Before & After: Brasilia in the Bedroom

I’ve always designed my home around the idea that if you love something enough, you’ll find a place to put it. While this usually works out, my reckless buying of large furniture pieces sometimes means that something loved has to go out so something more loved can come in. Such is the case with the recent acquisition of an amazing dresser—throwing my bedroom in chaos. Today I’ll give you the private tour and show you how everything turned out.

The design of my bedroom has always relied heavily on color. Seven years ago, I moved in with a collection of furniture and accessories that had grown in an unplanned fashion. A 1930s waterfall dresser and 1920s sofa table from my grandparents, a mission headboard rescued from an abandoned house, 1970s gold brocade drapes, a mid century light fixture and a brand new bedspread in brown and champagne tones; the only common thread between them was a color scheme of rich leathery tans, yellows, gold and brown. Despite everything being from dissimilar eras, the saddle tan wall color made everything work.

This eclecticism eventually led to any new find that fit the color scheme of the room finding its way in. Mid century pieces like a circular rattan chair and Lane acclaim tables made fast friends with antique photos and luggage. Everything seemed to work—even an antique mantle clock and a mounted fish.

This fish, a $10 tag sale find, hangs above my bed and is a point of contention among the Snag team

Victorian styles commingle with art deco and mid century modern

Although a small room, the vaulted ceiling gives it an interesting shape and creates an alcove above the closet. While most of my neighbors found this feature useless in their homes, it’s the perfect place to put even my most useless of vintage items. This nook is a home to lamps, glassware, cameras, radios, an amazing neon Florsheim shoes sign and a lighted globe, creating an even richer melange of decades.

The alcove has switched outlets for lamps

I was actually quite happy with the design of the room—buying a dresser was never on my mind. I’m curmudgeonly. I don’t adjust well to change and when I do change things up a bit, I go through a little bit of a shock period when I can’t decide if I like it or not. My waterfall dresser wasn’t rare or valuable, but it had sentimental value and it was practical. But when a friend put their Broyhill Brasilia dresser up for sale, I couldn’t resist its lure. I had to have it and, even knowing the angst it might create, I bought it anyway.

Before

After

And I’m happy with the change. It takes awhile to adjust, but the extra storage space in the much larger dresser is very welcome. I also think it makes the room feel bigger and less cramped. The old sofa table was really just taking up a lot of space to hold up a small television and hide some vintage luggage beneath. I always thought it looked cool, but it just wasn’t a practical use of space.

Moving the chair from the window to the door opens up the space—plus it was blocking the only air vent in the room. That was never a good idea but it’s a clue as to how much I’m willing to sacrifice for design I love. So far, the only item that remains homeless is the Seth Thomas clock that used to be on top of the dresser. But, once the Christmas decorations finally come down, I think I’ve got the perfect spot for it elsewhere.The arrangement of items on the dresser and pictures on the wall, however, are going to take some time to get just right.

The new dresser is a must-have piece. Brasilia with its futuristic swoops was fittingly unveiled at the 1964 World’s Fair. It was a runaway success at the time and one of the most sought-after Broyhill designs today.

This particular shape is known as a magna dresser and was made in all of Broyhill’s contemporary designs at the time. Its large, square shape provides three large drawers, two cabinets with dividers and a series of small drawers up the side.

Broyhill Brasilia Magna Dresser

Sometimes it’s just a good idea to trust your heart. The beauty and practicality of this piece were well worth the trouble to change it all out and I know I’ll have it forever. I gave my other dresser to a close friend who I know will take care of it for many years—and I can go visit any time I want.

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2 Comments

  1. Laura
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    I love the Brasilia! That’s my artistic sense, not my sentimental value – but it looks way more lush and gorgeous. I also am fond of the fish. Well done.

    • Austin
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Laura! It’s pretty hard to imagine that dresser looking bad anywhere. Someday I hope to have more space to find matching pieces.

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