Before & After: An Old Freebie Cabinet Becomes a Modern Statement Piece for $200

Before & After: An Old Freebie Cabinet Becomes a Modern Statement Piece for $200

Perhaps the place where the saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” most applies is New York. Moving apartments or making space for new things sometimes means leaving old furniture, artwork, books, and more on stoops, sidewalks, and even in hallways, for someone else to make their own.

This was true for Sabrina Saucier (@mysinteriors) and her now-stunning glass-front cabinet. When Sabrina first happened across the cabinet, it was a dark-stained wood piece that looked a little dated but was still in great condition.

“It was sitting in my hallway for a week before I decided to stick a note on it that said, ‘Didn’t want to knock to disturb you, but is this up for grabs?’” Sabrina says.

The same day, her neighbor knocked on her door — it was officially hers to recreate.

Sabrina was drawn to the cabinet’s shape and detail, but she thought it could use a coat of paint to match the style of the rest of her space. “I have a lot of warm neutrals and orange in my bedroom, so this blue really complements the other colors,” Sabrina says of her paint choice, Benjamin Moore’s Old Blue Jeans.

She completed the entire project within her small NYC apartment. “We set up shop in our kitchen,” Sabrina says. “The only setback is that we had to order takeout for a week, and my kitchen was covered in dust, but other than that it was fairly easy to do.”

It took one week to complete the sanding, priming, and painting and another week for the fresh hardware (brass rings and wheel pulls from Amazon) to arrive.

Sabrina’s important reminder for paint projects involving doors is to make sure to take the doors off the hinges first to avoid chipping in the corners. If she could change one thing about her project, it would be taking that step — but overall she’s pleased with her $200 project that adds a trendy pop of blue to her home.

“This is a fun, inexpensive, and eco-friendly way to refresh your space,” she says.

Sarah Everett

Editorial Assistant

Sarah is Apartment Therapy’s editorial assistant. She recently completed her MA in journalism at the University of Missouri and has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Belmont University. Past writing and editing stops include HGTV Magazine, Nashville Arts Magazine, and several outlets local to her hometown, Columbia, Missouri.

B&A: A $40, One-Day Project Turned a Plain Pantry Door into a Style Statement

B&A: A $40, One-Day Project Turned a Plain Pantry Door into a Style Statement

When kitchens are being renovated and re-decorated, most of the attention goes to cabinets, floors, countertops, and backsplashes. But that doesn’t mean that some of the quieter parts of a kitchen — like, say, pantry doors — can’t have a moment to shine.

DIYer Hana Sethi’s pantry door started as a plain white two-panel door — fine, but basic. But because of its placement, every single person who comes to Hana’s home can see straight to this door from the entryway. Hana sees plenty of it, too, which gave her an idea. “I walk by it about 1,000 times a day and I felt like it would be a great place for a focal door,” she says.

While Hana wanted this door to be a statement, she says, she didn’t want it to overpower everything around it. “I didn’t want it to be too over the top, so I picked a simple design,” she says.

Hana is no stranger to redoing doors (you can see her previous redo here), so she knew she could work with more than just paint. So she bought an MDF panel and got to work.

Hana started by removing the old door lever, then cut her large panel of MDF down to smaller rectangles so she could make a herringbone design on the door. She secured them in place using a brad nailer.

Once Hana finished mounting the MDF pieces, she painted the door with a matte black paint (Sherwin-Williams’s Tricorn Black) that she already had on hand. Hana found painting in between the MDF panels was tricky: “I had to bust out my paint sprayer,” she says. “In retrospect, I should have painted the door before I attached the panels to it.”

Once the paint was dry, Hana added a long brass pull she got from Amazon for $20 — a much sleeker option than the old lever, and certainly worthy of the dramatic new door. 

In the end, this project was done in four hours for under $40. Using leftover cut down the costs of this already affordable project even more. “You really only need a little bit of paint for the door,” Hana says, so you can easily dip into paints you already have or buy an affordable can of sample paint.

Now, the door’s no longer a, ahem, bore. “It adds a punch of color and interest to this otherwise bland space,” Hana says. “I’m proud that I thought outside of the box.”

Savannah West

Home Assistant Editor

Savannah is a master binge-watcher and home cook. When she’s not testing new recipes or re-watching Gossip Girl, you can find her on Facetime with her grandma. Savannah is a news producer turned lifestyle blogger and professional homebody. She has a bachelors in journalism from Clark Atlanta University, a certification in Digital Storytelling and is earning her Master’s degree from Harvard University. Savannah believes every day is a good day and there’s nothing good food can’t fix.

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B&A: A Plain White Bathroom’s Unrecognizable After a Vibrant, Joy-Filled Redo

B&A: A Plain White Bathroom’s Unrecognizable After a Vibrant, Joy-Filled Redo

Like many others, Ash Appleton fell in love with the awesome location of her two-bedroom apartment in Nairobi, Kenya — but not so much the inside. “The interiors were done very cheaply, by the developer, and hadn’t aged well,” Ash says of the space.

A prime example: the bathroom, not updated since the apartment was built in 2008. “It was basically a dated, shabby sea of magnolia, uninspiring woodwork, and ugly sanitary ware,” Ash says.

It all looked even worse in comparison with the adjacent living area, which Ash had already decorated in a bold and vibrant palette. “There was a disconnect between the two spaces,” Ash says. And most importantly: the space “wasn’t a joy to use, especially for guests.”

Ash wanted to give the space a bold hit of color and make it fit in with the rest of her apartment. But first, she wanted to re-tool the area. “The room was generously sized but it wasn’t working as hard as it could,” she says. Having a contractor re-arrange the bathroom so that it could include both a vanity and a laundry area took advantage of the ample square footage and freed up space for a future kitchen expansion into the old laundry area.

In addition to the new layout, Ash had a new toilet and sink installed by a plumber. And instead of the old ho-hum wood finishes, Ash hired a carpenter to craft sleek MDF cabinetry, which was then painted in a sunny yellow.

That wasn’t the only color Ash incorporated, though: She also had a handyman tile the new vanity area (now located across from the toilet, rather than next to it) with mosaic tile in shades of green. The walls around it were professionally painted a fresh turquoise to match.

The far side of the bathroom features an accent wall with a full-scale photo mural custom-printed from one of Ash’s own travel shots. Getting it printed to fit the wall perfectly was a challenge that Ash hadn’t expected. “Going forward, I probably won’t use bespoke, photographic wallpaper murals on an entire wall,” she says. “I would consider framing this type of mural within a painted border, which would make it cheaper and easier to install.”

Overall, though, Ash is happy with how the room came out. “The scheme is inspired by Lamu, which is on the northern coast of Kenya, and one of my all-time favorite places,” she says. And, with its upbeat color palette, custom photography, and other artful touches, the new bathroom is completely different from the boring all-white space Ash started with. “The room now has the feel-good vibe I wanted,” she says.

Inspired? Submit your own project here.

Megan Baker

Home Projects Editor

Megan is a writer and editor who specializes in home upgrades, DIY projects, hacks, and design. Before Apartment Therapy, she was an editor at HGTV Magazine and This Old House Magazine. Megan has a degree in Magazine Journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She is a self-taught weighted blanket connoisseur.

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