A Wardrobe Change

“The Cobbler’s kids have no shoes”. It’s an old saying and means that a person has their experience in a profession but is unwilling to use this ability to help themselves or the closest to them.

I’m not saying that I have this problem but I do have an issue finding time to work on my personal furniture projects and I can go months in-between accomplishing any of my own.

I was finally able to carve out time this past week to get one accomplished that has been in the making for over a year.

My grandparents’ old wardrobe.

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My grandmother decided to do some furniture downsizing and asked if I would like to have this wardrobe. Well, of course I said yes and my parents and I hauled it back from VA beach after hanging out with her and my aunt for the day.

Our house has an okay amount of storage space but a girl could always use some more and I wanted to see this thing stuffed with some fluffy blankets.

One interesting thing about the wardrobe is that the exterior looks like the original wood grain but its not!

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It is actually painted wood grain, an old practice that reached its peak during the Arts and Crafts movement in the early 20th century to give cheap wood the appearance of interesting grain patterns.

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You can see the difference between the actual wood and faux painted wood grain where a trim piece had fallen off near the top.

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The back and inside needs a little work as well.

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What to do, what to do….

Paint it?

Strip it?

Leave It?

Much to the chagrin of antique purist around the world I decided to…

Strip it.

Well technically I sanded it. The first picture is one side completely sanded down and the second picture is of the side that still needed to done.

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It shows just how yellow that faux finish was and that’s ultimately the reason I decided that it had to go.

The grey that you see on the door is the base coat or primer that they had used before adding the honey-yellow paint and wood-grain detailing. NOT easy to get rid of and was made to last…. But… That was a time before 40 grit sandpaper and circular sanders.

After getting the faux finish off, I knocked off the old back that was already missing some slats.

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All of that sanding and dust meant the whole piece needed a good rinse before moving it inside to dry and you can see how yellowish-orange that raw wood is when it is wet. Probably best if I leave it in it’s raw state to keep it that lighter color vs. covering it with a protective coat.

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Thats enough attention on exterior. Time to spice up that interior!

With the rustic raw wood on the outside and it being such a big piece of furniture, I wanted a light and bright inside so it wouldn’t feel so heavy when its doors are open.

Using “Belgian White”, my favorite white by Valspar, I painted the shelves, interior sides, floor and ceiling with 2 coats.

With MMSMP I used equal parts mix of Farmhouse White and Grain Sack to paint a 8×4 panel of beadboard that I would use for the back.

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It’s pretty normal for a project to make its way from the garage to the kitchen…

From this angle you can see that I only painted a portion of the panelling. The back of the wardrobe isn’t as big as the 8×4 sheet of beadboard so I measured and only painted up to what would cover the back. I then used one coat of the Minwax protective finish in matte to cover all of the inside surfaces but I did decided to leave the outside of the piece alone & in its raw state.

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Kyle was tasked with cutting the beadboard panelling to size and installing it with a nail gun. All that was left was to move it inside and put the shelves in!

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Like I said before, this is a family piece that was passed down from my grandparents and I’ve been wanting to make it a part of our home and future. I hope it’s transformation has added to its history and will continue to be passed down from generation to generation. For now it is posted up in our living room, guarding over the coverlets and being used for extra storage.

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Hopefully I’ll complete another personal project over the winter that I have been wanting to do for awhile now. I just need one or two good snow days to get it done. More to come soon!

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