Thursday, March 6, 2014


A few months ago I got a group email from a friend who was trying to find a new home for a TV cabinet their family didn't want anymore. I immediately thought my daughter would like it. (Remember she and her family just moved to Michigan). She gave me the go-ahead to claim it for her.

And then she decided that she really didn't think she could use it.

I didn't think I wanted it, because, you know, we are getting rid of stuff, not accumulating stuff. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized this cabinet could be just what we need to replace the cheap, open bookshelves we have had forever. (Not that there is anything wrong with cheap, open bookshelves. Ours were just looking super worn and sad. And very old.)

Once we got it home I realized this was going to be perfect!

Our friend made this while he was in high school. It is oak and heavy and really well constructed. 

Holy cow. We had him autograph the back - He may be famous some day. 

Such a great armoire!

I have always wanted an old armoire. They are so versatile and full charm.

This thing is deep. Remember when TVs were huge and you needed a big furniture to fit them? Luckily, I didn't want to use it for a big old TV.

But, it needed just a little tiny bit of help to make this a little more "us".

First up - a layer of paint. 

The stained oak with brass handles was very popular and such a great look for the 80s and 90s. I probably would have loved it then, too. But I want to make it look like it's been around a lot longer than that.

After one coat.

And the second coat.

See the edge of the bookshelf on the left there? Sorry I didn't take a full on photo. You will just have to believe me that they are a wreck.

Looks so different already! I just love painted furniture.

And, now it's a different color.

I got this great color at Lowe's. I tried to get a sample photo of it, but I could not figure out how to get just a photo of the color. 

But you can see it is a muted blue-gray color that I thought would be pretty terrific. And it is.

I wanted it to look like it's been painted several time over the years. So that is why I did the two coats of white first, and then the two coats of the blue-gray. I could have gotten really crazy and done even more, but I was getting a little too anxious to put this thing to work.

I actually made this color into chalk paint, following this tutorial.

Chalk paint finish is very matte, which means it has no shine at all. In fact, it almost looks powdery. It is such a cool finish for something that you are trying to make worn and loved. And it distresses really well. If you want to sand the edges and scuff something up a little to make it looked a little bit aged, this is a great paint for that. Straight latex paint sometimes peels instead of sanding off in a more natural looking way.

Can you see that edge there? See the white paint peeking out a little? Just what I wanted.

Another great thing about distressing a piece, besides the awesome patina you can get, is that you don't have to worry about future scuffs and scratches. Any natural wear just adds to the charm!

Got the doors and drawer fronts all painted up, too.

(Another accidental shot of the book shelves that will soon be in a garage sale.)

I dropped this door while prepping it. See the little crack at the joint? The door is put together so well that it didn't even loosen, but it did add a little character when the paint cracked. So glad I don't have to freak out about that imperfection. In fact, I like how that happened.

When using chalk paint, a wax rub is a great idea to get a protective coat. This wax is clear, but there are darker ones that looks like a light stain that also add a cool subtle, antique-y look.

But here's how the clear looks. Just brings out the color a little, kind of like when a plain rock looks a little fancier when it gets wet.

You just swirl the wax around with a rag, and then buff it with a soft cloth. Piece of cake.

The one on the left is waxed. See the difference? It's nice and subtle. 

You can see how the light reflects off the waxed finish. The wax makes it look done.

Hero cut a board for one more shelf. Clearly not the same caliber of wood - oak versus particle board.  But since I am painting it and putting it behind closed doors, it works just fine for us.

Something else that really helps in creating a different look is new hardware. I found these awesome knobs at Hobby Lobby - 50% off, of course.

(I kept the same hinges - just painted right over them. No big deal.)

All done. I love it! 

Looks really different now

And it holds a ton. I got everything in plus a little more. 

We love it.

Thanks Matt and Stacie.

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