I’m a bit dangerous when I’m a). a bit bored and b). get a bee in my bonnet about something. This is a post about how those two things come together and result in a really rather lovely piece of furniture created from a small sideboard made by me that I’m really very chuffed with.
When we moved our TV and sofa into the kitchen/diner we put an old sideboard, relocated from the living room plonked against a wall to put the TV on. It was practical and all, hiding all the TV boxes and cables etc (a particular bug bear of mine) but it always bothered me slightly – I wanted it to look lovely but it didn’t. It looked a bit meh.
A couple of weeks ago it dawned on me that the problem was that it was just too small and looked like an island against a big wall. I started a hunt for a much bigger sideboard but I couldn’t find anything on EBay or in secondhand shops. I’m not very patient and after a week or so of hunting I wanted another option. The sideboard as it was was solid wood and in itself fine – just too small. I wondered if I could just make it bigger somehow.
This looks like a really big project but actually it wasn’t and if you have a few DIY skills I reckon you could do it. Here’s what I did:
I took off the skirting pieces, top, and little metal decorative brackets that wrapped round the top corners. I write a blog for the lovely Utopia Bathrooms (if you haven’t seen their stuff you must – it’s lovely and I also contribute to their blog so have a read of those posts too) and in conversation with them I asked if by any chance they had any small cabinets that I could use and they did – hurrah! Slightly wider than I’d anticipated (in the end they looked perfect) but a wonderful starting point. I screwed these to the sides of the unit making sure the top and front edges were flush using a combination of unit legs, and legs cut to size from pieces of wood.I cut the new top piece to size from a big sheet I had in the garage (it was very big and very heavy and Health & Safety would have had a field day if they’d have seen me with a jigsaw balanced on one leg trying to reach high enough) but with this rested in place it gave me the top level to work to. The cabinets weren’t as deep as the unit so after a trip to Wickes to get bits of timber, I glued on a piece of hardboard as a fake side piece the right size – about 10cm deeper than the cupboard.I’d got some kitchen doors from EBay that were the same design as those on the central unit that I thought would blend well once painted. They were’t the perfect size but after failing to find anything exactly right I decided to make these work. To fit them, they were balanced on bits of wood and rested in place so I could add the side battens and work out something to close the gap at the bottom too. Door were then hung, the top screwed down and new skirting to wrap all the way round fixed (I have to say I was really scared about doing this because my mitring skills leave a lot to be desired so I was worried the corners would be terrible but I took it very very slowly and the results were fab. Go me!) Then my trusty assistant and I rubbed down all the old paintwork ready for some undercoat. Undercoat on the bare wood and specialist primer on the kitchen doors.The colour of this piece was a big deal for me and getting it right really important. I’d always wanted to introduce navy in to the room and had tried with a rug but decided to go this route with paint instead. I got lots of sample pots and spent two days doing a process of elimination with bits of card rested on the top to choose. I kept changing my mind because the colours looked so different during the day to in the evening but in the end I went for Carbon Blue from Fired Earth – a deep blue that’s lovely. I do miss oil based paints though – IMHO the water based ones just aren’t as nice. But anyway. The first coat was reaaaaaally patchy and I thought I’d made the wrong decision. Note to self: Keep tea away from paint pot else you ruin a good cuppa…But a couple more coats of paint made all the difference and I absolutely love it. Handle choice was, again, tricky but with help from my 8 year old on the decision, I went for hares on the drawers and knobs elsewhere (these were too shiny so I dulled the colour to match the others with a touch of black chalk paint). The hares are a bit quirky without trying too hard and I really like them.So that’s it really. I did this over three days and I have to say I’m thrilled with the results. Who would have thought adding a couple of bathroom cabinets and sloshing a bit of paint around could change this….to this…. (and don’t you love the addition of the Mechanic clock by Newgate too?)
I’m thrilled with how this turned out – it didn’t cost much, didn’t take too long yet is just the statement piece I wanted and I love that it’s unique too. There’s something so satisfying about this kind of project that makes me smile…