Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Dilapitated Cabinet Turned Farmhouse Spice Cabinet

This poor dilapitated old cabinet had seen better days.  Seriously.  It was in terrible shape, but had such charm.    

This was wedged in a crevice of the cabinet.  I found it after I had vacuumed and scrubbed it down.  I can't believe I didn't impale my finger on it!  It's a very rusty needle with some thread still attached.

I imagined a young bride's husband handmade it for his new wife to hold her sewing supplies. After many years of use, the wife grew old, her husband passed away, and her vision dimmed.  No longer could she see to sew.  The cabinet got put in the attic and forgotten.  Soon the wife died too.  Her only child, a son, took the old cabinet to a thrift store while cleaning out the attic.  He didn't know that it had once been made by his father for his mother.

Sigh...what a bittersweet story I wove in my mind.  Then I turned it over and saw this.  (input the sound of a needle scratching across a record).  So unromantic!  I ripped that insulting tag right off and I'm sticking by my version of the story.

This thing was filthy!

Someone had repaired one of the shelves with gobs of glue.   Who does this?  I had to use a scraper and a lot of elbow grease to get it off.  The shelf was also glued in crooked.  Guess stayed crooked.  Just part of the charm right?

After vacuuming, cleaning and scraping, I gave it a good coat of primer.  It's already looking better!

To keep paint and primer off the screen doors, I covered the edges of the screen with masking tape on both sides of the door.

All primed and ready for paint:

After priming you could see how out of whack this piece really is.  I glued several places with wood glue, then used a ratcheting strap to pull everything in tight while it dried. You can see the ratchet part of the strap at the top of this picture.

It never ceases to amaze me what white paint can do.  I mixed up my own chalk paint for this project, using this recipe.  I love this recipe.  I've tried unsanded grout and plaster of paris, but the paint was gritty and very quickly hardened.  The calcium carbonate is key.  I was able to use the leftover paint even several days later.

I added 4 new shelves that I cut out of a thin sheet of board from Home Depot. What a challenge to fit shelves in this piece!  Nothing was straight.  It isn't perfect, but I just kept telling myself it's part of the I right?  At least my shelves are straight.  The crooked ones are original.

I found these jars at JoAnn's and ordered 20 of them.  I just love the shape.  Using my Silhouette, I made vinyl lettering for all my herbs and spices.

Sixteen jars fit inside.  I perched 4 more on top of the shelf  (not shown in these pictures)

Before my spices were in those annoying little jars they come in...the ones you can't fit a teaspoon inside so you have to use 2 half teaspoons, or worse yet, 4 quarter teaspoons. Spice jar manufacturers obviously don't cook!

 My spices used to be in different spots in my kitchen, because I didn't have space anywhere to keep all of them together.  My latest solution had been to dump them into two baskets and stack the baskets precariously in my kitchen bookshelves.  Now I can see everything and acess it without pawing through two heaping baskets.

So much better don't you think?  

I'm so honored this project was featured at:

A Joyful Cottage

I've linked to these awesome parties:

What's it Wednesday at Ivy and Elephants
Creative Things Thursday at The Vintage Farmhouse
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Craftastic Monday at Sew Can Do
Project Inspired at An Extraordinary Day
Every Room in the House Party at A Joyful Cottage
Party Junk at Funky Junk Interiors
Thrifty Life Thursday at Revisionary Life
Shabbilicious Friday at Shabby Art Botique
Share Your Cup Thursday at A Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson
Wowza Weekend Party at My Love 2 Create
Inspiration Monday at Twelve O' Eight
Take it on Tuesday at Romance on a Dime
From Dream to Reality at The DIY Dreamer
Tuesdays with a Twist at MsMoozy's Open House


  1. You did such a great job on this piece. What a save! I love the jars, the labels, everything. Spectacular work!

  2. I love your cabinet and those jars are perfect!

  3. Oh Wow, I love everything about your spice cabinet, the jars are gorgeous and I love the chicken wire and those little drawers too!

  4. All your hard work paid looks fabulous!! Also, I love the story behind the cabinet!! Gail

  5. Well, the cabinet could have been made by a man in China dreaming of the ways his wife would lovingly use it except it traveled to America where a creative lady turned it into a beauty!

  6. Love the whole thing! You took a Made in China and made it fabulous! I have been there, finding what looks like a great vintage item only to see the made in china sticker! Love your blog and your style. Visiting from What's It Wednesday!

  7. This makeover turned out great, Deborah. I like the slightly crooked shelves; it makes the cabinet look authentically handmade and vintage. Lovely job on the paint and distressing, and I adore the wire. The spice jars are so sweet and look like they were made for the cabinet. I'd love it if you'd share this at Every Room In The House. We're still partying in The Kitchen until the end of the month. Here's the link:
    Please join us. xx ~ Nancy

  8. Beautiful, Deborah! I make up stories about my finds, too. Yours made me giggle. I want to do something very similar with my spices...thanks for the inspiration!

  9. New here! Just dropped in for the first time - so glad I did! Just love the cabinet and the jars are adorable! But what makes this so special is the story behind it......LOL! like the song says
    "That's my story and I'm sticking to it"! I love the remake.......have to look into this Chalk paint!

    Lois @

  10. Okay- Hands down that is THE cutest Spice cabinet I have EVER seen-in spite of how ugly it was before. lol AND I like your story much better than that sticker on the back. I LOVE those jars, too! Great job, Deborah! xo Diana

  11. I love the story you heartfelt and beautiful. There's nothing like a sticker to jolt a gal back to reality...and a crooked one too! ;) You did a great job of giving that cabinet new life and the jars are just toooooo cuuute!!! There's no question that you're a pro. Ratcheting straps? Maybe I should put those on my wish list. ;)

  12. That sticker is toooooo funny! Stick with your story - much nicer! I love your spice cabinet. LOVE IT! My spices are in two drawers, rolling around in their original packages. I made a mental note to keep my eyes open for a cute, crooked cabinet with tons of personality like yours! Julia

  13. Deborah...thanks for linking your extraordinary cabinet makeover at Project Inspire{d} -!

  14. Deborah, I love this cabinet, what a great idea and so useful! And love even more the bittersweet story you imagine! That made in china sticker and the scratched record ..ha..ha..LOL! Gonna check out that chalk paint recipe for sure! Have a Great Day!

  15. Hi Deborah! I've featured your charming spice cabinet in this month's Every Room In The House party. Thanks for sharing with us, and I hope you'll continue to join in the fun. This month we're partying in The Living Room. Hugs ~ Nancy

  16. Very nice! I would stick with your story too. Haha

  17. the jars are PERFECTION! with this adorable cabinet! What a fun way to incorporate spices into your decor!!
    You rock!! :)
    hugs x, Crystelle
    Crystelle Boutique

  18. I think this turned out so cute Deborah! What a great way to utilize an old cabinet. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  19. I love, wish I could find something like this, and the jars are great!!! Thank you so much for sharing on Tuesdays With a Twist.

  20. Wow I just love how this turned out! I will be featuring this on Tuesday with a Twist this week so come by on Tuesday morning once it goes live to check it out. Thanks for linking up and sharing your project with us.


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