06 March 2014

DIY: painting the antique china cabinet (part 2)

Yesterday I left you hanging with this photo of the china cabinet in progress:

I didn’t point out that gold tube leaning against the wall, but honestly, I failed to even notice it was there. That’s because that tube has been leaning against that wall for months, waiting for its purpose to be fulfilled. Here’s a closer look at just what that tube is:

Gift wrap! Specifically, gift wrap that incorporates two of my favorite design motifs: metallic gold, and maps!

I spotted it way back when at Marshall’s (or HomeGoods, or TJ Maxx – honestly, they all blur together, as I have all three practically in the same shopping center). It was in that impulse-buy section near the registers, and even though I had Mr. P with me, I couldn’t help but snatch it up. What can you expect? The man let me impulse-buy $400 of hardwood flooring when I promised we were only getting spray paint.

But, just like when we were hauling the clearance hardwood into my car, I had a vision for this gift wrap... and this would only be a $3 mistake if I unrolled it and hated it. Fortunately, it was just as I’d hoped, and perfect for papering the back of the cabinet!

Although it’s hard to see from the photo, the whole paper is shimmery, and quite thick (for wrapping paper) and textured. Love!

I wish I had a great tutorial for attaching gift wrap to the back of a cabinet, but honestly, I just measured the dimensions of the back of the cabinet and tried to cut it to size. Then I taped it up... literally, with double-stick tape. It didn’t fit perfectly, and it’s bowing in a few places still. BUT, it’s in the back. I figured I’m probably the only one who would notice any imperfections, so I stuck it up as best as I could and walked away!

The next morning, when the light was cooperative, I put the shelves in and knew I was in love:

You can see how the paper’s not perfectly smooth in that photo – the metallic finish doesn’t help hide wrinkles, and it was made even harder because the back of the cabinet wasn’t one flat surface (the middle panel is slightly recessed). But it’s not awful, and I was tired of fidgeting with the paper, so I just went with it!

Finally, I had one last step to complete my vision before putting it all back together. Guess what it involved. Just guess.

OMG is she really just going to paint everything gold?!

Yes. Yes, maybe I am.

I just used a small craft brush to paint in all the recessed details:

It looked a little weird at first, but a second coat made it worth it, even though it was lots extra time and contortion.

A little bit each night – with headphones in, of course – wasn’t so bad. And the finished product looked great!

Finally, once I put the door back on (with Mr. P’s help) and everything inside... it was DONE! Ta-da!

During the whole process, from start to finish, I was hoping to emulate Centsational Girl’s beautiful style (which is itself French-inspired) with this cabinet. After all, its curvy lines are a far cry from my usual straight, clean lines. But I love how CG decorates her home, and she has lots of curvy pieces like this, so I thought that would be my best bet! Still... can I be honest for a second, like a mother who admits she doesn’t always like her children? Right when I was finished, I... I wasn’t so sure about the final product. Don’t get me wrong, it’s gorgeous!

Honestly, I had a moment when I wondered if it fit in with the rest of our house as a whole.. and if I liked it that much more than the previous orange (because that obviously didn’t fit in, at all). For a hot second, I considered starting over and painting it gray (going so far as to bookmark this post from Erin at His & Hers, because that is a fab tv stand). I think it was just a shock to the system to see the cabinet white in real life... even though I had seen it in my head for months, and it came out exactly as envisioned.

But despite the initial mix of weird feelings, it’s grown on me! In the past few days I’ve noticed just how nice it is to have the white cabinet in this corner to go with all the other white woodwork in the sightlines around it. (Let’s have a moment of silence for the amount of sunlight the poor office gets relative to the living room, shall we?)

And how it picks up the white-and-gold theme in the adjacent room. I really am blinging out our house, aren’t I? Hmm.

Plus, the details really did turn out absolutely lovely. The paint just barely lets the grain show through – I’m glad I went over it with a brush instead of just the splotchy roller!

And of course, the gold detailing. [Happy sigh.]

So in the end, I’m glad I went for it! Admittedly, it’ll take some time to figure out how to work the rest of the office around it (which is fine, because the office basically has no style of its own right now). But it’s now in a style that I want to move toward, so hopefully this will be my jumping-off point. I just wanted to real-talk about my feelings immediately after painting it, just in case other people experience the same thing after a big project!

How’s about the final before and after?

It took over a year, but I can finally call it done. Farewell, orange! Hello, painted china cabinet that my family would totes approve of. Tradi-shunnnnnn.... tradition!


Rachel C said...

I don't even have words to describe how amazing this looks! I completely understand why you were a little confused but the final product, but I think it fits in perfectly with the direction of your home. It's one small step sideways from your normal, but still blends and complements everything else. It reminds me of the owl painting, in the best possible way. And it will blend perfectly with the grays, creams and blues that we all know will eventually take over the office. :)

Also, wow! Does your house have SUPER high ceilings and doorways or is the china cabinet smaller in real life than it appears?

But, with the fantastic white cabinet and white trim, I have to ask - when are you going to paint the pink walls?

Sarah said...

@Rachel, I really don't know. Part of me wants to just go for it, because I know we'll probably be here for awhile (thanks to my recent fellowship, we've probably got another three years). On the other hand, it feels like a ton of work because it'd probably have to be all-or-none. I'm still debating like a crazy person! If I were going to do it, this summer would probably be the time to do it so we'd have time to enjoy it... hmm.

Sarah said...

@Rachel - oh right, I forgot to say: we have pretty tall ceilings and giant mouldings, AND the cabinet is on the diminutive side (it's only a bit taller than me). So a little of both!