The Mad Men Credenza

I’ve been scouring my typical sources for furniture deals like a crazy person looking for a way to scratch an itch. If I don’t have a project to work on I start to get antsy. After being beat out on not one but two antique empire dressers and finding deals way too far outside a reasonable driving distance, I finally snagged this mid-century credenza. The seller was, amazingly, willing to negotiate on price and was a leisurely Sunday-afternoon drive away.


I haven’t done a mid-century piece before and I was excited to try my hand at the style. A few months ago I finally watched Mad Men and really enjoyed the meticulous attention to era-specific details in decor, furniture, and fashion. While it isn’t my personal style of choice, I really appreciate the clean lines, bold patterns, and bright colors.

I knew there was water damage to the top of the credenza when I purchased it, but it wasn’t until I got it home and inspected it that I realized the extent of the damage. The composite material was disintegrated and rotten in one corner and the fine veneer was unsalvageable in 3 places. After a little research, I got to work removing all damaged veneer and digging out all the disintegrated material.

the top view doesn’t quite show just how swollen and warped that back corner was

Whenever I say “I was impatient so…” my husband always laughs and responds, “You? Impatient? Who would have guessed?” I guess I have a problem. If I’d done a little more research I’d have learned of a product called Wood Hardener made by Minwax that would have been great to apply to the damaged wood before patching with wood filler. But I’m impatient. After layer upon layer of wood filler and tons of sanding, I finally had a fairly smooth surface. With the water damage being as extensive as it was there was little to no chance of completely restoring the top, but I at least made it functional and the damaged areas are barely visible.

I mixed a custom deep navy using 2 parts Country Chic Paint “Midnight Sky” to 1 part Country Chic “Liquorice” for the top and sides. After 2 coats I had a lovely dark, rich navy that complimented the gorgeous wood on the doors, drawers, and legs.

The wood had some minor scratches and fading that disappeared with a quick wipe-down with Howard’s Restore-a-Finish. Let me tell you what…this stuff is MAGIC. With hardly any effort at all the wood looked like new. Go buy some right now!

For a final touch, I ordered some mid-century modern style paper from Spoonflower to line the insides of the doors. If you aren’t familiar with Spoonflower, go check them out! The navy, wood, original brass knobs, and patterned paper all work together for the coolest mid-century modern look.







2 thoughts on “The Mad Men Credenza

  1. You did a very good job on this, keeping the piece true to its period. I recall my mother-in-law’s furniture having legs like these.

    In fact, most furniture made during the late 1950s and early 1960s had this kind of legs. This looks so much like my older sister’s

    very fashionable at the time record cabinet which housed her large collection of 78s and 45s.

    Keep up the good work!


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