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armoire rococo

Lovely decorative three door antique rococo armoire from the Loire France. (image: French Finds on Flickr.com)

The humble, or sometimes not-so-humble, armoire. It is a piece of furniture that can open up a world of possibilities in spaces. Here are a few options that new regular writer Erika Palmer is considering for herself. Do you have any suggestions for her?

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Last spring my Gran passed away and our family had the task of cleaning out her large old home to put it up for sale. It was a tough task as the house had accumulated over 60 years of stuff (junk) and it was up to us to sort through it. In one of my ventures down to the basement something caught my eye: an armoire!

Tucked way into the back of the basement, covered by an old musty blanket, it had been sitting there for years. No one in my family even really recalled where it came from so there were no special memories attached for anyone, so that meant I got to claim it!

Good bones

The armoire is old, the paint is chipping off quite badly in some areas, and a piece of wood is missing from the bottom, but it’s got good bones and the clothes rail and doors are still intact so it’s worth salvaging. I’ve decided to take this on as a project for myself and at first had the intention of fixing it up to basically how it looked when new and using it as a typical armoire, for clothes and accessories.

Then I googled ‘armoire’ to get a few tips, and instead stumbled upon a whole world of re-purposed armoires. It’s a project I’m not going to start until the weather gets nicer in a few months, so I still have some time to decide, but here are my options:

A playhouse of sorts for kids

A pretty place for my child’s first tea set to be displayed, a home for her stuffed animals, a play kitchen, or the ultimate Barbie dream home, the armoire could be done up in various shades of pink (her favorite color!) with some animal stickers for her bedroom.

A vanity

This option is great because it would mean storing all my hair tools: straighteners, irons (flat and curling) tucked away in a drawer with a hole for plug access drilled into the back, as well as finally getting my abundance of makeup and lotions in one place instead of strewn all over the bathroom and bedroom. A mirror could easily be added to the inside and I’d pick up a cheap stool to re-finish so I could sit and get ready in the mornings.

A stereo or TV cupboard

This option appeals more to my partner than to me – he’s an audiophile who loves his vintage record players and needs a place to display them and keep other random audio things in the drawers. The doors can then be closed to keep away curious baby hands!

A home office

When our baby was born, I lost my home office to make a nursery, and I’ve been working off the living room couch for most of the time since with a filing cabinet for documents in the corner of the bedroom (on a completely different floor than the living room couch) and it’s worked well enough. But it would be nice to do the armoire up as a desk to allow me to work more efficiently.

A general storage space

This idea is basically just a fancy junk drawer. It includes adding more shelves, hooks, and boxes and filling it with random things that don’t have homes anywhere else. Pens, old VHS tapes, spare batteries, unopened tubes of mascara, cat treats….anything goes in this space. Our house is on the small side and we do tend to have a lot of extras (junk) everywhere, so this would help a lot in getting us organized.

A typical armoire

My original plan is for what an armoire is generally known for – a wardrobe. A place to store sweaters during the summer, a home for scarves, hats and shoes, extra jackets, fancy dresses rarely worn.

Does anyone who’s restored an armoire have any tips for me? As you can see I have lots of options and would welcome input and votes on which direction I should take. And don’t worry – I’ll keep you posted on my progress!

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Erika Palmer

Erika Palmer is a Mom and freelance writer located in Beautiful British Columbia. She is currently working hard to create a home for her new family and is stumbling hilariously down the road to becoming a domestic goddess. In addition to her love of family, and reading and writing, she enjoys exploring new interests with friends, shopping for just about anything, and cuddling up with a great cup of tea and some sort of chocolate treat.