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White Trash Treasure – Duncan Phyfe Table

Duncan Phyfe Table

I believe that many items you find on the side of the road, at thrift stores or estate sales are hidden treasures waiting for a bit of TLC. Just because they are worn out, painted a non-trendy color or have not been properly cared for, doesn’t mean they are trash. In particular, if it is something that would be pretty painted white, white-washed, bleached, or will simply have it’s value changed by improving it in some way, it will be featured as a “white trash treasure” here on CoziNest. It’s going to be such fun.

So this week’s trash to treasure feature is this “Duncan Phyfe” round accent table. I purchased it from a lady who didn’t want to “fool with” the worn leather piece on top.

Duncan Phyfe Table

It was easier to remove the leather piece from the top of the table, than I expected. I used a scraper and once I had one edge up so I could get the scraper underneath, it came up in one solid piece.

Removing leather

Scrape from outside-in, all around the table.

leather removed

And here is the top with the leather completely removed.

To Stain or Not to Stain?

I sanded and cleaned the top. Then, after much debate, I decided to paint the table. It was a really hard decision because I love real wood furniture in most stain choices.  I’m not one of those people who paint everything just because it’s the trend of the day. The one stain that I will always paint, is anything with an orange tint. I’ve never seen an orange piece of wood. But, the thought of the brass against a white background is what sold me.

1st coat of chalk paint

Here’s the first coat of  “Rethunk Junk” Chalk Paint in the color, Cotton.

brass hardware

In the picture of the hardware above, you can see that the claw feet were already in good shape. The handle however, was pretty aged. I cleaned it with Brasso and it turned out great!

Rethunk Junk Chalk Paint

So here it is, painted and ready for the top to be completed. I thought of several options.

  • Paint it the same color as the table.
  • Replace the leather.
  • Add a piece of pretty, marble wallpaper and a piece of glass.
  • Have a mirror cut to fit and give it a modern update.


I decided that if I painted it the same color that would just be the easy way out. That choice was also not dramatic enough for this piece. Replacing the leather was not a good idea because of watermarks and the cost of having the leather custom made.

I bought a roll of discounted wallpaper intending to glue it to the top and add a piece of clear glass for easy cleaning. But, once I got the wallpaper out and looked it over, I just wasn’t in love with it… So! What do you think?

duncan phyfe table with mirror


Good choice?

duncan phyfe table

New reflection on an old piece.

phyfe before and after

From trash to white treasure?


Table with Pumpkins

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