This mahogany Serpentine from the 1940s tested us. We knew it needed work when we bought it, but we had no idea how much.


David has written about his woodworking efforts on this piece here and here. Remember her Before photo? Sturdy, but unassuming.


Four of the handles didn’t match the original brass hardware. I pored over vintage hardware websites and finally found a good match in Canada, our friendly, frozen neighbor. FYI, I found a disconnect between web listings and the in-stock product. More than once I heard, “Oh, that set has been sold. We need to update our webpage.”

This sophisticated beauty is now ready. Her drawers glide so smoothly thanks to David beeswaxing all the runners.

She looks elegant. Here she is in a different vignette, and yes — azaleas are blooming in northern Florida. If you were here, I’d give you a bouquet of azaleas!


We handpainted her with Annie Sloan Paris Grey. I outlined the upper drawer trim in Old White and painted the twelve handles. Annie Sloan’s Clear Wax covers the exterior. Louis Blue, on the drawers’ interiors, gives a lovely pop of color.



As I  eased into the homestretch I received a free Lotus stencil (African Protea Flower) from Royal Design Studio. It looked  delightful and I needed to use it . . . immediately. I surveyed our in-progress projects and landed on the Louis Blue drawers.


Using Royal Design’s Antique Gold  and Orange Ice cremes, and Annie Sloan’s Antibes Green, I stenciled a lotus on each side panel and waxed them. They offer a bit of whimsey.


This Serpentine lovely has emerged from her spa treatment rejuvenated and looking more radiant than ever. She’ll be on sale at the Rustapalooza Spring Market at the end of the month, our very first market.


Wishing you bunches of azaleas,

Ann Marie and David
Featured at:
Embracing Change Elizabeth and Co. Tickled Pink at 504 Main Life on Lakeshore Drive

Participating in:
Dwellings-The Heart of Your Home  DIY Show OffMod Vintage Life One More Time EventsThree Mango SeedsDIY Vintage Chicvintage+inspiration+bif furniture-feature-fridays-copy-300x133

Wow Us Wednesday – Savvy Southern Style

Treasure Hunt Thursday  shabbynestsublogo_zpsd0a02086  Upcycled Treasures Knick+of+Time+Tuesday+Party+Image+Large+%283%29  

Feathered Nest Friday @ French Country Cottage

28 Comments on Sophisticated Whimsey

  1. Brittany Ruth
    March 10, 2014 at 4:22 pm (8 years ago)

    You did such a great job. Wish you could come to my house and paint the new secretary desk I bought. It needs work and I’m scared to paint any old furniture lol

    • irisabbey
      March 11, 2014 at 3:58 am (8 years ago)

      I understand how you feel about old furniture. I make my decision to paint based on several factors, such as condition and age. If it’s vintage, I have no problem with painting. Is the piece pretty beat up? Can repair and painting only improve the life of the piece? Go for it. Paint can always be stripped off if this trend shifts in the future. In the meantime, I’ve got a sturdy. renovated piece. On the other hand, I’ve purchased a couple of pieces in good condition and later learned that they are antiques — which is wonderful, but that poses further reflection. For instance, my previous post examines Victorian chairs I bought which were made in the 1860s. They’ve survived over 150 years because of good care provided by others. I’m inclined to take up that stewardship and watch over these pieces as historical heirlooms.

  2. Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co.
    March 11, 2014 at 12:49 am (8 years ago)

    What a beauty! You really put in the extra effort on this one! … And I can’t wait till we see azaleas blooming again!

    • irisabbey
      March 11, 2014 at 3:48 am (8 years ago)

      Thanks, Sharon. This was the first piece we bought for our new business so it’s pretty exciting to have it ready for sale. Now we just need a buyer.

  3. melaniealexander
    March 11, 2014 at 11:13 pm (8 years ago)

    It looks fantastic! I wish I had your woodworking skills. And so excited for your first market! I bet you will sell it all 🙂

    • irisabbey
      March 12, 2014 at 12:10 pm (8 years ago)

      Thanks so much, Melanie. My husband and I are mad hatters as we try to get ready for the first market. Congratulations on your reupholstered chair being recognized — pretty much everywhere. You did a great job on it. I had to laugh yesterday when I read your post about the dollhouse / birdhouse / bathouse / whatever. I had no suggestions. Have a super week.

