Graphite Barrister Bookcase For Sean

A few months back I had the pleasure of meeting a great guy named Sean.  He's a very accomplished Chef and is an old soul in a young man's body.  Sean and I shared a love of vintage furniture.  He had acquired quite a few great pieces of antique furniture for a young guy.  Sean was in the process of updating his decor from antique to modern.  He needed to part with a few things, but he had one piece in particular he didn't want to part with a barrister bookcase.  He proposed a trade.  If I redid the bookcase for him he would trade me two fantastic antique pieces.  I jumped at the opportunity to work on this cool bookcase and get some great furniture at the same time.

Here is the bookcase before.  It had some veneer damage and needed some TLC, but was in good shape.

This is with the glass doors up.  The doors pull up and sit at the top of the shelf.  They have very interesting hardware that makes this possible.  I had never seen anything like it before.  It's an amazing piece of furniture.

I needed to fix one of the glass door with wood glue a clamp and some fill.  I was so nervous about breaking the glass!!

I had to remake this corner with wood filler.  I put a little on and kept building it up until I could 'sculpt' it into a new corner.  It turned out great when I was done.

I started with the top that had a lot of water stains on top from glasses, etc.  Sean used this piece as a bar which I thought was genius!  I gave the top a good sanding to make sure it was nice and smooth.

Then the rest of the repair work started.  There was a lot more repairing than I had planned for, but it wasn't a problem.  Just took lots of wood glue and fill.

The color I had suggested to Sean was Annie Sloan Graphite.  He wanted black, but I knew this color would work great.  I was trying to go for an aged metal look, almost zinc or steel that had patina.

This is the top with 3 coats of paint, a coat of clear wax and a coat of dark.  I ended up putting 3 coats of dark wax on in total to get the look I was going for.  This isn't the finished product.

The cool thing about this bookcase is it comes apart.  It was much easier to work on that way.  We had decided to not paint the inside because there are numbered labels or certificates on the back of each shelf.  I decided to just wax them.  I gave each shelf on the inside a coat of clear and a coat of dark wax.  A couple of the shelves were really thirsty so they got more :-)

This is the Graphite with no wax.  It's a very flat and uninteresting paint without the dark wax.

This is the base of the bookcase just about done.  

2 coats of Graphite, a coat of clear wax and finished with a couple of coats of dark wax to get the look I was going for.  Picture doesn't do the color justice.

SOOOOOO, I had the Hubby help me move all the pieces out to my photo spot and quickly staged the bookcase and took pictures.  I thought I was done, until I stepped back and realized that because the bookcase was all different pieces and not done at the exact same time, the top and base had less dark wax on them.  I was thankful it was only the top and the base that had to be fixed.  So back they went into the garage so I could put more dark wax on and buff them. 

Sean came to pick up his bookcase a couple days later and thanks to my Hubby who graciously moved it back to the tree without me asking I was able to snap some VERY quick pictures.   I didn't have enough time to stage the pictures, but It's pretty on its own. I'm very happy with how it turned out and so is Sean!

I love this bookcase and so did my Hubby.  He didn't want to let Sean take it home!

This was a lot of fun to work on!  Sean is one of those people with a magnetic personality and that helped make the process even more fun.  It's a gorgeous piece of furniture that I wish I didn't have to give back, but I know he was happy to have his 'baby' back :-)

I've met so many amazing people on my furniture journey!  I count myself lucky to have the opportunity to leave my 'mark' so to speak in someone else's home.  I have lots more projects on the list that need to be completed and can't wait to share them with you!

Thank you for reading!



  1. Melody - this piece is so handsome. WOW!!

  2. This is absolutely gorgeous! I really love it.

  3. Oh wow! I love it. How fabulous! Amazing as always

  4. Melody! I am so lucky I met you! You are such a lovely person and sometimes things are meant to happen that way, we can be lifelong friends :)

    The bookcase is beyond beautiful and I would recommend everyone do this to their favorite piece before trying to get rid of it! It has another hundred years of life in it now.


    Chef Sean

  5. I love how it turned out. I have an unopened can of dark wax that is starting to call my name now. I do have a couple of questions, do you put the wax on and let it sit before you buff it. Or do you buff it right after you put it on? I'd love to see how you get your beautiful finishes.

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