Thursday, September 15, 2016

Dysfunctional storage becomes functional again

It's been a bit!  It seems I only blog when I actually have a full blown project to blog about anymore - which means real life is getting in the way of my "fun" time!

This one is a biggie, for me, anyway.  Very, very long story how this all came about.  No, it's not just about the mess that it was before.  (and it was a hot mess!)

Pretty great, huh?  So yeah, this is my office.  Well, this is what it DID look like.  See that filing cabinet there - drawers all askew?  I can't tell you how many times we've replaced the tracks only to have the same thing happen, and I didn't even have THAT much in there.  And all the "big" craft supplies with nowhere else to live were just left leaning on it, and... ugh, it was pretty horrible. But, it's an Amish made solid piece of furniture that I just couldn't bear to give up.  

So there's the mess, plus, there on the right is my new sit/stand desk that I squeezed into the office when the doctor told me I need to switch up from sitting to standing as much as I can in a work day if I want any chance of eliminating the back pain I've been having. In order for the desk to fit, I had to move a much used, and much loved bookshelf to get it in the room.

So, that all prompted a new project - re-purposing that filing cabinet - since clearly, it wasn't serving it's purpose anyway.  All I knew was I wanted to find a new use for it, and I wanted to be able to use my bookshelf again, so what I ended up with is this:

And I L.O.V.E. it.  

Let's have a peek at how it all came to be, shall we?

First, I moved the chair and ottoman to our bedroom. Then, I took the drawers out and laid the outer cabinet on the floor to make sure it would fit in the space and that the bookshelf would fit on it.  It did indeed fit, but I still didn't really know what I wanted to do with it, other than put the bookshelf on top.

Looking at it, though, I knew I'd need to do some work. I needed to build out what was the top to make it more symmetrical with the bottom (left and right in this picture) and though the bookshelf fit on it perfectly, there was a spot where the puppy had chewed the wood.  I don't have any woodworking skills, so I recruited help from the huz.

We took the pieces out to the garage and I patched the bookshelf with KwikWood.  This stuff is AMAZING.  With a little ball of the material and my Elite status card from my old favorite airline, I got to work, and the puppified wood was fixed up in no time. Once the KwikWood was dry, it got a quick touch up of paint and was good to go.

I removed all of the drawer tracks and the pieces that defined the three sections of the cabinet.  Then, we had to make the two ends of the file cabinet even, and paint a bit.  Huz had the idea to use furring strips - super cheap - and they were exactly the right width to make it easy. They sanded really well, too.  The nails we had in the nail gun were too long, so we just screwed the pieces of furring strip in from the bottom and I filled the holes with wood putty.

Once everything was attached, I gave it a good sand and then we added a line of caulk to the gap to make it all even.  The final step to make it all matchy matchy was to paint the new wood the same Annie Sloan Paris Gray the rest of the piece wore.  

It was starting to look good, but I still didn't really know how I was going to finish this thing off, so I went to Home Depot to look around and find some inspiration.  What I ended up coming home with were four bun feet, some white spray paint, a pair of hinges, and a piece of MDF. The empty box now had a purpose and was destined to be a storage powerhouse.

I painted and attached the feet, Mod Podge'd some new fabric on the back of the bookshelf and wrapped the new door in the same fabric to hopefully have it all look like it was supposed to be one piece.  This vision was starting to become a reality, and I was ecstatic.

I had the huz help me attach the MDF to the hinges over the opening (after I dropped it straight down on my toes - ouch!) and was starting to see what this could be. Only problem was the screws for the hinges came through the front of the MDF, but I decided to soldier on and figure that out later. (I didn't take pictures during these steps.  Having the help of the huz means keep it moving!) He helped me move it all back to the office, and this is what I had.

I was already in love, but still had some final details to figure out.  

How would I cover the screws that popped out?  
How would I keep what I needed to file without a filing cabinet AND have a bookshelf? 
Where would I put my printer?

And then it all started coming together like magic.  I mostly reused things I had, but this was where I got to get really creative and even play with my Silhouette.  I rounded up binders, boxes, and bookends.  I picked a couple of pieces of scrapbook paper from a Christmas book I have that weren't too Christmasy and some card stock to make binder covers.  I took apart the original filing cabinet drawers.  I sorted and shredded what had come out of the filing cabinet, and then I picked up some book plates and went to work.

And in the end, this is what it became.  Filing cabinet decorative drawer fronts covered up screws that were too long.  A filing cabinet drawer became a printer stand (that still need a shelf built in.) Binders, magazine files, and boxes became the new filing system. 

And the inside of the big box became the right place to store those "too big" craft supplies, extra binders, and the three hole punch I need to keep close to stick to my reminder to keep it all neat.

The look in my office now, even with an additional desk, is so much better.  The craft closet (you can read about it here) doesn't look so much like an afterthought anymore.  There's a lot more space in the room, actually, and Rizzo loves to stretch out right in the middle of it all while I work. Now the only thing left to do is empty the room and replace the floor with the tile we have everywhere else.  (sorry, honey!)

Have I mentioned that I love it?

Tell me about a great furniture re-purpose you've done in the comments!
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