before and after

before and after: summer’s cabinet

by Grace Bonney

d*s reader summer sent in this fantastic cabinet makeover. in summer’s words, “this cabinet was trash-bound…it had good lines, but really nothing else redeeming; so i filled, sanded, and lacquered the outside in black, lacquered the inside in chinese red, and upholstered the doors in a vintage japanese grass cloth wallpaper i found on ebay for next to nothing.” the final touch? summer added black wood handles from ikea that look like they were made for this cabinet. the total cost of her project was a mere $50 and the result is spectacular- great work, summer!

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  • oh my gosh! my mom used to have those exact gold/flower print tray thingys! ( i wonder what she did with them.)

    The cabinet looks great, btw! love the fabric covered part.

  • OK, I know this is probably sacrilege…but I kinda like the original better. I’m just a sucker for chartreuse!

  • wow, I am so impressed and I love the texture on the doors. Everytime I see something like this I wish I could do it… or at least pay Summer to do it for me ;)

    great job!!

  • fantastic! After seing my own telephone bench here, I’m convinced if we each saved a piece of furniture and reinvented it like this fabulous example, we could seriously put IKEA and the likes out of business! Who needs press-board furniture when you can have this?

  • don’t be fooled by the yellow “before” picture! In real life it was Play-Dough yellow (NOT the hip chartreuse it appears to be)and utterly destroyed (it was from a pre-school classroom). I admit from afar and with bad lighting conditions it does look pretty cool as-is!

  • Debby~the lacquer was done using (believe it or not) a new Rust-Oleum spray paint product. They have white, black, and Chinese Red lacquer and it goes on just like spray paint. Thank you for your kind words!

  • Summer – beautiful work! Just curious, what did you use to adhere the grasscloth to the doors? Also, what’s the exact name of the Rustoleum product that you used… is it called “lacquer” spray? Thank you!

  • I apologize for a question that may be fairly obvious, but how does one go about submitting a before/after or DIY submission? I went to the contact link but it says nothing particularly about submissions.

  • Reduce Reuse Recycle. This is gorgeous. I love the interior surprise. You could stack some books in there and leave the door slightly open for a little burst of color. No matter how you use it,…way to use an existing piece of furniture and make it modern!

  • Answers:
    The vintage pierced pagoda lamp was sourced at a local thrift store for $7.00 (along with the matching chandelier for $5!!!!) I have a twin that is going on Ebay soon (aweekinparis) or just keep haunting your favorite thrift store. Amazing things happen when you’re a regular! I just picked up an authentic Dale Chihuly lithograph for $5….retail approx. $2000!
    The grasscloth was attached using Modge Podge, but any spreadable adhesive would work as well. Just wrap it like you’re gift-wrapping something!
    The Rust-Oleum product is simply called “spray lacquer”. After some really crappy spray jobs, I finally read an online tutorial on how to use spray paint, and now my things come out beautifully.
    Thank you for all your sweet comments..hope to see all your projects here soon!

  • question: i have a similar cabinet and would love to re-cover the doors. Were you able to get the doors off to recover them or did you just slide them around until it was workable?

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