The Making of an Antique Cupboard

Before I say anything else about today’s post, I want to thank to my husband.  Without him, I wouldn’t be sharing what I’m sharing with you today.  He helps me bring my plans and visions to reality and I truly couldn’t do it without him.  I don’t say it often enough, but I appreciate not only all the work he does for me, but his willingness to even tackle the projects I throw at him at all.  I really believe there aren’t many men who would do all that I ask of him, so from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!

You’ll have to be a little patient to see the “reveal” of this project, because I feel like I need to explain how it came about and the process first.  Don’t worry – the full project is shown toward the bottom of the post, but wait for it, okay?

You may recall that about this time last year, I brought home a TON of antique windows, and among them were a bunch of the tall ones seen here behind our barn loft stairs.

I’m not really sure if these were windows, because they are so narrow and long, but I’m assuming they are, just because of how many of them there were.  I’m assuming they must have been sidelight windows.  I’ve sold a bunch of them that my husband and I converted into chalkboards, but I’ve held back a few of them for myself, hoping to come up with a way to use them.  I knew I wouldn’t use them as a window, and I already have several chalkboards, so I wasn’t sure what I’d turn them into, until I saw an antique cupboard, that belongs to Maria @ Dreamy Whites.  Then I knew they were destined to become something like it.

When my husband woke up on Saturday morning, I told him I wanted to go buy  lumber to build the cabinet (with the implication that he’d go with me to help me figure out what to buy).  He must have wanted some peace and quiet, because he didn’t really respond, but he got dressed and I got ready to go. He came back and said, “Is there something else you need in town?”  When I said there wasn’t, he responded that I didn’t need to go if I didn’t want to – he could get the lumber by himself.   I tried not to act too overjoyed, but I was perfectly happy to stay home and work on other projects, while he went lumber shopping.

I printed out a photo of Maria’s cupboard, and he made notes of what the measurements of our cabinet would need to be to fit the glass windows that we would be using.  Printing it out in gray scale, to save on color ink, ended up being a good thing, because seeing how her cabinet looks in white/gray print helped me decide on my paint colors.

Later when he returned with the lumber, I was in the midst of my projects.  He looked at me and said, “I suppose you want me to build the thing too.”   (BIG Happy Smile!)  I think he knew it would be far easier to do it himself, then to watch me flounder my way through it, calling him every 10 minutes for help.  I did my best to just stay out of his way, and by the end of the afternoon, he had the main part of the cabinet built.  Is he good, or what?!

The next day, he added the crown moulding at the top, and the shelves inside, then I stained the outer edges, in preparation for the paint that would go over it.  I didn’t stain the inside, because that part wouldn’t naturally get chipped up and I wanted a really clean, bright backdrop for the things I would be displaying inside the cupboard.  I also didn’t sand any of the wood at all, in preparation for painting.  I wanted all the texture I could get from unsanded wood.

Everything beyond this point was trial and error.  I was using darkly stained, naturally aged antique doors on a cupboard build with freshly-cut pine wood, so I needed to find a way to make them look as if they had always been together.  My plan was to use milk paint, so I would get a chippy look, revealing some of the dark wood under the paint.  The problem was, I knew milk paint would not chip over raw, stained wood.  That result only occurs when it is used over previously finished wood – either paint or varnish.  I figured I’d get that effect on the antique doors, but wasn’t sure how to make it happen on the fresh pine boards, and I didn’t think the stain I had added would achieve that.  I decided to dry brush some light gray paint on the wood, hoping that the milk paint would chip over it, revealing some light gray and stained wood underneath.

I also used some Vaseline in a few spots, to act as a “resist”, so that both the stain and light gray paint would for sure show through.

And, on went the milk paint.

The milk paint did resist the Vaseline, but it only crackled in just a few small areas and NONE of that crackled paint came off – even with light scraping.  It hung on tight, so I wasn’t going to get that chippy effect I was hoping for.

The other problem was, this slate color of milk paint is really pretty (Old Fashioned Milk Paint brand), but it has a blue undertone, and that blue tone just wasn’t wanted I wanted for this cupboard.  I had my heart set on more of a true gray.

