My love affair with my turquoise antique sewing cabinet

I am here today to finally share my completed sewing cabinet with you! I know, I know…this cabinet took me a really long time to paint! If you have been following my previous posts and wondering as to when I would be sharing the “after” photos with you, thank you for being so patient with me! I can now finally say that it this cabinet is all done and I hope you like it as much as I do!

If this is your first time visiting my blog, you can read about how I was very lucky to find my sweet little sewing cabinet for a song here. Sorry, you will need to scroll down to the bottom of the post for the details. 

My cabinet looks to be in pretty good shape in its “before” photo below. Don’t get me wrong, it was in great shape for its age. In reality though, there were some minor imperfections that needed to be addressed such as some chipping of the paint and some cracking that needed patching. I also wasn’t in love with its tomato red color so I decided that a complete makeover was in order for this cabinet.


Are you ready for the after?




Here she is with her new look. What do you think?

Some of you had said that you would like to see my cabinet painted turquoise. I ended up choosing Behr Gem Turquoise mixed at 50% strength as her final color. It is a gorgeous light peacock blue color. I can’t wait to use this color again soon!




Sometimes when I am working on a project, things don’t always go as planned. This seems to happen to me a lot lately! Does the same thing happen to you as well?

What happened this time? Well, I spent part of the day Sunday taking photos to share with you because it was such a beautiful sunny day. Then when I went to upload the photos from my camera to my computer there was a malfunction of the SD memory card and I couldn’t get the photos off of my camera no matter what I tried. It really was my fault for thinking that it was OK to store over 2500 photos on my memory card and not erase them at some point. Thankfully, I had the majority of the photos already saved to my computer and I was also able to find my other camera to use as a back-up, so I apologize if some of my photos are a little dark. These photos were taken as the sun was starting to set.



This cabinet was modified by one of its previous owners to fit a modern-day sewing machine. The top flips up and my new sewing machine fits perfectly inside. It cannot be stored inside the cabinet when not in use, but it works wonderfully for when it is time to sew. I plan to eventually make a cloth cover for my machine to keep it dust free.

I also want to find a little chair to use with this cabinet sometime soon. In the meantime, my milk painted toile bench fits underneath pretty well. Maybe I should just use the bench and change the fabric to one with a bit of turquoise in it. What do you think? Do you think a chair would be better?

 Milk Painted Toile Bench

Photo Transferred Vintage Sewing Box



I decided to use Behr Premium Plus Paint and Primer In One on this cabinet. I had never had a chance to try out it before and I wanted to see for myself if it was as good as some people had said it was. I will be sharing my thoughts on this paint in an upcoming post.

Anyway, I prepared my cabinet for painting by giving it a good cleaning and then a light sanding. I then painted it with two coats of the Behr Paint/Primer In One, sanding with 400 grit sandpaper in between coats. I distressed it lightly with 220 grit sandpaper to bring out some of the red basecoat and then I followed up by glazing the entire cabinet with a burnt umber glaze to help bring out the details in the carvings. I made sure to wipe away the majority of the glaze as I was applying it to not “dirty” the final finish. Finally, I finished everything off by applying three coats of my favorite topcoat for durability. The finish feels so velvety smooth!




 Don’t you just love the wooden appliques on this cabinet? They are my favorite part!




I wanted to keep the keyholes and the holes on the bottom of the cabinet legs intact instead of filling them in with wood putty.  Even though the keys are long gone and the holes at the bottom of the legs mostly likely held the wheel that ran the original sewing machine, I think this cabinet is sweet with all of its little quirks!





Here she is all set up ready for use.




I am in love with my “new” little turquoise sewing cabinet! I can’t wait until we move so I can have craft room to store it in instead of it taking up prime real estate in my living room.




Before I leave you I am having a tiny little dilemma that I am hoping you could help me with. My Mom was over last night visiting. She really likes what I have done with my cabinet but she thinks that the long drawer on the front is too plain and that it is missing something. She thinks it needs some knobs or another scrolly.

