A Sideboard Journey

A few years ago, my mom and my step-dad decided to downsize their home significantly, which was lucky for me because there were quite a few pieces I was able to “inherit” because there wouldn’t be any space for them in their new digs.

One of them was this sideboard.

Brown Sideboard

I have this rather awkward spot in my kitchenβ€”you can it a bit better in this postβ€”where the countertop ends abruptly and leaves an empty space where cabinets would normally go. We could use those extra cabinets, or more specifically, we could really use the extra counter space. One of my main frustrations with this kitchen is the lack of space between the sink, the stove, and the end of the counter. The layout is just strange, and if I could figure out how to get more space between the stove and sink, make the sink a double-well, and somehow balance it all perfectly with that gorgeous window, then I would probably love my kitchen. Right now my kitchen and I have a mostly working relationship, but we don’t like hanging out after hours.

When we originally bought the house, the previous owners left us two desks that fit side-by-side in this space, but we decided to put those in the living room so the kids could use them for their homework, without being in the middle of the kitchen fray. As a temporary stop-gap measure, we decided to throw in my Mom’s sideboard. But that dark brown just wasn’t doing anything for me. So even though I promised myself I wouldn’t start another piece of furniture until that blasted hutch was finished, I ordered some Annie Sloan chalk paint in Provence and dove right on in.

Here it is after the first coat…
First Coat

First Coat Art Shot

And here’s What happened when I got to the second coat…
Second Coat Drawer Fronts

And here’s the beginnings of the third coat, that yellowish tinge…
Third Coat Top

Fourth Coat

And that brown-ish awfulness in this shot… that’s the beginning of the fourth coat… or what would’ve been the fourth coat if I wasn’t extremely unhappy with how it looked.Fourth Coat Begun

So this is what the fourth/fifth coat actually ended up being… (at this point I stopped counting individual layers)The Fifth Coat

Detail of Fifth Coat

And just in case you thought that I managed to finish all this in one sitting because my kids are busy sitting quietly in their playroom, building the next innovation in robotic technology while implementing their newly formed Middle East peace plan and eating their self-prepared PB&J sandwiches leaving me in my solitude to paint, wax, and clean-up the kitchen, this work happened over seven days, and caused all other work (excepting the laundry… there is always laundry…) to stop. Here’s the Keepin’ It Real shot.Keepin It Real

After seven more days, and several more coats of wax and paint, this is what I came up with…All Done

Another Angle of Done

Still All Done

The Top Is All Done Too

The cabinet has become the lunch box prep station with snacks on the top…
Snacks On Top

Painted drawers full of containers and sandwich sleeves…
Steel Container Drawer

A thermos cabinet that also hold the baby’s snack cups…
Thermos Cabinet

A drawer full of boxes and bags…
Lunch Bag Drawer

The other drawer contains loose change for lunch money on pizza day, and the other cabinet is full of snacks. I have to say, it’s been working very well for us!

Because I invested so much time refinishing this beast, I’m going to share a few more details of the paint and wax. You think you’re bored? Imagine how I felt after the ninth coat…
Surface Deet

Surface Corner

Left Face Deet

Scroll Cabinet Deet

Shes Got Legs

Paint Deet A


Paint Deet B

Paint Deet C

Paint Deet D

Paint Deet E

So there she is… a modern colored wax and distressed Annie Sloan chalk paint furniture refinish. Hours and hours of work, building and buffing, painting and sanding…

And here’s the rub… I think I hate it.

Yeah. I’m going to live with it for quite a bit longer before I make a decision, but I’m thinking I might start pushing the hubster to invest in those base cabinets and new countertop.

I guess I should insert something here about destination vs. journey, but mostly I’m considering this a live and learn type of thing.




:: Linking to These Fabulous Sites ::
Today’s Creative Blog, Miss Mustard Seed,Β Under the Table and Dreaming,

36 thoughts on “A Sideboard Journey

  1. I like it and I think it suits your colorful style, but really, in the beginning, why on earth would the builders not have extended the base cabinets all the way to the wall??? I think the best bet for the kitchen would be to add those missing cabinets and put this delightful blue sideboard in the kids’ playroom.

