Not too long ago I heard from a former colleague/friend. She bought a midcentury cabinet and wanted it updated. This Little Cabinet Has a History. I went over and saw the cabinet which is so full of history. It is a solid wood base with a laminate drawer and door fronts. The fronts look like wicker and have a nice texture.
The cabinet was made by R Way Furniture. It is not a company I was familiar with so I had to check it out. Eliel Saarinen was associated with the company. Now I was familiar with Eero Saarinen. It turns out Gottlieb Eliel Saarinen, who was a Finnish architect is Eero Saarinen’s father. Mr. Saarinen is known for his work with art nouveau buildings in the early years of the 20th century.
Now I know you aren’t here for a history lesson but I find that so interesting.
And by now I am sure some of you may be cringing in horror that the little cabinet with history got painted. But like so many pieces of furniture this one had seen a rough life and if it can be enjoyed for many more years by painting then I am so honored to be asked to paint it.
I took one day to sand the base to the bare wood. I was thinking of using the white wash pickling stain and painting the fronts in the color requested which is a deep rich aqua blue and a lighter aqua. This project is going in the guest room which is filled with soothing rich color. And it has a beach look as we live so close to the islands.
I got started by taking the drawer out and cleaning up gunk that was stuck to it. Then I removed the hinges from the cabinet base and took off the doors. The cabinet base was all wiped down with Murphy’s oil soap before I sanded. Then as it happens to me so often I knew I needed to paint the piece instead of going with my first idea
I matched the paint to the pictures I took of the duvet covers. She also requested a glass knob for the drawer. Hobby Lobby had the perfect match.
The first 2 coats of my DIY chalk paint was in a Sherwin-Williams color called Blueblood. I watered it down slightly for the parts that are wood. My vision was the ocean. Since the paint was thinner than I normally mix it, it seemed to seep into the grain which is what I wanted it to do.
I used the regular formula for the drawer front and cabinet doors.
The next color is called Lakeshore. I used the ratio of 1 part Plaster of Paris mixed with water to 3 parts of paint. Using a chip brush, I brushed it over the thoroughly dried Blueblood color. I did not want the paint to go into the indentations. I wanted to make sure the wicker look remained. And it did.
Going back to the cabinet base, I watered down the Lakeshore color for the 3rd and 4th coats of paint. I applied it thinly so some of the deeper blue showed through.
When the drawer and doors were dry I went back over some of it with a watered paint in Lakeshore to blend it a little.
As that dried, I sanded the cabinet with 220 grit sand paper. I went back over it with 1200 grit. I wanted a very smooth finish with no distressing.
To finish off the project I cleaned the brass hardware, which by the way is so beautiful, with Brasso. I left the interior of the cabinet as is, but cleaned it and wipe it down with Old English Scratch Remover on the insides of the cabinet. Then I lightly waxed the inside with clear wax.
On the cabinet, itself I used clear wax and applied with a soft cloth. On the drawer and doors I used the waxing brush to apply the clear wax. Then I used the brush that attaches to my drill to remove it. A soft cloth was used to apply additional coats of wax in order to protect the finish.
I hope my treatment of this little cabinet with history will go on for many years and be enjoyed.
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Supplies and Materials I used for this project
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