craigslist cabinet progress

Marian ParsonsBefore and Afters, Furniture Makeovers, Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint, Office38 Comments

With school holidays and snow days, this week has been a short one, but I have managed to get some things checked off the to-do list.  One of the main things I wanted to work on was the cabinet in my office.

Since I knew it would be a time-consuming painting project (with having to paint the shelves, turn them over, paint the other side, seal them with Tough Coat, etc.), I decided to work on one side at a time.  So, I got the left side completed!

The first thing I did was replace the hardware with a pair of antique latches I found on Etsy.  The ones that were on there were not original and made more sense for drawer than cabinets.  When they arrived, though, I saw that the “keepers” and latches didn’t really match.  They did, but they didn’t originally go together, so the finishes were different.  The new screws also stuck out like a sore thumb.

So, I pulled an old trick out of the bag and used some Rub’nBuff to make them match.

I just rubbed some on with my finger.  I need to clean up the screws a bit and I might top it all off with some Antiquing Wax, but it’s a nice start!

I also painted the interior in MMS Milk Paint Farmhouse White.  I did not apply a finish to the back, but I did apply Tough Coat to the shelves, to protect them from scuffing.


I am planning on painting those magazine holders, but I’m not sure what color, yet.  The natural wood looks a little off to me, next to the patina of the antique oak.  There are bigger fish to fry, though.

I’m planning to line some baskets along the top for some additional storage and to hide the router and other internet boxes.  Once I get those, I’ll hang the framed magazine features above.

I moved all of the decorating books from my studio to the new bookshelf, so now I have to figure that one out again!  I loved all of the books in that cabinet, but the shelves were not as stable as they needed to be for all of that weight.  I should install stronger supports if I’m going to fill it with books again.

I do hope to fill that bottom shelf with art books, though.  Any suggestions for good art/reference books?  I have a lot of how to’s, but I’d like to study the work of other artists.  Let me know if there are any “must haves” for my art library.

Now, I need to paint the other side…

PS – This post contains affiliate links.

craigslist cabinet progress

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38 Comments on “craigslist cabinet progress”

  1. Your antique cabinet hardware will look more authentic if you replace the modern phillips screws with old-fashioned brass slotted screws. It’s an easy fix and the brass will develop a patina to match the hardware!

    1. What Leslie said! Marian, you made a great choice with that new (antique) cabinet hardware, it’s just beautiful and I love the design (Eastlake?). The Rub ‘n’ Buff to blend the finish was a great idea. I do have to agree with Leslie that brass slotted screws would look great!

    2. Yes, my thought exactly, the brass dome screws would melt beautifully into the latch pattern perfectly – those phillips screws just don’t cut it… 🙁

  2. It’s looking great! I am so glad to see your not painting the outside. Brass slotted screws will help along with just polishing the two pieces of brass hardware to make them all look more original to the piece.

  3. Mariane,
    I had a child’s wardrobe that had wood similar to your bookcase. I bought “Old English” scratch remover and rubbed it on and let it set a few minutes then rubbed it off and it looked wonderful. It blended the areas where the wood was
    scuffed or scratched. I bought the darker version which can be used on walnut, oak or similar woods. They do have a lighter version that can be used on pine or light wood. I learned about it from someone who had an antique/gift shop in our town about 20 years ago and have used it ever since. I love what you have done with your home. It’s really given me some incentive to look at my home in a different way and I’m already making my “to do list”. Blessings to you from Texas.


    1. I’ve used Old English Scratch cover for over 40 years and it is a great product. It will stain your hands, carpet, etc so be careful. It has a lengthy drying time too. How long did you wait, Marion, after painting to put stuff on the shelves? One of my all time favorite artists is Warren Kimble and of course Norman Rockwell.

  4. Just a thought: Perhaps you could cover the wooden file boxes with fabric for some interest. It’s looking good!

    1. This is a fantastic idea! I’ve done something similar before, it’s basically decoupaging with fabric. I used trusty old Mod-Podge to do it, and it looked wonderful. Way back in the day you could find wood pieces (like lingerie storage boxes or glove boxes) that were covered in fabric, they were beautiful and held up amazingly well over time. Were you given enough of the fabric from the line you designed to perhaps use some of it? Quilting cotton is ideal for this type of project!

