60. Before and After: Antique China Cabinet

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  I’ll be joining the festivities later this evening, but first, a blog post.

I promised to make last week all about furniture.  I failed to keep this promise and only wrote one post.  Shame on me!  Let’s try this again.  Hopefully I’ll find the time to write up everything on my list!

Today’s before and after is a lovely antique china cabinet I found on Craigslist.  The young lady who sold it to me only wanted $35!

antique china cabinetIt’s hard to tell from the photo, but the wood was not exactly in great shape.  I decided to paint the cabinet, and decided on a deep turquoise from Behr called “Caribe”.

behr caribe

Source: Home Depot

Jason ended up being the one who painted this cabinet; I had a lot of projects going on at that time, and we just wanted to get them DONE.  I think he did an excellent job.

antique china cabinetThis cabinet got painted almost two years ago.  I use it for storing all my yarn and knitting accessories, and the fact that it didn’t have a handle was super annoying.  Last month, I went back to Home Depot and bought an antique-style cabinet pull, drilled a few holes in the door, and installed the handle.  Much, much better.

antique china cabinetYou’ll notice that the paint job has gotten quite a few dings.  We moved since acquiring the cabinet, and it’s moved around a bit in our new place.  Battle scars, my friends.  Battle scars.  I think they add a bit of character, so I probably won’t fix them.  I also don’t have any more of this paint, so I’m sure that also has something to do with my lack of caring.

before and after antique china cabinetI seriously cannot believe it took me so long to show you this cabinet!  The worst case of procrastination if I ever saw one.  Make sure to check back tomorrow, because I’ll be showing you another furniture makeover: a set of vintage dressers!


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46. Antique store score.

I’ve been meaning to check out Antiques on Second for quite a while, and I had the opportunity to visit last Saturday.  I brought my mom along, and we had such a good time looking through everything.  Well, the things  we had time to see, anyway.  We were there for an hour, and that was just the first floor.  There are two more floors of untold treasures I have yet to see!

I did find the cutest little mirror, though.  I was secretly hoping to find one to display jewelry on my dresser, and I found this beauty for $15.  A decent price, indeed.

antique mirror jewelry tray display
I love displaying jewelry like this.  It makes me feel classy.  Pinky-in-the-air-while-drinking-tea classy.

How do you display your jewelry?


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36. Yet another glorious Craigslist find!

I rearranged our living room furniture a while back and, in the process, moved in a large bookshelf from our dining room.  The real estate formerly taken up by the bookshelf was now quite bare, and I was considering two options.  First, I thought a buffet might be nice, but…what would I put in it?  It would basically just sit there and look nice, but I wasn’t sure what stuff I would actually cram in the thing.  Option 2: a desk.  Yes!  However, it has to look awesome and cost not a lot of money.  Guess where I’ve been looking?  (If you didn’t say Craigslist, you obviously don’t know me that well.  Alternatively, you live under a rock.)

I was taking a gander at CL this morning, when I stumbled upon the perfect candidate…for only $35!  I rubbed my eyes and pinched myself, but it really was a beautiful, antique desk for 35 smackaroos.

It’s seriously perfect for the space.

Here it is!

It’s missing hardware, but the wood is in fantastic condition.  The photo above is BEFORE I even wiped it down and polished it up!  I’ve been on a painting kick with furniture lately, but this desk is in such nice condition, I’ve decided to leave the finish “as-is”.  Are you shocked, or what?

I’m thinking of ordering some cup pulls in an antique brass finish, and the drawers will get a nice wipe out (they are gah-ROSS right now) followed by a lining of pretty patterned contact paper.  I’ll make sure to update you on the final product!

So, have you found any goodies on the cheap lately?

Oh, Craigslist…how do I love thee?  Let me count the ways…


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13. Before and After: Antique Dining Chairs

If you’ve read my blog at all up to this point, you know I am addicted to Craigslist.  The majority of our furnishings were purchased from the wonderful purveyors of that magical website, except for handful of things: TV stand, bookcase, dining table, dining chairs, and mattress.  Everything else is second hand, although they do NOT look that way!  We even got a beautiful pair of couches last year for $350, and they were practically brand new; they were still under warranty for the fabric treatment and seriously looked like they were never sat on.  Anyway, I digress…

The true topic of this post is a small tutorial for revamping some sad dining chairs.  I bought a set of four antique dining chairs from a lovely old couple who were moving into a retirement community.  Those sweethearts only wanted $20 for all of them!  Bless their sweet little hearts.  I’m not sure of the exact age of the chairs, but based on the design I’m guessing they date back to the 40s.  The company that manufactured the chairs, Northwest Chair Co. out of Tacoma, WA, was in business until the 1950s when they closed due to a fire, which also lead me to believe these chairs are from the 1940s.  Here are the beauties I received:


They were in okay condition, but boy, did I know the potential hidden behind the scratches and dings.  Oh, that brown velvet fabric DID give me the shivers!

Here are the materials you’ll need if you want to transform a set of chairs:

flat-head screwdriver or pliers
staple gun (with plenty of staples)
larges scissors or utility knife
fabric (1 to 2 yards, depending on the size of your chairs)
1″ foam
quart of paint

Let’s do this!  First things first, remove the seat bottoms from the chairs; you might need a Phillips screwdriver depending on the types of screws use to secure the seat bottom to the chair.  Next, remove the old fabric, batting, and any cushion material from the seat bottom.  I took out the old staples using a flathead screwdriver.  You can also use a pair of pliers.  Just keep your fingers out of the way!


After removing the old fabric, batting, and padding, it’s time to prepare the new seat.  Lay the seat bottom on top of the foam and trace around the edges.


