THIS Is Why You Should NEVER Leave the House.

This is what one of my kitchen walls looks like right now. I love it. It’s one of the few things in my house I know is exactly right. So it only makes sense that I should completely change it.

I know. I agree and understand your outrage.  It’s a perfect wall.  White painted brick with bits of original wood stuck in there.  Antique French curtain tie backs holding my collection of rolling pins.  Plus of course – that pig’s head.

So why change it?  Because I left the house.  And nothing good ever comes from leaving the house. Leaving the house invariably means spending money, so it really is best to never leave your house.  (blocking Amazon on your browser is an additional safety measure one should consider)

Last summer I went to a Sunday antique market and spotted something that made my heart stop.  I went home, measured my kitchen and realized it wouldn’t fit.  This summer I went back to that Sunday antique market and saw it was still there. Apparently it wouldn’t fit in anyone’s kitchen.

So I took a good look at it again, determined it could easily be made a bit smaller and that was it. I bought it. The brick wall that I love so much was going to be covered up to make room for something I loved even more. This.

Granted, it’s in a bit of a “state” in this photo, but you get the idea of what it looks like.  The reason I had a hard time letting go of it is because a) it’s beautiful and b) it’s narrow.  It’s as narrow as the bench that I have running along my brick wall.

That means I’ll still be able to get around the cabinet with no problem PLUS it’ll  hold a heck of a lot more than 6 or 7 rolling pins.  In a house that’s 180 years old there isn’t a lot of storage.  In a small house that’s 180 years old there’s even less storage.  More of a cottage really.  The kind of thing a family of gnomes would feel comfortable in.

So the cabinet will go along that brick wall giving me storage for STUFF.

The cabinet doesn’t come to the ceiling so the white brick will still be visible for about a foot and a half above the cabinet.

It *will* however, completely change the feeling of the kitchen.  Even though it’s narrow (the top cubby holes are only 7″ deep) it will make the kitchen feel more closed in.  And it’s dark.  So it will darken the kitchen a bit.

I’m preparing  myself mentally for that.  In fact I’m preparing myself for a kitchen that feels like a dark, cramped hovel so that when the cabinet is put in place it’ll be a refreshing realization that it isn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.

I find it best to trick myself in these types of situations, and luckily I’m very good at tricking myself.


The cabinet was made for holding nails, screws and other hardware. I’m guessing it came from an old hardware store, I’m going to try to find out more abou tit.  It’s built from quarter sawn oak.  Each drawer has a metal, numbered label on it.  The knobs are hideous and will eventually be replaced with something more authentic.


The drawers as I mentioned are hilariously small.  Good for spices and toupees and that’s about it.  Or so I thought until I realized if I wanted to, I could use part of it for a seed storage catalogue.


The issue with it not fitting is this.  The cabinet (which looks weirdly small in the photo below that shows the owner measuring it) is 91″ long.  12.25″ longer than my wall.  Which is the exact measurement of 2 rows of drawers.

If I take the middle section of the cabinet out, including 2 rows of small drawers, and one of the larger drawers and push the cabinet back together – it will fit perfectly.

I was a bit worried that would ruin the look of the piece. Part of what’s so great about it is the size. But I think it’ll still be mighty big enough to have an impact.

I was going to attempt this reconstruction myself but then decided I’d rather pay someone to do it right.  I  know a guy.

This is the cabinet as it is now (full length).

And this is what it will look like once its reduced in size.  I still can’t get over how weirdly small it looks in these photos.

The cabinet is getting delivered from the antique market directly to the man who will reconstruct it and when it’s done I’ll pick it up and bring it home.

Until then – I’m not leaving the house.

Have a good weekend!


  1. Eileen says:

    o m g.
    I am so jealous I can barely type.
    That thing is gorgeous. I’m sure it will be absolutely perfect.
    If not, please shoot me an email and I will take it off your hands!

  2. Mary W says:

    I thought it was a card catalog from an old library. It is magnificent! Perfectly appropriate word for something this big and beautiful. I can’t wait to see it finished and all that you can store. Congrats on your new baby.

