Friday, February 17, 2012

Before and After- Corner Cabinet

This project was a long time coming.  I purchased this cherry cabinet at an auction two years ago with the best of intentions.   I had been looking for a corner cabinet since we moved into our house, but I couldn't find one I liked for less than $200.  I paid $70 for this one, but it had one huge strike against it.  It came from a smoking home.  I thought with scrubbing, sunshine, and time I could get it cleaned up.  No dice.  Then I decided paint would cover it up. All last year I had been reading about Annie Sloans Chalk Paint.  I was even able to buy it locally at a store in MD called Repurposed and Refined to save on shipping!   This paint is expensive. But with all the claims of no sanding, no priming and one coat coverage I thought why not!  I could get this project done in a weekend!

 Let me also make the disclaimer that I have only painted a handful of furniture and I am not claiming that I am any good at it.  Also, I searched around on the internet for some quick how-tos, read through the product website, and got some pointers from the vendor of the paint.  I fell in love with the idea of painting the inside a fun bright color.  I have seen a few vintage cupboards/cabinets painted on the inside and felt like it would work for this project.  I was immediately smitten with Antibes Green for the inside.  In my opinion, this is the perfect spring green color.  For the exterior I choose Old White and used a clear wax to finish it. 

 I used my 2'' Purdy brush to paint the entire piece.  Because of the smoke issue I knew I needed to cover every square inch with paint to seal it up.  I used an entire quart of green to paint the inside.  It took two coats to get it looking even.  In the photo above, you'll see what one coat will look like covering a cherry finish.  Very streaky.  The exterior also has one coat.  The white had much better coverage, but if you look closely I got an unexpected crackle finish.  I was a bit upset at first.  It wasn't the look I was going for.  The crackle appeared almost immediately.  My best guess is the paint interacted with the nicotine.  There is no cracking on the inside or where the doors had been closed.  By the time I had finished painting the exterior my first brush strokes were dry.  So I got out some fine grit sandpaper and sanded a portion to see if a second coat would cover the crackle. I packed up for the night and the next day everything got a second coat.  The crackling was still there but not as apparent.  I applied two coats of wax and put the whole thing together. 
 Once in the house, I loved how the cabinet filled the room!  I love how my white and silver dishes pop with the green.  The hand blown glass on the top shelf doesn't stand out as much as I'd like, but I'll have to come up with a different display for them.  The freshness of the green makes me very happy! 

I did a very light distressing with a sanding block and came to terms with the crackle finish.  Overall, I do love the results.  I didn't expect to use the amount of paint I did, but the results are great.  The green is vibrant.  The Old White is a soft white with no yellow. It distressed beautifully and the wax was easy to apply (I used a lint free rag.)  What I wasn't expecting is that the cabinet still has a faint smoke smell.  Total disappointment. My husband has a more sensitive sniffer than I do, but there is no mistaking it when you open the doors.  And after sitting in the house for 4 months I decided it can't stay. :(  I'm really bummed.  There is the whole financial loss of the project and then having the whole experience not meet my expectations.  I'll list it on craigslist.  Maybe I can get some money back on it and start the search for something else.  You only need one buyer right?!


  1. That's too bad because it really looks great. I like the crackle finish look, but I wouldn't be able to keep something that smells like smoke, either. Hopefully it will sell quickly and you'll love your replacement piece even more!

  2. Oh no! I was so happy to see it inside your home - and so sad to read that you won't be keeping it.
    Well, now you have some re-finishing wisdom and a better idea of how your glass items will look against that color.
    I hope your next piece is a total success! : D

  3. This is so sad because it is so pretty and turned out so nice! What a bummer!

  4. It sure did look good! So sorry it has to go!

  5. UGH!! That stinks! (Sorry for the horrible pun.) I don't know if this will help, but I did a post awhile back about getting the smell of smoke out of furniture - Maybe worth a try before giving it the old heave-ho? Regardless, you did a great job and it looks fab!

  6. so sad :( I liked the look of the cabinet before you painted it, but wouldn't be able to tolerate the smoke either. Too bad for all that work put into it.


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