antique german wardrobe

Marian ParsonsAll Things Home, Antiques, Favorite Finds, Guest Room, My House, Room Makeovers53 Comments

Before I share the wardrobe, I have to confess that I have been completely distracted by my obsession with my upcoming trip to France and Italy.  I very rarely use the word obsessed about anything, but it’s true.  I have been engrossed, consumed, and beset with all things having to do with this trip.  It’s where my daydreams drift and what I’m reading about and the topic of my phone calls and what I’m thinking about when I’m shopping or cooking or painting.  The future beyond the trip is just a small blip on my radar right now.  Everything else is about creative workshops in Barga and leather shopping in Florence and museums in Paris.

So, you have to just give me some latitude…

I do have something non-trip related to share today, though.  Remember the antique German wardrobe I found at Gold Rush a couple of weeks ago?  Well, it was delivered yesterday!    In a nutshell, one of the big pieces on my shopping list was a wardrobe for the guest bedroom.  I’ve been looking for one for almost a year and haven’t found anything that was just right.  Everything was either too big, too small, not the right shape, not the right style or era or tone of wood.

I didn’t find anything at Gold Rush that was even close until I spotted an antique Swedish secretary desk.  It wasn’t a wardrobe, but it was just the style I wanted.  I spoke with the vendors and they happened to have a wardrobe that was just what I had been looking for.  It is a beauty…

(Don’t mind the sliders under it.  We used them to move the piece into the house and I haven’t removed them, yet.)

It is an 1800’s wardrobe from Germany with original mustard paint, applied in a “faux finish” wood grain pattern.  The size and shape are just right for this room, so it fills up the space, but doesn’t overwhelm it.

The interior is pretty impressive, too.  The configuration is just what I was looking for.  It has hanging space on one side (either with pegs or a dowel), shelves on the other, and a drawer underneath.  This gives all sorts of storage options.

You can see it’s held together by square wooden nails and hand-cut joints.  And, the best part is that it’s solid as a rock.  Some of these really old pieces can be rickety, but this doesn’t even have the tiniest shimmy.

It even had as a key that still works the lockbox inside.  You can see this wasn’t the original hardware, but it’s still old.

I’m excited to finally have this big piece in place, so I can start giving this room some attention.

Of course, I’m planning on painting the walls, but I’m just not sure what color, yet, or if I might try some starched fabric or wallpaper or some other treatment.  I am also planning to give the bed a makeover.  I am still in love with this bed, but I’d like to paint the frame and reupholster the head and footboards to bring in more color and pattern.


These end tables are also not filling the space well, so I’m going to swap them out with a small dresser on one side and a desk on the other.

And, of course, that “boob light” is coming out.  Next week, one of my “dad projects” will be installing this chandelier I bought at Junk Bonanza this spring.  It’ll make a big difference in this space.

Of course, I’ll add curtains and art on the walls and a lot more personality, but the big pieces are in place and I have a general idea of the direction I’m heading.

antique german wardrobe

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53 Comments on “antique german wardrobe”

  1. WOW! That is a real beauty! What a wonderful piece you’ve acquired… this room is going to be gorgeous.

  2. I love that wardrobe! Can you tell me where you bought the bed though? Its exactly what Im looking for!

    1. It’s the Vienne bed from Restoration Hardware. This exact one isn’t available any longer, but they do have similar beds. Just watch for sales!

  3. It is so lovely! And it blends in with that beautiful quilt so well too. You were so wise to wait till you found the perfect piece!

        1. Marion is an intelligent and wise woman who shares her decorating choices fearlessly for the purpose of self-expression and to promote her business. I never understand when commenters attack other readers as though she is a child who needs protecting. It’s part of the fun to (kindly) share differing opinions!

  4. You just never fail to delight me with your finds. Your new armoire is simply gorgeous and how beautiful is finding a piece that you don’t have to do anything too.

  5. Oh wow, I love how this room looks!! I truly enjoy reading your blog. Would you mind sharing where you purchased the lamps on the side tables? Thank you!!

  6. Wow, Marian, your 1800’s wardrobe is lovely. So glad that you found it! Your chandelier is going to look so pretty in your Guest Room, too!

    Enjoy your weekend!

  7. You are my spirit animal! Love love LOVE the wardrobe! I too am finishing my house and looking for just the right pieces for this room and that. I love following your blog, please don’t ever stop!

  8. Congratulations on your find! I can see how it finishes the “furniture finding” part of that room. (But doesn’t the room already have a closet?)

    I’d love to learn more about the mustard finish—what it is, how to identify it, how to take care of it, if there are any variations.

    1. It actually has a small room that counts as the closet, but it doesn’t have any hanging rails or shelves. We added wire shelving and I use it as a storage room. This wardrobe gives guests a place to put their stuff. My mom likes to unpack, so she’ll like this. 🙂

      Oh, and if you look up “antique grain painted furniture” you’ll find a lot of examples. It was a popular technique in the 1700-1800’s to make a piece look like a more desirable variety or color of wood. We even saw it used on the doors in Monticello!

  9. Oh my gosh, Marian, this is the most beautiful piece you’ve ever brought home! Can’t wait to see the completed room when you’ve made all the changes.

  10. The wardrobe is so beautiful and perfect on the inside too. I’m having some serious pangs of envy (over the chandelier, the chair and the bed too)! It will be fun to see what magic you work on this room, which I imagine will be sometime after your trip when you’ve come back down to earth.