My personal opinion is that this cabinet already has enough scrollies on it and adding more would just make it too busy. I thought of adding some crystal knobs to give the cabinet a little bit of glamour but then they would need to be fairly small because there is not much depth available there. This little drawer has a magnetic closure and it tilts forward when opened.

What do you think? Should I just leave the drawer as is? I would be grateful for your opinion on what you think I should do.


Enjoy the rest of your day!





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2 pings

  1. Steph @ The Silly Pearl

    I am in love with this! What a great find, and great makeover! I’m sure you will enjoy it for many years.

    1. Carrie

      Thank you Steph for your kind comments and also for sharing my makeover with your Facebook fans.

  2. Carolyn

    So, so sweet Carrie. Love the colour. Front looks fine as is or you could put nice little crystal knob or maybe a little tassel. Just saw some nice ceramic knobs at Winners. Do you have Lee Valley Tools out west? Might find some nice knobs there as well. If you re-do your bench you could get extra fabric to do a cover for your machine. You could even add some batting to the lid of your mason jar thread holder, cover it with the fabric and tie with some nice ribbon or raffia. Have you seen the Martha Stewart line of labels and other office supplies at Staples? They might look cute on your mason jar also. Depending on how much sewing you do you may be more comfortable in a chair although that bench with the toile is very cute.

    1. Carrie

      Hi Carolyn,
      We do have a Lee Valley. I did have a look there but didn’t see anything that I liked. You have some wonderful ideas there, especially about the sewing machine cover and coordinating fabric for my bench. Thanks again for taking the time to leave me a comment and for being so thoughful. I hope to see you again sometime soon!

  3. Leanne

    Carrie, your cabinet is oh so pretty! I adore the colour!

    Since you asked (lol)… a few thoughts on the drawer: Because there isn`t much depth there and you wouldn`t want to take away from the gorgeous catalogue-style drawers, a distressed stencil might be just the thing. Something complimentary to the lovely leaf frame on the drawers. If that`s not your cup of tea, perhaps a monoogram. Or a word that suits the tasks: Create, or Couture or La mode c’est tout (Fashion is everything). With more or as is, it is truly lovely, Carrie.

    1. Carrie

      Thanks so much Leanne! You always have such great ideas. I love the idea of adding text on the drawer. I should have done that before I clear coated it though. :( I am still deciding what I am going to do with the drawer. I think I may leave it for now and keep my eye out for the perfect thing or I may end up leaving it plain.

      1. Leanne

        Not meant to be a shameless plug, but Annie Sloan Chalk Paint will hold to the clear coat without sanding or priming and it can be thickened by leaving it out for a bit to make for easier stenciling if that is your preferrance. Rather than investing in a whole quart, a sample jar would be more than enough paint and wouldn`t cost alot.

        Might be a good opportunity to get in that coffee we talked about, too! :)

        1. Carrie

          So true Leanne. Maybe I will need to stop by for a visit sometime and take you for coffee. :)

  4. Bailey K.

    SO stinkin pretty! i want and antique sewing cabinet so bad. And this post doesn’t help! ;)

    personally, i would leave the front as-is. i wouldn’t want to stray from the original design of the cabinet TOO much. but that’s just me!

    i have a creativity party going on right now on my blog and i’d love it if you would link this or any other creative project you have: http://letbirdzfly.blogspot.com/2012/05/exodus-35-creativity-party-29.html

    thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Carrie

      Thanks for your wonderful comments Bailey. I stopped by and added my sewing cabinet project to your creativity party.
      Have a great day!

  5. Mindie

    It’s fabulous!

    1. Carrie

      Thanks Mindie!

  6. Sharon Hines

    I can see why you’re in love. I love it too…the whole setting with your sewing basket and stool is so quaint. I would have preserved the key holes too. I like being reminded of the history.
    If anything, I can see adding a crystal knob to the drawer front, but the piece does look finished as is.

