the vintage medicine cabinet.

First things first, congrats to Jennefer!  I drew her name as the winner of the red, white and blue giveaway from last Friday.

Now, on with the final post for this week.  I have to admit, sometimes I make choices that aren’t financially savvy.  I can get away with it because I’m just doing this as a hobby.  But if I was really trying to make a profit, or run a business, I’d be in trouble.  I know lots of you out there are working hard to do that and you probably just shake your head when I share projects like the one I’m sharing today.

But sometimes I just have to save a piece, even though I know I’m going to invest more time and money than it might be worth.  Maybe I should think of it in terms of emotional value rather than financial value, because I found the end result of today’s project really satisfying.

OK, so let’s start at the beginning.  I saw an ad on Facebook Marketplace for a pair of really beat up old chairs that would make perfect planter chairs so I made arrangements to go see them.

I seriously should have just walked away after looking at the chairs.  They were in really awful shape, they were filthy dirty and they were totally overpriced at $10 each.  Seriously, even if they had been free at the curb I think most sensible people would have passed them by.  At a minimum I should have bargained on the price.

But the sellers were super nice, and we got to chatting, and we’d come all that way (OK, well, really just to the next town over), so I bought them.  At that point the sellers must have seen ‘sucker’ written on my forehead, because the gentleman said ‘hey, I have some more old stuff you might be interested in, like this old cabinet …’

And after a bit of searching, he pulled this out of the pole barn.

As if the outside wasn’t grungy enough, just check out the inside …

Ewwwww.  Good grief, why would I take this on?  But there was just something about it that appealed to me.

The initial asking price was $20, but this time I at least had enough sense to bargain a bit.  I paid $15 which was still a bit high considering the condition.

That being said, I’m sure most some of you will agree that it definitely had potential.

So I brought it home, and washed it up using my Dawn Powerwash and the hose.

Next, I painted the inside using Dixie Belle’s Gravel Road 

I used Dixie Belle’s flat clear coat over the Gravel Road.  The dark grey is the perfect backdrop for a few pieces of ironstone.

I would have liked to salvage the original chippy paint finish on the outside of the cabinet, but it was just too grungy looking.  So instead I chose to use milk paint to refresh it without completely covering the entire piece.  I used Sweet Pickins milk paint in a color called Window Pane, a white with a grey undertone.

When I’m working on a piece like this, and I want it to retain its chippy, worn look, I try to be selective with my application of paint.  I avoid painting areas where the paint is totally chipped away …

I do end up allowing some of the original color to show (the cream colored areas), but overall the piece looks less dirty and more simply chippy and worn.

So, let’s talk about that transfer.  This is another section of the IOD Label Ephemera transfer that I used on yesterday’s card box.  Well, technically it’s two sections that I pieced together to fit on this cabinet.

Now, I think we all know that I don’t speak or read French.  So for all I know the wording on this makes absolutely no sense.  But it looks cool, and that works for me.

I also added a transfer to the inside of the door.

That is pieced together from the with prima Ephemera Collector transfer.

This cabinet is meant to be hung on a wall.  If it’s just sitting on a table top it has a tendency to tip forward when the door is opened, so it has to be anchored in place somehow.

But I think it would be perfect for hanging on the wall in a bathroom.

Of course, you probably wouldn’t fill it with ironstone in that case.  Or maybe you would.  Who am I to judge?

For now I haven’t decided on the fate of this cabinet.  I kind of love it.  I’ll be carrying it around my house today trying to find a wall to hang it on.  I’m not sure if I can bear to part with this one.  You’ll just have to stay tuned to find out whether or not I found a spot for it.  In the meantime, have a great weekend!

38 thoughts on “the vintage medicine cabinet.

  1. I just love how this cabinet turned out. It gives me inspiration for one that I have had for a while. Always am inspired by your posts!


  2. Fun cabinet. I like a lot. Not too deep. Maybe in your summer shed? Could be cute with gardening stuff. Or in a sewing / craft area. How organized one could be. Enjoy the search for the perfect spot.


  3. Love the finished cabinet! I am amazed with your vision of what a piece can become! So sad that I live so far away from your area! I live in LA (Lower Alabama)! If I’m ever up your way, I want to shop where you display your wares. Please respond with the name and address of the place. Thanks!


  4. I can totally understand your mission to rescue this little gem! It is a true gift that you are able to look beyond the cringe-factor of an item to see the good bones and potential for charm. I love the transfer inside the door; it is a perfect complement to the solid dark interior.


  5. Congrats to Jenefer! How fun! I totally understand the buying/overpricing/nice sellers issue – sometimes I feel guilty (why, I don’t know) so I buy something I shouldn’t. I AM getting better about saying no, though. That is a fantastic makeover, more so because I love ironstone and it’s perfect in there!


  6. I had to laugh at your post today because I have been there. I have bought pieces that were overpriced and the paint is gobbed on and I know I will have to spend a lot of time stripping it off. I know better, but sometimes I can”t help myself. Your cabinet turned out awesome, hope you find a place for it!


  7. Love this piece and the gravel road paint color. You have mad skills girl. Love the everything single thing you did to it and your ironstone against that interior to die for. I adore wall hung cabinets. I am always searching for these to hang over the toilet. Keeper.


    1. I have debated hanging this one over the toilet, but my bathroom is SO small. I’m afraid that even the 6″ depth of this cabinet will feel like it’s sticking out into the room too much. Plus, I still really love the old black & white Parisian scene that hangs there now (for a visual, see this post). Hmmm … I’ll have to give that some more thought …


      1. I think you’re right about that Victoria. So far I have hung the cabinet in the Q branch, but I have some other ideas for it too. I think this one is gonna have to be a keeper.


  8. Yep, again. Quandie-fied! My fave Quandie treatment………I love the black and white combo and the transfer fits perfectly on the front This cabinet seems like the kind of thing that could fit in any number of places!


  9. I’m sure we would go head to head over who bought the worst bargains because you couldn’t resist a vintage piece that had charm but little monetary value! I love your cabinet. I’ve had several in the past few years and left one hanging in the bathroom of my previous house. I just sold one “as is” that I bought at the Restore for $2.50. Thanks for the inspiration!


  10. I find it funny that i’m ok to pay extra $$ for some pieces, and walk away from items priced at $2-3 thinking it’s too much 🙂
    Your cabinet is lovely! I really like the contrast between two colors.
    You give me inspiration to try and no to be afraid of colors – thank you Linda!


    1. They’ve been over to Ken’s workshop where he did wonders with some glue. Now I have to do the rest. They may wait until next spring now though. I’m beginning to feel like the ‘planter chair’ buying season is over for this year.


  11. I am so happy to see another person doing this as hobby!! I get so attached to everything I redo. I spend a lot of time and effort restoring what satisfies my soul. It’s my go to therapy that takes my mind off my everyday worries. So refreshing to see I’m not the only one. Great piece!!!


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