In the workshop- Lake House Cupboard


Recently, I was on a quest to find a step back cupboard that I could use in my booth at Stone Soup Antiques.  Generally, I prefer pieces of furniture with straight lines, and I also look for furniture that is made using solid pine, maple or oak.

I was fortunate enough to stumble upon this step back cupboard!  I purchased the cupboard from a lady who had it in an old Lake House.  It was a beautiful old house.  The kind where the screen door slams  behind you as you run into the kitchen for some ice cream.  The kind of Lake House with big windows that all face the lake.  The kind with screened in porches for morning coffee.

I can’t imagine how many summers this cupboard spent at the Lake House and all the things it had seen.

Fortunately, the top and bottom come apart into two separate pieces. This is great for fitting large pieces of furniture into small SUVs.  All in all this was a perfect find.  Admittedly, it doesn’t look perfect.  I know what you are thinking.   So let me clarify, everything was right about the cupboard except for its appearance.  Fortunately, that can be changed!

The photos below show what it looked like after being cleaned and sanded.





Normally, I bring you guys along with me as I work on a piece.  I try to describe the challenges I encounter or the things I learn during the process. However, for this post, I will show you both the “before” and “after”. We had a stint of relatively nice weather – with temperatures in the mid 40s and 50s- so I took advantage of the opportunity.

After sanding the piece down, I realized that the raw pine wood had a strong orangish hue.  My experience has shown that this leads to my dreaded nemesis – bleed through.  So, I decided to paint the entire cupboard with an oil based primer.  Oil based primers can be difficult to work with.  First, the fumes are pretty strong.  So, it’s best to apply it outdoors in an area with plenty of ventilation. (I find garages work well if the garage door is open.) Second, oil based primers take more time to cure than water based primers.  I let the primer dry overnight. Third, whenever I use oil based primers I use a brush I can simply throw away.  Brushes from the Dollar Store are perfect for this type of situation.   Cleaning the oil based paint from a paint brush is time consuming and exposes you to the fumes from mineral spirits. It’s just not worth it from a health perspective.  Buy a brush you can toss out.  Fourth, oil based primer will really stick to your skin and nails for an extended period of time. It simply won’t wash off with soap and water. So, if possible, wear gloves.

It’s worth noting – that once the primer dries, I go over everything one more time with 150 grit sand paper.  As before, it is best to do the sanding outside.  Sanding will result in some of the wood showing through again.  That’s okay.  Oh and yes – after the final sanding- I had moved the project into the kitchen.  Kitchen- workshop. It’s the same thing.




I then strategically placed small spots of black milk paint on the piece in different areas.  This is because I wanted the black paint to show through the final coat of white paint.  Do you remember  the blog post when I explained about a “resist”?  The same technique was applied here.

My preference is for pieces of furniture to have some character.  I like it when raw wood and multiple layers of paint peak through a final coat of paint.  In my mind, it’s those traits that bring a piece of furniture to life.




I applied a final coat of matte white latex paint which I chose for its durability and practicality.  Here is the final result.






Can you see where the wood and the black paint are peeking through the final coat of white paint? It is fairly subtle.  I also love that you can see the grain of the wood in some places.  Thank you for stopping by the blog today.  Remember, if I can work on a project in my kitchen – you can too!

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