This little cupboard came into my hands, like most of my projects, without a plan or an idea to go with it. Isn’t that how so much of life goes….
Not knowing what I had bought it for, or how I’d revamp it, it lived in our garage until one day recently. A new client was looking for extra storage for her daughter’s room. I suggested several storage solutions but none suited her until I sent a picture of my little cabinet. When I look back at pictures, I’m rather surprised at my client’s excited response to it, telling me she thought it was perfect, because it didn’t look like much. I guess she somehow saw the potential I had seen in it…
It kinda looked like it came from a haunted house, but there was just something about it… So, I grabbed my sand paper and got to work giving it an overall light sanding to scratch up the surface. I primed it, painted several layers of white and finished it off with two coats of varnish (especially since it would be handled by little hands quite a bit). Between each layer, I waited a few days to make sure the paint dried well.
As one of the handles was broken, All six of them needed to be replaced. I tried out small white porcelain handles that I’d taken off of my entrance dresser (featured in another post). Things were starting to take shape but my cabinet didn’t have much character yet, it wasn’t very playful looking.
I decided to paint the interior to give it a little punch and a bit of a surprise, when the cabinet doors open. As I used chalk paint, I only gave the interior a light sanding.
I liked the result but as this is a child’s cabinet, it needed to be more fun. Off i went to hunt for storage bins and perhaps a little paper to line the back of the cupboard with.
I found two clear containers for the bottom compartment and four little baskets for the upper cabinets (baskets and containers are a must for storage of little figurines, Barbies and Barbie clothes). When it came to the paper, all I could find was a pretty gift bag which would do the job beautifully. Also, I felt that different handles would give the cabinet more punch so digging into my stash I went once again. I came up with old kitchen cabinet door handles.
I liked the accent paint colour and gift bag lining although the door handles still weren’t quite cutting it…. in the above picture, they don’t look too bad but in real life, the gold was just too bright and shiny. Back into the garage I went, hoping to find something else (it really is quite astonishing that I somehow had so many handle options… I really don’t know how that happened…)
Although it doesn’t show so much in the photo, it seems the white paint brought out the old wooden door’s imperfections and made the cabinet look really plain- less haunted but plain… I decided I would look for some trim to add rectangles on the doors for some dimension.
At the store, I first found some vinyl tile backsplash imitation which I decided the cabinet NEEDED (in the picture above, you see half of it installed). But after searching high and low, I didn’t find moulding. I decided to try little craft panels instead (that’s what they had). I painted them a quick coat of white paint and taped them into place to see. The panels looked heavy and awkward. I’d have to go to the hardware store as I should have in the first place, to buy a little moulding (I’m sure the panels will serve me for another project).
At the hardware store I bought one length of baseboard trim moulding. I figured out the dimensions, loosely measuring the space I wanted to place them in. I cut the mouldings with my hand saw and miter box (to create the 45 degree angles for the corners) and taped them into place to see. Along with the new handles (that I’d previously bought for a few dollars at a second hand shop), now I knew I was on the right track, the cabinet in my opinion, was starting to look less plain).
I glued and nailed the mouldings with short little nails, then covered the top of these with gap seal (after pushing them in a little with a hammer and nail punch). I then primed and painted the new additions 🙂 although the handles were kind of oversized, I felt they added a touch of whimsy, making the piece look more fun. I was excited.
But now…. the counter didn’t seem quite right and clashed with the beautiful gift bag interior of the cabinet interior I felt. That’s the thing… sometimes when you embark on a journey into modifying things, there’s a bit of a domino effect and you end up changing everything…
I like the countertop but not with the gift bag interior. I started debating whether I should do something to modify it or not… I wanted something to coordinate better with the patterns on the gift bag cupboard interior I decided.
Back to the hardware store, I went, to consider my options. After a little debate, silver sparkle paint is what I chose (more neutral and not too much contrast with the white). I taped up the cabinet so the whole thing would not be painted with sparkles, cleaned the surface well, sanded and primed it and then painted layers of sparkle paint, followed by floor varnish. In the sun, it now sparkles 🙂
Then… one of the upper cabinet doors fell off, onto the garage floor. This cabinet was starting to give me a run for my money! Of course this sort of thing can happen when you’re working with second hand stuff. Therefore, it is a must to arm yourself with patience and persistence to find design solutions as well as practical ones when needed (gotta flex them creative muscles). At least it didn’t fall off once in my clients hands!
So, I found a simple fix on the net which required glue and match sticks (as the screw holes had become too big with years of opening and closing the doors) (which wasn’t helped by the fact that the cabinet is made of plywood). The glue I used was carpenters glue, which is strong. I cut off the excess piece of the match stick and screwed my hinges back on.
And now, the door is once again solidly attached to the rest of the cabinet and after gluing in the gift bag backing, my cabinet is finally finished!!
And now, it’s perfect for kitchen play…
Or for storage 🙂