Reimagined vintage and antique furniture.

1930’s Chifferobe

1930’s Chifferobe

I spotted this 1930’s Chifferobe at a yard sale and was immediately interested since I haven’t seen one during my pick’n adventures.  I thought this would be an interesting piece of furniture to re-purpose and refinish.

Here is the before picture…


And the after picture…

after picture_better light


I knew I didn’t want to finish this piece, as it’s original use, which was to hang and store clothing.  The closet space on the left is much too small for today’s standards.  With that being the case, I decided that I would change its use and construct shelves in its place.  This way, it can be used as a cabinet in a living room, dining room, kitchen, bedroom, etc.

At the beginning of this project, I removed all the hardware.  I was not a big fan of the pulls.


I chose to replace the pulls with a set of antique pulls.  Unfortunately, the holes of the antique hardware were not as wide as the holes drilled through the Chifferobe.  So I filled in the original hardware holes with very strong wood fill.  Once it set, I sanded down the excess fill.  Then, I measured and drilled new holes to fit the antique hardware.  Changing the hardware with the antique hardware adds a touch of class and brings a new look to this piece.


Next, I had to give the entire piece a good sanding using medium grade sandpaper to remove the lacquer.  After cleaning off all the dust, the piece was primed using dark Sherwin Williams primer.

The Chifferobe was then pained with a blue/gray Benjamin Moore paint color.  The paint covered the primer extremely well.


After it thoroughly dried, I distressed the Chifferobe using my palm sander and 80 grit sandpaper.  Then, I sanded it using very fine sandpaper, again using the palm sander.  To finish the distressing, I completed the finishing details of the distressing sanding by hand.  Sanding by hand allows for more control over the amount of pressure applied, therefore, the amount of distressing.

The inside of the closet was primed and then painted a gray Sherwin Williams paint color.  When painting inside the closet, I used a drybrush technique.  The paint goes on thinner and you can see areas of the primer.  It has a worn appearance which is what I was going for.


To fix the hole on the inside of the closet, I attached a piece of wood to the back.  Then, I filled in the hole using a strong wood fill.  The excess fill was then sanded down, and then it was primed and painted.

hole repair

The Chifferobe Drawers…

To complete the inside and sides of the drawers, they are cleaned, lightly sanded, and wiped down with a tack cloth before staining.  If you haven’t used a tack cloth after sanding, try it next time.  It wipes off dust that a regular rag does not remove.

Drawer before staining

Then each drawer was given two coats of stain.

drawers stained

And then two coats of poly were applied to seal and protect the inside and sides of the drawers.


I love the color of the wood after it was stained and sealed.  It looks beautiful!

The door…

The inside of the door was removed using a jigsaw (and a steady hand).

cutting out door

The vision is to add chicken wire to open up the piece to make it feel less bulky. Adding the chicken wire will help give the piece a new appearance to go along with its new function.

Door_removed inside

Since the door is 3/4 inch in thickness, I used 3/8 inch finishing wood to construct a frame.

Door frame

I used the inside of the door frame as a template before connecting the frame using the staple gun.  (I used the staples so that I didn’t split the wood.)  Two separate frames were made.  I will later place the chicken wire in between the two frames.

Door frame_2

The door frames were primed before adding the chicken wire.

door frame primed

After the inside of the door frame was constructed, the chicken wire was measured and cut.

Chicken wire

To make the chicken wire have an age appearance, it was spray-painted using a rusty brown color. When spray painting chicken wire make sure to spray at every angle so that you cover the sides and not only the top of the wire.

chicken wire painted

I wanted the chicken wire to be in the center of the door frame since the frame is thick. The chicken wire was first stapled to the inside of one of the frames.

chicken wire attached to frame

chicken wire attached to frame_2

Then the two frames were glued together using wood glue and clamps to keep them in place.

door frames glued together

door frames clamped together

The frame was left to dry for the afternoon.  The next day, I secured the frame into the opening of the door.  To secure it tight so that it doesn’t pop out, I glued two strips of finishing wood at the point where the frame and the inside of the door connected.


At the end, the chicken wire is sandwiched between the two frames giving it a finished appearance.


The shelves…

Shelves needed to be made to fit into the existing closet of the Chifferobe.  I started cutting the wood for the shelves using the miter saw.  I am happy to report that I still have all 10 digits left on my hands.  I made sure I was paying attention while using this tool and not daydreaming.


 Each side of the new shelves were have two coats of stain.


 Then each shelve was remeasured to fit in the correct location within the cabinet.  (I must admit that this was a tedious part of the project.)  Then I needed to  measured, cut, and secured brackets for the shelves to rest on top of.

Now that the cutting was completed, the shelves were sealed with poly and then secured in place using wood glue.


Finishing the color…

To finish the Chifferobe, I applied a tinted wax and a clear wax over the paint.  This will give it an age appearance and also seal the furniture.

Now, this was by far my most time consuming project but I believe it was worth the effort.  I love the way this piece turned out.

Here are some of the after pictures…



The shelves have a beautiful, rustic stain color that compliments the color of the Chifferobe.


The door of the Chifferobe did not extend to the floor.  Therefore, I added a functional shelf at the bottom that closes off the empty space.  I attached a hinge in the center so that it opens up to still remains functional.


Tell me, who doesn’t need a little extra hidden storage space!?





The distressing turned out beautifully on this wood.


The spray paint on the chicken wire is just enough to complete the rustic, aged feel of this piece.




This 1930’s Chifferobe fantastic now that it is re-purposed and refinished.

This item has been SOLD.