  3. Maryanne says:

    What a fantastic find! Life is about evolving – you are awesome to be making the change to the cabinet and to the kitchen and making room for something new. It’s going to be great for small kitchen tool storage too. I think it’ll look fantastic – and not darken your kitchen too much. You’ve got big windows across from the cabinet that should reflect some light back. Can’t wait to see the finished project!

    P.S. There is a typo in the paragraph that contains “I’m guessing it came from an old hardware store, I’m going to try to find out more …” ;)

  4. Ev Wilcox says:

    I will miss seeing the hanging rolling pins, but you are right about older houses not having storage! My house is 212 yrs old. Any storage was added through the years. That is something I have NEVER understood-they had to make everything by hand, and would have had a lot of bits and dabs of STUFF with which to do it! Where oh where did they store it?! Where did they put their clothes for heaven’s sake?!
    Can’t wait to see it in your kitchen and functioning. Well done Karen.

  5. TAMMI L DUIS says:

    What a beautiful piece! I can’t wait to see it in your kitchen. If you are looking for hardware, D. Lawless is the place to go! They have beautiful, antique reproduction pieces, including these pulls:

  6. Alena says:

    So you are getting only the upper part, the drawers, without the ‘table’ underneath? Cuz that looks much deeper.

    And please do tell us more about the tit once your find out! I find tits’ histories particularly fascinating!! ;-)

  7. Julie says:

    I’m so jealous! Been looking for anything similar (in my price range), no luck. Don’t really have a spot for it. Downsized & had to put my Hoosier in basement…good place for drying herbs, etc. So drawer piece, if found would be down there too.Congrats on find!

  8. Fabulously wonderful apothecary cabinet! You know, if you do get tired of the tiny drawers, you can have a cabinet maker take the faces off some of them and join them together to make a false fronted larger drawer or drawers. Still not very deep, but perhaps a bit more useful…maybe long enough to hold rolling pins! :)

  9. jaine kunst says:

    What a score!! So good you bought it because if you hadn’t you would have regretted it forever. I still have dreams about a table I walked away from 12 years ago. Can’t wait to see photos of it in your kitchen.

  10. Mia says:

    This may/may not be an error…
    “I’m going to try to find out more abou tit. “

    • Wanda says:

      I am glad you commented!!! I thought it was a missed typo, and then I thought “No, Karen is intentional in her writing.” And then the 4 year old in my head said “Karen said TIT!!!”

      I may find myself using this phrase…..

    • Karen says:

      ;) ~ karen!

    • Katie C. says:

      I’m glad I’m not the only child in the group. I was going to comment, “Hee hee… you said ‘tit’!” :)

  11. Gail Dedrick says:

    Assuming you didn’t refinance your house to buy the thing, I think you did well. Plus, you can always move it if it doesnt work. The white brick will always be behind it, but I think this is more functional. Plus, by reducing the size you’re probably making it a hell of a lot more functional for other people, too, which means it would be easier to sell if you tired of it.

    • Karen says:

      That’s what I thought, so I’m not too worried about having hacked into it, lol. It’s been for sale for a couple of years now so clearly no one had room for it. ~ karen!

  12. leo muzzin says:

    Ok after writing the first comment I decided to google “Tregunno Seeds” and saw a Jan 23, 2013 story on The about the store closing, and a photo of their seed cabinet, which look to be in sections, and yours could be one of those sections. Very interesting. I used to buy my seeds for my garden plot here and really enjoyed the atmosphere in this place!

  13. Jeanne says:

    One more thing. If you haven’t priced knobs lately, they are frightfully expensive. A matte dark metal spray paint would help those knobs a lot till I (you) can afford to replace them.

    • Karen says:

      Oh yes, I know all about the price of knobs. :/ I’m going to see if I can weather them with some sort of solution for now. ~ karen!

      • Elaine says:

        I am SO jealous! That is a gorgeous piece and it will suit your kitchen to a T! I sure wish we still had that antique place in town … I was so disappointed to see them go. I remember a Pin on Pinterest where salt, vinegar and peroxide were used to age any kind of metal. Can’t wait to see your piece all dolled up for Christmas!

