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antique “art cabinet”


I have been pushing towards a few deadlines over the last several weeks and, while it’s all been fun work, I was really ready for a change of pace!  Jeff gave me a chance to get away on Saturday, so I went on a trek to HomeGoods and to a local antique shop.  I am almost always shopping for things to sell and I did some of that on this trip, but I also took some time to shop for myself.

And I found this awesome piece…


It’s an antique cabinet, obviously handmade, probably a piece some guy built for tool storage or something.


It’s been well used and worn over the years, but I find all of the rough edges very endearing.

And, what pushed it over the top for me is that it’s perfectly sized to store art supplies.


The cubbies are long enough for brushes, pads of paper, palettes, and finished works.  Some of the drawers are divided and some aren’t, making it suitable for a variety of storage needs.


I bought it with the intention to paint it, probably leaving the top wood, but I am still debating exactly how I want to paint it and do I want to change the hardware, put it on casters, etc.

I know it’ll hit me.


I’m glad to have a new piece of furniture to work on, though, and I’m very excited to have a cool storage piece for all of my newly acquired art supplies!

I’ll keep you posted on what I decide to do with it.


And, speaking of art supplies, I am looking forward to playing with pastels some more.  I did buy a set of nicer quality Rembrandt pastels.  Nice pastels are very expensive, so I started with a small set before I invest in more.  I have been browsing around to find a used set, so maybe I’ll luck out!  (If anyone knows of some quality used pastels for sale, just let me know!)


I also took a little time today to “move into” a new watercolor palette.  I had been using one that didn’t have enough wells for all of my colors, so some of the wells housed as many as 3 colors and none of them were labeled.  This palette had just the right number of wells, so I added the paints and labeled them with a color card.  This will be such a helpful tool when I’m mixing colors or trying to pick just the right shade.


My book projects are pretty much wrapped up and now it’s onto a few freelance projects and I have some upholstery work and a custom landscape dresser waiting for me!

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  1. I think this piece is amazing as is but when I look at it I feel it’s missing something. Maybe different hardware and painting like you said. I don’t think it will lose any of the character at all by painting it. In fact it could add more charm. I see it being a white and distressed like you always do. I think it could go from amazing to even more amazing with your touch on it. This piece is a cool find no matter what you do but I think when u add your love to it everyone who said you shouldn’t paint it will see your vision and think it looks amazing. 😚 I have never seen a piece u have done that wasn’t gorgeous so trust your gut you have a gift that allows you to enhance beauty in the old!

  2. Nancy says:

    I can see it painted white with the top left wood, but part of me says paint it a bright, inspiring, happy color so that when you go and get ready to paint just looking at it puts you in a happy, creative, energetic mood. Maybe a color you love but don’t get to use as much? Tricycle or mustard seed yellow? Something happy. Maybe a custom blend just for yourself… Treat yourself, Marian!

  3. Gavin says:

    Paint the insides and leave the outside ?

  4. Nancy says:

    I love that Piece! My son moved into a house that a water color artist had owned. Not only did the family leave him some wonderful paintings, but also his desk. He built it in the basement and it was too big to move Out! How I wailed when they moved and had to leave it there. On another note, I-do-have a chest similar to yours that my grandfather built for my grandmother and was in her dress makers shop. I’m right with you on maybe painting yours. mine has been painted several times, and will be painted again soon. I’m going to put a new top on mine, with some reclaimed wood since the linoleum that was originally on it is still there hiding under contact paper. You have inspired me to look into some vintage index pulls for it.

  5. Carolyn Gordon says:

    I am absolutely green with envy! That is one cool cabinet.

  6. Marian, my watercolor teacher recommends the John Pike palette. I love how much room there is to mix colors. Kind of big if your on the go but great if your working inside. LOVE the cabinet btw.

    • That’s similar to the one I was using, but it didn’t have as many wells as I wanted, so I switched to this one with smaller wells, but more of them. We’ll see which one proves to be my favorite! :) Thanks for the tips. I have soooo much to learn!

      • Mary Taylor says:

        Hi Marian! Where did you find that gorgeous”art cabinet”!?!? I love it & I need one. I’ve gone into antique stores and seen some really nice ones but the prices are way out of this world in my area! (Ashburn Virginia or Northern VA). Maybe I’ll get lucky & Santa will find one for me. Haha. Thanks for sharing! Merry Christmas to you and the family!

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