    • Thanks Joan… and it’s crazy, isn’t it, how they arranged the cabinets on that side of the room? I have this little two foot space between my sink and stove, then another two-ish feet on the left of the sink over the dishwasher. It’s nuts! Of course extending the counter top would mean I’d want to replace it with a granite or composite I like better than the speckled b&w there now, so it’ll probably wait for a while. πŸ˜‰ At LEAST until after we buy the mom-mobile…

  2. I happen to like it. I’m a little shocked to see it, but I do like it. I want to see it in person. Did you get the door to work?? Are those new knobs? Can we go to that hoarder place? I’m looking for glass knobs for my dressers.

    • Wow, Mom, I wasn’t sure what you were going to think, so I’ll take “I happen to like it”! Yes, the doors work, and yes, those are new knobs, and yes, I think we can go to the hoarder place while you’re here!! Anything else? πŸ˜‰

  3. Cheryl, what a fun piece! I love provence. Such a happy and sunny color. I love how you transformed it and made it your own. I also really love the pops of color inside. It looks like a great area for all your needs for snacks and lunch prep. Can’t wait to see it in person. x

    • Yeah, fun… Maybe I thought it would be more fun. Somehow it just disappoints me when I look at it. I wish I knew how to fix it. And yeah, you should come see it in person and pick up your free desk… I still need to send you pics for it, but I can tell you it matches that bleepin’ hutch I can’t seem to finish!

    • Heh, I have to tell you, when I do anything silly like paint over hardware (which I did here, but really only happens occasionally) I picture you in my mind shaking your head and wincing. But I didn’t know you were anti-wood painting at all. I shudder to think what you’ll say when I share my plans for the kitchen cabinets!! πŸ˜‰ And as I’m fond of saying, in this house, if it doesn’t move fast enough, it’s in danger of being painted!

      For this piece I didn’t feel bad about painting it at all. It is very cheaply made, the wood is splitting, had a terrible brown finish that was more like paint than stain, there was mostly no visible wood grain, and the interior is very cheap and very thin ply that is buckling, popping and splitting everywhere. This really isn’t a quality piece and I’m afraid should we get hit with another earthquake, it won’t make it πŸ˜‰

  4. You have the patience of a saint. If that was me, that would have had two hits of the Rustoleum Aqua Blue and I would have called it a day. You probably don’t like it b/c you’ve been working on it for so long. I get SO bored of projects very fast and if they don’t turn out as I envisioned about 5 seconds (or they start making me grind down my fingernails in anxiety) in I get all oh why did I do this. Let it sit for a bit and see how you feel with it. Also it’s one of those things that has to ‘age’ on it’s own. You know after the kids and life attacks it for a bit it starts to get comfortable in it’s new skin.

    BTW – snack cabinet section is the best idea ever!!! I need to port mine to a lower shelf.

    • Yeah, the whole “lunch station” thing has worked out pretty well, and it’s nice to have one cabinet for the school snacks, which mostly have to be allergen free. When they’re mixed in with other crackers and pretzels, the tend to get gobbled up at home and then I have nothing to pack for school days.

      And I don’t know about patience of a saint… I can hear my husband falling on the floor, passed out from laughing so hard he couldn’t catch his breath. But I do tend toward obsession, and I think that’s what happened here. Yeah, maybe we just need some space for a bit, dance around in the moonlight, tip-toeing through the tulips, and move out of our pre-arranged-marriage-honeymoon-state when you discover your new husband is a Pats fan and you love the Steelers. I’m not ready to call the lawyers, but I’m certainly not sharing my bank account numbers.

      • OMG. I died laughing! My husband is a die hard Steelers fan.I no joke had to get my Steelers t-shirt from Old Navy today for the season or else there’d be hell to pay.

      • @Sweetie – remember that Alex is from Canadia where everyone is sooo much nicer, her “patience of a saint” pretty much translates into “obsessed lunatic” in American and applies directly. @Alex – my dear wife is a much better, bigger, longer fan than I ever will be, but I *do* know that the correct usage is “…get my Six Time World Champion Steelers t-shirt…”

      • Ah yes… I forgot about the ever-polite tendencies of our Nothern neighbors. She was in television too, so there’s that extra layer of spin she’s probably perfected. It’s obvious why we were meant to be friends! πŸ˜‰ And of course, she’s proven her excellent tast with her choice in husband AND her selection of blog-reading! πŸ˜‰

    • Thanks so much Lindsey for both your lovely comment _and_ your stopping by! It wasn’t a quick project, which makes it all the more bitter that I don’t really like it… ah well!