I didn’t take photos of all the painting that transpired after that point, but I layered more of the light gray paint over the milk paint.  I did a sloppy, somewhat heavy coat, but I did it randomly – not complete coverage, so there were lots of brush strokes and texture, and so some of the wood in the joints and cracks was left unpainted.

Then I got a darker shade of gray paint, and added Blue Minerals Chalk Paint Powder to it, and did another sloppy coat over the light gray, being careful to ease up on the paintbrush to allow some of the lighter gray to show through where it had settled into the grain of the wood and the brush strokes.  I used the same process on the doors, except I didn’t use any milk paint on them, since I knew it was likely to chip like crazy and wouldn’t match the rest of the cupboard.  I used a wet rag to do some wet distressing of the chalk paint in a few areas, and I used coarse sandpaper to rough up some areas, but I did it as gently and as naturally as I could.  I did NOT want it to look like it had been artificially distressed.  I don’t know what the light gray color is called, but the darker gray outer color is Dover Gray from Lowes – the same color I used to paint my antique shop counter (you’ll be hearing more about it next week!)

From the numbered tacks to the slightly wavy glass, the windows-turned-doors make the whole cupboard look like an antique.I’m thrilled with the outcome.  I think it looks naturally aged, like a cupboard that has been painted several times in its lifetime and gotten some dings and dents along the way.  The sun was glaring through the window when I tried to take photos, so this is the only full shot I got of the cupboard, but I have lots of up-close photos to show you the displays I created inside.

Repurposed Windows on Antique Style Cupboard by Knick of Time

I wanted lots of texture and subtle tone-on tone inside the cabinet, so I used a few ironstone pitchers, and a stack of flour sack towels, along with an antique magazine and book, and a pair of spectacles.

Ironstone Pitcher and Antique Eyeglasses Spectacles via Knick of Time

I love the bright white taper candles in a crock sitting next to the rolled, aged book pages in bowl.  The two tones side by side bring out the best in both.

Antique Crocks and Bowls with Rolled Antique Book Pages via Knick of Time

I love, love, love drippy wax on candles, and I believe there is a fine art to getting the perfect drippy candle. I think I finally figured it out.  Set a burning candle in an area where it receives a “breeze” from just one direction, so the flame leans to just one side.  I had the candle on the right sitting next to an slightly open window and just a little breeze created those perfect drips.   Then there are buttons in a zinc-lidded jar and an old clock face.  Simple beauty at its finest.

Antique Clock Face Buttons and Brass Candle Holders via Knick of Time

If I could curl up and sit on this shelf with this little beauty of an ironstone pitcher filled with baby’s breath, and the assortment of cotton thread spools, you can bet I would.

Ironstone Pitcher and Baby's Breath via Knick of Time

A wire basket full of antique shoe forms and a stack of grain sack fabric, add a little industrial element to the cupboard.

Antique Wooden Shoe Forms in a Wire Basket via Knick of Time

I photographed it in my living room, but I’ll be moving it to a back bedroom, which will eventually (hopefully, soon) get remodeled as our bedroom.

See more creative Shelves, Cabinets and Cupboards HERE.

Upcycled Shelves and Cabinets

{Feel free to PIN!}



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  1. WOW….just WOW….That is all I can say! BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. WOW Angie … your Mr. did an awesome job of building that one … I think he is a keeper. AND … you did an awesome job of making it look old. No one would ever suspect. Your displays are just perfect.
    Makes me want to dig out my old cabinet, add some doors and make it look beautiful.
    You and your husband are such an inspiration.
    Audrey Z. @ Timeless Treasures

  3. Wonderful!! You did a great job painting this, and your hubby is a keeper for sure! Beautiful work!!

  4. I can tell how much you love your new cabinet, Angie. And no wonder! It’s perfectly done both by your husband and you! Fabulous!

  5. Spectacular job, Angie! Your display inside is just as wonderful I really enjoyed this.

  6. Love your new looking really old cabinet. As always you create (with DH help on this one). Thank you for sharing. Love the wonderful contents on the shelves.

