An Easy Vintage Upcycle

Do you know what I mean when I say “I see my friends and family rolling their eyes and thinking what on earth is she going to do with that?!” Well it happens here often and it happened again recently on a mini break Mr M and I enjoyed together. I picked it up, he rolled his eyes and the assistant wrapped it quickly before I came to my senses. I’m not even sure the car had come to a halt at home, before the paint tins were out and I began the transformation. This week I’m talking about an easy DIY project anyone can do… if they have an old drawer hanging around. I’m going to show you how to turn this dreary vintage drawer into a centrepiece you will just love. And this week we have a lot of ideas and a lot of photos, so shall we get started?

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So without further ado it’s prep first… least enjoyable bit of the project yet possibly the most important.  I’ve been caught out before you see. Remove the handle, white spirit on an old rag and wipe over your drawer. Especially if you don’t know where it lived before you rescued it.  I also used a cotton bud to get into the grooves where the real deal was hiding. Yuck, years of dust and grime.

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Then it’s out with the trusty primer which you will recall we used from this post You really don’t need too much on a project like this; revealing a little of the old wood works well when it comes to the enjoyable distressing stage. Boring fact now though… in time, this primer will ruin your brushes. It’s a good idea to save old ones or keep specific ones for the job of priming. Use methylated spirits to soak and clean the brushes at the end of the project. Here she is, starting to take shape…

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Our current utility room becomes a mudroom/boot room in the renovation and since it should remain relatively untouched during the build, it has been treated to new tongue and groove panelling painted in Farrow and Ball’s Hardwick White. It’s a colour which I describe as a greeny grey and is perfect for the first room in from the garden. I chose to use the same colour for this upcycle; you’ll see why soon. By the way, I’m desperate to call the new mudroom/boot room The Scullery. This too has also been met with much eye rolling.  Here’s our vintage drawer after three light coats of paint.

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Choose a handle for your project before you paint (guess who didn’t) and fill and rub down any holes. Then use an orbital sander on a slow setting to gentle distress the paintwork here and there. If you don’t have one a sanding block and a fine grade sandpaper will do the same job. I choose to distress where I feel the item might have a knock in time. I pay attention to underneath too, someone will always turn it over.

And the rest of the drill you are by now familiar with. A generous clear coat of wax, wait awhile and…buff, buff, buff..and then buff some more. On with the handle which in my case matches the door handle in the scullery (!) and of course a pretty glass or sparkly one would look wonderful too…and hey presto…

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What do you think? Be truthful, were your eyes rolling at the beginning of this post as well? Don’t worry, I’m not offended.

Now you have this useful vintage drawer complete, where will you use it? There are of course endless possibilities. Perhaps you’ll choose your sitting room, dining room or maybe a bedroom. You could choose to display beautiful summer flowers from the garden at this time of year. Perfect for sweet peas or maybe cornflowers or even perfumed roses with a touch of gypsophila. And just imagine all the wonderful Christmas goodies which will need centre stage soon!

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I rather like the perfect pairing of scented candles and flowers on the coffee table surrounded by my favourite books..

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In the kitchen the drawer could provide decorative storage for all those items we busy cooks need on hand…

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or in the study cum office, essential and smart stationery gets a new home and is all within easy reach…

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And what a treat for your guests if their bathroom offered wonderful toiletries to make their stay even more memorable.

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Or then again perhaps like me, your choice of paint will reflect where you think this vintage beauty will reside the most. You see I just think some pretties should be on display in the scullery all the time, don’t you?

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Whitewood and Linen

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