before & after: stackable filing cabinet

You may remember me mentioning the worn yellow filing cabinet that I scored from an estate sale.

Now that I have the green light to make over the office, we finally pulled this baby out of storage, wiped off the dust and got to work.  As I mentioned previously, the paint job on the filing cabinet was horrendous.

Paint drips everywhere, paint on the hardware, inconsistent coverage and on and on.

We removed all of the hardware and we sanded…

…and sanded…

…and sanded some more.  It was no small job, and I was grateful that Devin offered to help.

I thought he’d never admit it, but he actually said, “You know, I think I could get into this with you.”  “This” meaning revamping furniture.  You are all my witnesses.  Those words actually came out of his mouth.

After the neverending sanding spree, I carefully wiped down all of the cabinets and drawers with a slightly damp rag, then wiped everything down again with a dry rag.

I actually kind of liked the distressed, shabby camouflage vibe it took on after sanding.

But that’s not the look I’m going for in the office, so I went ahead with my original plan.  Since this was a large metal piece, I decided that spray paint was the way to go.

After a couple very light coats of primer, things started looking a little less yellow around these parts.

Then two coats of Rust-Oleum’s Heirloom White later, the cabinet was looking positively invigorated.

My original plan was to top it off with two coats of Rust-Oleum’s Clear Satin spray, but when I was done, I wasn’t happy with the uneven finish on the top and sides.  I’ve heard that this is a common problem with spray painting larger surfaces.  The color coverage was complete and even, but from every angle you could see blotchy spots.

To remedy the situation, I finished the filing cabinet off with a few thin coats of Varathane’s water based clear polyurethane in a gloss finish.

It did the trick!  Not only does the cabinet have a smooth, even finish, it’s now super protected against any wear and tear it’ll get in the office.

I love how it turned out…and so does Devin, who admitted that he was glad I didn’t listen to him when he told me to “get rid of that thing taking up space and gathering dust at the shop!”  Hehe…what else is new?   (Note: since I still need to find replacements for some broken pulls, I’ve left the bottom row out of these “after” photos.)

I’m glad that I decided to keep the hardware silver instead of trying to paint it brass to match the campaign desk and dresser.  It looks great against the white.

At first, I planned to just freshen the hardware up with some satin nickel spray paint, but when I tested the spray on one of the broken pulls, it was too dark for my taste.  So instead, Devin polished them up with a rotary brush and then sprayed them with clear satin for good measure.

I’m also really happy that I went with a gloss finish for the poly because the sheen really makes the cabinet pop.

You can even see reflections in the top!  Hurrah for no more blotches!

I can’t wait to see how it looks in the office against the pale blue walls….but that will have to wait until we get all of the junk out of there :).

I love how crisp and clean it looks.  Now I just have to plan out what I’m going to store in the drawers so I can print up some nice labels for the pulls.

Devin thinks I shouldn’t be so literal about it and should just label the drawers with cheery, abstract words like “happiness” and “love”…who knew he was so whimsical?  I suppose I’ll wait and see how I feel about it once I actually start putting things in there.

First piece of furniture for the office makeover done!



Linking up at:

my campaign for an office redux

When Devin and his dad started working on the garage renovation, I had a chat with him about our office.  You see, the last thing we actually use that room for is as an office.  It’s become more like a dumping ground for odds and ends that we can’t find any other place in the house to store.  It’s the room where we throw things when we clean up the house and whose door we always keep shut when we have guests over.  In short, it’s wasted space that we don’t utilize.  Even when I work from home, I set my laptop up on our dining room table instead because the office just feels cold and uninviting to me…definitely not a room I’d want to spend an entire day in.

So we agreed that once the garage was finished, a lot of the junk that resides in the office now would be either purged or relocated to a new (and organized!) space in the garage….and then I could redo the office however I’d like to make it an inviting space to get my productive juices flowing.

This was the office last year.

Not much has changed from these photos today, except that there are now two birch colored floating shelves from Ikea above the bigger desk in the first photo that display some of Devin’s prized vintage pressed steel Tonka trucks (every man is a kid at heart right?).  Oh, well that and there are PILES and PILES of stuff on the desks and on the floor right now.  You really don’t want to see it.  Trust.

