Monday, May 23, 2011

Furniture mods

As regular readers of this blog will know, we recently completed a complete redo of our downstairs bathroom.  Or rather, we almost completely completed it.  One thing still lacking was shelving.  We were making do with an old corner étagère from Ikea, but the little open shelves weren't really the most practical thing for storing spare towels and extra rolls of toilet paper.  So we were trying to figure out what else we could construct that would fit into that awkward little corner area, and our eyes fell on the old corner cabinet that used to sit in that same space before we redid the room.  The medium-toned wood finish was totally incompatible with the new color scheme, and the piece wasn't in such great shape anyway, so we'd been assuming it would just end up on Freecycle.  But at some point we said to ourselves, "Well, if we're just going to get rid of it anyway, what do we have to lose by trying to paint it?"  Nothing but a bit of white paint, and we knew we'd be needing some of that at some point anyway to touch up the woodwork upstairs, so the leftovers wouldn't go to waste.

As you can see from this "before" picture, what we had to work with wasn't terribly promising.  But nothing ventured, nothing gained, so we started by removing the doors and taking out those funny sort of bubble-patterned plastic inserts from the top ones (breaking one of them in the process, so we couldn't be tempted to put them back in when we were done).  The scalloped trim pieces on the top came off too, and the one on the bottom got sheared off to a plain edge.  We didn't dare sand the piece before priming it for fear the existing varnish would bleed into the white paint, so we just slapped on a coat of primer and forged ahead.

Two coats of white paint later, here's the not-quite finished result. As you can see, we haven't yet found anything to replace the inserts in the upper cabinet doors, although we've thought that some translucent paper or fabric might do the trick.  We even painted the black-finished hardware with a can of silver-toned spray paint (which we'd bought earlier for another project that ended up going nowhere) to make it a closer match for the rest of the hardware in the room.  The finished piece may not be exactly elegant, but it's presentable and certainly functional.  And the top makes a nice place for displaying my little collection of cobalt glassware, which had been sitting boxed up in storage ever since we moved into this house four years back.

So that left us with the old étagère.  We assumed this piece would now be the one to end up on Freecycle, since we didn't have another empty corner in the house that could accommodate it.  Our house has baseboard heat, so there aren't many corners in which you can actually place a set of corner shelves without blocking a heater.  But Brian took another look at it and, once again, thought, "Well, if we're just going to get rid of it anyway..."  So he decided to take a stab at modifying this piece too.  And here's the result, with the legs scooted forward so that it can fit right over the baseboard heater and tuck neatly into a corner of the big downstairs room.

Waste not, want not, at least where furniture is concerned.
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