Vintage Apothecary Cabinet refinish
I found this really great vintage cabinet at a local antique store a month ago. I’ve wanted a similar cabinet for years. It was hard to see through the mauve pink paint, dinged up wood, and mismatched hardware but the bones underneath looked good so I decided to take it home and give it a chance.
Nothing was known about the date on the cabinet, or where it was from. It appears to be hand built, and some of the wood used to build it has stickers from the reclaimed wood they used, dating back to the 1920’s. It was in rough shape. With some of the vintage hardware missing, and the rest of it mismatched I knew I’d need to replace it. But that was just one of the many problems this little piece had. It appeared to have been built to mount on the wall, or sit on another piece of furniture and was roughly 3 feet tall itself.
The first step was to clean it up and attempt to strip off the faded and chipped pink paint. After wiping it down, and removing all of the hardware I used Citristrip stripping gel to remove the paint. This is my favorite paint stripper. It doesn’t drip, the smell is not harsh, and it removed years of old paint in just one application.
The cabinet also had this really great old lock. The key is missing, I hope to find a replacement for it, but in the meantime I wanted to see if I could remove the rust and get it back to working order. I soaked the rusty hardware in a vinegar bath for two days. It worked very well, and now the old lock is able to move again.
Some of the wood was in pretty bad shape. I had hoped to be able to stain at least most of it, but it was becoming clear that parts of the cabinet would need to be painted.
I decided to go for the two tone look, paint and stain together. I stained the top of the cabinet, and a section of the door. I love gel stains. The front panel on the door was not in the best shape, but with a few coats of gel stain, it came out looking all right.
The paint came off the drawers very well, so I stained them. I used two different stains for a custom tone. Rustoleum in Kona, and Minwax gel stain in Mahogany. After they were stained I added the new matching vintage looking drawer pull hardware I purchased on Amazon.
For the parts that I couldn’t stain, I used Valspar interior latex paint in a flat white finish and I sanded it lightly for a very slight distressed look. I sealed it with a clear Polycrylic in a satin finish to protect it.
I wanted to add a little decorative touch to the plain cabinet so I found a wood onlay that fit inside the middle door panel and stained it to match. The added dimension was a nice touch.
Since I was getting fancy, I figured I would add a knob to the front door as well. After pre drilling the whole it was easy to install.
I love the fancy little decorative touches! I purchased this great little vintage looking cabinet knob on Amazon. It came in a set of two. I already have plans for the extra knob. I love them so much!
With the dark rich stain, the uniform drawer hardware, and crisp white paint you’d never know this was the same old cabinet I picked up a month ago!
Some of the dings and flaws were too deep to fill properly or hide. I think it gives the finished cabinet character and serves as a reminder that this piece has history and depth.
Adding legs to the Vintage cabinet
After I was finished with the main body of the cabinet, I decided it really needed something. Legs. While it seemed built to stand alone, I wanted to give it some height and bring it up off the floor a little, but I didn’t want to set it on any other preexisting pieces of furniture. So here was the solution! (You’re going to love it!)
A coffee table! Isn’t it genius? We found this coffee table on a local Facebook yardsale site (I’ll say it again, I love those sites!) It was perfect, it had the vintage look I wanted, and the best part was it came apart in pieces that were so easily managed!
After taking the table apart completely we could cut the side boards down to size and then just simply reassemble the new, smaller, base.
I painted the base before assembling with the same paint that is on the cabinet. Since this was not real wood I didn’t try to stain it. The paint was easier to match.
I’m so excited with how it turned out!