The wheels are in motion now for the office makeover, and we’re moving full speed ahead.  I’m happy with the wall and trim color in the room so the paint color is about the only thing staying.  Everything else you see?  The glass-topped industrial desks?  Old ratty office chair?  Say buh-bye.

I have visions of a light and bright filled room with pops of blue.  If you’d like to check out my inspiration board on Pinterest for the office, you can take a gander here: Office Facelift.

As for the major pieces of furniture that will be replacing the glass and steel, I found this yellow horizontally stacking filing cabinet at an estate sale about six months ago.

Each row of three drawers is stacked on top of each other, which makes it easy to transport, but also versatile in that I can change the height whenever I want.  The old labels inside the drawers read “The Globe-Wernicke Co. Cincinnati.”  Some internet researching leads me to believe that the file cabinet is from the 1950s or early 1960s since the company stopped operating under that name in 1963.  For being over 40 years old, it’s in fairly good shape.  Just a few dents here and there, and all of the hardware is intact except for two pulls (which I’ll need to find replacements for).  Really the worst part about it is the awful paint job the previous owner did.  The original color was the green gray you see where the pulls would be.  What you can’t see from the photos are all of the ripples and countless drip marks in the yellow paint. They didn’t bother taping off the hardware either so a bunch of the pulls have yellow paint on them too.

Ah well, I love a good challenge.  This poor filing cabinet sat in Devin’s family’s workshop for months gathering dust until finally we brought it home last weekend and started working on it.  The rainy weather this week has put a bit of a damper (ah ha I kill me) on the cabinet makeover, but it’s almost there and hopefully I’ll be able to show you the result in the next couple of days.

As for the desk, I scored the deal of a century when I spied an amazing campaign style desk and dresser on Craigslist.  FOR FREE.  FREE. FREE.  I almost peed my pants when the owner called me back telling me they were still available and could I come by the next day at noon to pick them up?  You can imagine how my conversation with Devin went, but if you can’t it went a little something like this:

Christine:  Baaabeee?  (ever so sweetly)

Devin: Whatever it is, no.

Christine: Awww come on, you don’t even know what I was going to ask!

Devin: Okay, what is it?

Christine: Can I borrow your truck tomorrow?

Devin: (laughter)

Christine: Please?  PLEASE?! I finally found the desk I’m looking for and it’s FREE and even has a matching dresser.  I NEED THIS DESK.  (pointed look at Devin)

Devin:  You’re crazy babe.  Are you serious?

Christine: (mopey silence)

Devin:  OKAY, okay.  You better be careful driving my truck. (It should be noted that Devin of course would have gone with me if he hadn’t been working that day.)

So off I went the next morning across the bay to pick up my desk and dresser.  I loved them even more in person.  I felt all kick ass independent woman for going all by myself and loading them onto the truck and covering them up with sheets all by myself.  Until it started to rain.  Hard.  Then as I was driving back over the Bay Bridge at a crawling 35 mph, the wind gusts started making the dresser rattle pretty precariously and I prayed silently over and over again “please don’t let the dresser fly out of the back of the truck, please don’t let the dresser fly out of the back of the truck.”

Thankfully, the desk and dresser made it back in one piece.

I cannot WAIT to get my hands on these babies.  Especially when I’ve seen how utterly beautiful they can turn out with some wood filler, paint and some polish.

Like Centsational Girl’s kelly green campaign desk:

Or Wildwood Creek’s beautiful blue campaign style dresser:

As excited as I am about my precccioussses, I do have one small problem.

The hardware on the filing cabinet is brushed nickel.  The hardware on the campaign furniture is brass plate.  I love the look of the brass on the campaign furniture, especially against the blue above, which is the color I’m leaning towards.  However, I also love the look of the brushed nickel against the heirloom white that we painted the filing cabinet.  I’d hate to have to change either one for all pieces to be consistent.

Does it matter if I have two different hardware finishes in one room?  Am I committing some sort of interior decor faux pas?

I’m leaning towards “no it doesn’t matter because it’s my room and I’ll do what I want”…but I suppose I won’t really know until I see them all together.

Regardless, there’s finally movement on the office redux, and no one’s more excited about it than me. 🙂



Linking up at: