Furniture Makeover~I Need Your Help...

I have been crazy busy this week with client projects, domestic/motherly duties and three boys with the stomach flu.  I'm struggling to keep up.  You know the feeling.  
I was wondering if you guys could help me out by giving my friend, Madelyn, some advice on a project?

  Here is the email she sent to me...
"I have two older pieces of furniture and would appreciate your opinion on how I should refinish them".
Could you guys could give Madelyn some suggestions for me?  
Here is the information on the pieces...


"This is one of the first piece of furniture I purchased after college. Initially I used it as a cabinet for my stereo system and drill holes for ventilation and wiring. Then it was used as a small liquor cabinet. Now it is used to hold a small flat screen TV. I like using it for that purpose, but that could change. Previously the original wood finish was okay, but I would like to take it in a different direction — something that would more suited for our décor.

Small Table/Cabinet:

This is a piece that belonged to my mother-in-law and has a lot of sentimental value. I feel like this piece has a lot of potential, but not really sure what direction to go.

Our home décor consists of faux finished and textured walls. Arched doorways, stone fireplace, wood built-in bookcases and entertainment center, leather furniture, etc. I really like the distressed finish on furniture and think that would fit very will with our current décor, but I’m open for any suggestions.
{Here is a small collage of her home decor}

Thank you in advance for your help". ~Madelyn

We can't wait to hear your suggestions.  Thank you so much for helping me out!


  1. I know that feeling Sarah!! I hope your boys are feeling better soon, and I know it will take you a day or two to recover from multiple cases of stomach flu!!!

    Based on her current furnishings and colors, maybe your worn pottery barn black finish would look good on these pieces, and would tie them all together.

  2. Great suggestion, Noelle. I love that idea. Thanks for your kind words :)

  3. Hi Sarah ! I think the first cabinet would be fabulous in a creamy distressed finish. Maybe the base coat in cream and then a gentle glaze of toffee on top? It would match her existing decor nicely. For the other piece I would go a bit more bold since it is smaller scale. Maybe a nice pop of red with some new hardware:)

  4. I have one sick little girl and it's hard to keep up! I hope your boys are better soon.

    I love the black PB idea - I would do that on the TV cabinet and distress it some. For the smaller piece, I wonder if a red with a black glaze would add a little color (I spotted a little red in the clock), also making the hardware black. I always feel like glaze makes the indentations pop out.

  5. I agree - your black Pottery Barn finish!

  6. I have to agree with Noelle, I think the worn pb black finish would work nicely. HOWEVER, what about doing something a little different. Why not do a faux bois treatment on them??

  7. So sorry to hear that your little ones are ill - never fun!! I tend to agree with Noelle that the pb worn black finish would tie everything together. However, what about doing a faux bois treatment??

  8. I would work off of the clock image with distressed black, red, and gold (gold would be the handles and perhaps a few accents).

  9. I am new to your blog and LOVE it, by the way. I have a few pieces in my home that need some refinishing and I've been looking at the Annie Sloan chalk paint. Sounds easy to do and her line has some GREAT colors. Saw someone's video tutorial on it and it's very easy to distress as well. Maybe an option. Hope your home is stomach flu FREE very soon! : )

  10. First of all , I love her finishes she used so far. Looks like though there is a variety, they tend to look country french. I think these pieces would look good with a white distressed glaze on the first one and a red distressed glaze on the second one with new pulls. Hope your family is back to normal soon.

  11. I'm working on my second project with your pb black finish and I think it is wonderful. So that would definitely work. However, I also discovered a new place for ideas called Bella Chic Interiors in Carmel, IN. I live in Texas so I haven't actually been to their studio. However, they have lots of lovely photos of their work on Facebook and this may give you all some more additional ideas.

  12. Your client seems to like old world finishes so I think the smaller piece would look great in a colored stain like Minwax Antique Red. The hardware should pop as it is or may need a little tweeking. If I knew how to attach a photo here, I would. It really looks fabulous when used on pieces similar to this one.

