Atelier Charivari: Making Old Furniture Look New Again

December 13, 2010

Hello and happy Monday to you! It’s the last big week before the holidays, so I bet lots of you are running around trying to get everything prepared in time. Hopefully you are allowing yourself some blog reading breaks. :) I have something very inspirational to share with you today that came from one of my lovely readers who told me recently about Atelier Charivari, which is a blog but also a shop in Rouen, France that specializes in making old furniture new again and she right, I love the work of owner Soizic Menut! Wow! I feel really inspired seeing how he brought back to life pieces that would have otherwise been passed by at a yard sale, flea market or second hand shop — but when you have a good eye and can see the potential, and if you have the knack and patience for restoring things, then you can do anything.

Atelier Charivari: Making Old Furniture Look New Again

The thing to really look for when you find old furniture is quality — I don’t mean surface scratches or even small dents or missing hardware — that is not a problem. Most of the time, it’s the dents and scratches that add charm but if charm isn’t what you are looking for, you can sand the item down and paint it to look new. What you have to look for, above everything else, is first do you like it (of course) but next, it needs to have good bones — it must be sturdy and made well. Here is a very helpful article that may help you when it comes to choosing quality wood furniture, How to Check Wood Furniture for Quality.

Atelier Charivari: Making Old Furniture Look New Again

Atelier Charivari: Making Old Furniture Look New Again

Atelier Charivari: Making Old Furniture Look New Again

Atelier Charivari: Making Old Furniture Look New Again

Atelier Charivari: Making Old Furniture Look New Again

Atelier Charivari: Making Old Furniture Look New Again

Atelier Charivari: Making Old Furniture Look New Again

Atelier Charivari: Making Old Furniture Look New Again

This above is exactly the dream cabinet that I am on the prowl for, I want this cabinet so badly because it has four doors and shelving inside so that I can store all of my fun crafty things in — I could get organized and finally empty my boxes — the ones that have been packed since June 2009. Oh yes, gulp is right! I wish they had another or that I could find something just like it and soon — because I want to get my work room finished so badly it really hurts at this point. You know that feeling?

Atelier Charivari: Making Old Furniture Look New Again

Atelier Charivari: Making Old Furniture Look New Again

Metal lockers, metal tables with exposed rivets, wood tables with metal tops, metal bookcases with wood shelves, these are all quite the rage currently, have you noticed? I love this look shown above – mixing metal lockers with old painted furniture. My husband has a wood locker with a metal base and hardware, all in black, where he stores his photo equipment in his office and I love it. It’s my favorite piece in his office in addition to the gorgeous old bookcase he picked up in Berlin that looks exactly like this (only his has ball feet) and the outside is black with a cream interior.

Another tip, when you paint a piece of furniture use the best paint that you can afford. Farrow & Ball is a personal favorite of mine. If you like what you see in these photos, choosing a color from this palette would help you to re-create the look on your own piece of furniture in one day or less!

I love Atelier Charivari and hope you do too! If you are interested in ordering from them and live in mainland Europe, you may contact them if you see something on their blog that you are interested in purchasing.

(images: atelier charivari)


  • Reply Charla Anne December 13, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    soo beautiful and inspiring! thanks for sharing! i love your blog:)

  • Reply Zoe @ A Quick Study Paper Goods December 13, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    Beautiful! I particularly love that metal desk with hutch and open cubbies. These types of posts always give me an urge to dig through Craigslist for a treasure to fix up.

  • Reply Jillian December 13, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    I’m really drawn to all these images…maybe it’s the white and pops of color against the weathered gray backdrop which is so beautiful in its own right. I am a huge fan of the slightly industrial metal pieces that you showed in the last two photos and have been for a long time. For me, they evoke a sense of nostalgia. I look at those lockers and am immediately transported back to the locker room at my grade school (whether that’s good or bad!).

  • Reply Justina December 13, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    Upcycled stuff is kinda my thing, and it it rare to so old things made new with such care, simplicity and attention to detail. What beautiful things!! I also love the styling of the photos with all the different garlands. Very inspiring. Thanks Holly!

  • Reply Ele December 13, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    Oh, this makes me want to re-furbish some furniture now. I used to do a lot of it in highschool (when I had my parents’ big garage and driveway at my disposal), but working out of my teeny London flat makes certain kinds of DIY a bit unlikely! My favourites here are the industrial metal pieces- I like the contrast they’d have with girlier soft furnishings.

    I’m with you on Farrow & Ball, Holly. I think my Mum is slowly painting her entire house with it. Last time I went home, my old bedroom was painted Theresa’s Green, and very lovely it was!

  • Reply jenn December 13, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    These are beautiful pieces! I really admire the talented people who choose to save furniture … it’s so inspiration, and I’m slowly learning to do the same in my home!

  • Reply franzi December 13, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    the cooolouurs!!! i’m in looooove! :)

  • Reply Nix December 13, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    How perfectly sweet!
    I have been wondering for a while now what brought the buntings into such full swing in decor & accessories.

    The open pastels with rustic touches is very enchanting as a change up for the usual bright palettes with children’s rooms.

  • Reply laura evans December 13, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    stunning … love the clean whites & simplicity with the bright tones! i want me some!!

  • Reply samantha hahn December 13, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    omg, I want to live in those photos. That furniture is so lovely.

  • Reply rachel! December 13, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    yes yes yes

  • Reply Monica December 13, 2010 at 11:40 pm

    Love the nursery furniture.

  • Reply kat December 14, 2010 at 2:48 am

    Love the little light garland in the last picture. Where can I get it from???!!!!

  • Reply Monique December 14, 2010 at 5:15 am

    I love, love the metal lockers…I’ve always wanted a set of metal lockers.

  • Reply Danielle December 15, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    I am all about making old furniture look new again! And I prefer Farrow and Ball as well, the only issue is their limited color pallet. I also love the fact that their paint is and has been zero VOC, although not their oil based paints. Which finish do you use??

  • Reply mer December 27, 2010 at 7:44 am

    OK, but every picture in this post is SO dreamy, SO me. Thanks Holly!

    Merry Christmas!

  • Reply ANA June 8, 2011 at 12:53 am

    This is the first time thah I see your blog!!! I love your update!!
    I’ll follow you ,visit me also *

  • Reply Lauren January 29, 2013 at 11:29 am

    I would love to know if and how you refurbished the lockers. I have just purchased three and have read that you should first sandblast them and then paint or spraypaint. Please help.

  • Leave a Reply

    Scroll Up