Cabinet Upcycle!

On New Year’s Day this year (before we moved out of the apartment and into the house) I told The Engineer I wanted to do something productive and fun and I suggested that we redo this cabinet (it also has a matching armoire that we will do something with in the future). 

We figured we were going to put this piece in the dining room and use it to nicely store/display some overflow kitchen items. We wanted to roughly match the paint color to the kitchen island and cut the inlays out of the doors and replace with glass inlays. Thus, we made a plan.

To Do:

1. Remove inlay from doors.

2. Strip stain from top.

3. Sand remainder of cabinet.

4. Cut quarter round to frame the windows in the doors and install.

5. Cut thin piece of backing to cover side inlays and install.

6. Prime/paint cabinet (excluding top, which will be stained).

7. Cut and install Plexiglas in the inlays of doors.

8. Spray paint hardware.

9. Stain top.

10. Seal.

The demo was pretty hysterical. The Engineer got a Sawzall for his birthday and that was our tool of choice to cut out the door inlays…in the kitchen. Yup. We’re pretty excited to have an actual shop at the house and to feel justified in buying the tools we need. Back at the apartment we just didn't have the space for that kind of stuff. 

Cutting the inlays out was easy and straight forward but since they were literal inlays we then pulled the remaining part of the inlay out of the slot it was nested into with plyers.

We bought a cheap sheet of backing from Home Depot and had them cut it to the size we needed for the side inlays. We felt no need to remove the original inlay which made this step a little easier. The piece we found was in the scrap bin and was about 1/8" thick. Since the pieces were already cit to size it just took a little sanding to get them to fit in snugly. We secured them with wood glue and a few brad nails. It was at this point that we realized we liked the color contrast and opted to buy two blue colors instead of just one. 

We bought quarter round for the doors and in addition, a miter box since we don’t have a miter saw and weren't ready to make that investment. The Engineer cut the quarter round at 45 degree angles at the corners and made sure they fit will in the doors.  We just used wood glue to attach the quarter round since they were wedged in the doors tightly. 

Since we didn't own enough clamps to hold all the pieces down, we got creative and tied them with left over string from the wedding. We have more clamps now :)

At this point everything was ready for sanding and painting. We tested sanding the top by hand and knew immediately that we would be investing in an electric sander. We decided on the Ryobi electric pad sander and it. is. awesome. It feels like we already got our money out of it on this project and have used it for more! Needless to say, that made sanding the top a breeze. The next morning I sanded the remainder of the cabinet, with the electric sander where I could and by hand everywhere else (on the balcony and not in the kitchen this time!) and gave it a good wipe down before I primed it. It took me a good 1.5 hours to prime everything by myself while The Engineer was at his flight lesson.  I know that sounds like a lot but there were a lot of little nooks to get into!

When he got back we both started painting the cabinet. We had decided on the Behr color Coastal Mist to paint the entire cabinet with, but after seeing the lighter inlay on the side the previous night we opted for two colors, which was a great audible. We matched the darker blue to the blue on the new kitchen island (as best as we could from pictures). We knew it won’t be perfect, but it doesn't have to be. They aren't right next to each other but when you have them both in your view you see some continuity. We also pulled another audible when we were purchasing the second paint color and decided to stain the top light to match the kitchen island as opposed to dark to match the kitchen table as originally planned. We had really started to enjoy the natural wood on there, so we kept it!

Painting was straight forward, I just had to go back and do some touch up where the painters tape failed us. 

We glued the Plexiglas (after cutting it to size via scoring and snapping method) to the back side of the quarter round and were pretty excited with how well it turned out. I then went overboard taping the hardware for the spray paint but I was terrified of getting any over-spray on the newly installed Plexiglas. 

We stained the top with our natural stain and sealed it after we moved to the new house.

We are really happy with how it turned out and I love love love the way it looks in the new dining room!!!

The two colors make the inlay cover up on the side look more intentional and the windows in the doors let me display pretty serving items from the kitchen while storing them at the same time which is a double win with the limited kitchen storage here. 

In case you forgot where we started...

I'm excited to re-purpose the matching armoire!