My vintage book cabinet

I’m sorry I haven’t been posting much lately. I have had a lot on the go here around the house this past couple of weeks, and with working a full time job, it doesn’t leave me as much time as I would like to work on my projects. Nevertheless, I hope to try to post more often in the future. Yeah to more posts!

While I finish working on the tiered bathroom cabinet I had mentioned a few days ago, I thought I would share with you an vintage book cabinet that I had painted last summer. It was originally built to be used as a small china cabinet, but I am known to change it up a little and use things for other than their intended use. I imagined this cabinet as a storage piece for my vintage books and treasures. It is perfect for keeping everything dust-free and away from busy little hands.




I actually found this cabinet for free on Kijiji last summer. As soon as the lady posted it I responded to her ad hoping that someone else hadn’t snatched it up already. Luckily, this cabinet was still available, so off I went to pick up my new book cabinet to be.

After the addition of some wooden appliques, new hardware, new chunky trim along the bottom and a couple of coats of cream paint, I think it is a great improvement. Don’t you think so too?




The room that this cabinet is in faces north so it is really challenging to take a good photo of it without it looking fuzzy or a reflection showing up in the glass. Well, hello there!  Hopefully, you are able to see things just the same.




I added some crown shaped pulls to the drawer and drop pulls on the glass doors at the top and on the wooden doors at the bottom. The hardware finish is Old Brass from Lee Valley. I didn’t really care for the hardware that originally came with the cabinet but I really love these and they go well with other finishes that I have already in the room.



 To give the cabinet even more style, I added a matching escutcheon (key hole). Since it didn’t have a key hole already cut, I just faked it by adding a small piece of brown felt behind the escutcheon. From close-up you can tell that there isn’t a hole, but from far away it is not noticeable at all. Hey, it works for me!

I just noticed after taking this picture that one of the nails on my escutcheon is a different colour. Ha ha! Nothing a black Sharpie pen won’t fix.






After giving this cabinet a couple of coats of my favorite cream paint, I lightly distressed the edges so that a little bit of its gray primer coat and its original stained wood would show through.




The inside of the drawer was originally covered in red velvet fabric and let me tell you it was really dirty and disgusting. Not to mention, some little person had scribbled all over the drawer sides. My solution was to decoupage scrap book paper in a french postcard print inside of the entire drawer. To hide some of the raw edges, I glued in thin pieces of cove molding painted white. Finally, I coated the paper with watered down white paint to give it an aged look and sealed it with two coats of Modge Podge to protect it.

I think the addition of the scrapbook paper is a nice surprise when opening the drawer! It is a perfect size to store all of my stationary and mementos from my past travels.






My favorite part of this cabinet are these wooden appliques that I added to the bottom doors to dress them up a bit. I love me some wooden scrollies!









So, what do you think of my book cabinet? Please leave me a comment below. I would love to hear from you.

I thought I would leave you with some pictures from my garden last Spring. It is still too early for plants to start appearing here in the north, but hopefully we will start to see some green in the next few weeks.

Gardening is another one of my great passions so I also plan to share some photos from my garden from time-to-time. I don’t know about you, but flowers always lift my spirits!


Till next time…








Parties I’ve Linked Up To:

~ Miss Mustard Seed – Furniture Feature Friday ~ Chic on a Shoestring Decorating – Flaunt It Friday ~ My Romantic Home – Show and Tell Friday ~ French Country Cottage – Feathered Nest Friday ~ Finding Fabulous – Frugalicious Friday ~ It’s a Hodgepodge Life – It’s a Hodgepodge Friday ~ The Shabby Nest – Frugal Friday ~ The Craftionary – Friday Fun Party ~ Funky Junk Interiors – Sat Nite Special ~ Tatertots and Jello – Weekend Wrap-up Party ~ Be Different Act Normal – Show and Tell Saturdays ~ Thrifty Decor Chick – April Before and After Party ~ Sumos Sweet Stuff – Market Yourself Mondays ~ DIY Showoff – DIY Project Parade ~ Craft-O-Maniac – COM Monday ~ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia – Tuesdays Treasures ~ Home Stories A to Z – Tutorials and Tips ~ Vintage Wanna Bee – Talent Tuesdays ~ The Vintage Mauve – Mauvin Mondays ~ Savvy Southern Style – Wow Us Wednesdays ~ Not Just a Housewife – Show Me Whatcha Got ~ Domestically Speaking – 120th Power of Paint Party ~ The Trendy Treehouse – Create and Share ~ The Thrifty Home – 132nd Penny Pinching Party ~ The Shady Porch – Rock n’ Share ~ The Shabby Creek Cottage – Transformation Thursday ~ Somewhat Simple – Strut your Stuff ~ Brambleberry Cottage – Time Travel Thursdays ~ Pretty Handy Girl – DIY Talent Parade Link Party ~ Embracing Change – Holiday Linky Furniture Party ~



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2 pings

  1. Lori Fox

    Nicely done!

  2. Debra

    Wow! This turned out fabulous. I can’t believe it was free. I love the new hardware you used. I know you will enjoy it. :)

  3. Linda

    You are so crafty, you did an awesome job and I wish I was as talented as you!!!!!! Keep up the wonderful work!!!!

