> Tres Chere: Dear John

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Dear John

Dear John Wanamaker,

Who are you? I have tried everything to get to know “you”, the real you.

I found a gorgeous desk at a Thrift Store for $50.00. Sure it was more than I would normally pay but  my “Super Saver Card” was filled so I received an extra $5.00 off. I think $45.00 was a great price for this desk.


I took the desk home and started to clean it. As I was wiping it down, I found this. A brass plate stamped John Wanamaker Fine Furniture New York.
I had no idea you made John Wanamaker Fine Furniture! How could I not know this? The only thought that came to mind was that I was born and raised in the South and would have no exposure to you, John Wanamaker. How can I fault you for that?

My heart sank. My ideas for transforming this desk may end up being the ultimate betrayal. I always try to do the right thing but painting it a creamy white may cross the line. Would I destroy an antique?

So I Googled you, isn’t that what everyone does? I Googled John Wanamaker, John Wanamaker Fine Furniture, Desk, Vanity, Antique, Vintage and even went so far as looking all the way through page 10 on my iPhone. Sure, I saw a desk here and there, not my desk, but a billion pictures of you sitting behind your desk. Apparently, this is a pretty famous picture of you.
I have to say that I learned a lot about you. You pioneered the first Department Store in Pennsylvania and manufactured your own house brands. Umm Hello, I love to Shop!

In 1878 you opened an in store restaurant, John Wanamakers Crystal Tea Room. Fabulous advertisement by the way!
You printed the first-ever, copyrighted store advertisement in 1874. If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have the Sunday paper sale ads to look forward to every weekend! 

One thing I have learned in life is that sometimes you have to take risks. Since I could not find anything about this desk, I decided to continue on with the revamp anyway. Take a chance, right? 

I really wanted an office space that was bright, cheerful with unexpected touches to use strictly for my creative work.

I repainted the desk a creamy white and used Vintage yellow curtains and cut them to size for the drawers. I sprayed the fabric with spray adhesive and covered the drawer fronts. Then I used a black Sharpie to highlight the moldings around the drawers. 

The chairs were painted black and then upholstered in a matte satin with velvet damask print "Prom Dress" material which was on sale for $2.99 a yard at Joanne fabrics. 

Some accessories and the space was complete! 

John, I think you would be proud to know that 135 years later your furniture is timeless and still fabulous! Thank you for being you, a pioneer.

If I could kiss you I would...so for now this will have to do. 

Linking To....
Common Ground
Freckled Laundry
The Shabby Nest
The Trendy Treehouse
Chic On A Shoestring Decorating
Beyond the Picketfence
On Sutton Place
House of Hepworths
The DIY Showoff
Homemaker On a Dime
Bunny Jeans Decor and More
Very Merry Vintage Style
Todays Creative Blog
Giggles Glitz and Glam
Somewhat Simple
Perfectly Imperfect
Fireflies and Jellybeans
Thrifty and Fabuless
Under the Table and Dreaming
The Girl Creative         
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Suzie @ The Accent Piece said...

So cute! I love the idea of fabric on the drawers.
I'm your newest follower!

Tina said...

this re-do is fabulous - I love the whole corner area - the colors mesh so wonderfully.
if you have a chance come by and visit me

mommy scraps alot

Kimberly said...

SO CUTE, I love the colors you used, everything looks great in that area!!

Pamma said...

Fabulous, fabulous desk and your restoration! Love all your stuff all the time.

Mallory said...

That turned out beautiful. My grandma always used to talk about Wanamakers department store.

Linda@Coastal Charm said...

Now $45 bucks was a steal for this desk...her makeover looks outstanding. Stop by and enter my current giveaway…it’s a $40 Pottery Barn gift card plus a coastal goodie!


BerryMorins Bits & Tips said...

What an amazing redo. I could see myself making this a vanity desk. I would really love having a piece like this in my home! I know my husband would love the price!
I really enjoy stopping by blogs such as yours to see what great thrift shop and garage sale finds you've discovered.
You're an inspiration!
I'm so looking forward to hitting my local thrift store this weekend!

