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Monday, June 3, 2013

Sewing Cabinet Makeover For My Un-Sewing Room

I think my love of quilts is largely due to the fact that they are the perfect balance of beauty and function.  Today I was on a mission to make my sewing cabinet reflect that same balance.

I don't have a sewing room.  I do all of my quilting downstairs, right in the middle of the family action.  It's not that I don't have room for one.  Since wild thing is an only child, we have two extra bedrooms upstairs, but staying downstairs in the middle of things keeps me engaged in what is most important to me- my family.

I know myself too well.  If I had a dedicated sewing room, I would either-
a) sequester myself upstairs for hours at a time and be absent from my family (since I tend to get a one-track mind in the middle of projects),  or-

b) never get anything done at all to avoid such a situation.

This arrangement keeps me focused on my projects to completion and doesn't allow me to scatter my quilting things all over the place (too much).  It also means I can sew while helping with homework, watching TV, or just talking with wild thing and my guy.  I can fold it right up and have everything back in order in a matter of minutes.  Overall, it lets me integrate quilting into the rest of my life, and that just works for me.

So, my un-sewing room is our second family room (where wild thing watches TV, and has a small chest of toys), and as such, my cabinet needs to look like a nice piece of furniture (as much as possible).  I took a short break from quilting because it has been in desperate need of a makeover for some time, and I've just been waiting for summer to do it.

Just so you know, I absolutely LOVE my sewing cabinet.  It is a Horn cabinet that I bought secondhand, and has plenty of storage and work space.  It keeps everything I need right at my fingertips.

Unfortunately, I was not in love with the drab oak melamine.  Don't get me wrong!  I actually like the warmth of oak stained wood furniture.  My big problem with my cabinet is that it is essentially oak colored plastic.  Ew.  For that matter, why is that?  I mean, these cabinets aren't exactly cheap!  But I digress...

Here are "before" pictures of my cabinet and the brass drawer pulls it originally came with-

Here are all of the tools and materials I used-

1.  Heavy duty drop cloth- I used a plastic one from the paint supply aisle
2. Safety glasses and mask
3. Sander or sanding sponge with coarse grain
4. Primer- I used an odorless, quick drying primer since I did this inside
5. Paint- I used a latex paint with a Satin finish for durability
6. Painting supplies- mini roller, paintbrush for nooks and crannies, paint tray
7. New, totally rocking hardware- you only need a few, so it's easy to splurge on this!

First, I cleaned the cabinet really well, then used the sander to scuff up the surface.  This is where glasses and a mask were helpful.  It is making plastic dust, after all.  After sanding, I wiped down the surface with a wet cloth to remove any remaining dust.

Then I primed it.  Yes, that is my sewing machine still in the cabinet.  I did cover it to keep it clean, but I'm more than a little bit prone to shortcuts (read lazy) on things like this so I didn't take it out.  ;)

Those skinny little trim pieces were tough to paint neatly!

**Be very careful not to paint the hinges.  It could affect the closing of your front door.

It took about 90 minutes to dry completely, and then I moved on to painting- a nice, sleek black.  I applied one coat, then went back and just did touch-ups on areas that needed a little more coverage.  

I am a quilter, not a painter, so some cleanup was necessary.  Once it was dry, I used Clorox wipes to clean up and scratch off any wayward paint spots.  I guess melamine is good for that.  Any areas that were un-sanded and un-primed allowed the paint to scratch right off.

Now, if anyone can figure out how to antique/distress melamine, I'm all ears!   

All finished!  Complete with new hardware.  Now it looks like it really belongs in my un-sewing room, and matches my stash cabinet nicely (which happens to reside in my foyer, just next to it).  

ps- I don't have it closed all the way to give the paint a chance to dry completely.

all opened up

up close and (mostly) closed

 this is where it lives when not in use- right next to my sewing chair!

my un-sewing room- home of the Wii, kid movies, the second TV (in use), 
and some carefully hidden toys!
(notice that I actually do like oak, just not oak colored plastic, haha!)

There's the sewing cabinet on the right

 and my stash cabinet (with a few recent projects piled on top)!

Is it perfect?  Nope, but I'm proud of it and love it anyway.  I spent one day, about 50 bucks, and feel like I have a brand new cabinet- and it was really easy!  I call this a success!


  1. Hey, Kelly! Just checked out your blog - LOVE the project you did today ... way to go! Very impressed and that cabinet is so cool (how it all pulls out like that). Happy quilting!


  2. That's a really nice cabinet with lots of storage, and you did a nice job of painting it.

    1. Deborah, I'm replying here since you're a no-reply blogger. I'm so glad you like it! I really was fast, easy and fun!

  3. Kelly, that looks great!! And it has a ton of storage, more than it appears to!
    I love the idea of sewing where the family is. I had my sewing set-up in the rec room when my kids were young. I remember the day one of my sons had 'the talk' with me. They were old enough to have the room to themselves. They were right too, lots of friends were coming over, and it was time for mom to get her own space. Friday and Sunday afternoons they would have a ton of friends come over and I would leave the 'new' sewing room door open. Some of the kids got interested in what I was doing and came in to 'visit'. Sometimes they would help with the ironing and one girl went home with a quilt! Those were fun times and I really miss them.
    Enjoy spending time with your family Kelly, you will never regret your choice to share a space :)

  4. Your cabinet looks wonderful, great job! I suppose you'll be doing the chair soon won't you! Love your stash cabinet also and when you have little ones it is perfect to be able to sew right where everyone is.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Freemotion by the River Linky Party Tuesday

  5. What a great transformation! It looks wonderful in the room!
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  6. I love it! I get it that you don't want to be away from the family, but then they keep turning up the TV so they can hear it over the machine. LOL

    1. Thanks, Vicki! That is certainly a consideration- the TV does get extra loud sometimes, lol! But it's all worth it!

      :) Kelly

      ps- you're a no-reply blogger, so I'm answering here and hope you get it!

  7. Wow I didn't know you could paint these things? My horn cabinet is White which at times I wish I had gone with the "OAK colored" but overall I am quite happy with it. I will keep this in mind should I somehow mess my white one up beyond cleaning. Thanks for Sharing!

    1. Yes you can! And I love it! one word of warning though- don't paint the hinges. It could affect the closing of the door.

      :) Kelly

  8. Great job Kelly, I love how your cabinet opens right out into a fab sewing space! And I love your stash cabinet too, that looks like real wood though? :-)

  9. Your 'new' sewing cabinet looks perfectly at home in your lovely room!! Great job!!

  10. Beautiful cabinet makeover! It looks like you bought a whole new cabinet instead of redoing an old one.

  11. That looks fabulous! I have the same cabinet almost and have wondered about changing the color. I am with you, for what they cost, they should be made of hardwood.

  12. Very nice job on the cabinet! Love all the quilt tutorials.


Thanks so much for your comment and for visiting! I read and appreciate every single comment, and I reply to each one as soon as I can. If you don't hear back from me, you might be a no-reply blogger. :)

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