the cabinet of curiosities.

In early September I set a goal for myself of completing all of the large pieces of furniture that were being stored out in my workshop before the snow flies.

Here in Minnesota that could be sometime soon.  If you’ll remember, last year we had snow on October 14 …

It didn’t stick around for long, but still … that meant it was already too cold to paint in my workshop by mid-October last year and it looks to be going that way again this year.  Last I heard snow is in the forecast for Friday.

I had one especially large piece at the top of my to-do list.  Some friends of ours gave me this piece for free.  I meant to get to it last fall, but I never did.  Then it spent all winter being stored in the carriage house.  Then I spent all summer just looking at it and thinking ‘I really need to get around to that one!

Somehow the summer just flew by and I never managed to get ‘er done.

Here’s what was holding me back:

no. 1 – It’s really large.  This piece is just under 7′ tall and 42″ wide and for some reason I always procrastinate on larger pieces and then later wonder what I was worried about.

no. 2 – This piece needed quite a few repairs, although my handyman/neighbor Ken cranked most of those out pretty quickly.  But the veneer was in pretty rough shape and needed a lot of gluing (by yours truly) which just isn’t one of my favorite things to do.

no. 3 – I couldn’t decide how to paint it.  I went round and round trying to decide on a look for this piece.  Do I go with a color?  Do I play it safe with a neutral?  Should the inside be a different color or the same color as the exterior?  Should I use a transfer or stencils?  I just wasn’t feeling inspired by any of the ideas I was coming up with.

Before we get to the painting part though, I have to share this clever ‘fix’ that Ken devised.

  One of the shelves was absolutely loaded with cup hooks.

I was thinking it would be a colossal pain to unscrew each one of them by hand.  I mentioned that to Ken and he came up with a really creative solution.  He modified a wooden clothes pin to fit into his drill …

Then he cut a slit in the end of the clothes pin to fit over the cup hooks.

Throw the drill into reverse and it’s easy peasy to remove all of those hooks.  Seriously you guys, how clever is that?  And now I have a lifetime supply of cup hooks.

The top of this piece was in especially bad shape.  One corner in particular was completely broken off.

Ken did a fantastic job of repairing this spot, but I did a crappy job of smoothing it out with filler.  At that point I was starting to feel like this piece was going to be pretty quirky no matter what and it might be wise to just embrace the quirky-ness instead of trying to fight it.

And thus, the Cabinet of Curiosities was born.

I painted the entire piece in Dixie Belle’s Caviar and finished it with their Big Mama’s Butta.

I used several different stencils on it.

Including this Antiques and Curiosities stencil that I used in an attempt to draw attention away from my wonky filler job.

And I also used some of Prima Marketing’s knob transfers.

The glass doors have their original wavy glass.

One of the really cool features is the fold out desk top.  There is a support on each side that you pull out for the top to rest on.

Then you just flip it open.

So, yes, technically this is a secretary desk not a cabinet per se.  But somehow ‘the secretary desk of curiosities’ didn’t have the same ring for the title of this post.

And with the desk top folded back in, this just looks like your typical glass fronted cabinet.

I always have fun staging photos of black cabinets.

Pretty much all of my non-collections work well with a black background.

When we added the faux board and batten paneling in this room I figured it was up high enough to allow me to crop out the dark grey wall color for most pieces of furniture, but not the 7 footers like this one!

As always, many thanks to Dixie Belle for providing the paint and the Big Mama’s Butta, and to Prima Marketing for providing the knob transfers for this project.

If you’re wondering where to purchase the Prima Marketing transfers check out their ‘where to buy’ page.

If you’re wondering where to buy the Dixie Belle products, you can shop with them directly online or find a retailer near you.

And finally, if you happen to be local (Twin Cities, MN) and in need of a cabinet to house your curiosities, please check out my ‘available for local sale’ page for more details.

36 thoughts on “the cabinet of curiosities.

  1. Boy did that turn out lovely! Your prices are so reasonable! I definitely would buy this if I were not in Indiana! Love the transfers on this! I am working on a table, and you have convinced me black is what I am going with. Ken is a genius! 😉


    1. I’ve priced this one on the low side because it’s not in the greatest of shape, and also because I don’t want to store it for months on end waiting for it to sell. I often sell things for less simply because I don’t want to wait for them to sell at top dollar. And yes, Ken is a genius!


  2. I love this cabinet!! I think that it turned out fabulous! I love black pieces and I really like the pull out shelf. I think that the piece is very versatile, Perfect cabinet to introduce in October 😊


    1. Black is just so much easier to work with. I was initially going to go white with this piece, but then realized it would take three coats to get good coverage and that was going to be a lot of extra work. So black it is!


  3. I love it!! What a unique piece and you made it extraordinary! I want to know where you got your stencils. I love them.


  4. I love the colors of this cabinet so much! You did an amazing job, as always! Every time I read about a project, I think, “I really need to finish my projects!”


  5. Linda you have outdone yourself! I never expected to love this piece so much, my jaw dropped as I scrolled! I had a desk/cabinet like this once, even wider and done in robins egg blue, I called her the Belle of the Ball. This one should be called Master of the Macabre! So much fun!!


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