Sunday, August 09, 2009

Kitchen cabinets

Several weeks ago we painted our kitchen. We went from a hideous orange to a deliciously creamy brown aptly named "cup of cocoa." And you know how these things go: one project always leads to another. In prepping the room for painting, I removed a desk we kept in the kitchen to hold cookbooks and office supplies. It opened up the space so much that I decided not to return it to the kitchen. But that meant finding a new home for all the cookbooks and office supplies (plus all the other junk that always sat on top the desk).

So one afternoon I decided to haul up a dusty file cabinet from the basement, a monstrosity that has been there since before we moved in -- and, judging from the paint splatters and debris around it, probably before our home's previous owner moved in too. The files and labels indicated that it had been used by a law office, and I'll admit that I hoped to find something valuable inside. Maybe the deed to a diamond mine, or something?

Alas, all I found were some giant envelopes and three two-hole paper punches. So I had to make myself content in seeing the cabinet itself as a treasure.

The huge drawers were definitely a plus.

But on the other hand, the hugeness of the whole thing made it pretty difficult to drag up from the basement. I should have waited for my husband to come home from work, but you know how these things go. It had to come up, and it had to be then.

Also, have I mentioned I'm six months pregnant?

Noticing I was struggling a bit, Sam offered his services. "I have big muscles." He said. "See?"

And how could I argue with proof like that? So I let Sam and Grace each carry one of the (lightweight) metal supports from inside the drawers. And somehow, we managed to get it all outside.

I thought it would be a quick job; just a quick scrub and sand, and then prime and paint. I had everything I needed in the garage, so I planned to be done in a couple hours. And then, you know how things go (you do know, don't you?), I ran out of spray paint after a single drawer front. And even worse, that paint didn't stick. So when my sweet husband got home, he lugged the whole thing into the garage so it wouldn't get rained on while I figured out my next step.

In the end, what was supposed to be an afternoon project ended up taking two trips to the hardware store and an additional week to complete. I sanded and sprayed and sanded again. Then I ditched the idea of spray paint altogether and used high gloss latex and a roller.

The finished piece turned out pretty well, I guess. Except that it's boring. I didn't think of this until after I was done, but if I was going to go to the trouble to repaint a giant file cabinet, I should have done something that didn't look exactly like what you'd find at Office Max. I should have done something pretty and interesting.

But oh well. It's done. And it's huge. And it holds everything I wanted it to, plus some. One drawer is for cookbooks, one is for canned food, one holds a giant crate of dog food, and one is for recyclable trash. I love being able to have all that stuff handy, but not out in the open. And function is nearly as important as cuteness, right?

Fortunately, the project I tackled between coats on the file cabinet went much more smoothly. And cutely.

I bought this little green cabinet for $4 at a thrift store many months ago. I feel like my house is in constant need of more storage, so I grabbed it up, even though I didn't have a real plan for it. It stayed in our front entry, empty, for several months.

I wasn't wild about the color (although it did match strangely well with the old green paint inside some of our closets!), but I liked the hand-crafted-by-grandpa feel of it. It's sturdy, and well-made, but not fancy. I decided to decorate it like a grandma might, like a giant doily. First I gave the whole thing a coat of cup-of-cocoa, and then I draped it in lace and shot it with white spray paint.

There are sections where the lacy pattern is blurry, and some where the pattern is crisp -- an accidental effect that I really like a lot. I'm very pleased with how it turned out, in part because it just came together so quickly and easily. I spent probably half an hour on minor drawer repairs, and then another half hour painting. AND THAT'S IT! It was loaded and in my kitchen within hours.

Eventually I'll get curtains up and windows washed and show you the whole kitchen--with these fancy new cabinets!--in context. That is, if I can ever manage to get the floor mopped and the dishes done at the same time. But at least, with all this new storage, I can finally keep my counters clear.

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Lady said...

I love the vision you have. I can't always see the potential in old furniture. You do such an awesome job.

Natalie said...

I love this blog! It gives me ideas that I don't actually act upon but it's fun to think about. You're the best!

Beth said...

I love that you describe your cabinet decor as a "giant doily"! So cute.

Amber said...

I love, Love, LOVE how the little cabinet turned out. You are a master!