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The Water-Logged China Cabinet

Here's the back story on this piece... The storage unit we rented was in an old factory and they were cleaning-out.  When we arrived with the movers (same company) I spotted the china cabinet that had been left out in the rain for a loooong time.  It was warped, split, peeling, and had no glass.  Since I'm an idiot...ahem, love a challenge, I offered to buy it.  The owner told me to take it - no charge.  He also gave me the maple table for free.  If you missed that makeover, click HERE.  Since I had no room for the china cabinet, it sat there until we moved into the new Cottage.  
The china cabinet made it as far as the back porch and as soon as we were 'settled' aka: had a functional kitchen and bathroom, I got to work.
The original plan was to reglue the veneer and try to add stain to blend in what was missing.  That plan was tossed aside as soon as I realized the extent of the water damage.  Take a closer look:


The more sanding I did, the more veneer came off. It was so sad...  Time for a new plan...get rid of the veneer.  
I started with the drawer and veneer was flying EVERYWHERE!  Once it was down to bare wood (which didn't take very long) I saw the lovely green hue...hello, poplar!  The drawer would be painted.  
I continued with the two panels on either side of the door.  Once again, the veneer was flying and then I discovered another issue.  There was a layer of veneer under the veneer that also was loose. You can't see it in the picture, but, trust me, it was lifting right off.  

I consulted with my assistant (aka my husband), who agreed with me,  it all had to come off.  There was just no way to re-glue all that veneer successfully.  Off it came! 
He's always so happy to help! 
I did save the decorative moldings at the top by prying them off very carefully with a putty knife.  
Let's just say, there was a lot of ruined veneer:
And more poplar wood:

After sanding everything smooth, I got to work on the solid-wood parts:  the door frame, the corners, those legs...I used Furniture Refinisher & Tung Oil from Homer Formby with no expectations.  This wood had very little finish left on it, but I was pleasantly surprised with the results. This is not a paid endorsement and Formby doesn't even know I used their product, but it is something I will be using again!
Before:
After:
Before:
After:
Certainly not perfect, but, oh so much better than before.  
The top and sides got 2 coats of black chalk paint to cover the damage (the top was warped & split and had to be screwed back together).  I also painted the inside and the drawer.  Everything got a little distressing with sandpaper.  A new piece of glass was cut for the door and then it was time to tackle those front side panels.  
Since the green poplar was shining through, I gave them 2 coats of white paint and bought some fabric.

I cut the fabric a little larger than the panels and used Mod Podge to apply it.  

Once the entire piece of fabric was secure and dry, I trimmed it with an exacto knife and applied one more coat over the top.
Last, but not least, I had to clean the knob and drawer pulls.  They were pretty dirty:
Even in the sun, they looked grimy!
A little metal polish and some elbow grease turned them into this:
Can you stand a couple of more close-up?

This project was a 'labor of love'. Half way through, with things splitting, chipping and peeling, my husband looked at me and asked if I wanted to ditch this one and find a better china cabinet to rehab.  "Absolutely not!" was my answer, with no hesitation.  This cabinet needed me, since most people probably would have thrown it in the fire.  
At the risk of sounding crazy, I think pieces of furniture 'speak to you' when you find them and as you work on them; and even though this one turned out completely different from the original plan, I think it has beauty, and more importantly, character! 
Thank you for stopping by and reading this 'lengthy' post. What pieces have you rescued from the fire?  I'd love to hear about them. 
Have a wonderful week!

I hope you'll pin, share, comment, and follow.  If you click on those 3 little lines at the top right of the blog, you'll see where to find me...or click on 'share'.



Featured at:
Dishing It & Digging It


Comments

  1. Great save! It looks wonderful now, the black works so well with the fabric and carved pieces that you saved.
    Joy

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    1. Thank you, Joy. It was definitely a challenge!

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  2. Replies
    1. Thank you, Lynnae. I'm so glad you stopped by. Come back again soon!

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  3. I totally agree that furniture speaks to you. You did a fabulous job by bringing its beauty back. Thanks for sharing at Snickerdoodle Create Bake Make.

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    1. Thank you, Debra. I'm sure this one was crying for me to help it!

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  4. Beautiful makeover! 😍 😍 😍

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  5. A stunning makeover! So unique and full of character--the very best kind of redo. So often I think the furniture leads us in the makeover. It's a fun surprise to see where it goes.

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    1. Thank you, Anna. It IS a fun surprise and this piece certainly led me to what it wanted to be! I'm so glad you stopped by.

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  6. Wow! You all did a fabulous job on this makeover! It doesn't even resemble it's former self! The color combination really pops. Thanks for sharing with us at Merry Monday. We love to be inspired by creativity!

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    1. Thank you. So many people would have walked on by it, but I really saw something that could be brought back. I'm thrilled to inspire!

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  7. This is amazing, well done! Thanks for sharing on To Grandma's House We Go!

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    1. Thank you, Chas. It certainly had a few surprises!

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  8. So gorgeous; you wouldn't recognize it as the same piece of furniture. I have a ratty china cupboard; this may be the anwer for it, too. Thank you!

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    1. It really does look very different, Kathy. I can't wait to see what you do with your china cabinet!

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  9. What you've done is beautiful - you've kept its intrinsic beauty, but you have such a wonderful eye for what works well to make it a standout piece - those fabric sidepanels are gorgeous.

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    1. Thank you, Leanne. I truly appreciate your thoughts!

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  10. I'm so glad you took on that challenge, it turned out so great! I bet it is so happy now too... being all sparkly new looking again!

