You can never have too much storage, right? Especially if you’re like me and you’re forever picking up cute little thingmebobs at car boot sales and love to receive little trinkety gifts from friends. But that does mean that I have a lot of ‘things’ yet don’t really have anywhere to keep them. No, I can’t just have a clear-out and get rid of them; everything I’ve kept has a memory attached to it and I want to cherish my belongings and the happy times that came with them. The only thing I don’t want to do is pack my precious items away in boxes. Even though this might be a neater solution than having bits and pieces on every surface, I want to actually see them and enjoy them daily. So what’s the solution? More storage of course! Okay, there’s only so much space in my little vintage caravan and, to be honest, it’s all rather awkward. Conventional cabinets just don’t seem to fit, and there always seems to be a wheel-arch or a window that needs to be worked around. So this week I’ve finally found something that fits in the space and gives me the display solution I need. Continue reading “My little vintage caravan – DIY display cabinet makeover” »
I love the thrifty nature of a makeover project to ‘get the look for less’ and I’m always keen to recycle and renovate old or unwanted items to keep them out of landfill. So when I needed a little extra storage space for my little vintage caravan, I headed to the car boot sale and kept my beady eye open for a suitable project to get started on.
Many of the furniture items at the boot fair had rather hefty price-tags and I quickly excluded anything that had already been painted or renovated in the past. I also didn’t want to buy a gorgeous piece of wooden furniture in good condition just to paint over it, so I kept hunting for the perfect piece. At a particularly ‘junky’ stall, I spotted a mini-desk/shelving unit tucked away at the back. The wood on the top of the unit was peeling off and the entire unit was crying out to be sanded down and painted. It would be the perfect desk for my small caravan space and in my mind’s eye I was already imagining all the things I could do to improve it. I tentatively asked about the price (worrying that it would be outside my budget) and was delighted when it was being sold for a ‘secondhand’ rather than ‘antique’ price! I snapped it up for less than a tenner and enlisted my husband to help me carry it back to the car.
As we loaded it into the car I noticed that a butterfly was sleeping beneath the shelf, so the cabinet would forever more be known as ‘the butterfly unit’ and it inspired my choice of colour and designs for decorating the desk. I picked up a couple of cans of pink spray paint from the car boot sale too and stopped off at the local hardware shop to find a new drawer knob. The butterfly fluttered off during the journey home, presumably to find somewhere more suitable to sleep!
That same afternoon, I sanded down the old varnish and wiped it over with a damp cloth to clean off the dust. After the cabinet had dried in the sun, I began spray painting in earnest and covered the unit it a couple of light coats. I left it to dry and came back to the project the following day to spray another fine coat of pink paint to get a smooth finish. I didn’t worry about spraying the back of the cabinet too much, because I knew that I wanted to decorate the inside with paper and fabric.
My tips for renovating a piece of furniture:
- Clean thoroughly before you begin work on your furniture – inside and out!
- Sand down wooden furniture to create a surface that paint will adhere to
- If you’re keeping the wood-grain visible only sand in one direction with the grain
- Use a vacuum with brush attachment to suck up the dust and wipe over with a damp cloth to get the last of it
- Make any repairs before you start to paint
- Make sure the unit if fully dry before painting
- Spray in long strokes and about 30cm away from the wood to get a smooth finish
- Build up layers of paint – it’s better to do three or four fine layers because the paint is more likely to run with one thick layer
Here’s how the desk looks at this stage of the ‘renovation’ and I’ll be sure to add some more photos of my progress and (hopefully) the finished cabinet next week:
Storage is very important in a small space and after having to remove most of my caravan’s interior due to damp, it is in very short supply. I have precious little of the original storage left in the caravan – only the seats remain with their under-bench storage space and I have easily filled this up with fabric already! So it is time to work my magic on a pretty storage display cabinet.
My mum bought this unit for me from a charity shop because it looked exactly like one that her nan owned when she was a child – even down to the rose mirror pattern on the glass. The display cabinet was destined for the caravan and when we put it inside it fit perfectly over the top of the wheel-arch on the back wall – it was meant to be! But the dark wood looked too much like the old caravan interior and the wood was in such bad condition that it would have needed sanding and re-varnishing to get it back to it’s former beauty. I decided that I wanted to make a complete change so I bought a couple of tins of spray paint from the carboot sale and set to work on a sunny Saturday.
The first task was to give it a good clean and mask off the glass before sanding lightly all over. I then sprayed a thin coat of cream paint all over the unit (using around one whole can) and allowed it to dry before setting to work on the second coat of paint. Building up the thin layers of spray paint gave a gorgeous smooth finish and looked considerably better than I’d imagined. And much better than I ever could have achieved with my usual slap-it-on paint brush technique!
I thought about recovering the back panel but once the unit has been painted it somehow gave the impression that the existing diamond pattern fabric was cleaner and new so I decided to stick with it and reinsert the glass shelves. Minutes later the display cabinet was full of my pretty crockery and nick-nacks so I’ll share the photos of this with you soon.
See more of my caravan project posts by clicking here and please send me details of your own camper makeovers to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me @Cassiefairy – I’d love to see what you’ve been up to! And you really should check out Lisa Mora’s book Vintage Caravan Style for inspiration and gorgeous caravan photos! Read my review of the book on my blog here and read about my own renovation project so far here.
Due to our recent house move, we’ve been in need of a little more storage and when my husband picked up an old, scuffed, dark wood bathroom cabinet I couldn’t really see the potential in it. The fact that it was only 50p at a carboot sale meant that earned its place in our new home, but not before a little bit of TLC made it look a lot cuter!
Here’s how we made a manky cabinet into a vintage masterpiece! First we removed the mirror sections from the doors (just the same as taking the glass out of a photo frame) and lightly sanded down the whole cupboard. We used a thin coat of quick-drying undercoat for wood and allowed this to dry before moving on to painting a blue-grey Crown wood topcoat all over the cupboard.
The final step was to pop the mirrors back into the doors and re-attaching the cupboard knobs. I put my husband to work, drilling the fixings to the wall and bish-bash-bosh up it went! And I’ve now filled it with all the girly essentials I need in my bathroom and hubby’s razor is still being stored on the windowsill, oops! 😉