Library Card Cabinet Upcycle

Whada you do when you come across something you really love?

Something for your home that you know there is no practical place or use for?

Do you buy it just because?

Just because you might never come across one again? Just because it was a really good price? Just because your mother’s sister’s second cousin Mavis had one just like it? Just because you could remove that, paint this, add some of these and turn it into an umbrella stand?

Well, a while ago I bought this old library card cabinetI bought ‘just because’.

It sat in my junk room serving absolutely no purpose for about a year until the arrival of Charlotte saw my junk room (which was the temporary home for many of my ‘just because’ items) become a nursery.

So, with our shortage of storage space made even shorter it was finally time to let some things go, starting with my card drawer cabinet.

Before selling it though I decided a mini makeover was in order.

Rather than paint over the character-filled timber I simply gave it a good all over clean and oil (just with furniture polish) to retain and enhance the original patina.

I also attached some solid metal castor wheels (as I had always originally intended). Along with the advantage of mobility the wheels also add enough height to give the cabinet perfect proportions for a coffee or deep side table.

I could only find silver steel castors which looked too modern paired with the old cabinet so I tinted them black to resemble cast iron.
Here’s a little trick; rather than use spray paint (which easily chips off smooth metal) I coloured the wheels with a black permanent marker! It sounds time-consuming though it was actually really quick and so far has held up great. Whilst I imagine it will likely fade a little over time where the wheels roll it will probably look nicely worn rather than just plain chipped.

So, mini refresh complete, I re-arranged my living room a bit to plonk the cabinet beside my leather couch to take some photos for the eBay listing and….

….I’m kinda loving it!

Luke even made the rare comment that he also liked it!

Did I say we have a shortage of storage space and it was time to let some things go? Well, maybe not this…for now anyway.

Hmmm, perhaps I should stop buying stuff ‘just because’.

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97 Comments
  1. too funny! the wheels look great.
    I love it and think it should stay……..but if you put it on ebay – do let me know!!!!
    cheryl xox.

  2. Sarah says:

    I LOVE the way it turned out! I’d say if you have the husbands approval- KEEP it! Let something else go if possible, it’s just too lovely to part with if you ask me!

  3. Karima says:

    What a great transformation – Amazing what Markers can be used for! Your newest gfc follower, Karima
    http://www.karimascrafts.com

  4. Anne says:

    What a gorgeous piece! I love it.

  5. Wow, that does look so cool – gorgeous!

  6. Love it!! I’ve been on the lookout for a library card catalog for so long!

  7. NanaDiana says:

    Kristine- I am seriously LOVING that piece- You did a wonderful job about it~ xo Diana

  8. Crystal says:

    WOW, looks fantastic. I need to get one of those cabinets when I do the study. Where did you get the table lamp from if you don’t mind me asking? xo

  9. paula says:

    Wow, that is gorgeous, I’ve wanted one of those myself for so long, but can’t find one ANYWHERE! I was kind of hoping you’d put it on ebay so I could have snagged it up. It’s not much to ship from Australia to Canada is it?! ;)
    paula

  10. I never would have thought of marker, ingenious :) Love it!!

  11. I am working on a similar transformation right now! Actually, it should have been done weeks ago, but a painting disaster de-railed my enthusiasm for a while. Your beautiful project may get me to finally finish it up!

  12. Jill says:

    Great find – these things aren’t a dime a dozen so pick them up when you see them! Love that you left it in the original wood…not everything needs a coat of paint :)
    -Jill @ Junky Vagabond

  13. Elaine says:

    It looks AMAZING! So unique and now has an even better story! Please don’t sell it. It looks so ‘at home’ there. Love it! Great job :)

  14. The Grandy's says:

    I absolutely love this as a side table. You can’t sell it!!!

  15. Sarah B says:

    That is gorgeous! I could never part with it! I’d love some drawers like those but they’re so hard to find or rather expensive. Keep them ;)

  16. Deanne says:

    that is such a great piece, I wouldn’t be getting rid of it in a hurry!

  17. Hi Crystal. I was actually lucky to get two of the lamps at wholesale through a friend. I can’t remember the company though I have seen them in a store once here in Australia though they were expensive at retail price. They are pretty cool though.
    Kristine

  18. Wow, it is so practical with the wheels and little drawers for storage. Looks great right there.

  19. Anna White says:

    Im kinda loving it too!! Good skills lovely..an awesome job indeed! x

  20. Shannon says:

    I quite like it!!! The wheels are great!
    xo,
    Shannon
    http://www.akadesign.ca

  21. Holly Austin says:

    ooh, I love it! Definitely wouldn’t sell that piece!! It’s so unique.