    1. Carrie

      Linda, thanks so much for the kind comments!

  4. Jessica@VintageMauve.com

    What a beautiful cabinet! I adore all the little extra details you put into it, especially the door pulls. Gorgeous!

    Hope you’ll share this on my link party!

    Jessica, your newest Linky follower.

  5. Deb

    WOW! This is just lovely. Love the embellished door fronts, but my very favorite is inside the drawers !

    ( I found you through the A2Z link party!)

  6. Julie M. ~ The Little Red Shop

    It looks really wonderful, what a fabulous find!

    : )

    Julie M.

  7. Stacie

    I love it! I especially love the drop handles, moulding and inside of the drawers.

  8. Stacie

    I love it! I especially love the drop handles, moulding, and inside of drawers!

  9. Beth

    It is beautiful! I have a question. I have never done anything like that before. I have a small chest of drawers that has been scratched a bit by my cats. I would love to paint it the exact color that you used and distress it. Did you have to sand it like crazy first? Also, how do you distress? Just sand certain areas? Thanks

    1. Hooked on Decorating

      Thanks for commenting! For your piece of furniture I would suggest that you fill any scratches or other imperfections first with wood filler so that your piece of wood feels smooth to the touch with no indentations. Once the wood filler is dry, use 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a sanding block or sponge and sand your piece of wood smooth. If you still feel any gouges on the wood repeat the process. Once your piece is all smooth, use a tack cloth to remove the sanding dust and then prime your piece of wood with two coats of a bonding primer. You will want to sand in between coats of primer with a 400 grit sandpaper to remove any rough spots. This will make your piece of wood feel like it is baby smooth. Also, make sure you take away the sanding dust after each coat with your tack cloth. You don’t want to make your finish baby smooth and then have sanding dust make everything all gritty again. It may seem like a lot of sanding but it is not too bad. It is the secret to how I get a super smooth finish on finished piece of furniture. The more time you take to sand properly in between coats, the better your final end result will be. For distressing, use a 180-220 grit piece of sandpaper and sand the edges of your piece where you would normally see wear, such as the edges near the bottom, around cabinet knobs etc. As for paint colour, the main paint colour for this piece is Natural Linen by Benjamin Moore over top of Dark Grey tinted primer by Behr. I hope this helps.

      1. Beth

        Thanks so much! You must have worked really hard on your book cabinet! One last question…is the paint flat?
        I appreciate your detailed instructions! Wish me luck! :)

        1. Carrie

          Hi Beth,
          It was a bit of hard work to finish this cabinet only because I didn’t remove the shelves in the top or the bottom part (they wouldn’t come out) so painting around shelves is always a challenge. Had I been able to remove the shelves it would have been so much easier. The paint I used was in an eggshell finish. I don’t think it matters a lotwhether or not you use flat or eggshell. After you put on your two coats of primer and then your two to three coats of paint, you will want to protect your cabinet. I used Minwax Polyacrylic in a satin finish again sanding between coats. Polyacrylic will not yellow your light cream finish as a Polyurethane will. I always finish my last sanding after topcoating with 400 or even 600 grit sandpaper to get the smoothest finish possible. If you were to feel the side of my cabinet it feels like it was a manufactured finish it is so smooth. I am sure you will do awesome finishing your cabinet. Just take your time and make sure you let your coats of finish dry well between each coat. I would love to hear how it turns out for you. Thanks for visiting!

  10. Shelly

    I really enjoyed the “tour” of this piece! You chose the perfect hardware, and the 3-D wooden appliques are to die for! Plus as an added bonus, I learned what escutcheon means. :) (Love the white-washed drawers too.)

    1. Hooked on Decorating

      I am glad you like my book cabinet transformation. I didn’t know what escutcheon meant before I found them at Lee Valley, let alone being able to spell the word! We learn something every day, don’t we? Thanks for stopping by!

  11. Peggy

    Oh what a truly stunning piece! You did a beautiful job and I can’t believe it was free! I love the drawer pulls and the added appliques. Thanks so much for sharing. I’m a new follower via LF

  12. Loribeth

    I just used appliques on my bathroom cabinets, and I love them too!!! Your cabinet is wonderful. It’s so pretty.

  13. Carrie

    Thanks for your comments Peggy and Loribeth and thanks for stopping by! Appliques are my favorite way to give a plain piece of furniture some pizazz.

  14. Karen

    Carrie, you are so amazingly talented! I cannot believe how many little details you put into this piece. But the details are exactly what make it look like such an expensive bookshelf and not a freebie. I love the trim used to hide the paper edges in the drawer. I would never have thought to do that, and the key hole with brown felt? That is pure genius. There are so many little ideas here that I am definitely taking note of. Thanks for sharing! -K

    1. Carrie

      Karen, you are making me blush with your wonderful comments. :) I really appreciate you taking the time to leave your thoughts. Thanks so much!