  13. I have an ugly TV cabinet like that with no TV to put into it... ideas for what I can change it into (I can add a back onto it)

  14. I love the whole painted/distressed look but you may or may not want to paint that piece. We received an old cabinet which just wasn't my taste. You can see my project here for ideas

  15. Is the first piece real wood? The second piece I would do a black distressed look. I think that would look good with your decor.

  16. Oh boy! One sicky-loo is bad enough, but three? Poor babies... and poor momma!

    I don't see a lot of color, so an accent pc could be very welcome. The smaller of the two could be gorgeous in a deep red, well distressed, with the finish looking timeworn. Lots of nook & crannies in that one ;)
    The decor might also support a green shade or a toned down aqua/teal. I see the glass and the one photo in the upper middle looks to have some of that shade. That could add some life to the rooms. It blends in well but would also add a little more interest. Hard to tell for sure, the photos of the decor accents are a little small.

    The large pc could be painted and some stencil work applied. It is very sleek and flat and that would add some interest. If it was painted. I would most definitely change the hardware placement and fill the holes. The drawer pulls look awkward. Something richer, with some scrollwork would lush it up a bit. It might by pretty in a buttery, creamy white?

    They are both lovely pieces!

  17. I think the first piece could use some decorative modeling to add some visual interest to those big plain doors. The pottery barn look would be great, and if she is feeling a little more gutsy, maybe an inlay of wallpaper inside the modeling would get it that extra something. Coordinating the wallpaper with something else in the room would help tie it all together.

    Hope everyone is feeling better soon!

  18. So sorry to hear about the kiddos. I remember days when all four of mine were there too.

    I, too, think they need a punch of color. Lots of caramel and other neutrals already in the room. I'd see a couple rows of moulding around the doors & drawers added to the TV piece. I'd also update the hardware with something horizontal with some curves rather than vertical to bring it into the right style and give it some detail. The hardware on the doors might look good centered rather than on the edges & I think it should be dark bronze or black. I'd love to see this cabinet painted Valspar Heirloom Red. It's a beautiful dark rich color and looks great on wood pieces.

    The smaller cabinet just needs a color update. It has beautiful curves & details. I'd use the same Heirloom Red as the base coat and then use a black glaze or dark stain glaze over it, wiping most of it off. This should make all the details pop and if both pieces are in the same room, they won't compete with each other but complement. The paint techniques could be reversed if your friend is afraid of too much color on the TV cabinet. Of course, both pieces could be styled with great vignettes on top. I'd use a lamp, tray or basket and some vintage books on the TV cabinet. Maybe put a vintage globe with blue or beige oceans raised on a stack of books on top. This would add a soft round shape to a very boxy piece.

    Hope to see that finished product in a future post. Cindy

  19. I love giving old furniture new life and what great pieces to be able to work with. Madelyn is a lucky lady. The cabinet piece has so much potential with its clean lines. I almost feel it should stay that way, because I am sure so many other pieces in her home are ornate. It's fun to have a stand alone piece. I think it would look great in a warm cream paint with a high gloss stencil on the front doors and drawers in the same color. The stencil will then pop with a bit of glimmer and glitz without being too bold. And some new hardware in the gold tones, maybe even with glass pulls...
    The table cabinet I have to agree would look great in a black. It will really bring out a more modern feel to such an antique piece.

    Can't wait to see what Madelyn does, either way I'm sure they will be beautiful. And thanks for thinking of me to lend my opinion =)

  20. I agree the first piece should be red distressed with glaze and given an Asian touch maybe with some new hardware. The 2nd piece could be painted black and the top done in a faux marble finish?

  21. I think the second piece, due to the sentimental value, should just have minor- reversible- changes.I would switch out the hardware and add a granite top to coordinate with the rest of the decor in the home. Love to see the "after" photos :-)

  22. So sorry to hear that everyone is sick. Hope everyone is better!
    You know the provenance of your furniture and will know if I am way off here, but I am looking at the first piece and wondering if it is Art Deco. The curved top, keyhole and the feet lend an Art Deco feel to it. If so painting it black will further decrease its value and you may want to consider sending it to auction, getting money for it and buying a replacement.
    If not, the curved top and the feet may me think it should be japanned. Something like this feel:
    But Try using an onlay like this:
    Paula ~ Mise en scène


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