Last week, I wrote about a chest of drawers I bought for $50 from the Habitat for Humanity Restore in Waldo that I sanded, whitewashed and varnished with polycrylic.
The last step was to buy 10 drawer pulls. I couldn’t find anything I liked at a reasonable price — I mean, how much do I want to invest in a thrift store dresser? — so I bought eight new silver bin pulls by Martha Stewart that I spray-painted brown. The other two are antiques from Urban Mining Vintage, the First Friday flea market at 3923 Main St. in midtown. (More on them next week.)
I found an identical pair of antique pulls for sale on Etsy.com, where they’re described as Eastlake — Late Victorian bin pulls. They are stamped on the back with “PATd NOV 9 1869.”
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I have to admit that I didn’t know anything about their designer, Charles Locke Eastlake, a British architect and furniture designer. A little research, though, found that a design reform movement was named after him, and he was a proponent of arts and crafts, Modern Gothic and Queen Anne styles during the 19th century.
Eastlake wrote a book published the same year my drawer pulls were patented called “Hints on Household Taste in Furniture, Upholstery, and Other Details,” in which he said decor and furniture should be handmade or created by machine workers who take personal pride in their work.
His designs, which included low-relief carvings that were incisive and geometric, ran counter to some of the popular, fussier Victorian designs of the time. Eastlake intended his decor and furniture to be easy to clean and affordable. Several U.S. manufacturers used drawings and ideas from his book to mass produce Eastlake-style furnishings.
Of the few American homes designed in the Eastlake style, two in the Los Angeles area are known for appearing in popular TV shows and music videos of the lighthearted horror genre. One was in the WB’s “Charmed,” while the other was in Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” music video.
The top two drawers of my dresser bow outward, which runs counter to the straight lines and sharp angles of Eastlake’s designs. So I’m sure there are purists who’d cringe at the combination of the two styles.
What bothers me more is the mix of pulls, so I might swap them all for a couple more Martha Stewart versions and find a new use for the Eastlake pulls. In the meantime, I’m trying to decide what to do with the chest of drawers.