  5. I think I really like it. I really like the yellow on the inside. I’m sure I understand how you feel about not being sure you like it. It’s like cooking a huge meal and then not being hungry at dinner time. We can enjoy it for you. πŸ™‚

    • Thank so so much Danielle for your positivity and brightness! And yeah, I’ll never be one of those humans whose house is sparkly clean and organized… there will always be some portion (or most of it) that looks like this. That’s life with four children for you… πŸ˜‰

  6. I love it, too! I think, like the others, it’s because you spent so much time on it, number one. And number 2, that spot is not where it belongs! Get the new cupboards to finish it correctly, and then your mind can actually rest when you look at that spot. When we finally remodeled our kitchen, it was 5 years into putting on a 3 bedroom, living room, bath addition to our home. Funds were low, and my husband and son said I needed to have $5,000 to $10,000 in hand before we could even THINK about doing the kitchen. Mind you, I had a fridge, stove and one set of upper and lower cabinets built of plywood. It was non functional, and horrendous. (and by the way, I also used my grandmother’s sideboard out there for 5 years as a counter top.) It frustrated me to no end!

    But I took the challenge and started hunting at Habitat for Humanity in several cities, and started purchasing cabinets that were sturdy and well made. They weren’t even all the same type of wood, because I knew I wanted them painted off white. I even scored 4 brand new-with stickers on them, glass windowpane cupboard doors for $10 each! I was later told by a kitchen salesman that they were $70-80 EACH for them to stock! So, by the end of summer, I had slowly purchased most of the cabinets for $200! We did have to buy a sink base, and one 4 drawer cabinet, which was another $200. I got a deep porcelain sink at Habitat for $9, yes, that is NINE DOLLARS!

    That fall, my sister called and said she had an awesome antique upper cabinet she thought I would like, that her mother in law had bought at an auction. Her husband had a bonfire going, and was literally ready to put this cabinet in it! She said, ” I can hold him off for about half an hour, but you need to come NOW!” So we did! They were the perfect accent piece in our kitchen; and definitely add to our story!

    Now my sideboard sits in the dining room, and we later found an antique upper cabinet that rests on top, that makes it complete. But it is a Plain Jane next to your new masterpiece! She just needs a wall to shine in her own glory! The color is perfect, and I’m quite certain that I am going to refer back to your blog when I get ready to repaint! You did an amazing job, and all of your long, hard hours were worth it!

    Don’t be discouraged! And please consider second-had cabinets, especially if you are painting anyway. We used 4 coats of Behr Swiss Coffee (7 years ago, and they still look great!) Now you have so many more options in colors, and you definitely have a gift for turning something plain into a work of art. So pain away! I can’t wait to see your re-finished kitchen!

    • Oh My GOODNESS Kathy!! You definitely get some sort of award for the longest and most detailed comment ever! How awesome!! Thank you ever so much for taking the time out of your busy day to spread som much wonderfulness around on the inter-webs! And what an inspirational story! I can’t believe your incredible luck at all your finds! It’s amazing what will be dropped right in front of you just because people have heard about your search!

      I’ve stopped by our local Habitat ReStore a couple of times only to discover that I had the hours wrong (twice!). Back in Pittsburgh there was an awesome place called Construction Junction, an old industrial warehouse full of donated home goods including old kitchen sets, construction materials, old solid wood paneled doors, bits and bobs of old furniture pieces… Oh how I miss that place. I went back a few months ago and cried as I walked through it thinking about all the things I wanted to take home but couldn’t fit into our rental car!

      And yeah, I think you’re right… I think we just need to bite the bullet and get some sort of cabinetry in there. I have an ever growing collection of cookbooks, so even if we just added bookshelves with countertop over top it would already be an improvement. You’ve definitely added fuel to the fire.

      Thanks again, really, for leaving this comment! It was such a treat to read!!

