decorating, furnishing, furniture, secondhand stories

The Cabinet That Used to Be a Clock (We Think)



One of the best things about furnishing the Dream House with secondhand goods is coming across things like this cabinet. We were browsing around an antique mall in a nearby town and came across the old wood cabinet with glass door. The little tag on it said something simple like homemade cabinet. How charming, right?

“Oh!” I exclaimed to Mr. Blandings. “This would be perfect in the guest bedroom. Or maybe in the bathroom. Or someplace anyway!”

We both looked the cabinet over. Yes, it seemed perfect, but we were shopping for seating and tables that day, not wood cabinets. Still, the price was right ($100) and we both agreed that the boxy shape of the cabinet was in keeping with the prairie style of the Dream House.

We walked around the antique mall a little longer and, in the end, decided to bring the cabinet home with us.

013114-cabinet-01When we got the cabinet to the house, it felt like it belonged in this spot in the guest bedroom. In fact, we took it directly from the back of the car, up the stairs and into the bedroom, as if the cabinet itself was telling us where it wanted to live. (The chair, which goes with my mother-in-law’s old sewing table, is sitting beside the cabinet temporarily. We’ll eventually want a more comfortable secondhand armchair in this room.)


It wasn’t until we were cleaning the cabinet and putting it in place that we noticed that it must have been something else in a previous life. Our best guess is that our handsome little cabinet was once a grandfather clock. The shape and size are certainly right for a clock and the glass door would suggest that there were workings inside it at one time. But the big tip off about the cabinet’s original purpose is this:

013114-cabinet-04See that little hole under the door? That’s probably where a key would be inserted for winding the clock.

Whatever the cabinet used to be, we’re very happy with it in its current form. It’s a perfect fit for this room and, like all of our secondhand goods, I love that it has a story. Even if we don’t know exactly what the story is.


The only thing we don’t like is the door hardware. I don’t think the door pull is original to the piece … and even if it is, I’d still like to switch it out with something simpler. Maybe a simple black knob?

I’d like to know the real story behind this piece. I have mental images of a retired farmer fiddling with the old clock in his wood shop. I envision him tearing out the inner workings and adding shelves to turn it into a cabinet. I imagine him proudly bringing it into to the house to show his wife.

“What have you done to granny’s old clock?” she would ask in horror.

“I turned it into something we can actually use,” he would reply.

Days later, they might have dropped it off at the antique mall, the wife disgusted by her husband’s resourcefulness. And the husband disappointed by his wife’s reaction.

Don’t worry, clever fellow. We brought your cabinet to the Dream House and we love it!

— J. Blandings

Images: Mr. and Mr. Blandings

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  • Reply Dave Myhre 01/31/2014 at 10:47 am

    Love the blog! You have made some great changes.

    • Reply Jason 01/31/2014 at 11:00 am

      Thanks, Dave! And thanks for reading. I hope we see you around here on the blog again.

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