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Timber, charcoal and satin white

white shell timber drawers

Well that didn’t take long! I got my retro cabinet to go against this wall, very soon after posting about my plans. It was there on Gumtree, just waiting for me. It fit the aesthetic I had in mind and it was only $30. Sold.

First, though, a couple of notes on this kitchen.

It’s essentially two rooms in one, with a large open space between the counter and the door that’s currently a dead zone. (See: tons of our tools and crap cluttering things up.) We often use the kitchen door to enter and exit, since it’s adjacent to the carport. So it makes sense to turn this open section of the kitchen a foyer area, or a secondary entryway — whatever you want to call it. There’ll be a floor rug and a bench running along the window, as well as designated spots to take off shoes, place mail and hang keys. It sounds obsessive and controlling when written out like that, but in practice it just makes day-to-day life that tiny bit less stressful.

I knew I wanted a cabinet to go along the long, empty black wall, both for storage and to fill out the space.

Second, a couple of notes on the cabinet.

I reckon that this cabinet was originally part of a vanity. They’re a common find, these low-slung dressers with tapered legs and high-backed mirrors. I also know that this style reflects the ‘70s in Tasmania much more than it reflects the ‘50s; styles and innovations took longer to spread to the ends of the earth in those days. This dresser is decent enough quality – it has Tasmanian oak drawer fronts, and the rest of the frame is all pine and plywood. Sure, it’s not exactly fine furniture, but it beats laminate.

I’d hazard a guess that this cabinet already got a makeover recently. Not only has it been painted, but the poly finish is in great condition and there’s filled-in holes on the drawers where old knobs would have been. I really like the handsome brassy handles it’s rocking now! Whoever attached those has my gratitude.

Anyhow, onto the fun part: deciding on a colour scheme.

Here’s the dresser when I got it.

Same, but might as well add in the future floor stain. It matters how the cabinet will look against this floor, not the vinyl. (I also took the liberty of darkening the bin for these mockups.)

And now I’m monkeying around with various schemes in Photoshop, throwing together some quick-and-dirty mockups. Can you tell I was putting off work? Because I was.

The black-on-timber was my first choice, and I even applied a dark-tinted primer to the cabinet shell… but then I went in the other direction. One coat shellac-based primer, three coats of the same water-based, satin Taubmans enamel in ‘Winter Mood’ that I used on the kitchen cabinets. I deliberately wanted to carry the cabinet colour over to this side of the room.

I would like to re-stain the drawer fronts to a darker, less orange tone (as in the mockups), and I will, but I just wasn’t feeling game for it straight away. (If you’re into stories about stripping and re-staining though, just you wait, because I’m currently stripping all the door trims in our hallway.)

From this angle, you can see what I mean about continuing the white cabinetry. It flows from one side to the other, one more step towards making this room feel less like it’s split in two.

As for the painting, I’m still undecided on where it’ll end up. I plucked it out of a pile of frames at an op shop, intending to use only the frame, but I quite like the painting itself! It’s big, striking and moody. It also has a sneaky cat silhouette in it, just like in nearly all of my posts, har har.

Jamie gave me the money tree for Valentine’s Day. It usually lives on the deck, but it might stay here over the winter.

Finally, here’s one last full shot to put it into context. The rest of it ain’t looking so glamorous, but hey, progress.

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