I found this pharmaceutical cabinet years ago at a junk shop in Connecticut for $300. It’s from the 1870s, I believe, and came from an old pharmacy on Greenwich Avenue. There are actually two pieces to it: a glass cabinet on top with three bays and a base with six. Both were in pretty bad shape. The interior
surfaces of all the bays were caked in peeling yellow paint, but on
closer look, I realized they had actually been lined in zinc to prevent
pharmaceutical chemicals from rotting the wood. The old wavy glass was
still in tact, plus it had all its original brass and copper hardware.
I knew there was going to be a ton of work involved, but I really thought it had potential to become something great.
With my Grandfather’s help, and over the course of a good month and a half, we stripped all the yellow paint, then cleaned up the hardware, realigned the doors and polished the wood with butcher’s wax. Check out the final result!
Now that the paint is gone, the zinc really shines through. There’s a beautiful, industrial quality to it that I love, especially paired with the rich mahogany veneer of the wood. And even though this cabinet looks quite large, it’s actually only twelve inches deep. Just the right size for my New York City apartment!
It really is the perfect piece for holding so many of my collections, including
glass compotes, French porcelain soup tourines and stacks upon stacks
of beautiful ironstone platters. I even keep all my antique linens neatly folded in the drawers. That way, whenever I’m setting a table, everything I need is close at hand. So until I have a house of my own with a proper butler’s pantry, this cabinet will do just fine.