this one will not fall under either of those categories.
It's a sewing room project, the cutting table. Not a tutorial, just me sharing what I did to dress up some cheap cabinets. It happened to be cheap for me, because I had the stuff on hand. I kept thinking though, while I was working, should I share this or not? I guess what made me question was a comment I read on a blog recently. I don't remember the name of the blog, I followed a link from somewhere else. It's a blog that talks trash about other blogs. I didn't read much, mostly because I don't read any of the blogs they were talking about. Kind of like hearing gossip about someone you don't know. I did read some comments about a few home dec blogs. The one they seemed to have the most to say about was Young House of Love. (which I happen to read and enjoy) The one comment that stayed with me was about the play kitchen they made for their little girl just a few days before Christmas. The commenter was like who has the tools or know how to throw together a play kitchen in a few hours a few days before Christmas. Well, readers of YHL, that's who. I mean if you follow their blog, you likely have some interest in DIY and home decor. I have the tools and a little know-how, so I could appreciate such a post. Now, I would not have the same interest in a post about professional baking or expect to read one and be able to go into my kitchen and make an intricate wedding cake. I don't have the skills or tools. All that to say, you may not have a junky garage full of scrap pieces from left over projects and you may not have access to a circular or miter say. If not this project might not be for you. If you do have some scrap and want to dress up a cheap piece, you might be interested in what I did.
I'm not saying it can't be done inexpensively, but if you had to buy all the pieces involved, it would end up being a little pricey. I think to buy the cabinets, the molding and the beadboard, you would end up spending what you could on a nicer set of cabinets and save yourself a lot of work.I didn't say a nice set, I said nice-er.
That said, I already had the closetmaid pieces. They function well for my needs and the size is just right. I also have a junky garage full of scraps, so lets dress 'em up. The cabinets I'm working on are from Lowe's. On one end is a cabinet with doors and shelves inside.
The other end is actually two units that stack containing two drawers each.
Some flat-pack, put together at home furniture looks nice. Alyssa's bed for example, it came from IKEA and had to be assembled, but it doesn't look cheap. These peices are dorm room cheap. Not the least bit attractive right out of the box.
I tried dressing them up a bit by changing out the hardware and that was fine when they were under the ginormous cutting table. Now, they are front and center in the middle of the room, first thing you notice when you walk in and they screamed cheap and ugly. At least, that's what they screamed at me.
Just looking at them from the front they aren't awful, it was the sides that really bothered me.
And the cardboard backs. Something had to be done about those backs. Beadboard wallpaper was my solution. I would use it on the sides and back.
First I had to do something about those huge screws sticking out on the sides. Wallpaper wouldn't cover that.
I removed each screw and used a countersink bit to make a hole so the screw head would be well, countersunk.
After they were all sitting below the surface a bit, my assistant and I filled in the holes with some spackle.
The next step was beadboard wallpaper. I put it on the sides and proceded to do the back. Well, silly me! I didn't consider how that cardboard would react to having wet wallpaper placed against it. It didn't like it, that's how it reacted. It warped and did all kinds of ugly stuff. Of course it did. It's just layers of paper after all. Duh.
So, I had to pull it off, the wall paper and the angry, wet cardboard underneth, then pry out each nail that was holding it on.
I thought a trip to Lowes was in my future, but I went out in the garage to dig around for something that might work. Much to my surprise there was a piece of bead board-ish stuff. It looks like beadboard, but it's slick and shiny. Some sort of pressed board. I just needed it to be solid and to be at least four feet wide by 30.5 inches tall. It was my lucky day, it was exactly 4'x3'. Mitch wasn't home so I was going to have to wait or cut it myself. Wait? Heck no. I cut it myself, beautifully, I might add. I'm not bragging, just passing along my delight and surprise. Until very recently, like the past couple of weeks recent, I was scared of the circular saw. It's awkward to hold, maybe cause I'm a lefty, and dang near impossible to cut a straight line with. I clamped a straight board to piece I was cutting to serve as a straight edge to guide the saw and got a straight line. Then I did a little celebratory dance. Right there in the yard.
The beading is not the same pattern as the wallpaper, but I don't care. I slapped that found-in-the-garage, cut-by-me stuff up there and was pleased as punch with myself.
The camera was in Jacksonville with Mitch (remind me to share with you why), so I don't have pictures of each step. No pictures? What kind of tutorial is this? It's not a tutorial, remember? Just me sharing how I pimped my cheapo cabinets.
In the junky garage, we had some baseboard left from the attic project so I put that around the bases. The only thing left was the corners. I needed some sort of trim to hide the gap between the wallpaper sides and the beadboard on the backs. I promise, I'm not making this up, we had some corner trim in the garage, only not enough. I got Alyssa to pick up 2 more sections (8' each) at around 6 dollars a piece. Then like all my molding projects, caulk, caulk, caulk to hide my many mistakes, one coat of primer two coats of paint and I had a couple of respectable bases for my cutting table.
Oops, looking at this photo, I see I forgot to mention that trim at the top, I don't know what it's called, but it was cheap. I bought it when I did the cabinets in the attic but didn't use it. It's 3/4" wide and has rounded edges. I think it's called screen molding.
So, since I was using cabinets I already had and materials left over from other projects, this cost me around $40. That's for the corner molding and the half sheet of plywood for the top.
The top is birch plywood. I bought a 4'x4' piece and had Lowe's cut one foot off one end. I wanted the table top to be 3'x4'. It was twenty something.
My cousin, (the one who gave me the stool) did this to the edges for me using a shaper. I think I said a router before, but he said it's called a shaper. Different tool.
I stained it with this
about three coats, wiping off the excess and letting it dry between coats. Then I mixed some dark walnut stain with the sun bleached and gave it another coat. I was going for that Restoration Hardware color. I sealed it with several coats of Minwax wipeon poly in satin finish. I attached it to the top of the cabinets with screws from inside the tops of the cabinets.
I just did a quick calculation of what I estimate it would cost to do this without having the materials on hand and I'd say it would run me somewhere around $200. $90 for the cabinets, $18 for the corner trim, $6 for the screen trim, around $15 for new hardware, maybe $10 for a the backing piece- a complete guess there, and $35 for the wall paper, (including shipping). You can buy it cheaper at Lowe's, but the quality isn't as realistic looking. You can order from Home Depot (they only carry it online) but what they carry is now under the Martha Stewart label and is not pre-pasted. Since I last bought some from HD, I've learned you could order the pre-pasted realistic looking stuff from the lady who made it a blog sensation in the first place. Rhoda of Southern Hospitality sells it in her blog shop.
Now that I've looked at the numbers, I guess even if I had to buy everything $200 isn't that bad for two custom cabinets. I surfed around a little and found this at IKEA for $79.00. The dimensions are right, but I don't see a matching one that is a cabinet with shelves.
I guess the purpose of this long and rambling post is... I'm not sure, I've been writing this so long now I've forgotten what the point was. I guess I'm trying to say that DIY projects aren't always cheaper than buying new, in fact many times they are not cheaper. You have to look at your own situation and weigh all the factors. For me, I had cabinets that worked, why buy new? I just wasn't happy with the look of them and by using left overs I was able to make them look more custom and less dorm room.
What are your thoughts? Would you rather buy or DIY in a situation like this?
For me taking the money comparison out of it, I actually enjoy doing this kind of thing. I loved getting a chance to improve my miter saw skills. I feel much more confident using a circular saw and I kept two ugly cabinets out of the landfill.