  5. Watching how you break up bigger projects into manageable chunks that you can finish and enjoy as you go along has been a great inspiration to me! Thank you for your encouraging words and open-hearted sharing!

  6. There is some gel called Liver of Sulfur you can get on Amazon. It oxidizes silver,copper,crass and bronze. There are several different types, I recommend the gel. You could use that to darken the metal. to age it. It works in less than a minute, it is an organic compound and you can pour it down the drain when done. And iy is cheap. Probably at Hobby Lobby too.

  7. Helen Van Wyck’s books are an absolute “must have” for your art library. I learned more from her than any other artist. Also, John Stobart. When I was leaning to paint I learned the most from these two artists.

  8. I love the screws the way they are on your gorgeous cabinet. The cabinet will shine in all its glory, forget about the screws. I love all of your posts, with your amazing creativity.

  9. MMS!
    Tackling half of a project inspires me to do the same with several of my own. It surely would make them seem less daunting. Thank you. And, I too, love the hardware while agreeing that brass screws would create a pleasing whole.

    Diney on Camano

  10. Really pretty! I like how you organize your books by color. Looks very nice and uniform. I also like how you use baskets to contain or hide miscellaneous things.

  11. Your cabinet is looking great but, i do agree about the screws. Do you have a college near by they always have wonderful book stores in college towns.

  12. Another option for finishing the outside of your cabinet is Howard’s Restore-a-Finish. It comes in several shades. The results are amazing.

  13. I would paint the wooden magazine/book holders one of the pretty blues on the spines of the books you have near them. You can never go wrong with blue.

  14. As mentioned above Howards Restorer is every antique dealers secret weapon. Comes in all colors. They also sell a bees wax polish.

  15. Once a year or so, several public libraries around me in Ohio, have book sales. I’ve had tremendous luck finding coffee table art books as well as regular sized tomes which are just beautiful. They are also great for instruction as the photos in large size allows for studying of brush strokes and other techniques. There are also still tons of second hand bookstores around. I’ve found some lovely art books (and garden books and decorating books and history books) at these shopss and thrift stores, too. Good luck I hope you find some wonderful books.

  16. I think you will like Mark Hearld’s Sketchbook. It’s on my “must buy” list, as I’m hoping to try my hand at linocutting and print making in th future!

  17. It’s one of my issues so excuse me. Old hardware must have slotted screw heads, just saying. Thanks for the product info however. You have soon many tricks.

  18. For art history, and to study other artists and how their talents changed the art world, the definitive book to own is Janssen’s “History of Art,” but get the very latest edition, to be sure it carries forward to almost the present day. Older editions may not. It’s fairly expensive.

    Someone else recommended it, too. All any art student has to say is, “I’ll look in my Janssen’s” and everybody knows what they mean. It begins with cave paintings done B.C. in Lascaux, France, and ends with post-modern artists of the present day, Roy LIchtenstein for example, or Peter Max. Look at the brush strokes of Van Gogh, so full of life and motion! The pointillism of Seurat, the mind- and vision-bending of Picasso. It’s fun to Google their biographies, too (feet of clay)!

    Love your new home, for it IS a home now! Love your processes, your talents, and the way you think. 🙂

  19. Tony Bennett in the Studio: A life of Art and Music…… inspirational, fascinating….encouragement to continue the arts through our golden years!

  20. The cabinet is coming along nicely. I received my Farmhouse White milk paint on Saturday. It is everything I thought
    it would be ( and exactly as you described it) , great color, better coverage than most whites. Love it! I used it on a small project this weekend but weather permitting I’m hoping to tackle my antique bench/coffee table this weekend.

  21. Marian,
    Love the white inside look in the book case! I put eucalyptus in one of my ironstone vases till spring flowers are “right timing”. What is it that you put in yours?

  22. Hi
    I’m new to this blog but thought I’d pass along a trick I learned to make new screws match the old latch. Find brass slot head screws at Home Depot or Lowes. (BTY I agree about using slot screws on old hardware). Put about 1/2 cup of cider vinegar (not white vinegar) in a container that has a lid. Cut a sleeve from a piece of old nylon stocking and slip it over the container to make a sling. Put your brass screws on the nylon and put the lid on. In a couple of hours the screws will have the patina of the old hardware. Good luck

  23. Hi Marian,
    May I ask where you purchased the magazine holders and what was the price?
    Thank you,

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