  11. I love the wardrobe. I also love the quilt on the foot of the bed. Can you share where you got it? Love the color.

  12. I am reading your post while on a tour leaving Munich on my way to Italy. We started in Paris and will be ending in Rome with several days in smaller cities including Venice and Tuscany. I share your excitement and anticipation as I felt the same before we left and this trip has met my expectations and more! I am excited for you. By the way this is my 1st trip to Europe and I am 80 years old.

  13. Beautiful wardrobe. I have a very very old blanket chest and when you open it up it has such a wonderful smell. The top does have a round water stain from a bowl or something but I really don’t care. I bet the person who owned it cared. I bought it in Conn. After fifty something years I still daydream about Italy…………. This trip will change your life forever………….for the best. M.

  14. Would you be willing to share your source for the German wardrobe you bought. It is awesome as was the Swedish secretary. Do they have an online shop? Your guest room is going to look gorgeous when done! I haven’t heard the term “boob” light before….what a hoot! Your antique chandelier will be beautiful. I love your bed and would hate to see you change it but “knowing” you whatever you do to it will be perfect! I love your style.

  15. Still thinking about the Swedish Secretary and wonder about its possible availability. Would also be interested in knowing the vendor and contact info. if available. Thank you! This truly is a lovely piece, combining beauty and perfect function for your room!

  16. Anne M Anzil, if you like the bed, check out American Signature furniture store, we recently bought a bed similar, maybe even more amazing. (sorry I am very partial to our bed, Lol), it’s the Regents Park King Bed. Would love to know what you think.

  17. Love the wardrobe! Please give me the name of where you purchased it. Would love something similar. Thank you.

  18. Your wardrobe reminds me of the shranks, pronounced shrunks, that my grandmother had in her home when I was a child. Hers were not painted but we’re finished oak or walnut? She used them for storage. When I lived in Germany as an Air Force “brat” I learned that the German people paid taxes on each closet they had in their homes so most homes did not have closets. Schranks were used as closets for clothing and belongings. My great grandparents were from Germany. What I would give to have just one of those shranks!

  19. The wardrobe is a great find! I totally understand being obsessed about your upcoming trip. It will be fabulous especially sharing it with your mom!

  20. I love the shape of that wardrobe, we don’t get a lot of that style of furniture over here in Australia unfortunately.

    I am also doing up a guest room & have found a sweet little Edwardian wardrobe with some lovely carvings & mirrors in the doors, but the colour is a tad dark. I was thinking of painting it but I’m torn as I wanted lighter natural wood so it’s stagnating up in the barn at the moment!

    I was thinking of just oiling it with your hemp oil, but if I changed my mind later & painted it how long would I need to wait for the oil to not affect the paint?

    Of course ideally is best to wait until the perfect thing comes along if you can, as someone else here posted, but opportunities were I live in rural Australia are not as numerous as in the US.

  21. Marian,

    The wardrobe got me on the first picture and then I saw the mustard coverlet in the photo with it and it’s even more beautiful ~ the coverlet brings out it’s true color. Then you opened the doors! What a lovely piece. Starting up a conversation can sure lead us to delightful experiences and finds. It’s beautiful~

    Have an amazing trip with your Mom. I’d be distracted too!
    Stay well, Cynthia

  22. Absolutely love the wardrobe too – just beautiful!
    Also loving the mustard colored bedspread and shams. May I ask where you purchased the spread and shams? I am hoping it is still available.
    Wishing you and your mother a wonderful trip! Lots of pictures, please!😊

  23. Love the wardrobe….and since everyone is asking for info on items in the room, can you share where you got the lamps on the end tables? I love them……….as well as everything else in the room!!!! Have a safe and fun trip abroad:)

  24. That piece was just meant for you to find! Not only does it have the mustard finish, but is German in origin. How perfect for Miss Mustard Seed!
    Can’t wait to see the leathers you find!

    1. No, I think those were added later. I’ll have to examine the bottom to see if I can tell if it even had feet to begin with or if it sat flat on the floors.

  25. Marian,
    Best wishes for a wonderful trip to France and Italy. Your new-to-you mustard painted wardrobe is incredible. All of its interior features make it so versatile to use. Looking forward to the full reveal of the guest room.


  26. LOVE LOVE LOVE the wardrobe . Just gorgeous. The house is looking amazing. Thanks for the inspiration x Janine (Christchurch, New Zealand)

  27. I’ve been searching forever for a gold quilt and shams. Would be so grateful if you could share your source!

  28. I actually have a wardrobe similar to that but very dark wood. I love it, but can’t seem to find a place for it in my home, and I have been considering parting ways with it. I was told that mine came from England.

  29. The wardrobe is stunning, inside and out! So glad you connected with the vendors at Gold Rush. Timing is everything, isn’t it?!

  30. I have a wardrobe almost identical to yours that we bought when we were stationed in Germany years ago. Mine is a traveling shrunk and comes apart into 11 pieces! When we bought a beach house it finally found a place to rest permanently, I hope you love yours as much as we’ve loved ours!

  31. So beautiful Marian!! It is always worth the wait.
    It looks so wonderful with your coverlet.
    And you had me laughing at the “boob light”, I am not sure I ever heard them called that. But the vision will forever be in my mind. The chandelier will look fabulous.
    Have a wonderful trip! Praying for you and your sweet mom all the way.

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