Sharing Shadymont said...

Great post! I love the desk. You did a fabulous job.


Shelley said...

I think it's amaze-balls!!! And, I think John Wanamaker would think so too ;D How fun to hear about its background!


Cherished Bliss said...

Wow! What a great deal. Love what you did with it! Thanks for linking up : )

c.w.frosting said...

Absolutely gorgeous! Great use of fabric. Love that you found the "John Wanamaker" plate.

-caroline @ c.w.frosting

Cynthia said...

Cute post! The desk looks fabulous!!! Your decor is lovely, too!

Kristal said...

Yes, I think John would be most happy to see his desk transformed into such a beautiful piece!! It makes me want to work on my desk space. It is in horrible mess right now *sigh* So many projects, so little time.


red.neck chic said...

I love all of the color!!! It looks WONDERFUL!!!

;-D robelyn

Kristin @ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia said...

The desk is just gorgeous and so is your chair! WOW!!!!!

Jen-CraftOManiac said...

I adore your ladies style. THIS AFTER is so chic and gorg. I just love it all. p.s. can you send me that turq. chalkboard.. thanks. he he. winks-jen

Jen-CraftOManiac said...


Lindsay said...

This is STUNNING! I am seriously drooling over this gorgeous piece! I can't believe you turned it into that! Love it!

I have a link party going on now, called Show & Share. I'd love to have you link this up!


Changing in Heels said...

I think you did John's desk justice and if anything you brought life to his piece again. I love it and love your desk. Job well done.

Bunny Jean said...

That is so stylish now. I totally understand that you wanted to make it your "own".

Let's just hope that the reason you could not find this exact desk is because it is a "one of a kind" that would have brought $$$$$$$ at the Antiques Road Show ;) Hahaha...

Thanks so much for coming to my Bunny Hop Party and sharing this fantstic redo!

xoxo Bunny Jean
Home to Wednesday's Bunny Hop Party!

Johnnie said...

I am in the midst of a bedroom revamp, and you 2 are so inspiring to me. Featured your zebra print dresser on Thrifty Thursday. Blessings...

Erin {Lavender and Lemon Drops} said...

Visiting from Trendy Treehouse! I LOVE LOVE LOVE this space. What an amazing desk transformation. I'm dying for an office(insert jealousy lol). Great Job!

PⒿ @ $ € € ₦$ ₣®0₥... said...

This was such a fun post! You guys made a wonderful space and the desk transformation is lovely! John would be thrilled to know his 'work' continues on.

I wish you'd shown the way you did the drawer fronts, step-by-step. I've always wanted to try it, but I'm chicken!

trophyw.blogspot.com said...

Such a fun post. Thanks for linking up. I agree w/ after 135 years it needed a makeover.

La-Dee-da crafter said...

Wow, I love to learn the history of a great piece of furniture. Love the makeover too!!!
So impressed.
Following you now and i can't wait to check out your other posts.

Tara said...

Beautiful Desk! I love the fabric you used. So pretty! Thanks for sharing over at Trendy Treehouse.

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

Great desk! Love the chair, too!

Brave Brooke said...

I love the final result and the history behind it! OBTW I love your rug!


Deana said...

The desk turned out great! I adore this room. The use of color is fabulous. The eggplant purple chair and that super bright blue mirror... oh I love it!

Kathryn Ferguson Griffin said...

Absolutely gorgeous! Wonderful job on her and the office. Found you via Beyond the Picket Fence. Pop on over for a visit when you get a moment. Tootles, Kathryn


SJ @ Homemaker On A Dime said...

Love it! :)

Marie said...

It turned out beautiful!!!! Thanks for linking up with us at Show & Share!


Roxanne said...

I absolutely adore it! Thanks for sharing and for the inspiration.

At The Picket Fence said...

That is one fabulous desk!! You gotta do what is right for you and fits your style and that is one super chic office so I think it was a good call on your part to just go for it. :-) Thanks so much for sharing it at Inspiration Friday this week!

Rosemary@villabarnes said...

It looks great in your space.

Vicky said...

