Are you guys as excited as we are to celebrate the one year anniversary of Plaster & Disaster?!?!? The correct answer is “yes.” A year ago this coming Tuesday we kicked off our co-blogging adventure by making over a pair of thrift store lamps two different ways (you know, because there are two of us) — and so we thought there was no more fitting a way to start our anniversary celebration than with another dual makeover.
Here’s what we shared with you as our first project ever:
We clearly blew everyone away with our incredible talents, creativity, and unyielding sarcasm, and the rest is history.
Today we have a slightly larger project: the two wall cabinets that we salvaged from a science classroom in that school we pillaged last spring:
From the moment we saw these we knew we wanted to each makeover one of them in a different way, and so we did what any reasonable DIYer would do: put them in our basements for 9 months and then finally hauled them out to get cracking.
As is often the case, we both had similar initial ideas for what to do. But we wanted to share two different projects with you, so we had to duke it out. As in, we had to fight over who got to put tapered mid-century legs on theirs. Naomi won out on that fight…shall we see what she did?
OK, Sage may be thinking that I got the better deal (I did get to put MCM legs on mine, after all), but what she’s forgetting is why she gave up that crucial advantage: she got to keep hers natural wood.
When we pulled these off the wall, we were both totally into the nice tone of the natural wood. But, actually, I think painting this thing was totally the right call. The wood – on mine, at least – was in pretty bad shape. There were nail holes all over, and it was covered in splatters and streaks of paint from the school. Here are a few obligatory shots of the damage to appease the “never paint wood” crowd:
However, the inside was in better condition, so I decided to just paint the outside so some of the original wood tone would still be visible.
But first I had to take care of the top, which was unfinished (this was a cabinet intended to hang high on a wall, like we found it). I just slathered on a coat of wood filler and sanded it down to a smooth surface.
It took two coats with sanding in between, and used like a whole tub of wood filler.
It didn’t end up being perfect, but it was a whole lot better.
I also had to fix one of the shelves, which was falling apart. I just gave it a little wood glue and clamped it back together overnight.
As desperate as the bloggesphere is for another wood painting tutorial, suffice it to say that I painted the cabinet. Actually, suffice it to say that I cleaned, sanded, cleaned, deglossed, primed, and painted the cabinet. It took a while.
I used Benjamin Moore’s Advance paint in a satin finish. I tried out this paint before in my makeover of a little set of drawers, where I used it on the inside of the drawers. It dries slowly, but “settles” more like an oil paint to a smooth finish that doesn’t show brushstrokes, and is also a lot more durable than standard house paint, making it ideal for painting furniture. (These aren’t sponsored comments. We don’t do those… I just like the paint.)
I went with a warm, mustard yellow. I’ve always coveted pretty yellow cabinets on pinterest and in catalogs, and this was my shot! To make picking a yellow easy, I went with the same one that I used on all of my interior doors: Benjamin Moore’s Yellowstone. It is a little more muted than the cabinets of my dreams, but I use it so abundantly and recklessly throughout my house that it strikes a good balance.
I also polished up the hardware, which had taken on a gray/green hue, with some steel wool. I had no idea what sort of finish was lurking under there, but it turned out to be a kind of coppery color. Works for me!
And, as Sage mentioned, I got to put adorable little mid-century legs on it! I bought four basic ones from Home Depot, listed as 4″ but really more like 3.5″, but who’s counting.
Aren’t they cute! I eyeballed a stain color to match the wood tone of the inside of the cabinet (Minwax Golden Pecan ended up just about perfect) and sealed them with a coat of poly in semi-gloss. They were easy to attach with their matching top plates, although I did successfully trick Sage into coming over and doing the work on 3/4 of them.
I also convinced Sage (by threatening that we’d be late for dinner if she didn’t help) into putting the cabinet door back on. Doors had fallen off of both of our cabinets while we were
carefully salvaging wildly pillaging them from the school, and Sage had already successfully gotten hers in place. It seemed like it was pretty tricky (it involved a tiny screwdriver) but ended up working out in the end.
I was excited to use this piece in my dining room, where I could certainly benefit from more storage and organization. The spot under my windows was taken up by a long table that I bought for $10 while in college. It was a perfectly acceptable solution, but the open storage underneath made the room always look cluttered.
