Sunday, 14 June 2015

Turning a wardrobe into a pantry and secondhand scores...

Thanks so much for your lovely comments on my last post. You really are lovely people and I really appreciate you all reading and commenting.

So... the wardrobe that isn't a wardrobe.

My friend wanted a pantry cupboard for her kitchen and fell in love with this one from M&S...

Nothing special from the outside, but on the inside?

Oh yeah. Imagine all the goodies you could fit into there. It's about £1800 though. Hmm, not so attractive now. The oak bits are oak but the 'painted finish' parts will be mdf.
I love M&S furniture, I really do. But only if it's found on eBay for 90% less than it's original price. 

So anyway, my friend thought she'd look for an old wardrobe to turn into a pantry cupboard. Which is where I stepped in. I happened to have had an old wardrobe living in the kitchen, awaiting a makeover, for what? Nine months? Too long.

Here it is with the door off and the inside painted white.

The first thing I had to do was to make sure I could build strong shelves inside. The inside was an irregular shape and a tight fit but once the first one was in...

I knew it would work.

Three shelves in.

Once the shelves were in I started on the door. I removed the heavy bevelled mirror and put a piece of mdf in its place, caulking all the joins. 

I told my friend to get an F&B eggshell but she disobeyed me and got a Fired Earth eggshell.

Never again!

It was a lovely colour and a lovely paint to use but it's not what I would call an eggshell. It has a very chalky matt appearance and no resilience to marking whatsoever. Imagine matt emulsion and that's what it was like. It's going to need further protection like wax or varnish. Especially in a kitchen.

My photos aren't great because I couldn't get far enough away from it. Plus I have a wonky eye...

So here are my friends pictures...

Hopefully, what it lacks in M&S perfection and wine rackery, it makes up for with the fact that it's ALL solid oak (apart from one door panel and the shelves) and a has bit more character than modern furniture.

Beautifully accessorised with an overflowing bin. She's very happy with it and it looks much tidier than her open shelving unit. Job done.

But I know you're all only here for the secondhand eye candy. Brace yourselves people. This one will have you SALIVATING!
I found this a while ago but it's been treated for woodworm and had to dry out before it was allowed in the house as it stank. 

An old cotton reel chest from a haberdashers shop...

 I'll treasure it. It was a fleamarket find.

And this very morning I picked up a pair of these Kashmiri/Kashmiri style papier mache, twisted wood, tole lacquer painted lamps for a fiver at the boot sale. I've been trying to find out about them without much luck...

When I was a nanny in London, the lady I worked for had a pair and she told me they were valuable. I suspect these are not desperately old...

But they are attractive and unusual...

 If they're worth thousands DO let me know!

 I have plenty more cool stuff to share with you. Including a piece of taxidermy which is over 100 years old that I found on the street.
As you do.

But that will wait for another time...

I might also show you my new sofa but I'll have to tidy the room for that.
So I might not.

I've also been working on the remaining kitchen cupboards.
Yes I actually have!

So do come back next time...


  1. Wow! Your pantry cupboard is bloody amazing, I bet your mate loves you. Who'd pay 1800 quid for MDF? Someone with too much money I suspect. I love your cotton reel chest, my aunt has one also but without all the accoutréments. Your lamps are lovely too, I'd say you got a bargain there. I've had some luck as well... come and have a look later.

  2. much envy on your finds, and the lamps - £350

  3. Ah, I don't think these are 19th century. More like late 20th or 21st by the looks of them. Two pairs sold at Christies for thousands but I think they were also rather older than these.

  4. I am weeping. I bought an oak wardrobe JUST LIKE YOURS at auction for a tenner years ago planning to turn it into a pantry. My other half persuaded me it was a dumb idea... Shouldn't have listened - your pantry looks amazing!

    1. Oh no! Top tip; NEVER listen to your husband. Or even ask his opinion. You clearly have excellent taste and imagination.
      Luckily you can still pick them up on ebay or local facebook selling sites for a good price so GO FOR IT. If he gives you a hard time I'll come and sort him out. ;)

  5. I love that idea - all your furniture is so stunning.

    Lizzie Dripping

  6. You did a fantastic job with the wardrobe-into-kitchen-cupboard makeover, what a good friend you are! The cotton reel chest is a thing of great beauty, and the lamps look great, so it doesn't matter whether they are valuable or not! xxx

  7. The pantry is beautiful. The lamps are gorgeous - what kind of shade will you use on them? The chest is awesome! I like everything in your home. (always pleased when your blog appears in my in box.) Thanks

    1. Thank you Mary. I have been pondering that all day. Something like the pinch pleat silk shades in Laura Ashley I think would work. I'll have to find them secondhand though. Them's the rules!
      Glad to have you reading!

  8. That haberdasher's bank of drawers has me in raptures, I adore it! xxx

  9. Did you get all the cotton reels/cards included with the chest???????

    1. No, I used to sew A LOT before I had houses to play with. I made skirts, dresses, even a coat for myself. I also did cross stitch and tapestry. Not sure my eyes could cope any more. So that's a lifetimes collection of cotton reels. About 1 1/2 drawers are filled with threads. The coloured darning wools were a boot sale find. I don't suppose I'll ever darn with them but I loved the packaging.
      One day, when the house is less demanding I'll do more sewing. I started a 20 minute patternless skirt the other day. After two hours planning, measuring and cutting I stopped. Didn't even get as far as the sewing machine! Something went wrong because it's huge. Measuring isn't my thing. :/

  10. I am totally obsessing over the cotton reel drawers Em...I have clicked on this post at least 5 times....lucky you xxxxxx

  11. The larder cupboard is bloody lovely!! I am practically twitching with all the makeovers I'm planning for whenever I get my own place again! So much furniture to source and paint/cover in dinosaur wallpaper :p

    Also - STREET TAXIDERMY?! I can scarcely contain myself!!! Please do share soon xxx

  12. How did I miss this post! Positively salivating over that cotton reel chest Emma! I love what you've done with that wardrobe, you have one very lucky friend! I'm still to do my chazzing/car boot find post, maybe next week ... I have a lamp too that I was given that I think you'll like and I'll get a pic of that dress I promised too xx

  13. Hi Emma - love the pantry cupboard (and equally appalled by the price of the M&S one - do people REALLY pay that much for a (mostly MDF) cupboard??!! I guess they must do!

  14. Oh, how I would love a pantry cupboard like the one you painted!! And the spool cabinet is a real treasure, too!!


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