Monday, June 22, 2015

Blue Grey Chalk Painted Media Cabinet

Before we even moved into our house we realized our giant entertainment center would not work in our living room. With two big "open" walls leading into other rooms (I just love the open floor plan) a giant window on another wall and a fireplace on the remaining wall we realized the only real logical place for our TV was above the fireplace. With no cabinets, shelves or storage of any kind for our DVR, Playstation, DVD's, etc. etc., we decided to buy a media cabinet.

With our new found storage dilemma, built in shelving units on both sides of the fireplace quickly became #1 on my wish list for our house. I must have pinned 50 built in ideas on Pinterest! I have begged and pleaded with Cory to make me some, I've even told him that built ins are the only present I want for my birthday or Christmas. Needless to say I don't have them...yet. By the time he gets around to it, I may just be able to tackle it myself (wishful thinking, I know)!!

To solve our storage problem I looked on Craigslist for a solution. I found a pretty nice looking cherry media cabinet for $60. We went to check it out and the guys kids were playing video games on a TV perched on top of the unit which was jammed packed with games, DVDs and other odds and ends. I guess he must not have thought we were serious buyers.

As he helped load our "new" media cabinet that we ended up getting for $40, I couldn't help but wonder what they were going to use now for their TV and video game stuff. Craigslist is chalk full of interesting people.

Cory immediately hated our new media cabinet. He thought it was cheap and rickety. I thought it was cute and while not the best quality, totally worth 40 bucks. While we had bought this cabinet to store everything that had once been in our entertainment center it somehow ended up in our master bedroom with a TV on top of it and some DVDs inside of it. Good intentions is all I have to say about that.

So meanwhile in our living room our gaming systems and DVR sat atop a cardboard box filled with DVDs and other living room tchotchkes. Yes, this is our life. Eventually they graduated to a wine refrigerator Cory's mom gave us for Christmas (I still don't know how that happened!). 

So finally after I purchased a $25 dresser and painted it to match the other wood furniture in our room, see dresser post here, we were able to bring the media cabinet down into the room it was originally meant for.

I decided it needed to be painted. It was cherry and while we have cherry colored wood floors I just didn't think it would look right. Also it was pretty beat up from the previous owners, I just couldn't see the full extent until we brought it downstairs. We put it in the kitchen "work space" and I immediately got to work. 

Jackson used the media cabinet as one of his play spaces the entire time I was working on it. He would climb inside to hide, use it as a garage for his cars and other toys and he even helped me with his own toy tools, leaving them scattered around inside the cabinet.

 I had to paint several coats of white on that puppy. After one coat I could see this was going to be a long process.

Two coats, not quite there yet.

Three coats will do it I think!

I also decided to leave the top cherry, but it was all scratched and scuffed up. So I pulled out the merlot cabinet transformations I already had so the cabinet would keep that cherry look on the top. Again if you want to see how to paint a cherry wood look see my dresser post here. I lightly sanded the edges of the top to give it a nice worn look. 

Jackson watched me do this and whenever he could get a hold of one of my sanding sponges he "helped" by sanding the top. I can attest to how nicely the finished merlot and glazed top without protective clear coat held up. Not one scratch from my toddler sanding helper.

I painted a couple coats on the glass doors and with only the shelves left to paint you would think I'd be excited about being almost done. Nope. After ALL that work I decided I wanted to do a different color. I thought the white looked too boring. I really wanted a pop of color in the living room, something interesting and different that your eye would be drawn to.

I also figured now would be the perfect time to try out some homemade chalk paint. I'd already wasted hours on this project so if the homemade chalk paint didn't work out, oh well, I gave it a shot.

One day soon after my new decision I was in Menards picking up a bunch of stuff for other projects and I decided to get a couple pints of their cheapest paint to try out some chalk paint. I picked out a light teal color and a blue grey color. I normally buy Behr paint for my walls but I figured I was mixing stuff in with this paint so it didn't have to be the best quality.

I wasn't sure which color I wanted to use so I held them up and looked at the living room walls, squinted, hemmed and hawed and finally decided on teal. I mixed up some teal chalk paint and slapped on a coat. Cory, bless his heart, didn't say one word against it. When it dried, to my dismay at wasting more time and paint, I realized it looked downright horrible. 

So that night I mixed up some of the blue grey color chalk paint (At Peace by Dutch Boy). Let me just say this media cabinet was my first experience with chalk paint of any kind, homemade or store bought, and I'm in love (find my recipe here). When I mixed the teal I think I mixed it too thin, which made it look even worse with white paint showing through. I mixed the blue grey a little thicker and it couldn't have worked out better. The paint went on super smooth, like nothing else I've ever used. One coat and I was done.

Well, not quite. I love the look of dark wax on chalk painted furniture but since I'm such an extreme novice and I didn't want to go out and buy wax I used what I already have experience with: stain. I took out the glaze/stain from my cabinet restorations kit and got to work brushing stain on one of the shelves first. I used some cheesecloth to wipe the stain off. 

It wouldn't come off though. No matter how hard I wiped the stain wasn't budging. It must have been that the dry, chalky finish of the paint was just soaking the stain up! I had a mini freak out for about 30 seconds where I came to the conclusion I'd just have to repaint that shelf. What was a little more work on this endless project?

I thought I'd try one more thing before I gave up though. I soaked the cheesecloth with water and tried rubbing the stain off again. YES!!! It worked perfect!! Thank God for small favors. The stain wiped right off leaving just the right amount behind to give the cabinet an antique-y, not so blue-grey in your face look.

Here's a pic of me painting the stain on with a foam brush. 

Here's one of me wiping off  the stain with a damp cheesecloth.

I reused the old silver knobs by giving them a quick scratch with the sanding sponge and spray painting them with oil rubbed spray paint. Then I was finally ready to call it a day, a long 3-4 month day.

Here's the finished cabinet. It really did feel like it took forever and it probably would have sat in the kitchen for a few months longer if Jackson's third birthday party hadn't pushed me into completing this project once and for all. I guess I should just stop being so indecisive!

Here's a close up of the different techniques I used. You can see the slight distressing I did to the edges of the top and you can see where I've left more stain on the edges to give the cabinet the look I was going for.

I am very satisfied with the outcome and I'm really happy to have that cabinet out of our kitchen (only to move some other piece of furniture in,..Yes, I'm that girl) and to finally put those DVDs and gaming systems in their rightful place. Cory seems to be the only one who hasn't liked the finished look and I'm really hoping it grows on him because I love it!

Since this particular post is about a cabinet I "transformed" I figured it would be the perfect post to show you all my latest featured board from Hometalk since it's all about cabinet transformations! Click on the image below to check it out and be inspired by so many great makeovers, painting techniques and amazing transformations of cabinets!

Until the next project and the next post!



  1. This looks really nice. These furniture projects can really turn into a lot of work and your mini freak out would have been a huge one for me. LOL! Your work paid of. It looks great!

  2. Thanks Michelle! I felt like this media cabinet was challenging me the whole time! I'm so glad it's done!

  3. It turned out grey and it's a great addition to your home. The hard work paid off. :)

  4. Thanks Two PlusCute :) It really feels nice to finally have it done and where it belongs!


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