Fabulous! I'm glad you spent the $45 :)

abeachcottage said...

What a lovely transformation. Love the colours you used.

Jordan McCollum said...

Fun! I like the research you did on him (and how cool to actually find something out about him! I'm pretty sure the only Googleable furniture manufacturer in my house is Ethan Allen!).

Chef in Training said...

oh my goodness! I love this! You did a great job on the redo! I found your blog through a link party and LOVE it! It is so cute! I am your newest follower and would love it if you would follow me too! Thanks!

Little Moos and My Creative Pink. said...

I love all the colors in the space. You did a beautiful job on the desk. I bought a desk off of Craigslist and have been faced with the same dilemma. I figured out if this piece had any value it is only in Tell City, Indiana so I will be painting it soon! Love, love, love the black chair too!

A Cottage Muse said...

Wow...it looks wonderful!
Loving your pops of color!
I am your newest follower and am looking forward to catching up with you!

Erin of HomeSavvyAtoZ.com said...

Another amazing post! You all never cease to make me oooo and ahhhhh! Thank you so much for linking up at Savvy HomeMade Monday. We are partying again and I hope you will stop by! :)

Kim said...

I am swooning! Fabulous job! I featured you today-come grab a button!

Chef in Training said...

This looks incredible! I am really so impressed!

I would love it if you would share this and/or any other projects you have been up to at Tuesday Talent Show at Chef In Training Tomorrow! Plus there is going to be a fun giveaway too! Thanks so much and I hope to see you there!

Diann said...

What a beautiful desk and the price was right for this piece! Thank you for joining Thrifty Things Friday Party!

Julia @ 551Eastdesign said...

I love finding special treasures in the drawers of a piece! Thank you for sharing the history you learned! It turned out lovely. :)

niartist said...

Love how this turned out. BRAVO!

I wanted to let you know that I've got a great giveaway that ends Friday. It's for $100 to wallquotes.com, and trust me they've got something I know you'll love!

Stop by and enter ASAP. I'd love to see what you would do with their products! See you soon!


Tanya Anurag said...

You gals come up with beautiful stuff all the time!

We have a link-up party going on - Tea Time Thursdays @ Kreative Korner. I would really appreciate if you'd link up some of your awesome posts there. Hope to see you at the party.


Suzy www.savedbysuzy.blogspot.com said...

The use of fabric is so clever and I love that last pic of you. Furniture with history is fun.

Kassi @ Truly Lovely said...

I love that you really researched before deciding to do the redo! You learned some fun stuff it looks like! And it turned out lovely! Really fits in well with the rest of the area! Thanks for sharing on Fancy This Fridays!!!

Good Time Charlie said...

WOW! You are endless limit of talent. I cannot believe how amazing this turned out. I wish you would come wave the magic wand over my office! Thank you for the history lesson, that is so cool!

Camille said...

You are seriously so cute!! Your desk turned out amazing- I loved the blog post in the letter form! and the desk itself is timeless!! Such a great find! Your last pic was awesome. We are going to be featuring this on link party tomorrow- come by and grab a button! And thanks so much for linking up to Strut Your Stuff last weekend! We would LOVE to have you come back and link up more of your great projects tomorrow!
Camille @

Jamie @ Day and Age Design said...

I adore this vignette and what you did with the desk! So much so that I am featuring it at this week's link party!

Thank you for always sharing and I hope to see you ladies and your wonderful ideas again this weekend!


Desiree @ The 36th Avenue said...


I'll be featuring your project tomorrow during STICKER TIME! Feel free to come over and button up!

Thank you so much for sharing it!

Chef in Training said...

This is so beautiful! I love it! Thanks so much for linking up to Tuesday Talent Show! I would love to have you stop by and link up again tomorrow with more great projects!

Anonymous said...

This looks amazing! I love it!

~ Meredith From A Mother Seeking

A Mother Seeking...

This week, "When Life Hands You Lemons..."

SheLovesToCraft said...

I am absolutely in love with the space you have created. I'm really digging the contrast between all those creamy colors and black, and that pop of turquoise is wonderful!

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