an alligator-ed bookcase.

This past weekend I finished up the remaining piece from the trio of large pieces that I purchased at the Linden Hills garage sales back in May.

You’ve seen the dresser …

And the white bookcase …

Now for the bookcase with the glass door.

Much like the white bookcase, this piece was also once a built-in.  However with this piece someone had already done some work to allow it to be a stand-alone piece of furniture.  There had already been a finished side added to the side that was once up against a wall.

If you look at the top of the bookcase in the ‘before’ shot, you can see that at one time there also must have been some trim around the top that had been removed.

As luck would have it, I happened to have a spare length of old trim in the rafters of the carriage house that was plenty long enough to add some trim back to the top of the bookcase.

My handyman Ken made quick work of cutting the trim to fit and attaching it.

From there I simply sanded lightly, cleaned the piece with TSP Substitute and then I painted the outside with Sweet Pickins In a Pickle.

Except … wait a minute … hold the phone … did you notice the piece doesn’t look green at all in that photo of the trim?  Well, as it turned out I didn’t like the green on the bookcase.  I can’t really explain why, it just wasn’t working for me.

So I whipped up a custom mix of Homestead House milk paint instead.

This is about a 1/2 cup of Craftsman, which is a pale minty gray-green, with about 2 tablespoons of Loyalist, a medium blue, added.

This subdued blue-green-grey color seemed much better suited for this bookcase.  I added two coats of this color over the In a Pickle.  Once dry I sanded the piece and added a very light coat of Miss Mustard Seed’s clear furniture wax for protection.

I was initially planning to paint the inside as well, but ultimately I decided I wanted to leave it the dark wood instead.

Something like ironstone or milk glass will really pop against the dark wood.

I swapped out the original knob, which was rather boring, for this white enamel knob.

I’ve had that single knob in my stash of hardware for so many years that I can’t remember where I purchased it.  Possibly Anthropologie, but I’m not positive.

As you can see in those close up shots, the finish on this piece was very alligator-ed.  It had to have been stored somewhere hot (like an attic) for some length of time.  I love the textured look I get using milk paint over a damaged finish like this.  I didn’t get any chipping with my milk paint, but sanding over that bumpy finish created an aged look that I love.

Looking at these photos has made me realize that if I’m going to keep attempting to take furniture photos inside my photo cottage (like these), I really need to put a fresh coat of paint on the floor and walls.  It has not held up well at all.  It looked so fresh and clean when I initially painted it …

I guess four years of walking on it with dirty shoes, dragging furniture across it, and having it semi-open to the Minnesota weather has taken its toll.

I’ll just add that project to my to-do list … you know, the one that is longer than my arm.

But in the meantime, be sure to let me know what you think of my alligator’ed bookcase!

This piece is available for sale locally, so be sure to check out the details if interested.

32 thoughts on “an alligator-ed bookcase.

  1. Love the color, love the alligatored finish, love the knob. This will sell in a flash, it’s almost a neutral but with a hint of gorgeous color. I agree that in a Pickle would not have been the right color for this sweet, calm, dignified piece. And as I looked at the finished piece I wondered how many trips in and out of the house you made, bringing all that beautiful ironstone out to stage!


    1. LOL … so funny Laura! It took a million trips out and then another million trips back in the dreadful heat and humidity we’ve been having. Plus, I broke one of my ironstone pitchers in the process! And I have to admit there was a moment when I thought “what in the world am I doing this for?” But in the end I think it was worth it 😉


  2. Beautiful! Every time I move my dish collection, or ironstone around I end up breaking something! So…I use that as my excuse not to dust too often, I end up breaking something!😁 This piece is a nice size and the color is spot on!


  3. Color turned out perfect! Another beautiful piece saved! And I’m pretty sure you’ll find one or three replacements for the broken ironstone piece…lol.


