Almost three months ago, I received an e-mail out-of-the-blue from a sweet woman named Joy. Joy “knew” me from my blog, and she said she had an oak entertainment armoire she was willing to give me if I thought I could do something with it (she had been unable to sell it).
Umm…free furniture? Yes, please!
Yep, that was three months ago. Even though I knew almost immediately what I wanted to do with it, it was a BIG project (the armoire is over 7 feet tall), and it took a lot to get me motivated to tackle it (enter Crafting with the Stars, Round 2).
Of course, the reason these entertainment centers are virtually unsaleable is that the new TVs don’t fit in the same spaces. So here you have a perfectly good piece of solid wood furniture with beautiful moldings, lights, and leaded glass panels, and no one wants it.
Well, I thought, what if it housed a different kind of entertainment?
I envisioned this armoire repurposed as a sewing cabinet, or maybe one which would house a computer (those are two of my favorite forms of entertainment at least).
The first step was to build a big box that would fill the open space in the armoire. I had a friend help me (OK, it was really the other way around…WAY around) with this part. The idea was to have a pull-out shelf at working height, so all the other measurements were secondary to that.
Look, it fits! Always such a relief.
The other “building” part of the project involved the top drawer. See all those nice plastic dividers? They were meant to hold VHS tapes—remember those?
There were no sides for the drawer, so some spare plywood was used to create the sides and a back.
Next step was to remove the leaded glass. I wasn’t a big fan of the brassy gold trim, so I used Rub n Buff in pewter and black to stain the metal. (And my fingers.)
Then—I removed all the hardware for sanding, priming, and painting! Did I mention this armoire is HUGE? And I couldn’t ignore the inside of this piece. EVERY SURFACE had to be painted. That’s in addition to EVERY SURFACE of the insert!
The exception was the crown and base molding. My friend suggested that those be sanded down and stained dark, and of course this is a look I love. It was a MAJOR ORDEAL to sand it all down! …but I did it.
You may notice that I had already primed before I tackled the moldings. I covered them with plastic wrap and painter’s tape to protect them during painting.
The upper display cabinet was backed by a mirror, but Emily from Décor Chick suggested that I cover it with beadboard to cut down on funky reflections. Since I had already planned on backing the main cabinet with beadboard, it sounded great to me! Especially since then I could ignore trying to keep the mirror clean (I would never have succeeded anyway).
I used Liquid Nails to adhere the beadboard directly to the mirror. It helps to use a spatula tool to spread a thin, even layer over the whole back of the beadboard.
Then I balanced precariously on a chair and held it in place and prayed and held it in place and taped it and held it in place and prayed some more. Sorry, no pictures of that…my photographers have to go to school sometime!
I also thought a “working” armoire needed a chair to go along with it. I have three chairs in my garage that were a curbside find—would you believe they actually match my kitchen chairs??—except they’re pretty well thrashed (mine are only a little bit thrashed). But hey, that means less sanding for me!
I painted a chair first green (to match the insert), and then in the same creamy white as the armoire. To give the chair a little more pizzazz, I used my tried-and-true overhead projector method to paint a vintage French advertisement that says something about corsets (it appealed to my sense of humor). I got the graphic from The Graphics Fairy.
I distressed the chair to show some of the green underneath, and glazed the whole thing.
Whew! So are you ready to see the end product?
Two functioning drawers, lined with a pretty botanical paper…
Chalkboard cupboard doors (these actually retract into the cabinet so you don’t get claustrophobic while you’re sewing/blogging). One side will be a magnet board when I can get some sheet metal cut for it.
A beautiful lighted display cabinet (that was fun to stage)…
An integrated work light and a power strip (found at Lowe’s)…
And of course the chair.
So, what do you think?
Would this be your kind of entertainment center?
This sewing armoire is going to be a Christmas gift for one of my dearest friends! Her husband is the one who helps me so much on my building projects, so we are making a trade!