  7. Love your cabinet! Looks so authentic! I’m guessing those windows maybe used to be storm windows? They look perfect on the cabinet!

  8. Your inspiration was one of my favorite pins on my pinterest board. I think yours looks even better!


  9. Your husband deserves a massage and a day off. Wow, what a nice job. I love the paint color you chose. This does look like an aged antique. Beautiful!

  10. I’ve had the photo from Dreamy Whites on my Pinterest board for a while, but I would never have dreamed of trying to build one like it. Your husband did an amazing job building you the cabinet, and you worked your magic with paint and styling! I love it!

  11. Love it. Your paint job turned out great!

  12. Fantastic project and such a great story about your husband helping you out on this one! I saw the photo you posted on fb and was drawn in by the rolled book pages in the bowl. Love this idea!

    Angela @ Number Fifty-Three

  13. You both make a great team and did a wonderful job, Angie! The cupboard turned out beautiful and I love how you decorated it.

  14. What a fantastic piece you two created! Just amazingly beautiful. Love all the pretty things you put inside, as well!

  15. Oh my goodness is that cool!!! Love the cabinet!!

  16. WOW! I love it. I would need major help from my husband to pull this off!

  17. How can this be the first time I’ve seen your blog?! Thank you Pinterest and your ceiling tin cabinet doors (which I LOVE) for bringing me here! I love your cabinet too. I’ve been looking for an armoire to house my blankets and linens but this would be just as wonderful. Luckily, in the South, there is an abundance of old windows and glass doors! Looking forward to following you!

  18. Angie, you’re always full of inspiring ideas! Love this and all the stuff you put in it!

  19. Came over from FB – had to see the gray! Wonderful job creating the cabinet. I was wondering what kind of hinges did you use to attach the old windows to the new wood of the cabinet? I agree with above they appear to be storm windows for the tall walk-out windows.

  20. Most excellent! Pinning, and give the mister a hug.

  21. Oh my gosh, that is sooo beautiful!… I love how willing to do things your hubby is, mine is the same way… now, I just need to get him going on some of these projects like yours!… you have such a way of grouping pretty things together, yet still giving it a casual, farmhouse look… I love it all!… okay, I am off to gather things from my “stash” and get going!… xoxo Julie Marie

  22. You and hubby did a beautiful job using those old windows and building around them. Lovely!

  23. Angie, you and your hubby are a great team. He really pulled this one off well and you made it look like it has always been this way! I love, love, love it!

  24. Angie, Tell your husband that was so awesome of him to just build that for you and then your team work in finishing it . It turned out amazing. Just loved it

  25. Love your cabinet and the finish is beautiful. Pinning your version for future reference. I might want to make one for my dining room. Just curious, since the depth of the cabinet is really narrow, would it be necessary to secure it to the wall?

  26. Gorgeous! What a wonderful man your hubby is. He did an amazing job.

  27. this is perfect, Angie. what a great guy you have. love how your vision became a reality!!

  28. Oh this is BEAUTIFUL! You and your hubby make a great team!!

  29. Totally beautiful. Great job!

  30. What a wonderful hubby you have…… make a great team!!! Totally WOW !!!

  31. that’s one handy hubby! oh wow…i cannot believe how your cabinet turned out! perfection!

  32. That is absolutely gorgeous! Love it!

  33. what a great idea
    for making something brand new
    look and feel like it’s been around forever

    love love the colors you chose
    and amazing how that paint
    looks like it’s been layered on
    over many decades

    would love for you to share
    at Fridays Unfolded this week!

    Nancherrow (formerly Stuff and Nonsense)

  34. After seeing this post on Hometalk and then reading about the cabinet on your blog, I have signed up for your blog. I love, love, love your style. I love the cabinet, using the old window as the door. How very clever. I have a stash of old windows but I don’t think I have any that are long like this one. I especially love how you decorated the inside. Looks wonderful! I have a husband like yours, who will build from my visions. We say “out of my head, thru his hands.” I looking forward to spending some time on your blog and your future posts! Thanks for sharing this. I have to comment as “Anonymous” because I don’t understand all the other profiles.

