A few weeks ago we filled you all in on the roller coaster ride we endured that was the kitchen disaster in our home. But before we ever got to the point of termite infested and rotten wall discovery in our kitchen, we felt like it was finally starting to come together.
We had painted the cabinets as soon as we moved into the house, painted the counter tops with textured spray paint to give it a "stone" look, and installed under cabinet lighting to brighten the room. It was looking good, but there was an issue.
At 10' x 11', our kitchen is, by standards of our 15 foot wide house, a large room. But the cabinets were all installed along two walls with the sink in the corner, cramming all of the workable space for the kitchen into a tight area. Add to it the fact that our cabinets fall several feet shy of the 10' ceilings, and you've got a recipe for insufficient storage and an uninteresting layout.
To remedy this situation, Wendy and I started scouring eBay for something old and cool that we could use as a kitchen storage hutch. We looked for several weeks and finally stumbled on a cabinet that had salvaged from the porch of an old home in South Carolina. Here's one of the original auction photos that made us say "Hey, that piece of dirty junk would look great in our house."
The cabinet looked to be in a little bit of rough shape, but we won the auction none-the-less. About a week later a freight shipper showed up with what I referred to as "the single most disgusting thing we've ever received in the mail."
To say this cabinet was filthy was an absolute understatement. It was covered in grime, the paint was peeling and flaking, the hardware was rusted, one pane of glass missing, and the interior was full of spider webs and eggs. I think Wendy's face in the photos above says it all.
Since this was going in the kitchen, we knew we were going to need to clean things up. The paint was in such bad shape that a simple scrub down wasn't going to cut it. Instead we launched into a full scale disassembly and paint stripping process.
Using Peel Away 1, we stripped all of the paint from the cabinet pieces. It was a tedious process, but there wasn't any way I was going to live with the paint in the horrible condition it was in.
After stripping was complete, I took the pieces of the cabinet to the back yard for a thorough sanding and reassembly.
Sanding was a mess -- mostly because I hadn't discovered shop Vac HEPA filters yet -- just look at the ground. But once we were all done we had a clean cabinet just waiting for a few necessary upgrades.
After putting the whole thing back together, we added a baseboard piece to the bottom to conceal the patch that was necessary to make the cabinet sit level. If you look at the photo above you can see the right side of the cabinet is propped up on several pieces of wood. One of the legs was about six inches shorter than the other side, so without this bit of cabinet surgery, we really didn't have a viable candidate for a kitchen cabinet.
We painted the whole cabinet with the same color white as the kitchen cabinets so that it would work with what we already had.
I'm not joking when I say that painting this whole cabinet seemed to take FOR-EV-ER!
To contrast with the white paint on the cabinet, we painted a sheet of plywood bead board in the same red as our dining room (Behr's Red Red Wine) and nailed it to the back of the cabinet. This added a bit of interest to the back of the open areas and also offered a significant amount of necessary rigidity and structure to the previously wobbly cabinet.
We were feeling quite good about our progress, but we knew the top was missing a little something.
To bring some authenticity to the finished product, we bought some salvaged wavy glass to install in the upper cabinet glass doors and picked up a handful of butterfly hinges and turn latches to complete the whole look of an antique cabinet. We also applied a crown detail to the top of the cabinet to add the missing something we mentioned earlier.
The final step was to sand the wood filler on the crown and apply the final bit of paint. Through our efforts we had turned a disgusting cabinet eBay find into a functional and attractive storage solution for our kitchen.
It was really fulfilling to know that we could take a pice of furniture that looked to be beyond its useful life and transform it back into something that could become a nice addition to our home. The exact cost escapes me at the moment, but I believe the cost of the auction, shipping, and the various supplies, paint, hardware, and glass necessary to complete the rebuild came in at about $350. Not too shabby for a cabinet that we're still using nine years later and still absolutely love. Take one more look at what it started as when we saw it on eBay.
What's the most disgusting thing you've ever purchased from the Internet or picked up as a Craig's List find? Were you successful in your mission to transform the item? Or did you end up with something that would still find it's destiny in the trash?