One challenge presented by living in a house that was built in 1903 is that there. is. never. enough. storage. EVER. So I’ve been looking for a reasonably priced wardrobe for my office/the guest room for some time. The eyes have been peeled. Antique stores, flea markets, craigslist. Then in August, I found a listing for this wardrobe that had been posted by an antique store on craigslist. Sweet. The store was in a small town about 25 miles away from us. One pretty blue-sky Friday when we were both off, my husband and I decided it was a nice day for a drive and that we’d go take a look-see. She was quite down-at-the-heels when we found her. The shop owner dropped the already not unreasonable price an extra $50 when I pointed out specific condition issues that I had reservations about. That did it for me —just a bit of wheedling to my husband who wasn’t so sure she was worth it even at the lowered price, and then into the truck she went. I figured that with a bit of spit and elbow grease I might get lucky. At worst, I could always paint her.
The spit and elbow grease portion of events included disassembling her into 8 pieces, scrubbing the lot with hot bleachy water (scary, but trust me, it really had to be done), hauling the pieces up our narrow staircase, and reassembling everything in the right order without dismantling the entire guest room. That reassembly business was the hardest part. Stuff had maybe swollen a bit from the bleach bath, and popping everything back into place while working within a very limited space was challenging. But, unlike Humpty and all of the King’s horses and men, I was able to put everything back together again. Hooray! Then I rubbed and rubbed and rubbed everything, inside and out, with Williamsville Wax, a natural beeswax and lemon oil furniture wax based on an 18th century formula. I’ll admit, I was cautiously optimistic when I started, but even I was surprised by just how beautifully she shined up.
Originally, the plan was to store all of my dresses inside. However, I hadn’t considered the measurements closely enough. I measured, yes I did, but only with an eye towards getting her up the narrow stairs, which have a wonky overhang bit over the first three stairs. Height is a crucial concern with those stairs. It didn’t occur to me to check the width against the width of a regular size hanger. Turns out that this wardrobe is too narrow for a regular hanger. Dresses had to go in at an angle, so not that many could fit in -curses! After wrestling with inefficiently angled hangers for a while, I had an epiphany: skirt or child sized hangers fit perfectly. So, all of my pants and jeans, which had been living in a dresser, got hung up in the wardrobe and I transfered in my skirts from one of the wee closets. Then I took all of the t-shirts I’d had hanging in the wee closet and folded them up in the dresser the pants had previously occupied. That freed up enough room for all of the dresses in the wee closet. Plus, since the pants don’t hang down as far as the dresses did, I was able to put a shoe rack under them in the wardrobe. I am ridiculously pleased with the results of my life-sized game of Tetris. Et voilà!