    • Jeanne says:

      I used to do stained glass. There was a patina you coukd rub on the lead seams to darken it. Good luck

      • Karen says:

        Yes! That’s exactly what I was thinking! My mother and sister used to do stained glass and said they thought it might work. :) ~ karen!

  14. Miriam says:

    I think it’s even nicer in its reduced size.
    Look forward to seeing it installed. I actually thought you were going to do the reduction yourself, that’s just an indication of how much faith I have in your skills!

  15. danni says:

    I so totally get that urge, I have a thing for old containers, (wooden boxes, old steamer trunks, old blanket chests…) my house is full of them… but THAT!!! Oh man that just is lust-worthy for sure! Green with envy here! Can’t wait to see the results, I know it will be great! So happy for you!
    (and yet I’m calculating where I would put it in my house…. ha!)

  16. Cathy Reeves says:

    I can see why you are on the fence. It. Is. Gorgeous. But then so is your wall. But then you are brave and courageous AND you know when to raise the white flag that says ‘I need help with this’. You’re my hero.
    I’ve always wanted a card catalog piece from a library.
    Kind of the same thing.

  17. leo muzzin says:

    I remember seeing something like this at the Tregunno seed store, which closed up several years ago. Just wondering if it could be from there.

    • Karen says:

      Nope. It’s from a hardware store originally, and came out of a collection from a man in Muskoka a few years ago. Would make a great seed catalogue though! ~ karen

  18. Barbie says:

    It’s going to look brilliant! Kudos to you for allowing someone else to do the work! Look how far you’ve come! Sometimes it’s just what we need to do! … or not do ha ha! Can’t wait to see the final product in place!

    • Karen says:

      If I didn’t have a chicken coop to reroof I might consider doing the cabinet but it wouldn’t be nearly as good a job as “my guy” will do. So I’m pretty sure I’ve made the right decision. :) ~ karen!

  19. Jean says:

    Actually I like the proportions of the revised cabinet better. And if you decide you made a mistake, I’ll buy it off of you!

  20. Stunnnnnnning!!!! I want to see it installed! Can’t wait ! PS. when me and your boyfriend come by to admire your new kitchen-ness, can we have pizza? Giving you lots of warning. hahahaha.

  21. SuzanneLH says:

    I too have a little drawer fetish… Magnificent, jealous, good for you!

  22. susan says:

    Since you’re already cutting into it, why don’t you get your guy to change some of the drawers to doubles or even triples, put the same fronts back on and then it still looks like singles but when you pull it out, it’s a wider, functional drawer? Goodness, glad I don’t have to say that sentence out loud! I love those things and had to forcibly remove myself from an auction with a dentist’s cabinet.

  23. Kathryn says:

    Do not photograph large furniture while giants are measuring.

    • Karen says:

      LOL. I know, she looks like a giant and the piece looks like doll furniture. Neither of which are true. Not that I remember anyway. Eek. What if she was a giant and I did actually buy doll furniture? NOTHING will fit in those drawers if that’s the case. ~ karen!

  24. whitequeen96 says:

    Wow, your re-design actually looks BETTER than the original! The middle archway now matches the size of the other two and everything looks neater and prettier. Oh, I would love to have something like this, but I’d leave some drawers open with things trailing out; plants, ribbons, seed packets, moss, etc.

  25. Maria Campbell says:

    I hope you are telling him to save the extra little drawers you are cutting out. Those will have a million uses by itself. Well done. It’s beautiful Love it.

  26. Heather says:

    Cool! Can’t wait to see the completed project.

  27. JennyW says:

    Be still my heart <3

  28. Edie Marie says:

    I’ve always loved cabinets with little drawers, lots of little drawers! What better place to put… lots of little things? And this cabinet has sooo many drawers. I now have cabinet envy. I’ll be waiting on pins & needles to see it in your kitchen. It’s going to be faaaabulous!!

    Blessings, Edie Marie & Kitty

  29. Sarah says:

    Can’t wait to see what it looks like in place ! Great piece of furniture.