  35. Very, very nice. I really like your end result! Just wanted to suggest for future projects, that if you DO want to keep wood fresh and new looking (why, huh?) if you wipe polyacrylic on with a cloth, it soaks in without coloring the wood. No yellowing AT ALL. I did this on some drawer boxes I built. I just love fresh wood sometimes, but totally dislike the yellowing of polyurethane.

    I’m looking for sidelites. You’re so lucky! I’m building my shower with a 24″ exterior French door and want to use a fixed sitelite by the shower head side of the shower. You any where near DC? 🙂

    Smooch your DH for all the help, but make him teach you, too. You’re very talented & you’d have a lot more freedom if you didn’t need him. Let him think you do, just in case, but…. [evil chuckle]

  36. Beautiful, Angie, and hubby,
    He is a good sport! It is a beautiful New old cupboard! My hubby is going to help me with a fireplace mantel…can’t wait!
    hugs to you!

  37. What a beautiful piece and thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on the painting process. Hubby did a wonderful job on the construction too. I love how you have gathered items for display as well.

  38. Absolutely beautiful! I have a couple fabulous old diamond-shaped paned wooden windows that I got for free from a home remodel-er next door to my in-laws and I’ve been hinting that I need my husband’s help to turn them into a shallow wall-hanging cabinet to put some of my small decor in…He’s not as accommodating (or skilled!) as your husband, so it might not happen w/his help. You are so blessed to have such a great partner in your husband! I agree w/Christine too, if he’ll teach you, definitely learn from him so you can do these type of things on your own, too…my dad can do just about anything like this, but he isn’t much of a teacher, and these days he’s not really into building anything anymore, so I lost out on learning all those cool skills from him.

  39. Angie,
    He’s a keeper…and so is this cabinet, dear one!!!
    I love, LOVE, L O V E that you both worked on the cabinet!!!
    Once it’s in the proper place…there will be smiles on both your faces!!!
    Visting from Common Ground!!!

  40. LOVE YOUR CABINET ITS GORGEOUS! would love to feature and if thats ok just let me know.

  41. I’m absolutely amazed that you (and your husband) were able to build this. It is just absolutely gorgeous! Featuring this post on this weeks Inspired Furniture Friday @

  42. Oh man, that is lovely! I wish you (and your husband) could come and help me with my dresser that I’ve just entered into your Knick of time Tuesday. I also want it to look ‘real’ and not fake. But not so bad as it does now!

  43. Just found you through another blog and I am bookmarking this. I have a cabinet I want to redo similar to this. Your work is just beautiful!

  44. Really lovely work!

  45. I love everything about it! You are blessed to have a hubby like that.

  46. I saw this on Debra’s picks this week and loved it. Love it even more knowing your husband did this for you, and how you not only upcycled the window/doors, but how you painted & styled it.

  47. Absolutely stunning cabinet! I wish my hubby was confident enough to build a cabinet like this… looks wonderful and I want one!

  48. Liz Thomas says

    Angie, this is gorgeous. I have the windows, so now I have to build the unit. I didn’t think I could do this by myself, but hey, just like your husband did, I can figure out what materials I need and Home depot does all the cutting for me. I think I can do it!! Thanks to you both for your post!!

  49. I love this cabinet, Angie!!! Thanks for sharing how it came to be. I need a thin cabinet like that…hopefully my husband will help me get one together like you have. Thanks also for having the vintage link party for us to join.

  50. Wow! I don’t know how I missed this one the first time around. Your husband is such a jewel!! This is gorgeous and It’s hard to tell that it’s not a vintage piece. Great job!!

  51. Angie, this turned out absolutely fabulous, naturally I pinned it!

  52. Absolutely stunning Angie! I love the colours and I love what you have filled it with. Do you have all these beautiful things lying around or do you shop for them specifically when you have a new space to fill like this? I am on the lookout for some old windows now, I need an ‘old’ cupboard like this!

  53. Was wondering if there are sketches or drawings with dimensions for the cabinet? Also the size of windows so I can make somethin similar!

  54. Sandy McElroy says

    Absolutely love it !

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