  22. Kristine you have to keep it. Divine!!! Sandy x

  23. Kristine, I am loving it too! What an interesting piece it turned out to be! The castors are so handy and they add so much to the drawers! I would love to have you share this makeover at my party! http://theshadyporch.blogspot.com/

  24. Alice says:

    I kind of love it too. I think you would be crazy to sell it. I don’t know if it’s just me but it looks perfect where it is! Up against the leather sofa it is as if it was meant to be… If I were in your shoes I would keep it.Lucky girl!

  25. Tery H says:

    Keep it…it’s beautiful! You will regret letting it go.

  26. I love it too! Adding the wheels was a great idea.
    Hugs,
    Sherry

  27. Jeanene says:

    I would keep it if I were you! It looks lovely there.

  28. Love it! Love the castors and the black marker trick!
    Kelly

  29. Laura says:

    Oh my – it is ever so lovely. I adore it. I wish it were in my living room!

    I just admire your taste and your eye for detail and simplicity so much. Everything you do is so clean and classic. Just beautiful.

  30. Oh yeah!!!! It looks GREAT there, Kristine! Just perfect! Good thing you kept it! :)

    xoxo laurie

  31. I think you will thank yourself for keeping this piece. I’m seeing it store crayons, dress up jewelry, legos, beading supplies, little animal figurines, etc…
    You will be so glad to have a place to corral these littlest of items!
    Camille

  32. Aimee says:

    I wanta Library Card Catalogue Cart! How cool is that!!! I’m so glad you stopped by the other day and left a sweet note. I’m loving finding your blog and having so much fun exploring! I’m your newest follower!

    Your Bloggy Friend,

    Aimee from ItsOverflowing.com

  33. Love this piece, so beautiful!

  34. I love it! It’s perfect as you are using it and the castors were just the right touch. Love your blog, I’m your newest follower!

  35. This is a wonderful piece! Would love to have something like this!

  36. Jen says:

    Oh gosh, I would about flip my lid if I found such a gorgeous cabinet! DO NOT SELL IT!!! Hoard it’s fabulousness away or send it to ME! I’d be thrilled if you came and linked this up to the Head to Head Showdown, going on right now at http://www.icantstopcrafting.blogspot.com

    ~Jen

  37. It is a wonderful piece. I was actually thinking about all of the games,vids and photos you can store in there. Thanks so much for sharing.

  38. I like, I like! Never seen one this small. I would have definitely bought this “just because” too. Enjoy it!

  39. Just because I would seriously buy it. How could you pass up something like this. It’s gor.geous, one of a kind. Truly when you find something one of a kind you just have to buy it. Cause someone else will and you’d regret it. The castors on it look really nice. Would you share this over at Sunday’s Best going on now! Now following!

  40. okay…i’m kinda loving it, too! aren’t casters ‘da bomb????

  41. aimee says:

    i love this cabinet, its gorgeous xxx

  42. Abbie says:

    What a fantastic job you did, Kristine! I think you should keep it, especially since you got a rare reaction from someone else in your house! ; )

    I’m your newest follower and would love for you to stop by for a visit!

    ~Abbie (www.fivedaysfiveways.com)

  43. Paulette says:

    I have been in search of a library card catalog for a very long time. I love yours! I am so jealous.

  44. I love love love love it!!

    Jenny
    http://www.simcoestreet.blogspot.com

  45. Don’t think I could let that one go…

  46. Anne says:

    Honestly I am drooling like crazy!!! :) I would LOVE to find a piece like this! The wheels are perfect! KUDOS to YOU! Beautiful work!!! :)

  47. ha, so glad you decided to keep it! I was reading and thinking, seriously – she’s going to SELL IT?! Glad the story has a happy ending! It’s too gorgeous and looks perfect next to your sofa!

  48. Roxanna says:

    Oh my, that is definitely a keeper! “Just because” I said so, lol!

  49. So beautiful!I love this great idea. Consider, if you will, sharing it with my readers at http://sassafrassalvation.blogspot.com/2011/11/although-i-must-say-that-link-response.html. Thanks! Christmas blessings to you……….Kathy

  50. Seriously I wish I had found this. Thanks for sharing over at Sunday’s Best, keep the creative ideas coming. It really is a great piece.

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