out with the new, in with the old

Accumulating furniture to fill a big empty house takes patience. And money. I can't say I have an abundance of either of these things, but I do have a local Habitat for Humanity Restore. If you haven't heard of it or don't have one near you, the basic concept is that they receive donations (building materials, appliances, furniture) from houses that are being torn down, remodeled or cleaned out. The inventory varies every week, but usually includes a lot of awesome vintage stuff. Sometimes they also receive brand new items from Lowes or Home Depot, but when they have too much of anything, the whole store goes 50% off. I usually poke around on the weekends and there is almost always a sign posted announcing, "BIG SALE TODAY!" And they mean it.

I am usually in some state of excitement. It might be a sunny day, a good lunch, a picnic next month or maybe I'm just brewing with dreams, but I generally have something to be enthused about. A good project to work on can quickly push me right over the edge. I see the end product in my head. The potential of a piece of furniture, a garden or a room practically screams at me to get moving! I'm easily obsessed when there's something exciting to putz on and this project was no different.

The "before" $35 china cupboard. Found at Habitat for Humanity Restore.
It was my very first trip to the Restore. I was only going to browse. (The same way I've "browsed" for every animal I've ever owned). I spotted it across the crowded room right when I walked in. It was love at first sight.  

I made a b-line for the price tag, but was sure there was some mistake. "Thirty five dollars?" I asked. "For the whole thing?"
"Yup!" replied the smiling clerk. I'm sure they get these dumb questions all the time. "We have too much furniture right now, so it's gotta go. If you want it, take the price tag off."
I ran back to it to claw at the tag, just as another couple was drooling over it. "Oh, sorry. This one's not for sale." Suckers.


Other than the silly, modern and polished knobs, the cheapy spray-paint frosted glass and the busted leg, I loved everything about it. I wasn't planning to change much else, that is until my husband suggested that it looked "too imposing" as black. Once he said it, it was immediately creepy, overbearing and possibly haunted. I couldn't get the thought out of my head. A total remodel was in order.
After only one coat of Kilz primer.

So here's what I did:
- Wiped off all the cobwebs and removed all the stinking stink bugs from their hiding places
- Removed the glass door and knobs
- Scraped, chiseled and scratched off the cheapy glass frosting
- Reattached some loose panels in the back
- Painted the whole thing, inside and out, with Kilz primer. Highly recommend it. 
- Went over the whole thing, inside and out, with 1-2 coats of white spray paint
- Poured over all the knob options at Anthropologie.com. [swoon]
- Applied Martha Stewart Metallic Silver Glazing to carved detail areas with a damp rag. Hate Martha, but love this.
- Received $35 knobs (yes, I realize that is the same price as the cupboard) and attached them along with the glass

The "after" linen closet.
So here it is! The "after" linen closet. It is currently residing in our rather ridiculously large upstairs bathroom. It is taking up space, making it look homey, and storing a vase, old curtains, a picnic blanket, white rags, and toilet paper. Nothing in the drawer yet, but I'm sure it will be filled with crap within the next few years.


The best part? (Besides the price and the end-product) I didn't sand a darn thing. :)

So as I continue on my journey of making our big old house cozy, I will continue to search for old things with character. I will check local places like Restore. I will continue to reject big-box stores in favor of reusing and recycling old pieces and giving them a new life. And I will continue (hopefully) to post about it. :)