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I found this armoire back in July which I previously posted about and had yet to finish until now – here’s a quick back story on my original idea. My first thought was to create a shabby chic, black and gold armoire for myself. After realizing it wouldn’t fit in my apartment, (I pretty much knew that already) I decided to go back to the drawing board and give it another look. Shabby chic was still the direction I was going in, but this bulky, hard angled piece needed a softer, more neutral look for potential buyers-more of a rustic influence the second time around.

Armiore - Before
Armiore - After

Both mirrored panels were nearly unsalvageable, with a good amount of scratches on them. After I dropped and shattered one, they were ultimately scrapped. I began to fear that the true nature of this soon to be “armoire from hell” was too dark without the mirrors and I had to start over. Previously the black stain worked well because the mirrored panels brought light to the armoire. While the gold Victorian-esque pull handles and crown molding added elegance and detail, they now looked out of place without the mirrors and black stain. Adding anymore black to the piece would have made it even darker and a lighter color for the doors, paneling and drawer faces would have brought out a contrast I wasn’t looking for.

With a pile of vintage pine tongue and groove bead board, some scrapped pallet wood and a can of oil based, high gloss, cream paint, I achieved the softer, more rustic look I envisioned without the mirrors. The warmer tones, custom made pull handles and a glossier sheen transformed the hard angled bulky armoire to something softer and a lot more neutral. I added two vintage brass knobs from my hoarded hardware collection to each door and stayed consistent with brass on the pull handles – though the hinges are still brushed chrome.

Scrap Pallet WoodChopped pallet wood ready to be turned into handles.
Handles Mid StagePull handles mid-stage, sanded and alligned.

Pull handles stained and attached.

Pull handles stained and attached.

I like this piece because of how it evolved into something completely different than I first pictured, all while using salvaged materials. It’s eclectic, though not perfect, shabby chic and unique. It was a pain in the ass using the materials that I did but at the end of the day I created a statement piece from something a person tossed in my dumpster (still wondering why and how they managed to actually put it inside the dumpster).

Side viewA before shot of the side. Lots of water damage on the paneling and was most likely the reason it thrown out.
Side view after. After the damaged paneling was cut out and filled. A tedious but easy fix as an alternative to throwing something away.

Inside the armoire. The piece is compact and not very deep but perfect for hanging nice shirts. The smaller area is a little more than a foot tall and is great for toiletries.

Inside the armoire. The piece is compact and not very deep but perfect for hanging nice shirts. The smaller area is a little more than a foot tall and is great for toiletries.

Like what you see? Visit my website to see more of what I do. Perhaps you have furniture that needs to be seen in a new light.

The Lunch Break Dresser

Since it’s been a little over two years after I found this piece, I think its okay that I tell the truth about this dresser. After a nice lunch at the now closed Channel Café in Fort Point (still not happy about that) with my friend and co-worker Allie Hyde, we drove back to the styleboston office in Southie and parked on M Street behind the building.

It was trash day in late August so I had been keeping my eyes peeled for furniture, as this is the time of year when lots of people toss their belongings they can’t move and find a new rental. It was pouring outside but that didn’t stop me from trying to shove this dresser in my little Toyota which of course, did not fit. I had been gone for over an hour now and the boss lady was not happy, but I decided this dresser was worth getting ripped a new one. I called my sister and told her how much I wanted it and since she is so great, came and picked it up for me in her SUV.

The Lunch Break Dresser 2

Allie and I walked in soaking wet looking not so stylish….Terri just looked at us like WTF and said “really guys, an hour and a half lunch break?” We also had coffee in our hands so that didn’t help, but that’s not the point – the point is I got my new dresser! So yes sitting in a cold office with a pissed off boss and wet pants was totally worth it, sorry Terri.

 

Mid-restoration, after I sanded the drawer faces. We do not endorse Dunkin Donuts - that coffee is not staged, I was just lazy.

Mid-restoration, after I sanded the drawer faces. We do not endorse Dunkin Donuts – that coffee is not staged, I was just lazy.

The dresser was simple and country, with brown shellac and white porcelain knobs. I decided to add a little flair and make it standout with a bold color scheme and oversized knobs. The four small drawers across the top we’re really what caught my eye. A great piece for a guy – the perfect amount of space for socks, underwear and toiletries. I kept the faces of the drawers clear to expose the Pine wood grain while using a slightly tinted polyurethane to enhance the pattern of the grain. To make the drawer faces standout I chose a deep gray-blue for the frame that I felt complimented the small brushed nickel knobs. Ceramic knobs with a cracked emerald glass overlay from Anthropologie were added to the top drawers. Again adding contrast in size, shape and color. The bold colors and fixtures make this formerly quaint, country and feminine dresser a unique statement piece.

Items from trash: brushed nickel knobs, mirror (refinished), plant tray (made from scrap wood), terracotta pot.

 

Items purchased: ceramic knobs, paint.

View more of my creations HERE

dumpster

feeling the pain models do in uncomfortable photo shoots.

When possible I generally stop for any piece of furniture I see on the side of the road. The only time I really force myself to keep driving is if I don’t have time, or the piece won’t fit in my car. My rule of thumb has nothing to do with illegal driving methods because rules behind the wheel don’t apply to Bostonians. With that being said, this piece actually came from inside the dumpster at my apartment – so there was no “flipping a bitch” on Dorchester Ave into oncoming traffic or considerately double parking on Boylston during morning rush hour, for a piece of furniture.

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wireshelf

I found this in the filthy basement of my 100 plus year old apartment. It was lying on the ground next to the foundation where water often seeped through the cracks in a pile of dirt. The size and weight of the “shelf” intrigued me, it was quite thick and on the heavier side which led me to believe it was older. After perusing the Anthropologie website and coming across brackets I loved but would never pay for, this was the inspiration to replicate a similar bracket for less than half the cost.

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Harry Koffman

Take a look into his workshop and think hoarder. Door knobs, broken windows, dressers missing drawers, table tops, pieces of old wood that clearly belong in the trash. Or do they? Because dumpster diving is the original source of all that makes up this heaping mess. Now take a look into the next room; pieces reminiscent of West Elm, Anthropologie and Restoration Hardware. You guessed it, they’re not actually from those stores – they’re from the trash. Harry Koffman has an eye for what others consider to be trash; he sees the potential where others don’t. He’s designed rooms using 100% recycled furniture and accessories, turning bland, boring spaces into works of art that range from historic, to modern to chic. Why does he do it? There’s enough trash in the world today as it is, Harry is a firm believer in recycling and sustainability. His work can be summed up in three words: revamp. restore. re-love.

You can check out his work here at harrykoffman.com or by searching #handymo via Instagram.

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