  30. Meg says:

    that is so neat!

    also, uh, how long can one keep seeds? (well, and have them still be viable?) Cause I am totally trying to grow a few seeds now (completely off-season) and keep the remaining seeds til next year, hoping at least some of them germinate next year, too.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Meg. Most seeds stay viable for a longggg time if you keep them in the dark and relatively cool. The only seeds I’ve found really can be a bit finicky are lettuce seeds. Everything else is pretty good about sprouting even 5 years later. You’ll lose some but if you’re planting old seeds just remember to overplant. ~ karen!

  31. Thandi says:

    I want it. I need it. It is cabinet perfection. I would spend all day just opening drawers and forgetting which one I accidentally left my keys in.
    This is more important than a wall, because it’s perfect.

  32. Catherine says:

    It’s going to look SOOOOOOOO good!

  33. Lindy says:

    Let me close my eyes and picture it. one for kale, one for sprouts, one for purple sprouting brocolli. All the seeds in teensy drawers. Everything orderly and easy to see. Ordering next year’s seeds? A doddle, Oh. My. God. This is gorgeous! I have been lusting after something like this for seed storage for ever! As long as your kitchen is cool it will be heaven for seeds. And for all of us. Who cares if your kitchen is gloomy? You know the happiness for seeds and the seed sower comes first.

  34. markus says:

    No drawers…

  35. Jeanne says:

    I love it!!! I have an old apothecary cabinet in my foyer that is very similar. It is one of my prized possessions. Mine has drawer pulls that can hold a small label. You will find many treasures to store in it. Mine has my seeds in it too. As well as doohickies and thingamabobs. You will love it. If not, please send it to me as mine is full.

  36. Susan Hollier says:

    Serious fit of jealousy here. Clearly I need to leave the house more often to find something that gorgeous. I never would have conceived of taking a piece out of the middle. I guess your brilliance in this matter means that you deserve such a tremendously beautiful thing.

  37. Gayle M says:

    You seem to be a bit like a friend of mine. She sits down early in the day, writes down what she will be looking for, then goes shopping yards sales, etc. And then comes home with most items crossed off her list. I can’t figure out how it happens. Crazy!

    Love the look of the old wood, by the way. Will be gorgeous in your kitchen, too.

  38. Lynda Loy says:

    Could this possibly be an old antique library catalogue file holder cabinet? I love stuff like this! Just think of all the craft and scrapbook supplies it could hold!

    • Karen says:

      Nope it’s definitely a hardware chest. The metal plates on each drawers are numbers, which they probably wouldn’t be in a file holder. I don’t think. ~ karen!

  39. Debye says:

    I love this! It was meant to be! Also loving the garland with leaves! I have to pin that. Thanks for the laughs and inspiration. Look forward to reading your emails because I know I’ll be laughing.

  40. attygreen13 says:

    My sis-in-law (former editor in chief for Country Living magazine) has this in her upstate NY kitchen and Can’t wait to see the final look!

  41. Paula says:

    I love this! Christy’s?

  42. Stacy Pomerleau says:

    OMG! This is very exciting! I am pleased and not surprised that you are the type of person who falls in love with antiques then has them cut up to suits your needs! Can’t wait to see the results! And I’m expecting a best project write the extra 2 rows!

    • Karen says:

      If something were museum quality I wouldn’t cut it up, but regular old antiques? Yes, I’ll alter them to make them workable. ~ karen!

    • Stacy Pomerleau says:

      ouf… so bad autocorrect!
      That last sentence should read:
      I’m expecting a great project with the extra [cut out] 2 rows!

  43. Jo says:

    Absolutely Gorgeous! What a wonderful find.

  44. Chavella says:

    Oh, but think of the seeds those little drawers could hold. :-)
    ( I could have sworn I sent this reply)

  45. Robert says:

    Stunning! Can’t wait for the final reveal!

  46. Jo says:

    Absolutely Gorgeous!

  47. Karalyn Faulkner says:

    I love it. I love the brick wall too. However, come on. That is a great piece. Good on ya!

  48. Chavella says:

    Oh the seeds those little drawers could hold. :-)

  49. Bonnie Goodrich-Wilcoxson says:

    It’s gorgeous. You done good. More pics when it’s done and installed?

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