Dorothy Draper Espana Chest

September 27, 2010 at 8:26 AM 11 comments

For a couple of years now, I have admired Dorothy Draper’s Espana Bunching Chest in decor magazines and in stylish movies. I believe, the Espana Chest was designed by Dorothy Draper by invitation of the Spanish government to design a collection to raise the profile of Spanish design in the International market. Profile raised; this is a classic piece.

(Dorothy Draper – with such impeccable style.)

I figured that while I could always admire the Espana Chest from afar, it would be a while, if ever, that I could be an owner of such a beauty. There is only one currently listed on e-bay and it is selling for $4,200. There is also one available on ETSY for $1,200, that is in serious need of repair, one of the sides has fallen off.

(Espana Bunting Chest became more of a hot item when featured in SATC movie, Vogue office)

Love the Espana chest, but I can not justify spending that kind of money. However, this past weekend, I went to check out the Candlestick Antique Market. As I was driving around to the flea market entrance, I was looking at the goods through the chain linked fence (instead of looking at the road); I spotted a Draper Espana Chest at one of the booths. Still in the car, not even to the entrance yet, I could not get into the flea market fast enough. I’m surprised I didn’t run anyone over because I was so focused on the chest, I forgot I was driving a behemoth of a car (Land Cruiser Toyota). I parked the car, safely, without hurting anyone and I practically ran to the stand, astounded that I could possibly own a Draper Espana chest!!

(Image via House Beautiful)

Upon approaching the stand in my crazed walk/run, woman on a mission sort of way, I told myself that I would not spend more than $500, which would be in the budget but would mean I would have to sacrifice on other things. But I couldn’t get images of other beautiful homes where Draper chests out of my mind.

(Via Elle Decor)

I made it to the booth and examined the chest while the dealer spoke with another customer. As any other flea market customers approached the chest, I hovered over the Espana with great exaggeration. The dealer finally comes over and says he’s asking $125. I’m nearly lying my entire body over the chest, claiming it as best I can. As nonchalantly as I can, I say “I’ll do $100” as if I didn’t really care all that much for the piece I was now straddling for dear life. The dealer replied, “Well, because I like you, I’ll give it to you for $100” SOLD!!

I literally hear other couples grown as I win out on the piece. Sorry peopes. You have to be on a mission, like mui!

Now there is a catch. Isn’t there always?! It is in poor condition. There are some scratches in the paint but not deep enough where it hurt the wood and the hardware needs to be brought back to its original shine. Luckily, the gold is still in perfect condition. From my research so far, I believe that it is not a fake and the dealer was telling the truth. If it is a rip off, at least I only paid $100 for it.

I do have my work cut out for me and I’m nervous. I don’t want to mess with such a potentially valuable piece. So I may turn to the professionals on this one. What do you think? Do I save money and restore it myself or do I at least call around for some quotes to restore it? I’m thinking I try to figure out if it’s real or a knock off and if it is the real deal get it professionally cleaned up.

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Happy Friday From a Sofa to a Settee

11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. don  |  September 27, 2010 at 11:19 AM

    get it done right, flip it and buy a bunch of other stuff you really want.

    • 2. katecollinsinteriors  |  September 27, 2010 at 10:58 PM

      Great advice from a real estate developer! I think I might hang on to this until it’s really, really valuable and then flip it for one of my kid’s college educations. 🙂

  • 3. Glynnis  |  September 27, 2010 at 1:56 PM


  • 5. Beatrice  |  September 27, 2010 at 3:25 PM

    What a find—I can’t believe your luck. Just hold onto it until you are all moved in. Those little scratches can be covered with a magic marker for the time being. Then when you have your room all together splurge for the professional. I wouldn’t flip it as suggested by Don, I’d definitely keep it.
    You are the best!!!

    • 6. katecollinsinteriors  |  September 27, 2010 at 10:59 PM

      Yes, I was thinking about going the magic marker route temporarily. I’ve never tried it before; I’ll have to see how it goes. I am going to keep it!!

  • 7. Katy  |  September 27, 2010 at 5:13 PM

    This post made my day! What a great find and SO FUNNY. My fave part was: “as if I didn’t really care all that much for the piece I was now straddling for dear life.” I wish I could offer better guidance to your question, but I’m no expert. I just think the piece is beautiful and you should treat it as best you can!

    • 8. katecollinsinteriors  |  September 27, 2010 at 11:00 PM

      Ha ha! I think I gave away that I was going to buy no matter the price. So funny.

  • 9. Carlos Medrano  |  January 4, 2011 at 10:57 AM

    I was surfing and ran into your site. Did you flip it? I am about to update my blog concerning the restoration I did on my draper chest. I do know some woodworking but the botto drawer was warped due to water damage so this was beyond my skills. The restorers did a great laquer job but I chewed them out because they were careless on some other things that should have been taken care of before applying the laquer. It still looks great. So how did it go?

  • 10. julie wood  |  June 21, 2012 at 1:10 AM

    I found one too at an estate sale in California. I only paid twenty dollars not knowing anything about it. After some research I believe mine is real too, though not completely sure. I am not sure if I should sell it or restore it! Any suggestions would be appreciated!


  • 11. Gina @ The Julian Home  |  February 24, 2014 at 5:36 PM

    Hi there! I just ran across your blog while looking for photos of the draper chest. I know this post is a few years old, but it looks like what you have there is a good-looking knockoff. The giveaway is that the front of the chest does not bevel inwards to the drawers. Knockoffs have flat fronts and are not finished on the back. Either way, $100 was quite a score, and good knockoffs are still a rare find. I’m about to purchase one myself and was just looking around to find the going rate. Hopefully you still have it and treasure it!


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