    Thanks for sharing at Show & Tell.

    Sharon @ mrs. hines class

    1. Carrie

      Thanks for stopping by Sharon. You are so sweet! I am still trying to decide whether or not to leave the drawer plain. I can always add a knob later if I want to. Thanks again!

  7. Chie

    Hi Carrie,

    Wow! How I wish I could find such a beauty. I love the turqouise color and it really looks FABULOUS.

    You’re one lucky girl, finding it.

    Happy mid-week.

    1. Carrie

      Keep your eye out for a similar cabinet Chie! You never know when you might come across one. I certainly wasn’t expecting to find my cabinet but just happened upon it. Thanks for visiting and for your sweet comments!

  8. Kahli

    This is very pretty! Love the color and love the shape! And what a lucky find.

    1. Carrie

      Thanks for your kind comments. I feel pretty lucky to have found it too as it was just what I was looking for a few weeks earlier.

  9. Stacy

    I love me some turquoise! I love how the distressing brings out the fun detail. Awesome!

    1. Carrie

      Thanks Stacy! I am glad you like my cabinet! :)

  10. Beth

    I thought I knew every Behr color, but this one is new to me! And I love it!!! You did such a wonderful job. Seriously, thats a perfect color for this piece. Since you asked about the stool, I like it, but I would try to incorporate the same color into it somehow. Either paint the whole think and put on some white accents, or maybe try some of the aqua accents on it first.
    Just MHO.

    1. Carrie

      I had no idea about the Gem Turquoise either when I came across it. You can find it half way down the page on this link if you are interested in taking a peek (Color number 500B-4). http://www.myperfectcolor.com/Behr-Color-Matches/79.htm I used it at 50% strength because I wanted a more subtle color. Thanks for your suggestions for my stool. Since I just painted it recently with milk paint and I already love the color I am not up to changing its finish anytime soon. The fabric I am ok with changing as I can reuse the Toile fabric elsewhere without a problem. I may see if I can find some fabric with the same color as my cabinet in the pattern and that should hopefully help to tie it together or maybe I can find a small chair to use and I can recover the seat.
      Thanks for stopping by and for your ideas. I really appreciate it! :)

  11. debbie

    Carrie this piece is absolutely gorgeous. The color is awesome! Thanks for sharing you inspiration with the newbie party.

  12. Jaime from Crafty Scrappy Happy

    What a PERFECT re-do! I LOVE the look that you ended up with!!! I love what paint can do!!! I would love it if you came over and linked up over at my place—the party just opened!!! :)
    Jaime from crafty scrappy happy

    1. Carrie

      Hi Jaime,
      Thank for your kind comments. I stopped by your linky party and linked up. Great party you have going on!

  13. the salvage collection

    what a find… and finish! it looks beautiful!

    1. Carrie

      Amy, thank you! I hope to see you again sometime!

  14. Miss Charming

    I love all the beautiful details on this piece and the lovely color. I think it’s perfect as is. Wonderful job!

    1. Carrie

      Thank you so much Miss Charming for your wonderful comments and for taking time to stop by my blog!

  15. Michaela

    She was beautiful before and she’s even more beautiful know. I’m so jealous. I think that you should leave the drawer is or find a simple knob for that hole. Anything elaborate would be too much in my opinion.

  16. Lori

    This turned out beautiful…I’m in love with turquoise too. I think it looks great like it is, but if you want to add a little something…what about an faux antique keyhole plate. You could paint one on or find the real thing and glue it on. Just a thought. Love it!

    1. Carrie

      Lori, your idea about a faux antique keyhole plate (escutcheon) is a great idea! I will have to see if I can find one that works with this piece. Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and of course for your wonderful comments and ideas.

  17. Candy

    I love this………color is GREAT. What a fun piece.

    1. Carrie

      Thank you Candy!