  15. Shelia

    You did a wonderful job on your book cabinet. Love the bright white color and you’ve decorated it so beautifully.
    Be a sweetie,
    shelia ;)

  16. Jan

    Your book cabinet looks fantastic. The finish is beautiful. I’m not a fan of “distressing”, but you didn’t overdo it. I would not have believed it’s the same cabinet at all. It’s wonderful having glass-enclosed doors to help keep the dust away from one’s treasured books and memorabilia. I use a giant china hutch to hold a large collection of hardbacks that I’ve been buying (and still buying) over 40 years. I’m so glad to see someone (you) actually use a cabinet for showing/storing books! I’ve seen lots of cabinets and bookcases at many many decorating and home interior blogs, and hardly a book to be seen in or on any of them. Geez! Thanks for restoring some sense to the decorating universe by using this cabinet for your books and treasures.

    1. Carrie

      Jan, books are also a love of mine as well as you can tell and of course anything vintage. It sounds like you have a great collection of books. You and I sound a lot alike. Thanks again for taking the time to comment.


  17. Hani

    WOW.. I love the transformation.. Thanks for linking up at friday fun party.. :)

  18. Amanda@studio1404.com

    LOVE how you completely changed the style by adding new hardware and those gorgeous appliques! You did a great job!

  19. D @ The Shady Porch

    Lovely job! It’s a very pretty piece of furniture. I like the scrapbook paper in the drawer too. Thanks for sharing at the Rock ‘N Share!

    1. Carrie

      Thanks so much D!

  20. Gerrie

    I just wanted you to know that I highlighted your transformation on my blog today – check it out!

    Nice work!!


    1. Carrie

      Wow! Thanks Gerrie! I am honored that my project was featured on your blog. :)

  21. Shannon Fox

    That is stunning. The hardware takes it over the top. It’s so gorgeous. Really love it.

    That hardware… again, amazing!!

  22. Abbie @ Five days...5 ways

    What a great transformation, Carrie!

    I love all the attention to detail (especially the inside of the drawers) and the way you styled the shelves.

    Great job! : )


    1. Carrie

      Thanks Abbie for stopping by and thanks for your sweet comments! :)

  23. Suzanne

    Love whAT you did with this piece! The trim on the bottom was a nice touch, I would like to try

  24. Brittany aka Pretty Handy Girl

    Seriously?! This makeover is amazing. And even more so that you got this cabinet for FREE! Thank you so much for sharing this in the DIY Talent Parade. You are one seriously talented gal.

    1. Carrie

      Brittany, I am blushing big time! Thanks so much for your sweet comments and for featuring me in your DIY Talent Parade! You made my day!

  25. Carly

    Oh my god! I’m so in love with this!

    1. Carrie

      Wow! Thanks Carly! I am so happy that you liked my makeover. :)

  26. Maria

    Dear Carrie,

    I am learning so much from you. I am restoring an antique wardrobe with dentil markings and I went out and bought “wooden appliques.” My mother thought I had lost it …had gone crazy. But we finally found some basic one’s at Loews after going to hardware stores that didn’t know what the heck I was talking about.
    I bought the spray adhesive and applied them now my mother thinks I am a star restorer. I now have to learn how to make “chalk paint” and paint my ditty up. Don’t have a DIY blog but might have to get one..Thanks for your inspiration. Might put it up on pimp my voice blogspot. I’m an opera singer.

    God Bless,

    1. Carrie

      Hi Maria,
      It is so nice to meet you. You are now a Opera singer/furniture restorer extraordinaire! You should put your makeovers on your blog so we can see what a great job you did! I know I would like to see what you have done.
      Take care,

  27. Maria

    Hi Carrie,
    I finished reduxing my armoire. I applied the wooden applique’s that I learned about from you; went online and purchased Annie Sloan’s white chalk paint and finished the whole project in 1 day. I am forever changed and will post it on my opera blog soon….LOL.

    1. Carrie

      Oh Maria! I am so excited to see your armoire re-do! I can’t wait! I will be waiting with baited breath! :)

  28. Rita

    Your white cabinet with the two wooden appliques is beautiful!
    How did you apply the appliques? glue? nails?
    Thank you,

    1. Carrie

      Hi Rita,

      Thanks for your wonderful comments. I applied the appliques with a little bit of wood glue and then I used my hand drill and a very small drill bit to make two small holes (one of the top of the applique and the other on the bottom). Then I pounded in a very tiny nail and countersunk the head of the nail with a punch. Then when I went to paint I just a bit of wood putty just to hide the holes. I could have just glued my appliques on but nailing them in makes things more permanent and helps to hold the applique in the perfect spot while drying.

      I hope this helps.
      Take care,

  29. Stacey

    Just beautiful Carrie! It’;s a stunner!
    I will be featuring it!
    Thanks for sharing at the party!
    Stacey of Embracing Change

    1. Carrie

      Thank you so much Stacey! I am honored!

  30. P.j.

    How did I miss this post until today?? As usual, another amazing transformation! I love your choices of hardware & the drawer lining. Sweet without being overly girly–I love it!

    Hope you’re feeling better these days. I miss hearing from you!

  31. LINH


    Where did you purchase your wood appliqués from?

  1. Painted Book Cabinet

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