cleaned up so well.

Pam said...

Fantastic! I don't think I would have taken all that on. Lots of work but it looks great.

Molly Hammond said...

awesome! we just did a post on library-inspired finds. one of us sisters is a librarian. we are on the hunt for one of these card catalogs! love it!

threesisterz.blogspot.com

Gina @ Temporary Nest said...

OMG I have been DYYYYYYING to get a card catalog!! {theyre a smidge out of my price range... eek!} I'm your newest follower!! :)

Come check my stuff out!
www.temporarynest.com

Pamela said...

That piece is just gorgeous!!

Sherry @ No Minimalist Here said...

What a fabulous piece! I love it painted white and now I am on the search for one of my own.
Hugs,
Sherry

Carrie @ Dittle Dattle said...

I love this painted out in white! I know this must have been a lot of work!! Thanks for being a part of "Amaze Me Monday".

~Dittle Dattle

Pamela said...

Wow...what a change you made. Your hard work certainly paid off as this is absolutely beautiful. I love what you did underneath it, too.

sweet european dreams said...

My husband is going to be really hacked that I saw this. I'm now adding a card catalog to my long list of HAVE to haves! Fabulous transformation! -diane

Lisa @ greylustergirl said...

What a stand out piece of furniture! That could totally make a room.

Kristin said...

I have always wanted one of those - no kidding she just snatched it up; what a find! Great finishing job!

Jennifer said...

WOW! I'd love to get my hands on something like that! Not sure what I'd do with it, but it's something you don't see everyday that's for sure. Nice work!
Jen
scissorsandspatulas.com

Robyn said...

Melanie, this is STUNNING! LOVE IT!!! I was going to post some photos of a multi drawer cabinet also but not nearly as beautiful as this. Mine is just constructed of old crates to hold tools in a garage.

Jane @ Jane's Junk and Treasures said...

Now that must have taken some time!

I am so sneaking in your house and stealing that Dewey Decimal card file!

I love it beyond words!

Great blog, just found you! Just became a follower!

I would love it if you stopped by and said hi!

PS
I was kidding about breaking in your house!

Kellie said...

What a lovely piece!

Would you also share how to make the bunting on the card catalog? I'm a bit craft challenged. :)

Its So Very Cheri said...

I am featuring you tomorrow.

Cheri

Courtney ~ French Country Cottage said...

Absolutely amazing!!! That is just fantastic- I love it love it love it!!! Thanks for sharing this at Feathered Nest Friday~ Following you along now :)

Princesa said...

I want one just like it. :) Please.

Lisa said...

I just scored one last week. 39 Drawers. Made in 1933. Quartersawn (tiger) oak. MAJOR deal for $100

Going to bring it back to matte, natural wood. It i high gloss right now and I don't feel it's original.

I will not be painting it ;)

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