Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Cherry Picked Craft Storage

When I moved into this house (1920s bungalow) I knew that storage would be an issue.  I knew that with all the "character" this charming little place came there would also be challenges of creating storage space.  On the agenda was finding vintage appropriate, unique, and workable storage solutions.  It took some time looking online, swap meets, and antique malls to discover just the look I was going for.  

When I finally settled on a look, I had to discover the treasure pieces I would transform into my storage solution. You know that feeling when you have inspiration but don't have the piece or in my case pieces to pull it together.  It is so frustrating!  However, once you find that special item to complete a look it feels like heaven.  

So, I decided to try to find old doctors or medical storage cabinets for my solution.  It seemed that the scale of the 1930s-1950s metal cabinets would be the perfect fit.  It also would give me shelves and doors to organize my craft supplies.  I wanted something I could restore.  The antique malls and online stores were outrageously priced.  Although, I have to admit there was a moment when I almost threw in the towel and overpaid for the cabinets.  But I'm glad I held out.

I went to this sale and the people were getting rid of everything in house and only had 2 days because it had been sold. Not one item in the house was priced and people were making piles everywhere.  I decided to start in the garage.  It was weird because I normally head for the kitchen like a good Pyrex collector.  

When I opened the storage closet inside the garage that no one else seemed to care about opening.  There they were! A pair of metal doctors cabinets covered in spiders and dirt.  As you can guess, someone had been using the cabinets as paint storage and all kinds of other grimy garage things.  I had to ask what they wanted for them.  The answer... $10!  Score!  Only $5 each.  So I found an old towel and wiped the cobwebs out, removed the contents, and loaded them up. 

Disgusting, sticky mess.
 The cabinets were a challenge as you can see.  I sanded primed and painted them.  Oh and I also cleaned and cleaned and cleaned and cleaned them.  It was a chore!  But my hard work was going to pay off even if it killed me. 
Looks like someone used it to test their spray paints on:(

Here they are drying, done and looking just like I pictured them to be.  I finished them with Heirloom white paint from Home Depot and touched up the bottom with black.  I was thrilled with the result and happy to have my storage solution. 

The cabinets are not identical.  One is noticeably older than the other.  Which does not impact the look or function I was going for.  Each of the cabinets still had the company label inside.  It confirmed that these were indeed used in a medical clinic originally.  The seller also had mentioned his father had been a doctor for 30 years.  I love the cabinet and I am happy I was able to save the medical cabinets and give them a new purpose.  


  1. I totally LOVE your cabinets! I would die for a pair of metal ones like that! Looks like all your hard work really paid off! Cool job!

    1. Thank you. I am enjoy the vintage style and its function. Keep your eyes open at estate sales and garage sales. Many times these cabinets are stuffed away in a garage under dirt and grime. Let me know when you finally get your hands on one.

  2. I love the work you did on these. any tips on painting metal? I have an old cabinet with a perfect enamel top. I have sanded it and now I am trying to spray paint it. It's not coming out right.

    1. I think it has a lot to do with the paint that I use. I had so much trial and error when I first started. I finally found Rust-Oleum’s Painter Touch Ultra Cover 2x. It is the best for especially white or off white painting. I have also had really good luck with a the paint color Heirloom white. It is sold at Home Depot. It has a vintage flat look when applied to metal cabinets. The color makes a project like the one your doing perfect. I should blog about my old kitchen cabinet project I did. Thanks for stopping by and good luck. Would love to see how it turns out!