01 August 2013

Sprucing a cabinet and restarting my engine

You know, dear readers, I lived in my house in Nashville for years before I did any real decorating to speak of. I painted one room right before I moved in (an arguably worse color than it was) and didn’t pick up a paintbrush for another four years. A lot of accessories were set someplace and didn’t move until I got married and got a fresh pair of eyes. So I knew that no matter how slowly I decorated this apartment, at least I’d go faster than that, right?

In theory. In practice, my cousins moved this china cabinet into my apartment half a year ago, and I’ve just let it sit there annoying me ever since.


I’ve made – and failed to start – about eleventy different plans for it. I know it has potential, but I was having trouble getting a vision for exactly what that potential was. What color should I paint it? What should it store, exactly? Wait, which room am I even going to put it in? Ugh. So I did nothing.

Until recently. I realized it was ridiculous that I’d left that china cabinet sitting there with cardboard shoved under the feet and nothing but a stack of random plates, screws, and sewing supplies haphazardly occupying the shelves. I mean, I don’t pretend to be a perfect or even fancy blogger, but geez louise, if I’m going to write about my home, maybe deal with stuff like that?

Also my family was coming to visit. Nothing like that for motivation!

So without any sort of plan, I just started making little changes that made me hate the china cabinet less. And in the end? I actually got excited about it!


Okay, maybe not that big a change, and it’s far from done. But its potential is SCREAMING out to me now! Here’s the changes that got my motor running.

The first improvement was way more function than form. Well, honestly, it was both. The function was “don’t let the china cabinet fall forward on the crooked floor” and the form was “stop using scrap cardboard as a solution”.


I just bought a packet of shims and, with Mr. P’s help, replaced the cardboard with the thicker end of the shims. It looks a little silly from the side, but compared to the cardboard? MASSIVE improvement. I’ll construct a more durable solution in the future, but this works for now.

The next thing I did was replace the hardware.


Look familiar? Yup, I ordered four extra pulls when I made our hacked IKEA RAST nightstands. The craziest part: I’ve had these in hand for weeks, but have been so blaaahhhhh about the china cabinet that I never switched out the old wooden knobs for these pretty jobbies. AND WHY NOT? They look amazing!

And finally, I decided to actually try my hand at styling the shelves.


Styling vignettes like this is far from my forte, but anything was an improvement over the before! I gave up trying to use these shelves for anything but random pretty things we own – our (freshly-polished) silver, crystal candlesticks and vase, extra appetizer and dessert dishes, framed photos and souvenirs from abroad. Yes, it’s a little weird to store dishes in our office, far away from the kitchen and dining room... but no weirder than it was to use it to “display” hem tape and loose screws.

Of course, per usual, by prettying it up, I started to see its flaws. You may have noticed how the refinished wood is a little worse for wear (understandably – the thing has been moved between all my relatives’ homes for the last fifty years). It’s especially bad around the pulls, which are slightly smaller than the original wooden pulls and reveal the scuffed-up wood underneath:


But that’s okay. Because now I am DYING to paint this thing, y’all. No more walking by it, giving it the stink-eye for months. No more being stuck. I know exactly where it will go and exactly what color I will paint it and exactly what that special little touch will be in the back of the shelves.

Four months after my last BIG VISION, I’m still learning a lesson in how waiting for that one little fix can solve all sorts of decorating dilemmas. High-five for slow decorating!

2 comments:

Rachel C said...

I like the update and first steps towards a make over. And yay for finding your china cabinet redo mojo. I can't wait to see what you do with it.

However, my favorite thing about this post is the wedding date artwork! I absolutely love it! The date is written in a unique and fun way that makes it different and more artsy than most wedding date things. I've been searching for some for our bedroom but I've yet to find anything I love. Maybe I'll just borrow your idea....

Tina said...

Holy moly - make that moving around for the past 66 years...! It's been a couple colors already adapting itself to several others' decors - and then it came to me. I paid such big bucks (for me, at the time it was - the 70's) to have it stripped and refinished. And I hated it. The oak has finally darkened to what I had envisioned 40 years ago. It is substantial furniture - solid oak and not laminate... But too late to be impressed by that now. Paint that sucker!