    Tania

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    1. So am I, Tania. I seem to always 'root for the underdog'. It was SO worth it!

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  11. Ann, hope the tendonitis is better. But no wonder you got tendonitis, taking on such challenging projects as this! This transformation is nothing short of amazing.

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    1. The tendonitis is feeling better, Jean. Thank you for asking, but this project wasn't the cause of it. It was actually holding my Kindle...see what too much reading can do to you?? LOL
      Thank you for stopping by and your kind words. Have a great weekend!

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  12. What a transformation! Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm--pinned!

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  13. Hi Ann! What a great furniture redo!!! I love how adding the Formby's really brought out the stain's color again. I'd say that's a win. :) Love how it turned out!!! Trying to pin but not finding a Pinterest sign anywhere. If you are on Blogger {which it looks like you are ~ me, too!} , you can add it as a HTML/Third Party gadget under Page Layout. Then you add it as a feature wherever you'd like it. I apologize if you already know this. :)

    Really great refinishing,
    Hugs,
    Barb :)
    www.frenchethereal.net

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    1. Sorry! I KNEW I should have checked the Share button up top first. Ignore all the rest... :) Have a great week!!! <3

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    2. That's funny, Barbara! Glad to see I'm not the only one who has 'moments' like that...thanks for stopping by!

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  14. Your china cabinet turned out great! I have a full size headboard covered in veneer. I'm in the process of seeing whether it is worth salvaging! Thanks for sharing with us at The Blogger's Pit Stop! Roseann from This Autoimmune Life

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    1. Thank you, Roseann and good luck with the headboard. I hated peeling the veneer off of this, hopefully you will have more success salvaging yours!

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  15. Most people would have tossed it in the trash. You brought it back to life beautifully! Thanks for sharing with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

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    1. I always take the 'lost-causes', Jann, since they're always a fun challenge. Thank you for stopping by!

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  16. Ann,
    I should have known this was yours when I clicked on it. You are one of my features on Thursday Favorite Things.
    Hugs,
    Bev

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    1. I guess that means my style is starting to show-through! Thank you so much for the feature, Bev...

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  17. Hi Ann, just wanted to let you know that I will be featuring you at SYC tomorrow.
    hugs,
    Jann

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  18. That looks absolutely amazing. What a great job you did

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    1. Thank you, Cherie. It was a labor of love!

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  19. That's just stunning! I would only have done one thing differently. I'd have done my best to clean the hardware without removing the patina, but I'm funny about stuff like that.

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    1. Thank you! Since the hardware was completely blackened, I just scrubbed. It has no coating on it, so, with time, there will be more patina!
      So glad you stopped by!

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  20. I use Formsby's all the time! Love that stuff! I "rescued" a piece from a friend of mine. I saw it in her basement when I was visiting and I swore it said "save me" very softly...LOL I didn't realize how bad of shape she was in until they delivered her to me. I loved her then, and I love her even more now (as much as you can love an inanimate piece of furniture anyway). She will be handed down , because she will stay with me unless I am forced to part with her. This is 'Clara' https://www.hometalk.com/36313013/clara-s-journey-desk-redo-long-post
    (also a long post :)
    I'm so glad you saved this girl, she now looks spectacular!

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    1. Thank you, Charlee. Clara came out beautiful...those legs! Glad to hear that I'm not the only one who has 'conversations' with old furniture! LOL

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  21. Replies
    1. Thank you so much! Glad you stopped by...come back again soon, won't you?

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  22. I love the cabinet and have a question.

    Someone gave me, in the late, late 90's, an old chest that I stripped, sanded, cursed, and did everything over again. I wanted to use Formby's Tung Oil on it but, as I finished working on it we moved to a new home. Here it is 2018, and I still have not done anything to the chest. I have no idea what wood the chest is made from but I want to use Tung Oil on it.

    The back had to be replaced with a piece of plywood. How do I spot test with TUNG OIL if I can't find anywhere to do it?

    Duh, NOW I figure out how and where to spot check! See, you inspired me even without moving a tendonitis inflamed muscle! Hope you are back to sanding, polishing and decorating very soon!

    Whew! I'm glad I'm not the only one who hears whispers of "Help me", "Save me", or other laments. I thought I was the only one and since I'm at the age to be imagining things, it's nice to know that I'm not crazy! Of course, I've always been at that age! (Strange child!)

    OH! The chest belonged to a Talent Scout who worked in Hollywood in, I believe, the 20's, 30's and 40's. I have their name and dates to have engraved on a name plate. Cool,huh!

    Heissy!

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    1. You are so lucky to know the history behind that chest! I would find a corner on the bottom somewhere to test the tung oil. The worst thing that can happen is you have to sand it off because you don't like it!
      Fortunately, the tendonitis has calmed down and I'm DIYing like crazy. It was actually holding my Kindle to read that caused the problem! LOL
      I think old furniture is thankful for those of us who 'listen' to it! I hope you'll let me know how things work out with the Talent Scout's chest...thanks for visiting the Cottage!

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  23. You do amazing restorations. My dad could take lots of damaged old furniture and bring it back to life. He found a drop leaf dining table for my first apartment. The top was water damaged and peeling up in places. He successfully glued it back in place before refinishing. You couldn't tell where the repair was done. He also made beautiful wood furniture for my mom and me. - Margy

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    1. Thank you, Margy. My Dad taught me about refinishing furniture when I was in Junior High. I still use all of the things he taught me. Dads are pretty amazing, aren't they?

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