Over the decades, useful and once treasured furniture pieces often get pushed aside for newer pieces, much like toys in the toy box. These pieces are associated with fond memories, and those memories make them hard to easily cast off; so we often find space for them in a garage or attic. The furniture piece in a garage can hold all sorts of things and so becomes useful, but mostly forgotten, in its new home. Small houses are always in want of more storage, and re-thinking the possibilities for an old piece of furniture can yield a better use for rediscovered items.
Here is where this story begins--again. The cabinet lived in the garage, gathering dust, while storing gardening tools, seed packets, and a few moving blankets, along with some outdoor decor items. Adding more square footage to a master bedroom afforded more wall space to accommodate the cabinet inside to store more grown up things than when both the girl and the cabinet were young. Gone are the onesies, diapers, shirts and shorts and a few little dresses and caps; now the cabinet stores travel supplies and extra bathroom supplies; and a few shelves added will once again store shirts and shorts and possibly a sun cap or two.
The cabinet needed a good cleaning. Then We removed the screws that held the massive handles, meant for small, chubby hands. We filled the holes with a wood filler so we could select more modern drawer pulls without having to match the spacing of the old holes. We lightly sanded the piece, then primed and painted it a neutral color. We found fun drawer pulls at Anthropology, for a more sophisticated look.
The harder decision was what to do with the fuzzy, sleepy bear decal on the cabinet. At first, we thought we could cut out the panel and insert a glass panel with either a sanded glass or another decorative style of glass. The problem was that whatever is stored inside will show to some degree through the glass. Next, we remembered antiquing old mirrors long ago, and thought that might be a good solution, to reflect some light, while obscuring the contents of the cabinet; however today’s mirrors are constructed of better grades of silver or reflective material than days of old; today’s mirrors do not degrade nearly as easily as they used to, so we scrapped that plan. Next, we used some Anaglypta or embossed wallpaper, which is paintable and adds texture and interest to an otherwise pretty plain surface. This type of wall covering was first used in Victorian homes by inventor Fredric Walton, who patented linoleum floor covering in 1860.
Today’s embossed wall coverings are much softer and easier to work with and will not harden nearly as hard as they used to in olden days. Once we cut the piece and glued in place, it was painted a light gray paint and added a silver glaze to achieve an antique look.
Now the piece has an entirely new and fresh look and will serve for many decades to come. Happy memories now live inside while serving a modern girl with modern needs.