Next, cut out the foam using a sturdy pair of scissors or a utility knife.  Again, be very careful and keep your fingers out of the way!  After cutting out the foam, you want to layer all the components as follows:  fabric, batting, foam, seat bottom.  Make sure the bottom of the seat is facing up.  Trim the batting and fabric to leave a few inches around the seat bottom.  (Extra is better…you’ll be trimming away the excess anyway!)


Pick a side and start stapling the batting/fabric to the underside of the seat bottom, as close to the outside as possible; start in the center and work your way out, stopping an inch or two from the corner.  Repeat on the opposite side.  Finish the remaining two sides in the same fashion.

Now comes the fun part: the corners!  Ha, not really.  This is the most difficult part, and requires a bit of fabric manipulation.  I don’t have a great picture depicting this step, but luckily I found a wonderful alternative via the interwebs:

Next comes the paint!  Prep the chairs by wiping them down with a mild cleaning solvent and lightly sanding each chair with medium-fine sand paper.  Wipe down the chairs again, this time with a lint free cloth (this step is important, it’s gets rid of all the dust from the sanding).  Apply 1-3 coats of paint (depending on the type of paint and the desired coverage).  I used Behr paint and primer in one in “Elephant Skin” and got the job done properly with two coats.

After the paint has dried completely, simply reattach the seat bottoms to the chairs and you’re done!

Are you ready to see the final result?!  Here ya go! 🙂


I think my favorite part is the fabric.  It’s a neutral linen with just the slightest hint of shimmer:


The before and after is pretty dramatic!


Sadly, we are going to be getting rid of these chairs. 😦  I really, really love the way they turned out, but let’s face it…I don’t have two dining room tables!  The upside: I can use the extra cash for other projects. 😉

I hope you are enjoying what little is left of your weekend!



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5. Before and After: Tiered End Table

I found this little beauty on Craigslist for only $15 (please excuse our horribly messy kitchen):


The owner, Michelle, had purchased it in hopes of giving it a coat of white paint and distressing it, but unfortunately she just didn’t have the time to tackle this project.  I thought her idea was fabulous, so I decided to carry out her design.  The white I chose is called “Popped Corn” by Behr.  I chose the all-in-one primer/color/protectant in a satin finish, and I love how it turned out!






This table is currently in our living room (in a corner between two sofas), but I may move it to another room later on.  It needs to be showcased!

Happy Monday!



UPDATE (8/5/13): Here’s a nice “before and after” perfect for pinning. 😉



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4. A Descent into the Maelström

Yes, the title is another reference to literary fiction.  You’ll find I’m never lacking in that sort of thing!  I will let you be the one to look this one up and find out who wrote the short story bearing this title.  Hint: NEVERMORE.

Anyway, I’ve been MIA for quite a while.  Although it would seem, given my lengthy absence, that I should have gobs of photos from finished projects…alas, I do not.  But dry your eye, my dear friend, as there may be lovely things in the very near future!  I currently have FOUR ongoing projects.

1. A vintage metal cabinet that I am in the process of stripping and refinishing to add much needed storage in our kitchen.

2. An antique china cabinet I will be painting and using for storage in my craft room/office (which is currently piled high with items I have “no place for”).

3. Matching “cheapy” nightstands that I need to paint to match our dresser…which is also unfinished.

4. Unfinished dresser set (one is in our bedroom, one is in the hallway).

I bought all of these items from Craigslist.  The grand total?  $127.  Yep, you read that correctly!  One hundred and twenty-seven dollars for two dressers, two nightstands, a large vintage metal cabinet, and a large antique china cabinet.  Most of my friends and family know that I am the champion of getting the best deal possible.  I did, afterall, plan our entire wedding for under $10,000 (and it was a “regular” wedding, not a cheapo one)!

The next items on my shopping list include a sectional sofa (I found a beautiful vintage one from the 60s, just waiting to hear back!), a bigger dining room table and 8 chairs, a piano, and some sort of storage cabinet/shelf for the bathroom.

A whirlpool of furniture awaits me!




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2. For the love of Craigslist.

I have a serious obsession with Craigslist.  I’m often perusing the site to see what sort of goodies random strangers are peddling.  Nothing ceases to amaze me anymore.  Not even this: http://milwaukee.craigslist.org/zip/3144931543.html

Anyway…Jason and I moved to a new place on July 1st.  It’s the upper duplex of a home built in 1905, it’s in Bay View, and I love it.  We decided to pare down on our belongings before the move for two main reasons.  First, it would be less junk to haul up a flight of stairs.  Second, all of our furniture was a clash of different styles, and nothing really “went” together.  It’s my goal to have a home with a cohesive design, or at least matching (or mostly matching) furniture.  We also had a real problem with clutter.  Okay, I’m the one with the clutter problem, but I do declare that it’s because I never had a proper “home” for any of my things.  No more, I say.  No more.

Back to Craigslist, we recently made some awesome purchases from two different “vendors”.  The first was a pretty nifty vintage metal cabinet.  It will be perfect for all of my craft supplies, which currently reside in a myriad of boxes, bags, and plastic containers.  Quite the steal for $25!

Isn’t she a beauty?


There are some minor rust issues I need to take care of, and she could definitely use a new coat of paint…but it’s nothing I can’t handle.

Our second find was a set of dressers with a matching mirror.  They aren’t solid “wood”, but they are perfect for painting and distressing (something I’ve wanted to try for quite a while).  We got these babies for only $65, and that included a $15 delivery charge.   Not bad, huh?




As Jason and I are newlyweds, we don’t have a ton of money to spend on furniture.  However, this doesn’t mean we can’t have a beautiful home.  I just need to be creative with the money we do have!

I started painting and distressing the long dresser this past weekend, and I have to tell you: It looks amazing.  I seriously cannot wait to show off the final results!

Stay tuned, and stay classy.



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