Monday, October 3, 2011

The Cabinet

My friend Shantel asked me to re-do a cabinet for her. I said "heck yes I will!" I love re-doing furniture, especially other peoples because they let me play with the pieces and try new and different techniques and they trust me to make something they will love. Amazing, right? My house is pretty packed full of furniture so I have no real opportunities except through other people. So, I will always accept a furniture challenge!

She dropped off this mission-style, hunter green cabinet. I asked her what she envisioned and she said, "milky blue, glass knobs, maybe some fun harlequin patterns...." My jaw dropped. Did she read my mind??? No problem!

Here's a few shots from my phone of the "before."

I started trying to sand off the dark green paint and ended up looking a little like Oscar the Grouch, covered in green dust. I was sneezing green dust for about a week. And, that paint was stubborn! It didn't want to leave and was starting to congeal under the heat of the sander. Sheesh. Next, I tried my always handy Citristrip paint stripper and again---this paint did NOT want to come off! Some of the paint did exactly as it was supposed to and bubbled and scraped right off. Most of the paint just turned this weird shade of light green and now I had not only a layer of paint but a layer of chemical paint stripper to get off the cabinet somehow. Grrrrr...

So, I broke down and ordered some Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. Rumor has it you don't have to sand or prep your surface at all. I know! This would be PERFECT. So, I ordered away. When the paint came, I used a mini foam roller and applied a layer of Country White to the cabinet. It went on pretty well and I was pleased with the coverage. I'm not going to lie, I used almost the whole quart to cover this piece. I had also ordered a Duck Egg blue and wanted to use that as well. I watered-down this bit so when I sanded down, it would go quickly. Again, I used my roller for the sides and a brush for the trim. It went on nicely and I was pleased.

Then, disaster struck. The unthinkable!!! I used my palm sander and went to town on the sides of the cabinet. Ooooook, not exactly the look I was going for, but maybe the wax would help it look a bit nicer? I broke out the clear wax and applied a layer to the whole cabinet. Then, I took the dark wax and applied it to the sides.
A bad pic from my phone

Ew. Gross. Hate it!

I had to email some people who actually know what they're doing, Sharon from Elizabeth and Co. and Miss Mustard Seed. And can you believe it, they emailed me back! I was so glad, because I was afraid I'd have to pay my friend to keep the cabinet after I had ruined it. Both Sharon and MMS suggested using clear wax over the dark wax to lighten up the dark smudges. Sharon then suggested to even paint over the wax again (you can do that you and MMS suggested using the dark wax just around the edges.

Ok, paint over it??? Really??? Fine. I'll do it. But, I won't like it.

But, I did! I loved it! I watered down my paint and used MMS suggestion of doing the dark wax on the edges and fell in LOVE. Finally! Something going my way!

Now, on to the doors. The top sections had these wood slats glued on and needed to come off. While my brother-the-contractor was in town one weekend, he helped me remove the slats. And a bunch of the wood underneath as well. I had some wood putty and went to work putting the putting into the gouges left by the old glue. The trick with wood putty is being patient enough to apply several layers in between drying times. This is hard for an impatient person such as myself, but the end result was pretty wonderful. Especially after you sand it and paint over it. It's pretty much a perfect fix.
The diamond pattern was hand-painted on by yours truly and I spent two nights sketching the diamonds and then filling them in with the Duck Egg blue paint (That's why they are far from perfect). I don't know why I wanted it to look perfect when I was just going to sand the heck out of it, but I guess that's my OCD personality coming through.

The front door had a 2-hole cabinet handle. And I didn't realize that I didn't need the 2nd hole until after I bought the glass knobs. Sheesh. How could I miss that small detail? Bring on the wood filler again! I squeezed some in there...waited a few hours, went back and squeezed some more wood filler in there....wait, repeat, wait, repeat. And finally! I could paint over those little holes and pretend they never existed.
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The glass knobs were a find from Hobby Lobby. My closest HL is about an hour south of me and one afternoon I told the kids we were going on a road trip! They were NOT thrilled, but after a bribe of suckers and the promise to watch their favorite TV show that night (anyone else's family a fan of Wipe Out?), they were on board with the idea. I found the perfect glass knobs....I love 'em.

 Now, the drawer handles also had a weird width between the holes. I had to find handles that would fit a 2 1/2" width. That's pretty much impossible, let me tell you. I got on Etsy and found these "vintage" handles that said their width was 2 1/2". Perfect! Of course, when I got them they did NOT fit the width I needed. Grrrrrrr. Grrrrrr. But, I was able to make some additional holes and the handles would cover the damage. Yeah! Problem solved.

Oh, how I wish I could have moved this sucker outside for a lovely little photo shoot. There was no way, people! It weighs about 1,114 pounds, I think. Just a rough estimate. But, there was no way I could move that by myself! So, the garage will have to do. Just picture it in front of a lovely green hill or tree, with some fall foliage casually laying on top or inside....see? It's a beautiful photo. Enjoy. 


  1. It really did turn out perfect! So gorgeous. Will you make me one next pretty please? :)

  2. It's gorgeous - you've done a lovely job!

  3. That is fantastic! I know your friend had to be thrilled at how great it turned out!

  4. What a lot of WORK! I'm sorry this project was such a beast, but you'd never know it to look at it now. BTW, I *love* the picture of it outside with all the beautiful fall colors ;-)

  5. Wow, Megan, maybe I will let you all have a cousins reunion at my house next summer. I have a few projects you can do and so everyone how talented you are! Your projects would all look so nice in my home! Your little kids are pretty darn cute, too!

  6. Awesome! Trial and error, email's all part of learning, right? You did a great job, I'm sure she loves it.

  7. This is so beautiful! I'm mildly obsessed with that harlequin pattern right now. I laughed out loud when you said you didn't understand why you wanted it so perfect when you were just going to sand the heck out of it because I spent 3 nights painting the top of my dining room table with that same pattern and then sanded it down so much you could barely see it :o) But it was worth it! Love your cabinet :o) Going to look around at some more of your stuff now!

  8. MEG!!! This is fantastic!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE IT! :)

  9. SO pretty!! Would love it if you would link this up at my turquoise lovin' party going on right now!!

  10. it's adorable and very 'mod scandinavian.' swing by anytime.


  11. So pretty! The color is gorgeous!

  12. ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE!!! Meg, you did such a great job on this. What sweet ladies to email you back and give you tips and pointers with your paint problems. I love the idea of using the dark wax along the edges. Gives a really nice look. I'm going to remember that tip! Thanks for sharing all the highs and lows of this project!

  13. Fantastic! Love the distressing and the color is perfect! Visiting from Domestically Speaking.

  14. She's just lovely now! Found you via Southern Lovely. Toodles, Kathryn

  15. Turned out great!! Amazing!
    Thanks for sharing at Show & Share!!

  16. It looks beautiful! Wasn't it nice that the other bloggers helped out when you ran into a problem? Now, you've helped others with your tutorial. You've inspired me to get going on some old furniture projects I have to do. That blue is really pretty!


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