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Wardrobe no more, Part 1 of 3; Transformation idea

02 June 2010

I recently had a special request to give some instructions on retrofitting a wardrobe or armoire.  Now Normally, and unfortunately I don't have a lot of time to figure out how to do it and write a whole post about something like this if we can't use it for our home- we are just SO busy!  But it just so happens that we have done this ourselves and so I thought I would give it a try.

In our last house we had very little space.  We also had no extra money, and a lot of old furniture.  But one thing we always have plenty of?  Imagination, as Anne of Green Gables would say, that and a whole lotta tools.   So, when working out a place to house our tv, we decided to revamp an old cedar wardrobe we had been given.

Now this was before I really started blogging so I didn't take pictures!  Gasp!  And unfortunately, I don't have an original picture but I searched for some images and found one or two that will give you an idea of what we did.  This one is most similar, (it is from Bower Power).

The top was not ornate like this, on the bottom there was a fixed drawer, and actually the front skirt was broken like this one too. 


Okay, so now that you can understand why it needed to change, here is what we did.  
I drew some quick sketches to explain:

This was the basic cabinet, with two 2/3 legnth doors, a fixed drawer and an attached skirt on the bottom.

We started by removing the doors, hammering out the fixed drawer and removing the skirt and were left with just a plain face frame

We took a sawzall and cut out the middle rail.  Then, because we could we also moved the bottom rail down to the very bottom of the armoire.  We resecured it all together.  Luckily the piece was sturdy and built well.  It was not a cheap piece of cardboard furniture!  After we had finished those changes, this is what we had.

At this point it seemed really stumpy and short.  So we decided to add some legs.  This was a bit tricky, and I must say that unless you have a good understanding of furniture building I would not attempt this, or you may just have an armoire land on top of you like the wicked witch of the east had a house fall on her and end up losing your favorite shoes to some obnoxious teenager!

BUT, if you really fell like it needs legs, I would do what we did when changing up a cheap bookcase and build a small table with pre-built (purchased) legs and screw the table and armoire together really solidly.  and make sure that the legs are right at the front, supporting the weight properly, and you may want to secure the piece to the wall.  (refer back to the same post for more instructions) 

Moving on, here is what the legs looked like when we were done:

Now, at this point I wanted full lengthen doors.  We worked with the existing stiles and rails of the piece and mimicked the design so they would feel proportioned properly.  We decided on Shaker style doors, cuz I like the simple timeless style and they can be made with just a miter and table saw, not routers necessary.

At this point we spray painted it black.  I did not want any sheen at all, so I just bought 5-6 of the .99 cent flat black spray paint.  While painting we experimented with the finish, almost on accident.  Between the coats, to make sure there was a buealtiful smooth finish, we sanded with a 220 foam sanding block.  It actually ended up giving the paint an aged, burnished look (not distressed, i didn't sand the corners) and I really liked it, so we even sanded the final layer of paint and I am happy with the way it turned out. 
Let's show that before one more time: 



After:












I know I have a bunch of random stuff on top.  Accessorizing is honestly not my thing, yet... I am trying to learn how to do it, but I am also not into a lot of "stuff/junk".  So, as soon as I actually figure out my real style I will let you know!

24 comments:

BLJ Graves Studio June 2, 2010 at 7:39 AM  

Such an amazing transformation! It doesn't even look like the same piece of furniture. I love how it turned out. :-)

The Shiny Pebble June 2, 2010 at 2:36 PM  

wow, that is a fantastic transformation. From your handwriting i would think that you are an architect. Am i even close?

Rebecca June 2, 2010 at 8:55 PM  

Wow! That is an AH-MA-ZING transformation! It is unrecognizable from the "before" picture. It's so classy now and I LOVE it!

Keetha Denise Broyles June 6, 2010 at 2:40 PM  

Normally I just HATE to see wood pieces that have been painted. However, in THIS case, neither of those wardrobes were "beautiful" in the "before" and what you did to make the "after" was definitely a HUGE improvement.

I do love a beautiful antique armoire or wardrobe!!

Chari at Happy To Design June 6, 2010 at 3:29 PM  

Hello...

What a fabulous project redo! You are absolutely right about what can be accomplished with using just a little creativity and imagination! I love how you reworked the entire piece...love the shaker styling!!! Ohhh...and I love the flat black finish! What a gorgeous piece! Thank you so much for sharing all the "how to's" with us today for Sunday Favorites! What a treat!!!

Have a super Sunday, my friend!
Chari @Happy To Design

Van June 7, 2010 at 2:30 PM  

Stunning transformation, the new piece is clean and modern. Very nice :)

Atticmag June 7, 2010 at 8:33 PM  

It's interesting to see the way the entire style of the piece changed when the legs were switched. Fascinating and so useful, too. Please stop by to get in our our glass vessel sink giveaway if you haven't already. Jane F

the momma June 8, 2010 at 9:37 AM  

What a great transformation! I love the finished product--I LOVE doors to cover the TV...my thinking is out of sight, out of mind!!! :0)

Rory from Tools Are For Women Too! June 8, 2010 at 3:02 PM  

I think the best projects come out of neccessity and imagination! This piece has a whole new life because you were willing to take the time to save it and make it beautiful and functional. New pieces like this are not cheap! Well done and thanks for linking to Modern Craftswoman Monday. Can't wait to see the inside transformation! Rory

Decorchick! June 8, 2010 at 6:25 PM  

This looks so great!!! What a transform! Visiting from All Thingz Related. :)

Lanie Ree June 11, 2010 at 9:49 AM  

Oh my gosh. This is an incredible transformation.

Thank you for participating the Creative Therapy session at Life in the Pitts!

Lanie Ree June 11, 2010 at 12:13 PM  

I'm featuring this today!

http://lanieree.blogspot.com/2010/06/featuring-you_11.html

creativejewishmom.com June 12, 2010 at 3:55 PM  

Wow, that's impressive! So great to see you again at Craft Schooling Sunday, do drop by again! All the best!

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