  7. I think it has amazing dimension! Now, if you don’t like it, I hope you don’t mind if I make one suggestion. Maybe just either strip and stain the top or paint it an entirely different solid color. I think that would make you fall in love with it, because, really, it has an incredible amount of depth and beauty to it. And that hardware could not be any more perfect!

    • I don’t mind suggestions at all Kristi!! And I think yours is a great one! I had this crazy thought in my head that I might like the top black… but then it would definitely need to move out of the kitchen… and I have another piece that is going to be painted with a stained black top. Sigh.

      And thanks for the props. The ring pulls originally came with it, but the knobs on the drawer fronts are new (and were a pain to find). I tried all sorts of different knobs before settling on these. I think they don’t detract from the ring pulls, which are my favorite. πŸ˜‰ And the paint, well, I’m so glad you think that it does have a lot of dimension and depth. It’s nice to know that part came through. I only wish I felt it was more at home in the kitchen. Well, maybe we’ll find another place for it, or maybe a new home! πŸ˜‰ My husband really likes it, so it’s going to be hard to convince him to let it go, especially if it means we have to put in new cabinets and countertops (which also means we have to move the sink and the dishwasher… NATCH!) πŸ˜‰

  8. I really like the variation in color but can see that if it wasn’t what you had in mind, you won’t be pleased with it. What I’m wondering is, what happened? I mean, the first coat looked smooth and even-toned. From what I’ve read, the chalk paint is supposed to be so simple and cover so well and be pretty much fool-proof over any finish – is your experience the “real world” of using this product? At any rate, I admire your “stick-to-it-tiveness” and your idea for the sideboard’s use is great! I think the color is really pretty as well! Thank you for sharing and I hope that you can get your kitchen the way you want it. I know that kitchens get so much use and we are stuck in them so much of the time, it’s nice to have them functioning and looking the way we want. Hugs, Leena

    • Thanks for stopping by Leena! I hope I can answer your “what happened” question. From your comment I think you’re wondering how/why the color goes from a smooth flat finish with the first coat to splotchy/layered/striated in the subsequent photos? The reason for all of the texture was the techniques I was using to build up all the layers. After the first coat of the chalk paint, I started building up the layers by taking other paints and mixing it with wax, applying it with a brush, then buffing it down, sometimes scraping it or sanding it as well. I also thinned both a latex paint and the chalk paint directly with water and applied it over the layers for a wash/glaze type of finish. In the one image that I said looked a little wonky to me, where the right side looks “dirty” I had used dark wax, but I stopped and didn’t do this to the entire piece because I thought it made the sideboard look muddy, and that wan’t the effect I was going for.

      The variations in the color were actually pretty similar to what I wanted and had in mind, but in the end, it just didn’t fit in the kitchen the way I thought it would. Using chalk paint _is_ pretty doggone fool-proof, and if you’re going for an even flat finish, then you can just stop after the first or second coat and apply the clear wax to seal it. The advantage to chalk paint is its ease in distressing and it’s ability to build up layers as I did here. Latex paints tend to ball up when sanding down, and take a bit more muscle power to distress when compared to chalk paint. They are also more difficult to build up when trying to achieve a layered look; that’s not saying it can’t be done, it just take a bit more know-how and elbow grease depending on the effect you’re going for.

      I hope that helps clear up you understanding! Thanks again for stopping by and I hope to see you around again!

    • Wow Bonnie!! A tutorial… you know… I’m not even sure if I can remember all the techniques I used. Huh. I used a brush and a rag, stippling, buffing, sanding, glazing, waxing. I thought the pictures would be enough to help me remember, but now I’m not sure I could replicate it.

      Thanks so much for stopping by! You’ve certainly got my wheels turning…

  9. Oh my gosh I totally did that too! I wound up covering a vintage sideboard with a couple coats of Annie’s, and after I realized I couldn’t stop the bleed through with the Annie’s I then covered it in THREE coats of shellac, which finally stopped the bleeding. Now I take all old pieces that I even think may bleed through and use an oil/shellac based primer on them. I wanted to pitch the freakin’ piece off of my deck!
    I love how yours came out though and if you didn’t like it I’m sure it would sell really well! It’s beautiful! Here’s the post about what I went through…http://bigfamilysmallapartment.blogspot.com/2012/07/okay-so-it-worked-out.html

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