  4. Kim
    March 12, 2014 at 12:44 pm (8 years ago)

    I checked my button to wow us wednesdays and it goes back to your blog and not to mine. Just reload and join the party again. Thanks

    • irisabbey
      March 12, 2014 at 8:14 pm (8 years ago)

      Kim, thanks for calling my attention to this. I tried to fix it, tried again and again, all while our big male cat meowed impatiently at me. Finally I brought my son into the mix and he fixed it immediately.

    • irisabbey
      March 12, 2014 at 9:03 pm (8 years ago)

      Kim. The button was still giving us trouble. It was linking us back to your masthead page with a message that it won’t go farther. I solved that by linking to a printed “Wow Us Wednesday.” Ann Marie

  5. Cindy
    March 12, 2014 at 1:55 pm (8 years ago)

    Gorgeous! Such an amazing transformation, and I love the colors you chose! Thanks so much for sharing at AMAZE ME MONDAY…

  6. Babs
    March 12, 2014 at 2:09 pm (8 years ago)

    Wow, you really gave the chest a fresh, new look. . “She’s” gorgeous. Love the idea of stenciling the inside of the drawers.

  7. Christine
    March 12, 2014 at 5:05 pm (8 years ago)

    Hi Anne Marie, thanks so much for leaving me a sweet comment on my blog Little Brags (the front porch post with the moss accents). I tried to reply to your comment directly but you came up as a non reply blogger (Google glitch). . Love your transformation here, wonderful job! Christine

  8. Ricki Jill Treleaven
    March 12, 2014 at 5:43 pm (8 years ago)

    How adorable! I love the lotus flower, and I think the Paris gray is such a pretty color.

    • irisabbey
      March 14, 2014 at 3:36 pm (8 years ago)

      Thank you so much for the wonderful news. This is shaping up to be a terrific Friday, in large part because of you.

  9. Suzan
    March 14, 2014 at 9:02 pm (8 years ago)

    Just Gorgeous – and worth all the hard work if this was the end result !
    Hugs from a FROZEN NEIGHBOR in Montreal – although you’ve got a lot
    of freezing fellow countrymen right now too LOL

    • irisabbey
      March 14, 2014 at 10:17 pm (8 years ago)

      Suzan, thanks so much for your kind words. They mean a lot because I know you do beautiful work. In fact, I just signed up for your blogs via email. Have a super week!

  10. dadriscoll
    March 14, 2014 at 10:43 pm (8 years ago)

    So pretty! I love the surprise color inside too along with the RDS stencil. I’ve had really good luck with D. Lawless Hardware too!

  11. Good Time Charlie
    March 20, 2014 at 3:28 pm (8 years ago)

    Wow, what an absolutely gorgeous makeover. Thank you so much for sharing at Redouxinteriors!

    • irisabbey
      March 20, 2014 at 8:30 pm (8 years ago)

      Thank you, Karen, for your generous comments. Your opinion means a lot to me because you are amazing! Ann Marie @ Iris Abbey

  12. crissaclark
    April 8, 2014 at 1:57 pm (8 years ago)

    So sophisticated and elegantly chic…….beautiful

  13. Helen
    April 11, 2014 at 11:24 am (8 years ago)

    This is amazing! I particularly love the inside of the drawers 🙂 I’ve mentioned your transformation on my blog ( this morning as part of my ‘Weekend Inspiration’ post – I hope that is OK! I look forward to seeing your future makeovers! 🙂

    • irisabbey
      April 11, 2014 at 1:03 pm (8 years ago)

      Helen, thanks so much for mentioning the Iris Abbey Serpentine. I am so grateful for your kind words, and I will check out the other beautiful pieces you posted. I will now be following your post — I see some similarities in us. I worked with university students for many years, teaching and in administration, and did (do) some writing. I look forward to hearing about your adventures, big and small.

  14. irisabbey
    March 14, 2014 at 2:59 am (8 years ago)

    Thanks so much for featuring my Serpentine Chest. You made my day!


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