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1951 Lighted Planter and Shelf Unit Restoration

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1951 Lighted Planter and Shelf Unit Restoration

Mel and I saw a really cool formica cabinet for sale in S.F. that matched our office desk, so we shot over there to pick it up. We met a really nice couple who had lived in their home for many years. They had a lot of really cool items they were trying to get rid of because they were moving to Hawaii. Mel and I noticed this lighted planter and shelf unit right when we walked in, and it was love at first sight!

This couple took possession of this shelf unit from an elderly asian lady who used to own the whole building. When she passed, her family didn’t want any of her possessions, so they ended up with it.

Mel and I are big fans of multipurpose furniture. I love the design of this shelf unit and the planters push it over the top. Another cool feature is that the lower planter has a light above it. When lit, it gives the lower planter an aquarium feel.

The first step to restoring anything it to dismantle it. This shelf unit has two mirrors that flank each side of the lower planter. When I removed them, I noticed that on the back of the mirrors they had a stamp and it said…

I assume this fantastic piece was produced sometime around July 12, 1951 because of that stamp. After I broke the unit down, I started the long process of sanding, repairing and painting the piece. Here is the result…

I decided to keep the original black color scheme. I changed the red color of the shelves to aqua because I wanted to introduce more aqua into our decor. I also painted the removable planter bins aqua to help accentuate the curve of the shelf unit.

Thank god for artificial plants! I have tried to keep real plants alive, but never manage to do so. Michael’s sells really nice artificial cacti and succulents!

This lower planter throws really nice light and gives the room a pleasant atmosphere when turned on. Our house is just under 1800 sq ft, and being that we are antique dealers/collectors, we are at capacity. This is one of those pieces we will have to make room for.

Now we have to find some smalls we can place on each shelf.

We will always be looking for pieces similar to this. Not to long ago we found another planter cabinet that we use in our laundry room.

Below is the cabinet we originally drove out to get. I added the hairpin legs to give it a more atomic feel.

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