Cabinet Renovation DIY

Today I have a fun project to share with you. I find a lot of projects at the thrift store, buy them, and it takes a lot of time to finish them. Sound familiar? Well, today my project didn't work out that way because it wasn't for me. My mother-in-law recently moved into a new apartment and needed somewhere for her TV to stand on and her DVD's to live. When we were at the thrift store we found this cabinet, which my husband instantly decided would be the perfect project to refinish and get for his mother. So, we brought it home.

It wasn't the most decorative piece, but I could see it having potential. I could also see how it had thick paint on it, which needed to be sanded. Now, I want you to know, if you see a piece, think - oh, it just requires a sand and a repaint - unless you have done it, it isn't as easy as it sounds.

Here are the handles that came with it. I guess they work, but, we decided to change them. You can see the inside of the cabinet here, and it wasn't ever painted and we decided not to either.

So, the existing cabinet had some of the paint chipping off. And let me tell you - whoever painted this before, well... I'm sure it looked good right after they painted it. The first coat was a brown (such a sorry brown too). Then they had painted it white. Then they painted it black. And that paint, it was thick and chipping.

So, we took off the hinges. Gosh, I hate when people paint hardware when painting the furniture. Don't do this. The screws were painted shut and we had so much trouble getting them off. Don't paint hardware multiple times.

But, we got it all taken apart, and were ready to sand.

We used a sander that I bought - first power tool I ever owned. It is so nice. I know a lot of people like the fine grit to make things nice and smooth, and one day maybe I'll get into that. But for now, the courser the paper the easier it is to rip off the paint. So nice. You can see all the layers of paint here.

After a little bit of my sanding, the condo was covered in dust, and it had been very noisy, so I stopped. However, my husband likes to do things so he finished the one side of the door. I don't suggest this as our neighbor came and yelled at us the next day for doing it (or we think that was his complaint, it was delayed and our other neighbor is remodeling their condo.)

Change of venue to my mother's garage and my husband got all of the paint off in a jiffy.

For the more intricate details we used a sanding block to get in there.

And the car was a bit dusty afterwards. I don't suggest leaving anything in the room where you are doing this, it made such a mess. Three layers of paint, and then some of the wood as well. Gosh, I even had my husband open the garage door so the dust wouldn't come in the house. So messy.

Then I dusted it off with a damp rag. Every surface brought so much dust with it that I would then take it back in the house and clean the rag. So much dust.

So then it was time for paint. We got some Valspar cabinet paint that worked great. It is "cracked pepper" from Valspar. It has a bit of a gray tone, but is very black still and changes in different lightning conditions. I think the brushes are from the dollar store. Once I found that you could buy them there I love to use them. The more expensive ones aren't worth the price if you ask me.

Now, for the important step - make sure and get yourself a supervisor. This one here is my father. He worked as a cabinet builder for most of his life, and enjoyed coming out to help us. He is getting too old to help with the lifting, or sanding, but I enjoyed having him there. We were both pleasantly surprised that the cabinet was wood, and not just particle board. He wasn't pleased that we were going to paint it, but as you will see later, was happy with the wood in the end.

As we painted it, it went on very gray. It also went on much faster than we thought. Painted and left to dry.

Now back at home and it was time for the hardware. I ordered the hinges in the same style that they had been before. Hinges can be tricky to get them to fit right, so I just got the same kind. I attempted to use the old ones, but.... well, removing paint is not as easy as it sounds. There handles were also really cool. I had them as extras for a project where I wanted flat handles, and these looked great with this cabinet.

We did eyeball the install of the hardware. The handles we just put over the top of where the old one's were. Yes, you can see the holes from the back, but we weren't selling this or anything. But, we did make sure and line up the handles next to each other to make sure they matched.

First we had to screw new holes, but that was nice and easy.

We attached the hinges. It was easy because we put them where they had been before, only a couple of new holes were needed. As you can see these have three holes, and we just stuck with two screws like the ones had before.

It was also very easy to put them on. I like how nice it was to screw these from the front. I have had ones before that needed to be screwed on the inside and holding open the door while you screw... gosh... the pain.

A few little touch ups with the paint, and...

Cabinet complete! We were very excited. This was the first piece that my husband had ever did, and he was so proud. We had a lot of fun.

And look at that color. The grain is still shining through, and it really looks like a nice piece.

The handles work and open and everything.

The new hinges are much better looking.

So, off we went to visit my mother-in-law. I really don't know how I lucked out on having such a strong husband, and he claims he use to be stronger.

And here it is, complete with the TV on top. I had wanted to put a hole in the back so we could hide the DVD player, and cords and such, but, my mother-in-law likes to have them all out, which also works fine. It looks great in her living room and feels so much more complete.


What are your thoughts? Anything you would have maybe done differently?

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