the barrister bookcase.

I shared the ‘before’ of the barrister bookcase that I found at the thrift store in Wednesday’s post.

I’ve always loved these bookcases with the glass fronts that drop down, so I snatched this right up.

I couldn’t remember off the top of my head what these were called, so I did a little googling and that landed me on the Wayfair site where these little babies go for over $700 for the two section version like this one!  I definitely did not pay that much at the Goodwill.  The finish on this one was quite beat up, but otherwise it is in good working order.  Nothing that some paint and a little imagination couldn’t cure.

After my usual prep, I painted the outside in Dixie Belle’s Sawmill Gravy and the inside in their French Linen.  Once dry, I sanded lightly to smooth out the finish and distress the edges and then I added a couple of coats of their flat clear coat.

Then came the really fun part.  I added some sections from with prima’s gold Flower Collector transfer to the glass doors.

FYI, here is the full transfer …

I tweaked it a bit to fit on my piece.  I removed some curlicues, and I tightened up the space between a few of the lines of text.

I also didn’t use any of the bottom 3rd of the transfer, so I’ll have that on hand for a future project.

I really struggle to capture the color of the Sawmill Gravy.  Dixie Belle calls it a ‘smooth beige’ on their website.  I’ve never really thought of it as a beige, it has the slightest hint of a grey undertone as well, a really warm gray.  Or maybe I just think that because I always pair it up with the French Linen.  Either way, I hope my photos do it justice.

I think the gold of the lettering plays really well with the warmth of the Sawmill Gravy.  I kept the original brass knobs for that reason as well.

Wouldn’t this piece be perfect for a little reading nook?  I can also see it being used under a window with plants on top.  I think it would work well next to a sofa too, it’s just the right height to function as a side table. Another idea would be to put it on top of a dresser to function sort of like a hutch.  So many possibilities with this one!

This piece is for sale locally, so be sure to check my ‘available for local sale‘ page for more details if interested.

As always, thanks to Dixie Belle Paint Co for providing the paint and topcoat used for this makeover.


25 thoughts on “the barrister bookcase.

  1. Hi, your photo captured the color perfectly. I just painted a console with Sawmill Gravy and the inside French Linen. We are on the same creative wavelength. 🙃


  2. I love what you have done with this piece and I would snatch it up for myself except that I have inherited a four-tier bookcase that goes back to at least my grandparent’s early married days. Classy understated elegance.


  3. My grandparents had a 4-tier unit. Sure wish I had it! Yours looks so good. I have a perfect spot for it. If I was closer…
    I want to paint my large entertainment center in an offwhite-beige-y color but wasn’t sure how it would look against a brighter warm white wall. Your bookcase looks fine so I’m thinking my piece will look ok too.


    1. It’s always tricky bringing a new shade of ‘white’ into a room. I always feel like bringing in a brighter white makes other things look dingy, but if your walls are brighter white you are OK with less bright whites in the furniture, if that makes any sense.


  4. Love the gray/gold combo. So classy and elegant and soft at the same time! You nailed this one and I wish I lived closer. How do you get the lettering straight? I’m afraid mine would go either up or downhill. Just love it!


  5. I love the look! Can you answer a question about using transfers on glass? I assume you aren’t using any sealant; can owner clean the glass with windex on a soft cloth? Or will that damage the transfer? I’m always worried about what happens to a piece once I sell it!


  6. You knocked this one out of the ballpark!While I’m not one who typically cares for transfers on glass because of the haloing, when I scrolled down snd saw the gold lettering, my heart sped up and my stomach dropped. The gold in contrast with the colors you chose is utter perfection. If I lived within four hours driving distance, this puppy would be mine!


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