  18. Trish @ Uncommon

    This is such a fabulous rehab. That color is just gorgeous! Thanks for stopping by this week!

    Take care,


    1. Carrie

      Thanks so much Trish for your wonderful comments.
      Have a great day!

  19. sherry

    It’s beautiful!

    1. Carrie

      Thank you Sherry! I appreciate you taking the time to leave me a comment. :)

  20. Sumo

    Beautiful! I would sew all day long if I had that! :) I’ll be featuring them on my blog on Saturday!


    Thanks for linking up!


    1. Carrie

      Yah! Thanks so much Sumo! I am excited to have my sewing cabinet featured on your blog and I am very flattered. I will keep an eye out for Sunday’s features. Thanks again! Carrie

  21. Jen @ Our DIY Diaries

    I’m pretty sure this is the COOLEST thing ever! I have a total obsession over turquoise and I would love to get my hands on a sewing cabinet like this. It’s beautiful and you did and great job! I would love to have you link it up at our party.



    1. Carrie

      Awww! Thanks so much Jen! I went over and linked up at your linky party! It is very nice to meet you.
      Take care,

  22. Michele

    Wow, is that ever beautiful! Well done.

    1. Carrie

      Thank you Michele!

  23. paige

    Wow…this is incredible. I need to get the guts to paint something in my house this color! Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Carrie

      Paige, you are making me blush with your wonderful comments! Thanks so much. I am usually a pretty mellow person when it comes to color so this sewing cabinet is a little bit different for me as well. I really love it though and I am now trying to find other ways to incorporate this color into my decor.
      Take care,

  24. Karen

    Love the Turquoise! Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Carrie

      Thank you Karen! :)

  25. kristin

    Stunning makeover and the perfect amount of distressing. Thanks for linking up,

    1. Carrie

      Wow! Thanks Kristin. I am very flattered by your comments and I also know how busy you are so thank you again for taking the time to stop by my blog.
      Have a great day!

  26. Jenny

    I loved this! You’re featured in my furniture redo roundup! So pretty! The details on the medallions is lovely!


    1. Carrie

      Jenny, I am so honored to be featured this week. Thanks again! :)

  27. monica

    Ok cute!! I’m actually jealous that it fits a modern day sewing machine. I would love for you to link up to my furniture party

    1. Carrie


      I was really surprised when I found out that is was modified to fit a new sewing machine too. I have yet to sew on my new table as I have been working on other projects since then but I can’t wait to give it a try. Thanks for stopping by and I will check out your party.

  28. Christina at I Gotta Create

    WOW!!!! This little table is absolutely stunning! You take amazing photos, too. I will be featuring you on the blog this Wednesday. Thanks so much for linking up and inspiring us.

    <3 Christina
    Wildly Original Roundup linky party is open!

    1. Carrie

      Wow Christina! You have me blushing! Thank you for your wonderful comments. Also, thank you for featuring my sewing cabinet. I am honored!
      Have a great day,

  29. Suella

    Two practical comments here. The first is that your height adjustment for your machine looks really good for an obstacle free path from fabric to needle. Your arms should be able to flat on the surface when you sew, if you are doing machine embroidery or sewing for any period of time. Think ergonomics of computer use as well. You may need to try a height adjustable office chair to work out how high your chair should be to put you in the right position to use your foot pedal for the machine. Unless you have a knee control that I couldn’t see the hole for.

    The second comment is that a knob on the drawer may catch on your fabric as you sew. It depends on the scale of your work. I don’t quite know about the hole unless it was some kind of locking device to keep children from investigating the sharp contents of the drawer.

    I’d guess the makers of the machine cabinet knew what they were doing not to include a knob. Of course you could take the knob off each time you sewed if it were fixed with a nut at the back of the drawer front…

    1. Carrie

      I totally agree with you Suella and thank you for your great tips. It sounds like you are a seasoned seamstress. I am just starting out so I am grateful for your tips.
      Take care,

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