The china cabinet in my laundry room

Last year around this time, I made this cute little plan for the laundry room. It was on a yellow legal pad and included rough hand-drawn sketches of the narrow shelving I was going to build along the bathroom window wall, opposite the washer and dryer. It included measurements, shelf heights, calculations for how much wood I would need to buy, and a long list of all the minute details of the things I would need to do to make it happen. I got as far as painting the walls, buying and painting secondhand cabinets for over the washer and dryer, a shelf over the washer/dryer, a new to me sink and cabinet combo, and painting the door red.

And then the days turned into months and the months turned into a year and I never got around to building shelving on that wall. I wanted the storage space, but I priced out the wood, and considered how much time and energy it would take to build those shelves– and I just didn’t love it enough for that. There had to be a better solution. I temporarily put another hutch in there which made me think I was closer to the solution but wasn’t quite there. That hutch (previously meant for a different purpose) was too deep for the tiny room and it was far from cute. And there were always other projects taking my time and attention for a long time.

Then sometime this summer inspiration struck. I knew exactly what I wanted: a petite sized china cabinet that I could paint red. Of course, my sister was over when the inspiration struck– and I’m pretty sure she thought I was nuts but I knew that was the solution I wanted. And it had to be more affordable and awesomer than those expensive, build it yourself, never get done shelves, right? And did I mention that those shelves were going to be against the wall that is nowhere CLOSE to square? It actually makes a twisting right turn. I knew trying to custom fit shelves onto that was going to be a nightmare. Right, yet another reason my petite china cabinet was going to be the best ever.

And so I began stalking craigslist and the Habitat for Humanity Restore for the perfect cabinet. And then, only weeks after inspiration struck, there were TWO petite china cabinets with the right dimensions at Habitat!! TWO ADORABLE OPTIONS! Of course they were twice what I wanted to pay, so I waited a week until half off furniture day, hoping at least one of them would still be there. And there it was, half off. Yes please. I paid for the cabinet and walked out a happy woman. It was obviously meant to be.

There she is:


Right after purchasing the cabinet, I threw my back out and went on vacation. So when we got home, my buff little sister offers to go pick it up with me and then we had to call in the little bro to actually unload it with us because my back was still pretty bad. My little sibs are awesome and I appreciate when they humor me and the crazy home improvement addiction.

I’ve been wanting to play with milk paint by Miss Mustard Seed for a long time because everything the famous Marian paints with it is incredible. I knew there was no chance of me making it quite that awesome, but I wanted to try it. I ordered the Tricycle Red, the bonding agent, and was ready to roll.

After my last project that required weeks of paint stripping and sanding, this felt amazingly simple. Remove hardware, clean thoroughly, tape off the glass, mix up milk paint with bonding agent and start painting. Mmmmm. Of course I panicked a little when I started painting and the paint looked more pink than red, but it dried beautifully. Note my cute painting assistant. She likes to be as close to me as possible and wet paint seems to be a particular favorite of hers. Basically she shadows me to the barn to sit next to me while I paint. She was obviously just as excited for the cute cabinet as I was.


I spray painted all the existing hardware black. Painted a couple coats of the red milk paint onto the outside of cabinet. I removed the back which splintered a lot when I removed the staples. It was easier to paint the inside from the back because only the middle front door actually opens. Anyway, once I destroyed the cheapo back on the cabinet, I decided to put in a new beadboard back anyway. I painted the inside white with trim paint leftover from earlier projects.



After all the exterior painting was done, I put a coat of oil modified polyurathane I had leftover from previous projects. I considered waxing, but I thought the poly would be easier – and it was. I managed to move the cabinet from the barn to the house using just my little dolly. It was relatively light without the back and the doors and drawers in it. I finished the second coat of white on the inside once it was in the laundry room and then installed the beadboard and the newly painted hardware. Last but not least, while painting the cabinet red in the barn, I was nervous about how it would look with the already red door. Thought I might have to repaint the door if the reds were too different. But once I moved it in there, I realized my fears were unnecessary. It looks like the same red! Amazing.


A few thoughts about working with milk paint:

  • It takes a lot of stirring to mix the paint.
  • I love the texture and the way the pigments make the paint vary on the surface. It gives it dimension and character.
  • The varying pigments can be a pain when the bottom of the milk paint is a different color… awkward. Necessitates another coat sometimes if you aren’t careful.
  • I should have sanded with very fine sandpaper before putting on the poly. There are a few milk paint lumps on the final product. Meh.
  • I loved that there was no smell.
  • I really really enjoyed it!

Cost Analysis:

  • $150 Cabinet – bought on half off furniture day for $75
  • Milk paint and bonding agent – $26
  • Trim paint for inside – paint archives $0
  • Polyurethane – paint archives $0
  • Spray paint for hardware – paint archives $0
  • Random glass knob to replace the missing one – hardware bin $0
  • The perfect ADORABLE solution for my laundry room storage problems = priceless!
  • (And still a lot cheaper and a lot less labor intensive than the mediocre shelving solution I first thought of)

It was awesome to do just a fun, girly, home improvement project after the summer of fencing. And I LOVE IT!  The laundry china cabinet = totally worth the hype.

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0 thoughts on “The china cabinet in my laundry room

  1. You really did a wonderful job from purchasing your beautiful cabinet to the finishing! I admire anyone who really gets the job done…coming from a blogger with a dozen or more unfinished projects. You go, girl! Joy

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