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RE-Repurposing a 16 Drawer Spice or Tool Cabinet…

May 1, 2013

Last month, I bought a unique cabinet, with 16 small drawers, at an auction here in the Valley of the Two Wallas.  The drawer fronts are about four inches by four inches square.  Each drawer is about twelves inches deep.

There is a person’s name and a “1905” date written in pencil on the bottom of one of the drawers.  The 1905 date could have been written at any time, but I would say that the cabinet is a 100 years old… date or no date.

A piece of this size and style would most commonly be called a spice or apothecary cabinet.  I have no way of knowing what the cabinet was originally used for.  However the decorative trim at the top and the bottom seems to indicate that it was in a store or in a home.

When I saw the cabinet, at the auction, the top and the drawers were dirty with workshop type of grime.  The auctioneer confirmed that it was found full of tools, nuts, bolts, and similar stuff in the estate’s workshop.  The shop use would seem to be the first repurposing of the cabinet from a clean environment to a workshop.

Cabinet as purchased.  Note paper labels and silver spray paint on drawers...

Cabinet as purchased. Note paper labels and silver spray paint on drawers…

I restored the cabinet back to clean enough to once again use it inside a home… The cabinet was scrubbed with soap and water, lightly scraped, and then sanded.  Both the inside and the outside of each drawer was sanded clean.

The major aesthetic consideration was how to deal with the drawer fronts.  The fronts had originally been painted green with a coat of black on top of the green.  Each drawer also had a brown paper label and several splotches of silver spray paint.

The silver spray paint was totally inconsistent with the age of the cabinet.  So I sanded each drawer until the silver paint was gone and then I stopped.  Several coats of satin varathane produced a soft luster that brought the cabinet popping back to life.

rich soft luster...

rich soft luster…

All of that work on a previously repurposed cabinet makes it a RE-Repurposed Cabinet.  Come into Shady Lawn Antiques and see the results while the cabinet is still here.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. jfemigh@aol.com permalink
    May 8, 2013 7:01 am

    I like the transformation of the cabinet. You kept the original age and distress of the cabinet in tact. Jim

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