Sunday, December 5, 2010

Out, Damned (Colonial) Spot!

We appreciate the character of our old house. We had better - there's really no other option than old when you live in Boston! The antiquated china cabinet in our dining room, however, has never been something we appreciated. Really, what the heck am I supposed to do with a china cabinet?! I don't have - nor have I ever wanted - china; knick-knacks are just not my thing; and clutter makes me tense. I've been struggling with what to do/how to fill this space since we moved in.

So what to do? I was ready to take a sledgehammer to this tired, colonial-era built-in while visions of design inspiration from California danced in my head (chunky/rustic woods, exposed brick, reclaimed wine barrels) . . . but we needed to do this project on the cheap and also keep resale in mind. Sigh. Limitations can be so creatively stifling.

Confused, stiffled and sort of uninspired, we approached this project in a way we usually don't - without an end product in mind. At the very least, we thought we should clean it up a bit, after all - this thing had been caked with at least 500 layers of paint since prohibition. So we started there.

We removed the doors first to strip them and discovered we liked the cabinet sans-door. (We left the framework intact though, in case the next owners want to reinstate the doors.) Then we installed faux brick, added some more brick texture and painted it white. As subscribers to the "Candice Olson school of home improvement," we also added lighting, of course. Next we removed some of the shelves for stripping and discovered we really liked the open feel, so we kept them out. The remaining two shelves were stained the same colour as our neighboring sideboard in the butler's pantry.

My handy Andy went the extra mile to modernize the PBB-era drawers (pre-ball bearings) and completely rebuilt them so that they actually slide out easily. I am so grateful that he has spared me of the violent tug-of-war battles I had to undergo in order to access our table linens. There's nothing better than form + function!

Our organic home improvement process brought us from china cabinet to minimalist niche. We haven't found the perfect one object to put in there yet but we're loving the transformation and feel like we made it compatible with our style while also making an overall improvement to the room. See the before/after photos + the process here

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