Before and After

19 01 2011

Once upon a time, I had grandparents. One set of grandparents lived in a tiny town in a farmhouse with giant cottonwood trees around the property and a barn out back that always looked like it was going to fall over. (Eventually it did. The wind really blows in Idaho.)

There were lots of interesting places to explore when we went to my grandparents’. There was a closet in the upstairs bedroom chock full of fun stuff. There was always food in the candy jar in the kitchen. And then there was the basement.

The basement was kind of dark and little bit cold. But once you got past the storage room with the troll, there was a big rec room with crazy carpet, a pool table, and a wet bar. I remember playing down there for hours, especially in the first bedroom. It had a ping pong table, an old wood-burning range that was great for playing chef, and a little dish cupboard.

After my grandpa died, it seemed kind of crude to be asking for “stuff,” but I must have gotten over it because I said to my mom, “And if no one wants that little dish cupboard I would really like it.”

Either no one else thought to ask for it, or my mom arm wrestled everyone for it and won, because I got it.

I’ve lived in Washington for 7 1/2 years. I think we hauled it back with us about five years ago.

Which means it’s been sitting in my garage for a long time.

Behold the cabinet:

I had already taken the back off before I took this picture. I think at one point it survived a flood because there was a lot of damage on the back where moisture seemed to have leached halfway up, and the lower trim was missing a piece and turned out to be basically unsalvagable. But despite its eye-sored-ness, I still loved it and couldn’t give up on refinishing it.

I believe it was built by my great-grandfather, who was a carpenter, for my aunt Rosalie. You can’t buy a cabinet like that, folks!

Over winter break, I decided I was going to use some of the ‘free time’ available to finish some projects. Good intentions often meet bad ends, though. The cupboard is old enough for me to be worried about lead paint issues, so I put off doing anything until after the kids went back to school. I did, however, pull it out of its little garage corner so there was no room for me to park my car inside. On the iciest month of the year. (I really need to rexamine my timing.)

Anyway, I went to Lowe’s about 14 times over the past three weeks (and to Home Depot once) and it’s finally finished. Wahoo!

I bought a miter box and re-did the lower trim. Check out that corner! (But not too closely!)

I used a power saw for the first time to get the bead board backing to fit. I wasn’t exactly manly about it, but I think I weilded it with womanly authority (whatever that means). And I put Plexiglas in the windows (hence the trip to Home Depot). You can’t tell what color it is from the picture, but after using a sealing-type primer (darn lead paint!) I painted it in a light turquoise blue. Here she is:

I feel like it turned out well. Eden LOVES it, and has already begun adorning it.

Yes, that is a giant stuffed tiger in the bottom. Yes, that is a stick horse with reindeer ears. The adventure of its new life has already begun!

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18 responses

19 01 2011
Rae

it’s just to beautiful… the history, the refinishing… too beautiful for words. Love it, and WELL DONE.

19 01 2011
Mike

Nice work, Wendy. I’m pretty sure that I’m responsible for either breaking the glass, or my finger has been sliced more than once upon it.

19 01 2011
Wendy

Thanks, Rae.

Mike–at least you remember it. Greg was asking me about my projects and I said, “Remember that little dish cupboard in Grandma and Grandpa’s basement?” and he was all, “Uhhhhhhh . . . ” I’m glad you were secure enough in your manliness to play house with the girls. 😉

19 01 2011
Dina

All I can say is, “Wow!” You get more amazing by the minute! Will you marry me? Oh, wait, I’m already married….

19 01 2011
Mrs. Smith

Holy Posting, woman! I skip out on blogworld for two weeks and you’ve got, like, a bazillion fabulous posts to read! Wowzers. I might actually have to stop ignoring blogland like I have been the last month or 6.
🙂

19 01 2011
melissa

I really love it.

19 01 2011
Mom

Great Grandpa Madsen would be so proud of your handiwork. I’m proud of your handiwork! Glad you were able to salvage it for your kids to love and play with. Love you.

19 01 2011
Jefe

I’m sure once Greg sees the cabinet, he’ll remember it. I definitely remember it. I don’t know that I spent a lot of time playing with it, but I remember little details like how the drawers would slide out, the little latches that held the doors closed, and the broken glass. You did a great job refinishing it. Looks like it is already being loved.

–El Jefe

20 01 2011
Marybeth

Wow! Your cabinet turned out beautifully! What an amazing accomplishment! That is a real keepsake and its nice that the girls appreciate it, too.
I have a little oval table with little fold down sides that my parents gave me on, I think, my eleventh birthday. It is a real keepsake for me. I wasn’t as brave or adventuresome as you and had it refinished.

Congratulations on a great job!

20 01 2011
Jeanette

Wow, you brought back some fun memories. You did a great job refinishing it. How fun that your girls now get to build their memories from a part of our rich heritage. Thanks for sharing.

20 01 2011
Michelle Johnson

I’m thinking that Mike didn’t really have much of a choice on the girl thing. We were the only ones around:) I love that cupboard. It looks so good!!

20 01 2011
Monique

Way cool! It looks awesome!

20 01 2011
HBA

Looks Wonderful! What a neat thing to pass down to your kids. Did you just paint over the hardware? Does that affect the hinges ability to work?

21 01 2011
Wendy

HBA–I just painted over the hinges. They still work fine. I probably should have sanded it down some (most of the doors stick a little because the paint is too thick) but the whole lead paint thing had me nervous.

22 01 2011
mamacheetah

Tell me, after doing this project did you repeat to yourself over and over “I. Am. Awesome.”? Cause you should have. Nice work!

26 01 2011
Tami

AMAZING!!! Go power tool woman!

1 02 2011
Mandy

I really love it. What a fun thing for your kids to have!

5 02 2011
Niki

Holy CRAP, I didn’t know you could do that. What a freaking TREASURE!! I love it and you can pass it down and it will live forever and what a wonderful piece to remember your ancestors. WOW! Way to go Miss Wanda!!

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