The paint finish turned out nice and smooth, and I love the color. While it is on all of my interior doors, we actually didn’t have it in the front rooms of the house (the dining room and living room) at all, so this is a great way to tie the whole house together.
It also provides just the kind of storage that I need, allowing the cook books, vases, and wine bottles that were previously jammed into the white built-in to be on display.
And can we talk for a moment about how cute those little legs are? This won’t be news to most people who read blogs, but they are really very cute. All little, and leg-like.
In all, I spent about $45 on paint and legs for my cabinet makeover. (The cabinet itself was free, and I already had stuff like the wood stain and steel wool on hand.) Not bad for a new long-term piece for the dining room!
And now a few more self-indulgent shots demonstrating how much I love my new-to-me cabinet:
Since Naomi won the “put mid-century legs on it” battle, I had to come up with something totally different to do with my cabinet. I actually have plans to use it in my kitchen makeover, but saying “just wait for a few months” didn’t seem like an adequate contribution to this post so I figured I would do something quick and inexpensive in the meantime. My project took a grand total of 60 minutes (including time to run 3 miles) as opposed to the time consuming paint job that Naomi took on, so I think I came out ahead even though she has adorable little legs on hers.
So what did I do that was so fast and cheap? As you know I’m a big fan of mod podging fabric to things — as a way to add color and interest, it’s much less expensive than wallpaper and much quicker than painting. For this project, I decided to decorate the back of my cabinet with patterned fabric and then leave the rest a natural wood tone (the wood is a bit orange-y for my taste so if this were the long term plan I think I would have stripped and restained it…just use your imagination to pretend I put in hard work here).
The only thing I needed was a yard of fabric and mod podge (the mod podge I already had on hand), so the whole project ended up costing just $9.99. The fabric I picked up from Jo Ann’s during a 50% off sale (which seems to be happening every single time I go there):
First I needed to cut the fabric to size to fit in the back of the cabinet. I’d measured the rough dimensions of the cabinet in advance to make sure that one yard would be enough fabric, but I went back and remeasured to get the exact dimensions.
I marked these onto the fabric:
Then I used a straight edge to draw out the dimensions onto the back of the fabric, marking my cut lines with a sharpie.
I knew from my stairwell transformation using fabric that the best way to get a clean edge without any fraying is to first coat the back of the fabric with mod podge and let it dry. It really works like a charm and I highly recommend it. Rather than wasting a lot of mod podge and time coating the whole back, though, I just brushed mod podge along the outline where I would be cutting.
I left it to dry for about 3 miles 25 minutes while I went for a quick run, and then returned to make my cuts. It was super easy with the mod podge creating a firmer cutting surface without any fraying whatsoever.
My only piece of advice is that if you don’t want to drip sweat all over your fabric, you might want to cool down first. Details.
Next I used the mod podge and my foam brush to coat the back of the cabinet. I brushed mod podge on the first 1/3 of the cabinet back, laid down my fabric, and smoothed it out before repeating with the next 1/3 and the next. I worked in smaller chunks like this just to be sure that the mod podge didn’t have a chance to dry before I laid the fabric down.
I was able to smooth the fabric very easily with just my hands, and then once I was done I weighed down the corners with paint cans just to make sure they dried firmly pressed.
I didn’t do much to the outside of the cabinet (since I do plan to reuse it for another purpose down the road), but I did take the time to pry off some excess pieces of trim that had been attached to one side.
The last step was to haul it upstairs and style it for your viewing delight!
Obviously I styled it as a bar because a) bar carts are HOT right now (not as hot as dala horses will be, but still), b) the glassware allows the fabric to remain the star of the show, and c) styling bars is super easy because all you need is a bunch of wine glasses and booze, which I have aplenty. Oh and if you’re wondering about the cork art, I made that a long time ago in our apartment when we had a little bar area, and it’s just been sitting around our house since we moved. It was so excited for its day in the sun.
So, who wore made it over best? Just kidding don’t answer that, we know we’re equally talented and amazing and beautiful.
Make sure to stop by Monday, Wednesday, and Friday next week for more blog anniversary projects and posts!