Monday, September 3, 2012

THE China Cabinet

The china cabinet.  THE china cabinet.  THE EVIL china cabinet!  Where do I begin.  When I first got this piece, I actually thought it would be a fairly quick project.  I loved the look of the detail along the top of the hutch and couldn't wait to get started.  Unfortunately, it took a lot longer than I had anticipated.


I started off by removing the front doors and all the hardware.  After sanding it down, I applied a coat of primer.  I already had a few other pieces in my garage I was also working on, so the front deck became another “work space”. 

Like the grey buffet I recently finished, I chose to leave the interior of the lower cabinet it was in excellent condition. 

While the main part of the buffet was simple to paint, the doors decided to give me some grief.  I had sanded, primed painted and had just started to apply the clear coat when I realized that the doors were developing some yellowy spots!  It seems that the old original finish was working its way through the primer and paint!  I always use an oil based stain blocking primer to prevent this, but I guess my coverage wasn't adequate enough (serves me right for painting at night in a poorly lit garage) and that darn finish was going to prove it!  I needed to basically start over from step one and sand, prime and paint AGAIN before I could add the clear coat.

This particular piece was custom painted for a friend and she had requested a bright white, but asked if  could replace the glass with chicken wire.  Because I had replaced a previous cabinet glass door with wire with no issues, I thought this would also be a simple job.  It was not.  After I had painted the entire interior, I went to add the wire.   

Because the  upper cabinet was fairly narrow, I had to squeeze my upper body into it at the oddest angles along with my somewhat bulky nail gun.  I’m sure I could have just slapped the wire up and nailed it in place, but being a bit of a perfectionist wanting it to look nice I wanted to make sure all the edges were tucked into the existing groove where the glass panels had originally been.  The wire wasn’t being overly cooperative though and the sharp edges were scratching away at the brand new paint!  I lost track of the number of hours it took to complete as well as the number of times I stormed out of the garage ready to call it quits!  I can’t even begin to express how happy I was to finally get it finished...with only two holes to patch after the staples decided to go THROUGH the wood and out the front of the cabinet!

After repainting most of the interior, the entire piece got a glossy clear coat.   

I felt the original hardware worked with the piece and only needed to be updated with some Oil Rubbed Bronze paint.  

Now I would like to say once the clear coats were finished it was all smoothing sailing from there.  It was not.  When I got the cabinet, one of the glass shelves had unfortunately been broken in transit.  I was a little concerned about what a new one would cost, but was pleased to find out it was going to be less than $30.  I measured the existing shelf and ordered a new one.  After I’d completed the cabinet, I grabbed the new glass shelf, put one end in the cabinet and then...freaked out.  The front opening was TOO SMALL to put the new shelf through!  I tried it at every angle possible and even called my hubby into the garage hoping he could figure out a way I hadn’t yet thought of.  No luck.  AGH!  When I took the shelf out originally, I had already removed the side glass panels and just slid it though there  Of course, with the chicken wire now stapled in place, that was no longer an option!  By this point I was so ready to cry.  My ONLY option was to attempt to pry out the staples on the back panel.  Because it was made of that pressboard-type material, I really hoped it wouldn't be damaged too badly.

Using a hammer, a TINY screw driver and some needle nose pliers, I finally managed to pry out enough staples to allow me to pull back the bottom of the panel just enough to slide the shelf in. 

I slid the shelf in and went to pick it up to put it on the first shelf support.  Oh oh – why was the glass shelf scraping the sides of the cabinet?  I grabbed my tape measure, measured it again....and realized it was ½” TOO LONG!!  ARE YOU KIDDING ME??????????  I grabbed my paperwork and realized I’d somehow given the glass company the WRONG measurements!!!!  I had to run back into town to get the glass “trimmed”.  Fortunately it was a quick fix, but I’m sure they were laughing at me after I left!

After may hours of work and a lot of frustration, here is the finished cabinet!  

This had to be one of the toughest pieces I’ve done, but now that it's finished I can say I am really happy with the way it turned out and I hope it’ll work out well in its new home.

Thanks for popping by!


  1. What a lot of work but it turned out to be so beautiful...

  2. Stunning.. Great job.

    Have a question...
    I had cabinets professional painted.
    It doesn't look like they sealed them.
    I like to go over them with either polyurethane or polyacrylic. Not sure which one will yellow.
    Don't want that to happen.
    Which one would you recommend?

  3. Thank you so much for your comments!

    Chris - I use a waterbased polyacrylic on all my white furniture. Polyurethane is oil based and will yellow over time. Hope that helps!


Thoughts or comments? I'd love to hear them!