November 17th, 2008

Oak Cabinet Upgrade

When I first moved into my new studio I had the very cheapest, in-the-box, oak cabinets from Lowe’s installed for our “kitchen” (basically where we make coffee and occasionally microwave). The reasons for going el cheapo were twofold: lack of money (the main reason) and knowledge that I could also turn the ugly ducklings into a swans when time and desire came together. They finally did! I forgot to take a “before” shot, but just imagine plain, nondescript oak cabinets over which I stria’d 2 layers of Van Dyke Brown Stain and Seal .I wanted to do something more decorative on them with mirrors-my new favorite medium.

Modello Distressed Mirror

I had 1/4″ mirrors with beveled edges made to the exact size of the raised panels in the centers of the upper cabinets. The silvering on these was distressed using the Antique Mirror Patina Solution.

Modello Distressed Mirror

On the front, I decided to use Metallic Foils (another new fav!), and subtly applied 4 different colors, followed by a layer of antiquing stain.  I love how the design reflects off the back of the mirror, adding a lot more depth and dimension.

Modello Distressed Mirror

The mirrors were attached using a combo of double-sided foam tape and lots of mastic. So far it seems to be holding…..Notice how the blue Metallic Foil around the edge picks up the wall color!

Modello Distressed Mirror

Another view (these are HARD to photograph well). The handles were a Home Depot score at $1.06 each!

Modello Distressed Mirror

The lower cabinet doors were treated to the same Metallic Foil colors as the mirror finish and stained as well. I transferred the foil colors using a scrub brush with varying horizontal and vertical strokes to get the woven fabric look.

Modello Distressed Mirror

You can’t see the countertop from this view, but it is beautiful reverse gilded glass with a Moroccan zelij pattenr and I showed it in this post. If you are interested, there are lots more mirror posts here. For my next magic mirror trick I’ll be attempting to conjure up an amazing look for a 54″ round mirror table top on a rustic iron base. Keep your fingers crossed! I don’t NEED any bad luck.

12 Responses to “Oak Cabinet Upgrade”

  1. Regina Says:

    OK. I saw those in person and cannot believe the transformation. Melanie, they are GORGEOUS! Your creativity just floors me.

  2. Jan Gonzales Says:

    Totally awesome Melanie!! I realllly want to take this class.

  3. Rhonda Canales Says:

    Melanie, what an amazing tranformation. You are my inspiration!!! Thank you for sharing.

  4. Lesley Anne Kinney Says:

    I get the point of buying cabinets from Lowe’s for budgetry reasons, but how much did the mirrors cost? I think you just do it so you have an excuse to transform :-)
    I am working on a client to let me install reverse painted glass as a back splash. Every night I pray for enlightened clients!!

  5. Melanie Says:

    Yeah, it is fun to transform! The mirrors were NOT that expensive. About $60 each. I was surprised!

  6. Gina Says:


    Always love your work and creative ideas. This is an all time best… so far anyway!

  7. Julie Stonehouse Says:

    OMG Melanie! Those rock — I know exactly what they looked like before. Such inspiration…

  8. Sheryl Barlow Says:

    Melanie, Those are so beautiful!!! I also love the blue background. Is that Lusterstone? The mirrors are awesome and I love the foil.

  9. Maryam in Marrakech Says:

    Geez Louise…… just keep outdoing yourself in total awesomeness!!!!! I mean seriously, what will you come up with next?

    I can’t wait to have a mirror or 2 at Peacock Pavilions in Moorish patterns. Yay for me! (eek, so greedy, but it really is all your fault)

  10. Cat Says:

    Beautiful! How do you transfer the foil using a scrub brush????

  11. Melanie Says:

    You lay the foil down, shiny side up, and use a small, nylon cleaning scrub brush in tight circles to transfer!

  12. Cat Says:

    Thanks so much!, wld neon work? And it does not chip off the foil as you brush in the circles?

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