Seeing Red

We went to Lubbock last August to celebrate my sister's graduation from Texas Tech, and in helping her move out of her condo, she gave us this cabinet that one of her roommates had purposely left behind. At that time we knew we'd soon be buying a house, so we figured "sure, why not, it'll get used somewhere." And since moving in, it has sat in our garage, waiting to be refinished. 

While the cabinet probably could have been left as is, there was one spot on the top that had nail polish remover or something spilled on it, and the paint was bubbling up. We decided to strip it -- because that's easy, right? -- sand it down and stain it. Well...

Stripping paint off of the cabinet was a lot harder than we thought! Sure, the liquid stripper helped a lot, but it was messy, painful if you accidentally got any on you, and getting all of the paint removed was practically impossible. I told Thomas if I ever got the idea to re-do another previously painted piece, to remind me of how much time and energy this tiny thing took.

After stripping as much as we could, we used an "after wash" to remove more of the color, and then sanded it down for what seemed like hours. There are still little traces of red in the grain, but we think it adds a little character. Or at least that's what I'm telling myself to make me feel better about it.

Here's the final product of our labor. All in all, we're pretty pleased with how it turned out! When you walk in our front door, this is what you see on the wall to the left.

The window above the cabinet is from an old home in New Orleans, given to me by my friend Lianne when she heard I was looking for one. That was a whole other project in itself -- it must have had at least three layers of paint on it, built up from over the years, and we stripped and sanded it just like we did the cabinet. I accidentally broke one of the window panes while doing so, so we took out all the remaining panes and when the stain was complete, we used caulk to put three of the glass panes back in (top middle and bottom two corners). Thanks, Lianne!

We're taking our time making this house our home as time and budget allow. When you're trying to save money to pay off new appliances, little inexpensive projects like this make me feel like we're still making progress. Another project down, several more to go! 


  1. It looks great! You should try using chalk paint, no sanding or stripping or priming required!

  2. Looks like the effort paid off to me! I have also stripped paint and refinished it. A 5 drawer dresser. I struggled all the way through it and swore it would be a family heirloom after how much work went into it!


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