Hundred-year-old Pictures of Painted and Stenciled Furniture

19-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Tuesday, August 4, 1914:  Forgot what I did today.1914-06-35 e

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Since Grandma didn’t write much a hundred years ago today, I’ll share some ideas for stenciling and painting furniture that were in the June, 1914 issue of Ladies Home Journal.

Did Grandma ever paint or stencil a dresser or chair to beautify her bedroom? When I was young I used to enjoy “antiguing” furniture with paint to give it a new look. Maybe Grandma also enjoyed giving old furniture a new look.

1914-06-35 cThe simple pattern on the slats is stenciled in white.

1914-06-35 GWhen painted  yellow and stenciled with a leaf motif in green, a chiffonier makes an attractive piece of furniture.

1914-06-35 dThe washstand can be treated in a like manner.


30 thoughts on “Hundred-year-old Pictures of Painted and Stenciled Furniture

  1. ‘Forgot’ what I did today? I think maybe Helena’s mind was straying to other, more 19 year old things! I dry-brush furniture, and sometimes that can involve stencils. They certainly alter your view of a piece.

  2. I, too, loved antiquing furniture when I was a teenager!!! I still have my aunt’s cedar chest that I did in antique gold paint. It is still lovely today. I am absolutely sure that it would be worth hundreds of dollars if I wouldn’t have removed the finish but…I like it the way it is now!!!

      1. That’s true. And the best part is…my son found another one, in a lot of disrepair, that I can refinish too. All I need now is the time!!! But, I love the way they stay pristine inside. I just love cedar!!!

    1. My daughter bought an old radio cabinet for $1 at a garage sale several years ago. She and a friend refinished it, and it turned out really nice. She’s moved to 3 or 4 different apartments since then, and the old cabinet is still a featured piece of her furniture.

  3. There is a cluster of “painted churches” about two-three hours from here that I made one visit to. I didn’t get enough photos for a post, but I need to go back and get that done. The interiors are beautifully decorated, and much of it is stenciling. The congregations that built them were mostly Polish and Czech, and perhaps a little lonely for the Old Country. They did a beautiful job. One has stars stenciled all over the ceiling.

  4. Silly girl–can’t remember what she did today. I wonder if she forgets to write, and when she picks it up a couple days later, can’t remember. I’m sure her life is fairly busy with regular chores. She does a good job of remembering parties and activities away from home.

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