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New Look: Simple Painted Cupboard Makeover

The other night
 I stayed up late and watched Sherlock with my daughter.
It started out as usual with a crazy cliff hanger from the episode before that left us waiting
very impatiently for the next one.

And this particular episode proved to be even more crazy than usual.

I won't spoil it in case you don't watch... 
but I literally said 'what just happened' out loud to my daughter... 
who was grabbing the sides of her deer stalker and yelling at the t.v.
Not that we get into the Sherlock watching occasion or anything... 
but yes, my daughter puts on her 'Sherlock' hat for the occasion.

Let's just say that the episode was insane and just like any great mystery with twists and turns it is what was before... 
that turned into the after... 
that gives you something to talk about.

That was my attempt at Sherlock lingo right there.

And since we are into the new year, and new projects-
 there might be a few episodes in the 'before and after' series coming your way 
and today, 
I am starting with a simple makeover on a piece of furniture.

This French country floral inspired secretary cabinet
that went to Sweden for a new look.

I shared a peek at this piece before- but it has been awhile
so refreshing it and sharing where it started.

The 'before'

Again- forgive the grainy just snapped a photo
 with my iphone photos.

The before was not terrible.
I honestly really loved it when I brought it home. 
That painted detail and charming style- not to mention the size that was not too big but not too small either. It did double duty in the bathroom and was moved out to the bedroom
to do double duty for something else when that antique French armoire moved in. 
But there was a day when I looked at it 
and saw it looking a little worse for the wear and felt it was a little dated for my ever changing style
and knew that this piece was long overdue for a fresh look.

One that was less 'complicated' and more subdued.
 One that let those pretty curves and details shine all by themselves.
Without all the busy.

So I walked into Lowe's, picked out a simple blue -gray color and had it mixed into a sample tub
and then grabbed a paint brush and spent an afternoon painting away.

And you know what... at first, I thought to myself 'what if I ruin it?'
and then I thought 'I think ruining it out of the question... it needs a new look.'
And so I painted. 
And the more I painted...
the more I was in love.
And then distressed a few of the details
and rubbed away some of that paint
for a slightly shabby touch.

Confession time...
Please don't throw tomatoes at me...  but this is not the whole reveal yet. 
You see... I was out of the antiquing paint that I like to use.
That gold that you see is what was there to begin with- and I like it 
and thought about leaving it-but it isn't quite the correct shade.
And I wanted to add a coat of 'white washing' to make this piece look a bit older
and more 'chalky'.

So once the antiquing paint & the new knobs get here
there will be one more installment in this reveal.
And I will also share what is inside those upper doors.

So basically, this is the cliff hanger episode for this cupboard... just like in Sherlock.
It is a peek- but we are not at the finale just yet.
Though, I am loving the way it is turning out so far.

And a side note:
We have been without power over here in northern California with all the crazy amount of rain, mudslides and wind from the storms.
No power makes it a little harder to get online- but thankfully- Starbucks has my back.
Even so, it may be a bit quiet on the blog this week until things get back to running smoothly.
Happy Tuesday everyone.


  1. Can you tell me what particular type paint and brand that you used and which color gray?? I think your remake came out great and look forward to seeing the finished project!

    1. Hi there, I used Modernist Gray and Stone Isle in layers. Not sure what paint brand they go with - but I had them mixed into sample pots at Lowe's in Sherwin Williams paint. They are both really more gray- but in certain lighting and with the color underneath - the finish definitely leans blue-ish. Hope that helps!

  2. The desk has a more quiet and softer look, I like it so far. I know California needs the rain, but damaging winds and mudslides, terrible! Just watched the news, trees over cars, houses and the beautiful sequoia tree!
    We drove through it in the 60s camping up there many times, wonderful memories.
    Take care and keep warm, Kathleen in Az

  3. I really like the new paint and it does look swedish. Very soft and pretty. Took my daughter to the orthodontist before school this morning and the rain and wind was just crazy! Hope your power comes back on soon. Take care!

  4. While I like the original very much, the design is perhaps naif, and maybe not "authentic," however charming it may be. So if you paint over it to suit your tastes--why not? More power to you. And the result looks marvelous. Very much a change of personality, from chatty to reflective. I look forward to seeing the rest.
    Good luck with the weather. We shouldn't be surprised, going from under 2 billion people (and zero cars) on the planet less than a century ago to more than 7 billion (and 1.2 billion cars) today.

  5. Yes Sherlock was very weird. I love the cupboard, I have been considering a wall in a very similar colour but without the gold!

  6. So far, so beautiful, Courtney. Cheers, Ardith

  7. Love the reveal of the look of the desk. Looking forward to the finished piece. Be Safe.

  8. I'm new to painting furniture....didnt realize I could use regular paint and not chalk paint. HMMM
    maybe sometime you can write about techniques and kinds of products to use...please.
    I love your DYI projects.

    I plan to move my french style secretary to my master and display next to my bed so it will double as a side table. Any styling tips you can share would be appreciated.
    Upper doors are glass...beautiful drop down like the one featured in todays blog.

    Sorry to read about all your weather issues. We have had ice and snow here all day in Minnesota.

  9. Stunning new look! What a beautiful piece, too. Great idea to add the gold trim, it really punches this piece up an extra notch!!

  10. Love it - I am thinking of painting my t.v. armoire but I don't know... I watched Sherlock with my daughter and we both yelled, "WHAAAAT? WHAT IS HAPPENING?" I knew "she" looked familiar...we saved it on the dvr so after the next one I can re-watch and clarify things. They are showing the finale at our movie theatre next week but I think I need my blanket to hide under and I don't think I am allowed to yell at the screen there. MIND BLOWN. (Nice armoire.)

  11. Beautiful so far. I like the white wash idea. Will look gorgeous!

  12. I actually love the makeover. I know how much courage it takes, it's scary wondering if we will spoil something forever, but at the end of the day it's just paint, the bones of the piece that make it special are still there and it definitely has a more updated look, well done for taking the plunge, I love the results!

  13. I had to watch Sherlock the next day once again...quite the episode!

    Love the cabinet...beautiful choice and job well far...

  14. I love swedish design, the simple clean look of ,yes love what you have done here. I have an older secretary that is still a wood finish. Having never painted a piece am a bit nervous, but maybe will try.

  15. Love the new look on this great piece. Thanks for hosting once again.

  16. Hi - thank you, love this piece.

  17. Hi - I am trying to replicate your beautiful armoire piece with a dresser I have. I purchased the 2 paint colors you mentioned. When you say that you layered, does that mean you did the Modernist Gray first and then after it dried you painted the Stone Isle? Any further details would be much appreciated. Love your style so much! Thank you, Jill