This “apothecurio” cabinet by Meg and Todd van der Kruik of Union Eighteen studio is a really wonderful testament to the power of legs. The “before” version of this cabinet is nice, but admittedly a bit oppressive in its weight. Meg and Todd have lightened up this piece in so many ways: the color, the delicate knobs, the mixed woods and the legs!! Isn’t it incredible how transformative adding a bit of air under a piece can be? Just beautiful. Wonderful work, guys! — Kate
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Read more about Meg & Todd’s curio cabinet redesign after the jump!
Time: 10–12 hours (including planning the design)
Basic Steps: We were tasked with turning this piece of “trash” into a treasure that people would then bid on at IIDA’s charity event. We were so excited to do this project but were truly stumped with a direction once we realized the dresser was made from disintegrating particleboard. It became a total remodel project inspired by vintage curio cabinets and apothecary stands. By lifting it to the height of a classic curio cabinet and adding the functionality of an apothecary stand, it evolved into a really fun and unique piece! Together we scoured local antique hardware and salvage stores and rescued old sewing machine drawers, cash register drawers and the like to assemble one amazing piece that is perfect to hold all of your most valuable possessions. Repurposed vintage spindle legs added height, and small pieces of hand-stained wood created the handmade look of the mosaic top. We call it the “Apothecurio”!
Step 1. Strip/Sand/Primer: We stripped the entire piece down (removed cabinet doors, particle board top and hardware). We then sanded down the entire frame and drawer fronts before applying the primer. We filled in the holes on the drawer fronts with wood putty and sanded those to a smooth finish so that we could later add new hardware in the center of the drawer.
Step 2. Elevation: We lifted the entire piece about 24” off the ground by adding 2” x 4” braces across the bottom (right/left/middle). This helped to stabilize the body and added the support the legs would need. We cut the table legs to size and then added threaded inserts to the legs so they could be easily removed at a later time.
Step 3. Apothecary-ness: We built three shelves in the center of the dresser and then loosely placed the vintage sewing drawers on them. This allows them to slide out easily and to be rearranged at will.
Step 4. Mosaic Top: We purchased some maple 1 x 4s at the local hardware store and cut them to size. We then hand-stained each piece, intentionally adding multiple layers of stain to only a few of the pieces. This helped to achieve the uneven look of the finished top.
Our advice: Plan it out first! We would have saved a ton of time by really planning out the finished piece. Also, if you can avoid using a pressed-wood frame as the base of your piece, you will have fewer headaches when it comes time to paint or stain. — Meg & Todd