    1. It’s funny because I recently took a few pitchers to Reclaiming Beautiful to sell because I had extra! Well, now I’ll have to be on the lookout for a replacement 🙂


  4. Love the color you created for this piece. In your photo cottage, I spy a Paris sign — what’s the chances you’d part with that? My granddaughter and I pretend that our She Shed is located in Paris, so wouldn’t that be sweet!


    1. That is a reproduction that I purchased from Curious Sofa (and I think they are no longer in business). But I’ve also seen them offered at Decor Steals for $42.95. Although who knows when Decor Steals will offer it again. I found another source (here) where they were selling for $79, but they are out of stock. Oh, wait … I found one online for $59.99 here. Act fast!


  5. I love this piece of furniture! The color is perfect. You mix so many different colors of milk paint together and it always turns out fabulous!


  6. Love all of this especially the contrast of the wood with the paint. The enameled knob was the icing on the cake. Great job.


    1. I think if I’d gone ahead with the In a Pickle green on the outside I would have ended up painting the inside white because the dark wood and the darker green really made the piece too dark. That may have played a part in my decision to ultimately go with a lighter color to contrast with that dark wood interior. Thanks for mentioning that Maureen!


  7. Very nice Miss Quandie! I’m curious: what’s your technique for painting all those muntins? Free hand or taping off?


    1. You know I really kind of dropped the ball on giving very many details about the mechanics behind this makeover. Probably because it was hot and humid this past weekend and I just couldn’t take the heat anymore. We Minnesotans are not conditioned to deal with heat. Or maybe it’s just me. Anyway, I do not tape off the glass. It takes way too much time and tape. I just go to town with the paint, then come back after it dries and scrape it off the glass with a sharp razor blade. With this piece I let the paint sit longer than I normally do (several days, plus, have I mentioned it was hot?) so at first it was harder than normal to get it up with the razor blade. So I ran a wet rag over the paint on the glass and let it soak in for maybe 15 seconds or so, and then the paint came right off easy peasy. So much easier than all of that taping!


      1. Yeah, thanks Miss Quandie…’s more difficult to TAPE straight than it is to PAINT straight!


  8. I love this piece! There is just something I love about the glass cabinet. I liked it a lot before you painted it and would have bought it too. The paint color you customized is perfect and I’m so glad you left the beautiful wood inside. I always paint the insides of my projects because they are usually in bad shape or just ugly and I l like opening a door to a surprise color or design inside but you’ve put another new idea in my head because the wood looks so good. It would also save me a lot of time because sometimes I spend more time on the inside designs and paint than I do on the outside! I’m known for my furniture pieces with their bright or neutral painted insides with detailed designs painted on the sides of drawers or drawer bottoms &/or painted and papered-lined drawer bottoms – a lot of work but worth it most of the time. All that would’ve been a waste on this cabinet. Simple can be beautiful, too! I’d find a place in my home for this if I could!


  9. The custom color you created is perfect for this piece! And I really like the original wood interior – goes well with the alligator-ed finish. Beautiful. 🙂


  10. I love the transformation…good color choice. So what exactly is a photo cottage? You have this space set up specifically to take photos of your work? If that’s the case then I’m super-jealous. One of my main problems is not having anywhere to photograph my work; I’m to the brim in furniture and other home decor pieces. I need a photo cottage. 🙂 Also, I thought maybe you got that alligator look by using the new IOD cracqeluere stamp they have out…makes it look so easy to get that look!


    1. I have not tried that IOD stamp, but it sounds pretty cool. As for the photo cottage, yes! I do have a space specifically set up for furniture photo shoots. You can read all about it here. But basically it’s a small outbuilding that has seen lots of different uses over time. The people who owned our house before us used it as a play house for their kids. I turned it into a potting shed first, then a summer house (or you could have called it a she-shed, but that was before anyone ever thought of that name), and now finally the photo cottage. However, I haven’t been using it to its full potential for a while now mainly because it badly needs a new paint job and I’ve been putting that off. I really need to get that done!


  11. The piece turned out very beautiful. Perfect color and paint texture. Love the wood inside too. It is a good reminder that sometimes we don’t have to paint everything. Job well done!


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