Monday, February 11, 2013

Thrifted China Cabinet {Before & After}

One day, nearly a good two years ago, I happened upon a china cabinet in my favorite Richmond thrift store, Fantastic Thrift.  I was immediately drawn to its Hollywood Regency style with its pretty little faux bamboo details.  So we're clear, it's actually not a high end piece of furniture--it's more of a pressed wood and not really solid wood, but nevertheless I thought it had potential, and it was only 50 bucks.

Now, I do not always think it fitting to paint over wood.  However, in this case, there was really no other way.  There was literally a chunk taken out of one of the corners (seriously I think it may have been from a dog or something?  so gross)  and the back of the piece had a little hole in it too.

I used some wood filler to try and rebuild the gnawed off corner.  I didn't really do an awesome job. 
After a good priming.  Normally, when I use a 'paint and primer in one' product, I don't do an initial priming coat.  Given that this piece wasn't solid wood, I thought it could use all the help it could get.
I debated about what route to go with painting it.  I thought about doing a bright glossy color.  I considered covering the back with some pretty paper (this store has lots of beautiful options!).  In the end, though I stayed pretty classic, and I really like how it turned out.

I apologize for the glare in the photos, but I didn't know how to avoid it!

The transformation of the hardware is maybe my favorite part of this project.  It looked as though they were brass, so I did a quick test to see if they were solid brass or brass-plate.  All you need to do to determine this is touch the piece to a magnet.  If the hardware sticks, it's brass-plate; if not, it's solid brass.  In this case, the knobs and ring pulls were solid brass and the hinges were brass plate.

This is what the hardware looked like originally.

To clean up these diamonds in the rough I soaked the hardware in Brasso for a couple hours.  I was a bit alarmed when I returned to see what had transpired...

After (too much?) soaking, you can see how the hinge's brass plating had worn off.

But after a little extra elbow grease, the solid brass pulls looked fantastic!  I love the patina.

Since I needed to fake the brass look with my hinges, I sprayed them with this, and it is quite hard to tell that they're not real brass!  Centsational Girl has a great post about testing for brass, cleaning it, and faking it with spray paint.  Read that here.

After their paint job.  

I ended up choosing to cover the back of the cabinet with some black and white houndstooth fabric that I already had.  I really like how it reads neutral, yet still adds a bit of interest.  The combination of the houndstooth, the black paint and the brass hardware just seems fitting too, given my obsession love of Downton Abbey and all things English :)

Adding fabric to the back was very simple.  After measuring and cutting my pieces, I just sprayed the back of the fabric with a spray adhesive (available at fabric stores) that could be repositioned if needed.

Humor me with one last before and after picture, because it really is so satisfying :)

Since I already had some of the supplies on hand, the total cost of this project came in at well under $70.  Now, if we end up moving to Europe this summer like we're hoping (I hope to have more details to share soon!), I can't promise I won't trade this guy in for a legit antique, but for now, I'm quite happy with it :)

*post edit:  I forgot to mention that I painted the inside of the lower half a happy color, just for a little fun surprise!

1 comment:

  1. Let me know if you head this way and I will share some of my favorite French, Belgium and German antique places!